My June started off rough with my crazy tooth infection that led to a terrible cold (getting a cold on an antibiotic is only something that I can do). But I survived my root canal and feel (almost) ready to take on the world. I visited my brother and future sister-in-law in New York and saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time! It was quite a delightful trip (even though all three of us were in the process of recovering from being sick). I also had tickets to the Downton Abbey Exhibition, which was super fun. We saw the Heavenly Bodies Exhibit in at the MET as well, which was beautiful and interesting. I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading and came home from the library with many different books! This has been a great reading month, even though I was sucked into watching Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman on Amazon. Give me a break, I was super sick! But I’m back on my “no tv at home alone” (except Sundays when I give myself a break, I mean, I’m almost done with the series, I can’t stop at the end of season 4 when there are more frontier adventures to be had!).
West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915 by Laura Ingalls Wilder: This book is a series of letters that Laura, who now goes by Bessie, wrote home to Almanzo while she went to visit her daughter in San Francisco for the World’s Fair. After reading this (and the next book) I got a clearer picture of Laura and her daughter Rose. They had quite the interesting relationship, not quite sure what to make of it to be honest. I feel like they were feminists before that was a thing. I’m hoping to go up to DeSmet next month when I’m in Sioux Falls for work to see their old homestead, I think I can make the trip work while I have the afternoon available.
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder: I felt like this book was the summary of all of the Little House books together. I liked that there were tons of footnotes, but honestly, I skipped most of them. It felt like the adult version of her story – which was interesting. Some of the stories were right out of her life, but others were changed or embellished for book series. I don’t have an issue with that, although many, many people do. The Little House series is a work of fiction based on her life, not her memoir.
The Fisherman’s Tomb: The True Story of the Vatican’s Secret Search by John O’Neill: This is a true story that reads like a drama! I had no idea the series of events that led to discovering St. Peter under the Vatican. I appreciated the look into this secret project and the writing was great. Every time I stopped reading, I couldn’t wait to get back to Mass the next day to continue! [I used this as spiritual reading before daily Mass this month.}
Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt: I’ve been listening to Pod Save America for a few months now and heard about this there. I do love a political memoir. I also love hearing about the inside world of places. The White House is definitely one of those places. It’s so American to work there, yet we really don’t know much of the happenings of every day – and today it probably feels more like a soap opera than a job, but that’s another discussion for another day.
A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #7) by Louise Penny: I’m slowly working my way through this series. I like it, but cannot read them one after the other in quick succession. I need a bit of a break between. I think she has 11 or 13 now, so I’m getting there. I appreciate that this series is about more than just murder, so I’ll keep on reading. It almost makes me want to be Canadian!
Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber: I know, I know, a Christmas book in June! But it was taking up a valuable spot on my library hold list (you can only have 15!) and I was number 1 in line – so I figured, why not? It was a cute Christmas love story – completely predictable – but got me thinking about the possibilities of online dating again. I do really dislike it and so did both characters for the reasons I do. [Reason #1 being that scrolling through pictures feels as exciting as finding a kitchen utensil on amazon.] But I felt inspired that something could possibly come from it if I dive in head first. So keeping an open mind… but not too open!
Deadline (Virgil Flowers, #8) by John Sandford: Another great mystery series – I took a break for a bit, but have this one and #9 out from the library right now. I read #10 a few months ago as I put it on hold and it came much quicker than I thought it would. I really like Virgil Flowers, and appreciate this “no-fuss” murder story that John Sandford writes. I’m sure I’ll finish #9 later this month.
West Winging It: My Time in President Obama’s White House by Pat Cunnane: Of the couple of political memoirs from the Obama White House I’ve read, this one has been my favorite. Pat wasn’t there from the very beginning, but he did stay until the very end. I appreciated how he was ingrained into DC culture, understood that we didn’t get everything he was saying, and remained real. He was changed by the experience, and doesn’t consider himself “all that”… I like that in a memorist (is that a word?).
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: This was a recommendation from a podcast, What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel, I think. I had it on my list for a while and it came through on my holds. For the first half of the book I had no idea where we were going – I’m still not sure where we ended up, but the journey was just delightful. Heartbreaking, real, amazing – stop everything and start reading!
The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity: How the Modern Culture Is Robbing Billions of People of Happiness by Matthew Kelly: I’ve read most of Matthew Kelly’s books, and I do like them. I realize that they are typically written for the person who isn’t “all in” yet. Even though I am, I still need a swift kick in the pants sometimes. He challenges us that we can all be holy, that all we need are Holy Moments, small ones built on top of one another. A good read of a book that comes out later this summer!
You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld: This was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick in recent months. It’s a collection of short stories, which isn’t normally my thing. I did have a hard time moving from story to story remembering that one is not related to the next. They were really excellent – doing what the title states – writing down the things we are all thinking, but don’t want to say. A thought provoking read.
Escape Clause (Virgil Flowers, #9) by John Sandford: I do really like this mystery series by John Sandford. I think I’m all caught up though since I read #10 (Deep Freeze) a few months ago when it came through on my hold list. I like that these novels are really just about the mystery and not a lot else. Virgil definitely has a personal life, and it does come up – but it’s not the main point of the novel. There’s some swearing and some sex, but it’s not over the top. Definitely recommend!
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is our July book club read, and it was really excellent. Almost too much in some places, but totally amazing and worth the read. I’ve been reading a lot of WWII fiction books recently, and I cannot decide if I like that or not. I have a few more on my hold list at the library though, so the theme continues. Also I can’t say much about this book’s plot, but go read it. It’s narrated by Death, and is there any more appropriate character to tell the story of the millions of men and women who were part of the horrific attacks of WWII?
Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes: This was a cute collection of short stories recommended by my friend Beth. They were really sweet, and some of them, I really wanted them to be longer and go into more detail. I purchased this book in the Chicago airport on my way home from Iowa because I was about to get on a 2 hour flight without a book to read, which is a real tragedy! I finished it before getting in the car at the Charlotte airport to drive home!
Starry Night by Debbie Macomber: It was hot so I figured I’d pick up a book about Christmas at the library to feel cooler! I know that’s silly, but it’s the actual reason! This was sweet and Christmasy and able to be read in just one evening. Just what I was looking for!
My July has three beach vacations, so I foresee much reading in my summer future! I’ve got a list prepared for each trip about what books to bring for reading! I cannot wait to sit in my new beach chairs reading books and watching the waves!