Books of the Week

The idea is that I post this list on Saturdays, but yesterday I spent all day sorting, moving, selling (online), organizing, and then stacking 30 boxes of books for our Friends group. I. was. beat. It was a good workout day though 🙂

Here’s what I read this week in the order that I enjoyed them. Pictures and thoughts taken from my Instagram.

Lots of picture books, 2 audio books, on e-book, and two actual paper books (my favorite). Three mysteries, and 4 non-fiction kids books (one adult too).

Have you read any of these?

Read! Read! Read! by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke

We used this book for poetry reading and cursive practice for the last week. We read a few poems a day, so we were able to stretch the 23 poems out.

I adored the fun poems and the beautiful illustrations. It’s nice when a kid can see the joy and even laughs a poem can bring when the words and pictures were so cleverly put together. This books is for the younger child about the excitement reading can bring. We read the companion, and just as wonderful, Write! Write! Write! last fall.

Highly recommended for early readers.

The Hollow Of Fear by Sherry Thomas (Lady Sherlock #3) and Brian Wildsmith’s Animal Gallery

Jill of Rhapsody in Books sent Gage this gorgeous Brian Wildsmith book. It was so much fun to read together and definitely a keeper because of animal illustrations. Thank you Jill!

I also finished the audio The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas, the third in the Lady Sherlock series. I’ve loved this series from the start and this book brings the wide range of characters together for a very personal investigation as Charlotte dons a Mr. Sherlock disguise to help save Lord Ingram from conviction. So many moving parts from one book to the next that I sometimes have a hard time keeping up, but do enjoy these characters so much.

Betrayal at Ravenwick by Kelly Oliver (Fiona Figg #1)

 I really enjoyed this cozy mystery set in WWI England.

Fiona Figg is still struggling to get over her ex-husband’s betrayal when she is given the unexpected opportunity to become a spy, at least for a short time. The only catch is that she must pretend to be a man. Obvious and not so obvious difficulties ensue. There is a murder and some suspect her, er, him.

The end has a bit of a cliffhanger and I’ve already downloaded the next Fiona Figg book!

We read 3 lovely picture books during our South Carolina studies. I’m starting with the one I think all parents should check out for their child, especially if you’re going to talk about Black History Month in February. The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out Of Slavery by Jehan Jones-Radgowski and illustrated by Poppy Kang was a great story. It’s a wordy but thrilling book about Robert’s almost fantastical escape from slavery during the Civil War. How could I never have heard this story before? Amazing man and an edge of your seat escape that will amaze your kids (and you!). He saved himself, his family and his small crew and their families. He went on to become the first black captain of a US military ship and later a US Congressman.

Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis’s Fleet-Of-Foot Girl by Megan Reid, illustrated by Laura Freeman would also fit into Black History Month studies. Althea became the first African American person to win a tennis Grand Slam and then went on to keep winning them during a time when most things were still segregated, even tennis clubs. An easier read than the first and and important story too.

And who doesn’t live an elepephant? Bubbles:An Elephant’s Story by Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle about the Myrtle Beach Safari was so sweet and fun. The pictures of Bubbles and his friends were fun reading, even/especially for the younger set. Gage and I both fell in love with animal ambassador and so will you. The picture are swoon worthy.

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka is a great little read. At only 144 pages it can be read during one sitting and it still manages to pack a punch.

Written in 5 sections, each one from a different point of view (mother, daughter, son, family, father) it tells of the treatment of Japanese Americans from right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the years of internment after. It’s both a little boring and heartbreaking (imagine being a kid being transported across country by train when you had to pull down the blinds as you went through towns). I found the most powerful section when they returned home after 3 years and 5 months. It would be over 4 years before the father was released from a different camp and by then he had gone a little mad.

An important read about a dark time in our nation’s history.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List by Lucy Foley was a Reece’s Book Club selection and the 2020 Goodreads Best Mystery & Thriller winner. It’s set in Ireland, a win for me, and since I listened I was able to enjoy the multitude of accents by the narrators, another win. It’s setting on a remote island only accessible by boat had the feel of having been done before, but it still worked.

The story is told in alternating voices. There’s the bride, the groom, the best man, the bridesmaid, the plus one, and the wedding planner. There are lots of reveals and twists with some going back and forth between past and present and it made a compelling thriller. The tension built the way a good thriller should, but for me, it fell a little bit flat in the end. I still liked it well enough to recommend to mystery lovers, especially those who embrace unlikeable characters.

A Florence Diary by Diana Athill

I had set aside this 65 page travel memoir for a day when I didn’t have a lot of time to spare. I’m happy to report that Diana Athill’s A Florence Diary was a delightful little transport back in time. Italy was our first overseas trip and I still remember our 3 days in Florence almost 12 years later. This book was just as much about Athill’s journey with her cousin from England to Italy as it was their time spent there. Learning about the 1947 boat and train experience and the people they met along the way was half the fun.

This was a charming little read if you want to travel to Florence and see it through the eyes of someone who experienced it over 70 years ago. There were some black and white photos mixed in with her thoughts. A nice little read to end the day.

Yes, this the mug I brought home from Italy and I use it all the time ☕️

Martin Luther King Jr.: Voice for Equality! (Show Me History!)

Show Me History: Martin Luther King Jr. by James Buckley Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.: Voice for Equality by James Buckley Jr. and Youneek Studios is a graphic novel that taught me a few things. It’s for kids and it’s ‘narrated’ by a young Lady Liberty and a young Uncle Sam. I found their narration a little off putting, but probably necessary for the younger set. I liked that they used different color balloons to differentiate between story and actual quotes. There were lots of quotes from his speeches and parts of his letters were included.

I learned a few things or maybe I had just forgotten that he was ‘little Mikey’ at birth until his father changed both of their names. I don’t remember learning that he skipped three grades. I was reading this in the family room and sharing interesting facts and when I got to that point Gage emphatically told me that he wasn’t interested in skipping to 7th grade.

He was a man who rose to meet the challenges of the day and we are all better off, even if we as a country tend to take two steps forward and one step back. “The arm of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

May we always strive to work toward equality. May we always strive for non-violence. May we always strive to put more love into the world so that it overpowers the hate.

17 thoughts on “Books of the Week

  1. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says:

    It sounds like you do a lot of work for your Books for Friends group. It would be nice to sell books online. Our group has a little spot in the library where you can buy books. I haven’t been able to go into the library since last year, though.

    I remember starting every day with a poem when I taught elementary school. It would give children something quiet to do when they first came into the classroom. We also learned a few of the poems by heart.

    Lovely Brian Wildsmith book!

    I will look for the book about Robert Smalls and Florence Diary.

  2. Diane says:

    You and Gage are on a reading roll this year – I think it’s great. The Guest List is on my TBR but, I’m on the fence and it’s lower priority as her previous book was a DNF for me. I wonder if our library friend’s group is stockpiling donations or selling on line during the pandemic. Online selling is a lot of work it seems. Our library has a FREE cart outside every day that they are open where discards go as well as books/dvds etc. that people place there which is nice. I’ve been getting rid of DVDs as we never watch them it seems – just keeping a dozen or so fave just in case.

    Have a good week Stacy.

    • stacybuckeye says:

      We have an ongoing book sale in the library (just heard we’re opening back up Feb.1!!) , but we don’t have any freebies. I tried to convince the board to set up a Little Free Library that we would stock outside, but no one wanted to do it 😦

  3. Gofita says:

    Looks like you are reading all the good things yourself and with Gage! Yay! I’ve been wanting to read The guest list and the hunting party for awhile now. I’m wondering if they’ll fall flat like some of Ruth Ware’s books have…I started Anthony Horowitz’s new book the Moonflower Murders. Pretty good so far.

    I hope you have another great reading week!

  4. Literary Feline says:

    Sounds like you had a productive Saturday! The poems book sounds wonderful! I’ll have to look into that one for Mouse. She’s writing poetry in school every Wednesday and made a comment the other day that she likes to write it, not read it. Well now. That has to change. LOL Something fun, of course. I don’t want to turn her off of it. Betrayal at Ravenwick sounds like something I would really like. I love a good historical cozy mystery. I hope you have a great week, Stacy!

    • stacybuckeye says:

      I think you’d like Betrayal at Ravenwick. Writing is not a preferred activity for Gage, but he has started a short story that he thinks could one day turn into a chapter book 🙂

  5. JoAnn (@gulfsidemusing) says:

    Lots of good books this week! I might have liked The Guest List a little more than you did, but I’m not especially sophisticated when it comes to mysteries. Hope to try her earlier novel, The Guest List. I have that one on audio. I also remember enjoying When the Emperor Was Divine many years ago… the plot details are gone, but it was a good read.

  6. kaysreadinglife says:

    Stacy, I completely admire your work for your library Friends group. Love it and I know that it is needed and appreciated. Glad you’re liking the Lady Sherlock books. I’ve really enjoyed that series, but I’m caught up now. Waiting for the next. 😉

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