Summer Reading, books 1-19

I’m doing the SUmmer Reading Challenge on facebook, and I figured perhaps I should post my blurbs here too. In fact I might start doing this with all books I read…

report 19, All Fall Down, Michael Harvey. Harvey writes mysteries that take place in Chicago. I liked this one, and because it is about bioweapons, it also scared the hell out of me. 
report 18, The Boy in the Suitcase, This was a great mystery. Super readable, and I did not see the Big Twist coming at all. One of my all time favorite books is Kate Atkinson’s Started Early Took my Dog, which has a similar story arc of someone taking a child away from danger. Atkinson’s is done way better, but I enjoyed this too.
report 17: The Night Strangers, Bohjalian. I sometimes like ghost stories if they are well written, and I enjoyed Midwives by the same author, but this is not really a ghost story, and also I was pissed off at the mother character the entire time for being such a moron. That said, parts were quite compelling, and I raced to finish.

report 16: the Girl Who Disappeared Twice, Andrea Kane. eh. I kept reading; it wasn’t that great. the premise was kind of cool, but I saw the Big Twist coming from a mile away…

report 15: Free Gift with Purchase, Jean Godfrey-June. Eh. I picked it up while babysitting one day–I finished the book I was on, the baby was asleep–and it was all right. Its a memoir by the beauty editor at Lucky magazine, which is a publication I think I have looked at once. My idea of makeup is sunscreen, so you know. The beauty tips were kind of lost on me. Still, it was kind of a fun quick read.

report 14: Hush, by Kate White. Sadly, I’d alreadyread this, and I didn’t remember til I was like halfway through…but I enjoyed it anyway!
repot 12: th hangman, faye kellerman. eh. serviceable.
report lucky 13: Lost on a Mountain in Maine, Donn Fendler. Yes, yes, childrens book. I don’t know that I ever actually read this–I think I just listened to it on tape. and I LOVED IT. re-reading it now, as an adult, I found myself more in awe of Donn (who at 12 was lost on…a mountain in Maine for 9 days) and also terrified for his parents. Also, the language was amusing; the story takes place in 1939, and the strongest language Donn uses is “Christmas!”
report 11: report 10: The Night Ferry, Michael Robotham. another solid mystery. the baby selling aspect made me a bit queasy, but it also brought to mind the (much better) book about the topic, Lehane’s Gone, Baby, Gone. That’s a book that really makes you wonder about what makes a good parent and who gets to decide.
report, um, 10 I think…The Leopard, Jo Nesbo. I liked it. I love Scandinavian mysteries, they are so dark and depressed over there. and creepy! this was such a tightly held together mystery that I actually kept losing track of what was happening, but then I would re-remember and it would be OK.
report….9 I think: The Wilder Life, Wendy McClure. I was never super into the Laura Ingalls books, although I did enjoy them. But I’m not sure I ever even read the whole series. So I was surprised when I read McClure’s book about travelling around exploring the places where the Ingalls family lived. I had multiple sudden bursts of pure nostalgia. The dug out sod house! The pig bladder! The maple candy! Even though the Little House books never meant as much to me as they did to the author, I really enjoyed the trip.
I am sometimes hesitant about boks that announce in big bold letters SHOCKING TWIST AT THE END! but this is a book that earns all of its shocking twists–there are a couple–by making them seem authentic, and by developing the characters enough that the twists felt like logical outcomes, not like an author trying to shock. Well played by Landay.
report 8: Come Home, Lisa Scotteline. A quick read. I like her for quick reads that have a little humor. OH. but you know what drove me OUT OF MY MIND! god. there were just too many commas and they were not used correctly. And she capitalized mom and dad–as in “my Mom,” which also annoyed the hell out of me


reports…um, 4-7: Shatter, Suspect, Lost, all by Michael Robotham: I love mysteries. Love.them. I just got into this author. He’s protag, at least for these, is mostly a shrink named Joe who, like so many shrinks in crime novels, is just contantly getting into trouble. These were good. I like Lost a lot–it’s the only one not narrated by Joe but instead by a cop who wakes up in a river with no idea what happened. The other 2 were good too!
‎(report 3) I did not wake up this morning expecting to spend the better part of the day reading the new John Irving novel, but that’s how it went.I like Irving–A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my top 5 books ever–and still I wasn’t sure I had the energy to get through some of his prose. Then I picked it up and I read steadily–including during a 4 mile walk–all day.
This is a broad, sweeping novel–no Owen Meany, but quite good. It builds slowly, and terrifyingly, towards the AIDS epidemic–wait, do you want to know what it’s about? It’s about this boy growing up in a small town in Vermont who goes to prep school (common Irving themes…) and falls in love with the trans librarian. Then over the course of the novel he explores his own sexuality and also the rise of LGBT folks in this country. I’m not making it not sound great, but it is really good. I was born in 1985, right in the middle of the AIDS epidemic, and the first time I learned about AIDS was when DC public schools did–no joke–an assembly involving a ventriloquist giving us PSAs about AIDS. (Since DC has a higher HIV rate than sub-Saharan Africa, whatever DCPS did wasn’t exactly successful). I’ve never watched anyone die of AIDS. And yet, reading that part of the book punched me right in the gut.
But then, so did the rest of it; it’s a bit preachy at times, but given that it’s good preaching, I’m OK with it–and it’s all tempered by Irving’s usual sly humor. All together, a worthwhile novel. No Owen Meany, of course, but then, what is?
report the 2nd! (I didnt have much to do today, so I read two novels) The End of Everything, Megan Abbott: so good. I started this last week and got like two pages in before I got distracted by something shiny, then picked it up again because it was blurbed by Tana French, Gillian Flynn AND Kate Atkinson, and they are three of my favorites ever. I really liked it, and I also found it incredibly, tremendously disturbing. Abbott does a great job capturing 13–not in the voice so much, which was often not entirely true to what 13 year olds actually sound like, but more in the overall feel of being 13 and having everything feel different suddenly. it IS a really disturbing book, but also deeply compelling.
report! I just read Falling Together, by Dos Santos. I liked it fine. It was a lot better than her previous books, which I enjoyed to a lesser extent. I love stories about friends with secrets, which is what I thought this was going to be, and it turned out to be less of a secret finding/mystery story than a chick-lit-y tale, but there was a happy ending, and dammit, I’m a sucker for those.

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