Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
I enjoyed this second in a series about Thomas Cromwell even more than the excellent first book, Wolf Hall. Link above is to my full review.
A Thousand Cuts by Simon Lelic
Nuanced sort of mystery. Told from multiple perspectives this exploration of a school shooting in a culture of bullying was a great but disturbing read.
The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen
Historical fiction based on the true story of a free black woman who worked in disguise as a slave for Jefferson Davis in order to spy for the Union during the Civil War. The story itself is fascinating but the book portrays Bowser as a little too perfect to be believable and ends up making what should have been a page turner slow reading at times.
Dear Ellen Bee by Mary E. Lyons and Muriel Branch
A different perspective on the Mary Bowser story, written for a middle grade audience. Told in the format of a scrapbook, this one gets two thumbs up from me and John.
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
I pre-read this 2010 Newbery Honor Book before having John read it this coming week. Homer is a tall-tale telling 12 year old who runs away from home to save his older brother who has been sold into the Union Army. On the way he meets up with a variety of larger than life characters and ends up at the battle of Gettysburg. It’s very funny but with some serious underlying themes. I’m really looking forward to discussing it with John.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham- 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
I also read this one in anticipation of having John read it before an upcoming trip South. The Weird Watsons are a tight-knit clan in Flint, Michigan. Told from the perspective of Kenny, the nerdy bookworm middle child, it’s mostly a coming of age story. The Watsons travel to Birmingham to visit their grandmother and while there they experience a close call with a church bombing that shakes Kenny to the core. Similar to Homer P. Figg, there are serious underlying themes in this one but it is also quite funny. I’d say this one is best for readers 5th grade and up due to the serious events at the end and some of the language used throughout. I plan on having John read it at some point, but not quite yet.
What next? I just started The Narnian by Alan Jacobs which has been on my TBR list for a long time. I’m reading the same books with the boys as I was in August…Mousenet, The Hobbit and The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict at bedtime and Farmer Boy at lunch. We should be finished with all four in the next two weeks. I’m also still listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in the car. It’s a long book but I’m still loving Jim Dale. As a family we’ve listened to a lot of Encyclopedia Brown this month in the car and are currently listening to All of a Kind Family.
What have you been reading?