Summer Reading, Plus Some

It’s been a long time since I posted a book list (April). I could just post about what I’m currently reading but that would cause havoc in the part of my soul that also cannot leave a list half checked-off and can’t stand it when the eggs in the carton won’t line up symmetrically.

So since last posting I’ve read the following:


What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyemi
The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows
The Heart by Maylis de Kerangel
Reader, I Married Him (Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre) edited by Tracy Chevalier (audiobook)
The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (audiobook)
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino (read for Amy’s Newbery Challenge)
Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell (audiobook)
The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King
Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

Of these the ones I will probably remember most are The Heart and The Luminaries. The former for its unusual look at all the people involved in a heart transplant and for its beautiful language. Even translated French somehow sounds more musical than English. I spent most of the summer listening to The Luminaries. I’m not sure I would have stuck with it as a written book, it never grabbed me and it was so long. But it was definitely unusual in story and structure and I wasn’t sorry that I did stick with it. Towards the end I realized it was a book that probably would be better to be read than listened to as I think there was a lot that I may have missed in the intricate structure.

The two I probably enjoyed most were both somewhat modern takes on classics. Vinegar Girl (Hogarth Shakespeare Series) is Anne Tyler’s retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. Wilde Lake is heavily inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird, although not exactly a retelling. What I found interesting in both was that they forced me to look at issues in the originals that I respond to differently than I would in a modern work and wonder why that is.


The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino
H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
One in a Billion: The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine by Mark Johnson

The clear standout here was Bonhoeffer. A lot of the summer was spent with him and it was well spent. It’s become too much of a cliche to compare anything we don’t like in modern times to Nazi Germany. So I’ll just say that reading this book at this time in history was somewhat spooky and strange.

With the Kids: 
We read less together in the summer than other times of the year because our evenings are busier. However, we’ve begun reading Harry Potter together as a family and that’s been loads of fun. This is Ruth’s first time through the series and it’s so fun to experience it with her. I might have coerced her a little into letting me read it out loud instead of having her read it on her own. We are currently on book 2 and we’ll probably take a break after that for awhile since they start to get scarier.

Up Next/Currently Reading
I’m reading The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I can’t say enough good things about it. Love, love, love it. John and I are also reading Sense and Sensibility for school. I’m enjoying it as a reread and enjoying discussing it with him. David is reading Maniac Magee for a co-op class. I’d like to read the books he reads in that class so we can do more literature discussion together. I also have Liane Moriarty’s latest book Truly Madly Guilty out of the library. It’s like a decadent dessert sitting on my nightstand waiting for me after I finish my main course of genetics.


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