And head over to Thyme for Tea for more Paris in July fun!
As of this moment, I’ve read 228 books this year. That’s a lot of books!
What is it all about?
The idea being that as the end of June approaches and we are then halfway through the year, let us share the books we have read in those first 6 months. In fact let’s share 6 books in 6 categories, or if time is of the essence then simply share just 6 books. Whatever combination works for you as long as it involves 6 books. Of course the same book can obviously feature in more than one category.
She has a list of categories to choose from so, let’s get to it. Let me knw how many of these books you’ve read!
Six pretty covers
Six books set in a country not my own
Dawn by Elie Weisel – Palestine/Israel
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa – Japan
A Burning by Megha Majumbar – India
My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – Nigeria
A Girl Returned by Donatella Di Pietrantonio – Italy
Six cool classics
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hanberry
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Murder in the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
Six series I continued
Jack Reacher by Lee Child -4!
Inspector Rebus by Ian Rankin -2
Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French -1
Lady Sherlock by Sherry Thomas -1
Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman -1
Lucy Valentine by Heather Weber -started and finished all 5
Six non-fiction books I’d recommend
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey
What Unites Us by Dan Rather
A New Kind of Country by Dorothy Gilman
Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham, Charles Waters, Mehrdokht Amini
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Six of the books I’ve enjoyed most so far
Win by Harlan Coben
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
The Push by Ashley Audrain
The Last Flight by Julie Clark
I’ve been reading, 190 books so far this year. For these first 11 days in June I watched one movie based on a book I read in February (The Sun Is Also A Star) and read 17 books, 8 of them picture books by or about the celebrated illustrator Jerry Pinkney. I also read 4 fiction/thrillers, 1 play, 1 chapbook about aliens, 1 non-fiction, 1 YA fiction, and 1 kids fiction. I’ve really needed the fiction escape it seems!
The first 5 on this list (I’m counting all of the Pinkney books as a whole) I would heartily recommend.
Anna is agoraphobic, which began after a trauma the year before. She’s separated her family, has one therapist/frend, and access lots of alcohol and medication. She also has a camera and likes to keep an eye on her neighborhood. When new neighbors arrive at her doorstep, Anna’s carefully crafted (sad) life begins to unravel.
A fast-paced thriller perfect for summer. I really liked it. She’s an old movie buff, which I loved, and I need to go back and make a list of all the movies she mentioned so I can watch them (without a bottle of wine and pills).
Two women on opposite coasts are both in dangerous situations. They switch identities and flights and hope to evade the men sure to come looking for them. But one of the flights crashes.
Two compelling women with two compelling stories. I liked the back and forth and the switch between then and now. I was even surprised at the end (but probably shouldn’t have been).
I had a fun time with this one.
I picked up John Boyne’s young adult historical and breezed right through it. He has the rare talent of writing unlikeable characters and still putting together a compelling story. A Ladder of Years is my favorite, but others will remember The Boy in the Striped Pajamas best.
In this short (260 pages) book, 7 year old Pierrot loses both parents, his best friend, and his home city of Paris as he sent to an orphanage. His aunt finds him and brings him to Berghof, where she is head housekeeper. Of course, this is also Hitler’s home in the Bavarian Alps. Hitler takes a special interest in the boy and Pierrot’s fate is sealed.
Can he recover from the things he did while so young? A good book about how any child’s future is shaped by their circumstances as well as their spirit. A tragic story but not one without hope.
I will read anything he writes.
I loved this one! A teen who had no support, a man who needed her for a kidnapping scheme, death, stolen babies, changed identities and a lifetime of guilt. What’s not to love? And I really love the cover ❤️
Philadelphia born artist Pinkney has won numerous awards for his illustrations of children’s books, novels, magazines, and even a series of postage stamps starting in 1977. He’s still sharing his passion with the world at 81.
The Talking Eggs was my favorite. A sister is abused by her mother and sister, but is rewarded with her pure heart. It was a little more detailed than the other retellings of this Creole folktale and I loved it.
My other favorite was the classic John Henry, also different than other versions I’ve read, but I’m always up for a story about the legendary man. The song I learned as a kid still goes through my mind every time. Anyone else?
They’re all good. A Place To Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation is his most recent work (2019) and the first time he used collage. And The Lion and the Mouse (2009) is a wordless book that tells one of Aesop’s fables. And I always love reading the African tales about that wily Spider 🕷
I Survived The Joplin Tornado, 2011 was our before bed book for the week. I thought it was scarier than the last one we read about the Chicago Fire. At the end of a few of the chapters I wasn’t sure he’d make it – then I reminded myself the book I series is called I Survived 😆
The writing is simple and the books have a few pictures for interest and that makes them something Gage enjoys. So, for that I am grateful. Finding books that he is interested in reading continues to be a bit of a struggle and this series is a safe bet.
Tornadoes scare me. Have you ever experienced one firsthand?
I both listened a read and much preferred the audio. I liked that it was different, but I can’t say I loved the book.
Harriet, 79, is a recent widow with a shaky relationship with her kids. Her marriage was meh and she’s stuck in a rut. Enter the Alaskan cruise her late husband had won and his visits from beyond the grave and you have the start of an interesting story. I just didn’t care for the this-is-your-life way the story moved from one time to the next.
Strange Land from Poet’s Haven Digest, 2017 is a chapbook given to me by a friend at the library who just happen to write the very first poem, #greenlivesmatter. There were poems and stories all with a different take on our alien friends and their feelings on us Earthlings. Made more interesting by the government’s recent acknowledgment of UFOs 👽 It was a fun, fast read perfect for the unofficial start of summer.
I was hoping that this would provide insight into the classic movie, which I don’t like at all. Unfortunately, I ended up disliking the characters even more 😂
Blanche comes to live with her sister Stella and Stella’s husband Stanley. The three of them bump into and around each other in a small apartment until damage is done. Unlikeable characters in a sad tragedy of a story. But, hey, it’s a classic for a reason, so what do I know?
The book, while tongue in cheek, isn’t quite funny enough for satire. It does its best to lower expectations at work, at home, in relationships, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t let go of my hope for more.
What’s been your favorite June read so far? Anything I need add to my reading list? Extra points if it’s on the shorter side 🙂
May brought us snow, rain, and 90 degree days. Welcome to Cleveland. We finished up our 4th grade homeschool year on Friday, but are starting half days today for the month of June. Mainly fun stuff and short worksheets, so I can assess what we need to work on next year.
May also gave me 32 books to add to my book a day totals, giving me 173 for the year. I added two bookish movies this month bringing that yearly total to 5.
My top category was kids non-fiction with 7, followed by 6 adult fiction, 6 non-fiction picture books. 4 thrillers, and 3 historical romances. Other categories included kids fiction, memoir, poetry, and fiction picture books.
My Top 5 in May
What was your favorite read in May?
As the homeschool year was winding down, I found it harder to focus on reading, so Jason and I watched two bookish movies this week. We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Woman in the Window. I wrote a post comparing the book and movie, We Have Always Lived in the Castle. So, two movies and 9 books to finish up the month.
2 thrillers, 2 fiction, 2 kids non-fiction, 1 non-fiction picture book, 1 kids fiction, and 1 cult classic.
What a lovely book! I flew through this story about living boldly and making your own second chances. A quiet, spare book with a big heart.
Addie and Louis, both in their 70s and widowed were lonely. One day Addie walks around the block, knocks on his door, and asks Louis if he would like to spend nights in her bed. No funny business, just talk and sleep. He showed up at her house with his pajamas and a toothbrush in a brown paper bag after dark, they drank one glass of wine and a friendship began.
It’s not a love story, it’s a life story. It didn’t end as I expected or even hoped but I loved this book!
I loved the narration by Bernadette Dunne. She captured Merricat perfectly.
There’s a village and an estate that rules them all, at least in the mind of Merricat who lives the big house with her older sister Constance and ailing Uncle Julian. The rest of the family had been poisoned six years before and Constance had been acquitted of their murders, but now she never left the estate.
It was ominous and creepy, two things that go well together. I felt a little let down by the ending, but after some reflection and reading a few reviews, I saw things that I had missed initially. It made the story richer, but only after the fact 😁 It would be a fun group read with friends, and at 146 pages it would appeal to non-readers as well.
In 2034 the US has a woman president who isn’t affiliated with a political party. So, right off the bat, things are good, but we barely hear from her. This global conflict is told by military and political personnel from the US, China, Iran, and India.
I really liked getting a taste from the different countries and the four main characters were interesting. Are nuclear weapons in the next world war inevitable? It’s a sobering look at what lies ahead. Written by an ex-Marine and Admiral.
This was a fast, exciting read.
George led an inspiring life. Born into slavery, being left for dead as a baby, taken in and raised by the Carver’s, George left at 13 years old to walk to a town that would teach blacks in school. He lived this way, getting town to town looking for more educational opportunities for much of his young life. He became the first black to graduate from Simpson College and the first college graduate and faculty member at Iowa State.
It was his years at Tuskegee Institute that made him famous and led to awards and accolades. He cared about the earth, the farmer, the food we eat, and doing his best to leave a positive mark on the world. He most certainly did that.
Milton Bradley loved games, as a way to be social (he had dinner parties almost every night), to fill the time (he made special game sets for soldiers during the Civil War), and to teach (he became very involved in the kindergarten movement and toys for teachers).
He was always creating. He also took a nap everyday and shut down the machines in the company so he could do so in quiet 😂. He loves a good nap even more than I do and I’m a huge nap proponent. He worked hard, he played hard, and he stuck up for the things that mattered to him. A great read and one that reinforced our discussion from the movie Soul.
This is the fifth in the Piper Green series, Pie Girl. I didn’t know this was part of a series when I requested it from the library, but we enjoyed the 126 page book anyway. Piper lives on an island of the coast of Maine and the ship that comes with the doctor once a year is set to arrive. The town hosts a potluck every year and this is the year she gets the coveted Pie Girl title. She also has a secret fairy tree and the latest gift from the fairies is an eye patch, so she becomes Pirate Pie Girl. Cute story with lovely illustrations for early elementary kids.
Earmuff For Everyone was how Chester Greenwood became known as the inventor of the earmuff, a parade being held in his hometown every year. Only he didn’t invent them, but did improve upon the design. This is such a great lesson for kids to learn about researching and seeking out the truth. Loved this one.
I listened and read the book. I really liked the narration, but wish they’d had someone else read the story within a story to.make it less confusing. I’m so much looking forward to what everyone has to say about it! This was originally published in Japan in 1994, but only translated to English in 2019.
Things are slowly disappearing from the island. Roses, hats, birds are all being taken away from the inhabitants and the militant Memory Police are ensuring compliance and sniffing out those few who remember everything. Our narrator decides to hide her editor in her home before the Memory Police take him away and kill him, like they did her mother.
Is it dystopian? Sci-fi? A cautionary tale? Surrealist? I found it all of these things. I liked the idea of it and I liked the writing and that was enough for most of the book, but in the end it sort of fell apart for me.
Personal, the 19th in the Jack Reacher series, takes us abroad in search of a skilled marksman that Reacher put away many years ago, it who is now taking shots at world leaders.
The book was good, not likely one I’ll remember, but I always enjoy spending time with Reacher.
With the 8 books I read this week my total for 2021 stands at 164 books and 3 movies based on books. My reading a book a day this year challenge is successfully chugging along. This week I read 2 non-fiction picture books, 2 fiction, 1 historical romance, 1 thriller, 1 poetry, and 1 kids fiction. I did manage to read 3 new books so that’s an improvement 🙂 Have you read any of these?
Here they are in roughly the order I liked them best. It’s hard to do this since they are so different!
I read Seduce Me At Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas (#2 in the Hathaway series, but I didn’t read the first and still loved this one). A historical romance set in mid 1800s England with a quirky, but proper family who welcomes two Gypsy men into their fold.
This was steamy, but also had an interesting mystery surrounding the two men’s matching tattoos. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will continue on to the third book. 360 pages.
Elie Weisel, Holocaust survivor, author, and activist. I read his autobiographical Night 6 years ago and loved it, this is considered the second book in that trilogy although it is fiction.
Elisha, a Holocaust survivor is a Israeli freedom fighter (calling themselves the Movement) in British-controlled Palestine. He has been tasked with executing a British hostage at Dawn. This book takes place from dusk til dawn of that day.
It’s a short, introspective book (100 pages) about war, becoming a murderer, and how we as a society got to this point. So much to unpack and I’m sure I’ll read it again.
“I was beginning to understand. An act as absolute as that of killing involves not only the killer but, as well, those who have formed him.”
“We say that ours is a holy war, that we’re struggling against something and for something, against the English and for an independent Palestine. That’s what we say. But those are words; as such they serve only to give meaning to our actions. And in our actions seen in their true and primitive light, have the odor and color of blood. This is war, we say; we must kill. There are those, like you, who kill with their hands, and others-like me-who kill with their voices. Each to his own. And what else can we do? War has a code, and if you deny this you deny its whole purpose and hand the enemy victory on a silver platter.”
This was written in 1960 and, sadly, felt like it could have been written yesterday. I didn’t read this book to connect with the current conflict, but, man, it sure did hit a little harder because of it.
“War is like night. It covers everything.”
The city was a bit ahead of the curve in the equal rights department in that they were able to change sooner and as peacefully as possible at the time. The first black student to attend an all-white school happened there in 1963 and a private school became the first reverse-integrated in the state when 12 white students started a traditionally black school a week before. Really liked this one, especially the last few pages with additional information and photos of the real people who were there.
I listened to and read The Switch by Beth O’Leary and while it has nothing to do with cemeteries, the event that drives the story is the death of a sister and granddaughter the year before. Workaholic Lena is forced to take a 2 month sabbatical from work and her grandmother Eileen wants to heal the relationship between her daughter and granddaughter. So they decide to switch places. Lena takes over her grandmother’s village house and responsibilities and Eileen moves into Lena’s London flat with two roommates.
I liked the audio with Daisy Edgar-Jones and Alison Steadman reading the dialing storylines. I loved the indomitable 79 year old Eileen and her London takeover. The story as a whole was sweet.
I read a book of poetry last night l, based solely on the cover. I lucked out that the poet, Claudia Emerson, was actually a Pulitzer Prize winner. This book was published after her death of cancer in 2014. She writes about her experiences with the illness and the everydayness of life that we often miss. I was moved by many of the poems and am happy I took some quiet time to experience the talent and and truth found here. 65 pages
“The World is not Conclusion.” – Emily Dickinson
“Imagine that your home is on fire. You’re allowed to save one thing. Your family and pets are safe, so don’t worry about them.” This is the assignment Ms. Chang gave to her class on the first page of The One Thing You’d Save.
The author used sijo (an ancient form of Korean poetry) structure in the 65 page picture book. I loved the discussion between the students -it felt very genuine- but I wish the illustration heavy story had been in color.
The answers range from a ratty sweater and iPhone to a rug and autographed baseball program.
A fun story and conversation starter. Gage is still trying to decide on his item, he needs some and told me he’d let me know by the end of the week 😆. For me, it would most likely be a bin full of family history stuff. What about you?
This was a nice history of the civil rights period in Selma. I found it dense for the format, but it was nice that many of the events it mentioned we have already read about.
This week’s challenge is 10 titles that are complete sentences. Once again, I found these in my TBR stacks. I read Seduce Me at Sunrise and will be talking about it on my IG today.
Have you read any of these? Which one would you like to read?
Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
I Live in the Slums by Can Xue
Where There is Love, There is God by Mother Teresa
Don’t Tell Me You’re Afraid by Giuseppi Catozzella
Expect a Miracle by Sandy Petrovic and David Petrovich
How I Learned to Hate in Ohio by David Stuart Maclean
Are We There Yet? by Kathleen West
We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A E Osworth
The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
We Are Explorers by Kari Herbert
Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Be sure to check out her weekly post to find other participants.
I decided to try a Top 10 post today because I’ve had about 10 minutes to myself today so why not use valuable time doing fun things that don’t really need doing. Anyone else? 😉
This week’s theme is nature, so I pulled 10 books from my to-be-read piles and here they are. The Undocumented Americans is my book of the day so if you want my thoughts you can see them on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/stacybuckeye/). All the rest are waiting to be read. Which one would you read next?
Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Be sure to check out her weekly post to find other participants.
It’s hard to believe we started the month in Tennessee with short trip to Georgia before heading home after a month away. I never did write about it and it’s not going to happen now, although never say never.
My plan for Women’s History Month was to only read books by women I had read before. Due to poor (ie none) planning for the month I was able to accomplish reading a woman everyday, but not always someone I’d read read before.
In March I read 35 books and watched 2 bookish movies. For the year I’ve read 101 books in 90 days and watched 3 bookish movies (picture books are definitely padding this number :))
In March I read 20 physical books, 3 audio books, 3 e-books.
My favorite March reads...
Faithful Place by Tana French, review here.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A New Kind of Country by Dorothy Gilman
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
Always the Last To Know by Kristan Higgins
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Falling From Trees by Mike Fiorito
Me For You by Lolly Winston
The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
The Deadly Hours by Susanna Kearsley, CS Harris, Anna Lee Huber, Christina Trent
Faithful Place by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad series)
Truly, Madly by Heather Webber (Lucy Valentine series)
Deeply, Desperately by Heather Webber (Lucy Valentine series)
Absolutely, Positively by Heather Webber (Lucy Valentine series)
Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station by Dorothy Gilman (Mrs. Pollifax series)
I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone series)
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
High Treason at the Grand Hotel by Kelly Oliver (Fiona Figg series)
Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas (Ravenel series)
Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley
Go To Sleep (I Miss You) by Lucy Knisley
Dictionary For A Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters.
Ohio by Darlene Stille
Double Fudge by Judy Blume
Pinballs by Betsy Byars
Kids Picture Book Non-Fiction
The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby by Crystal Hubbard
Remember: The Journey To School Integration by Toni Morrison
Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champion by Walter Dean Myers
Going Up! Elisha Otis’s Trip to the Top by Monica Kulling
Daring Amelia by Barbara Lowell
Kids Picture Book Fiction
The Tortoise or the Hare by Toni Morrison
Little Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni Morrison
Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison
Please, Loiuse by Toni Morrison
The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee
The Night Gardener by Fan Brothers
The Call of the Wild, 2020
I’ve watched 49 movies this year, down by 1 from last year.
2020 was my most watched year with 7.
We managed 3 trips to the movie theater this year, all pre-Covid. Going to the theater again is something I really look forward to in 2021.
I wrote 1 Book VS. Movie post, Before I Go To Sleep.
I wrote 1 Favorite Movie post – #29 Psycho. This 1960 film was also the oldest one I watched.
My 5 Favorite Movies
Enola Gay, 2020
I continued my 5 Word Movie Reviews with $ for Charity . Keep adding to my reviews and maybe you can choose the next charity!