What Are We Reading? August 12, 2014

Check out what we read recently.

  • Paula: “I just finished Chasing Mona Lisa by Trisha Goyer. The story takes during the last days of the German occupation of France and involves a plan to keep the Mona Lisa out of the hands of the Germans. This would be a good choice for anyone who enjoyed The Monuments Men.
  • Nancy D. “I just finished reading Euphoria by Lily King. Fantastic fiction book loosely based on the early life of anthropologist Margaret Mead.”
  • Laura:
    • Her Last Death: A Memoir by Susanna Sonnenberg. “Upon hearing that her mother is in the hospital in Barbados and is possibly dying, the author decides against visiting her, a decision that potentially permanently harms her relationship with her sister. Sonnenberg then reflects on growing up with her mother, a woman who introduced her to drugs and Penthouse at a young age, and who was a big liar. Sonnenberg admits up front that she changed various events and combined characters which admittedly made this reader a little skeptical. Those that enjoy the dysfunctional family memoir will most likely not be bothered and find the book entertaining.”
    • Friendship by Emily Gould. “Best friends Amy and Bev are at the dawn of 30, are struggling writers (who never seem to write anything) and are frustrated with their job prospects. When Bev becomes pregnant after a one night stand, their friendship becomes severely tested. This book has been met with a bit of chatter, due to Gould’s history as a columnist for the gossip site, Gawker. I personally was not familiar with Gould or her past until after I finished reading, which I think made for a better experience. (It seemed that some online commentators were not giving the book an entirely fair chance based on the past credentials of the author, rather than on the book itself). What I later did find fascinating is that Amy, the less sympathetic character, is Gould’s fictional version of herself. Usually, the author portrays him or herself as the “hero” of a semi-autobiographical tale (see Little Women), and I give Gould a lot of credit for turning a critical and, at times, harsh, eye on herself.”
    • “I just started Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, the author of my recent read, Landline”.
  • Jan: “I just finished Front Page Fatality by Lyn Dee Walker. This is a cute, new mystery about a cop beat reporter who gets in deeper than she bargains for. A great easy read for your lawn or beach chair with a tall lemonade!”
  • Maureen:
  • Mary V.: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd: “This is a story about 2 sisters who lived in a slave holding family in South Carolina. They became leaders in the abolition movement and later they were involved in the campaign for women’s rights. A side story involves a slave girl who was given to the older sister on her eleventh birthday. This is a novel but the sisters actually lived and worked for abolition.”
  • Virginia:“Having read & enjoyed Karin Slaughter’s stand-alone police thriller Cop Town I decided to read her series books. So I settled down to read the Grant County (Georgia) books : Blindsighted, Kisscut, A Faint Cold Fear, Indelible, Faithless and Beyond Reach. All of the books concern Sara Linton, a part-time medical examiner, her ex-husband Jeffrey Tolliver who is the rural county’s chief of police, and Lena Adams the self-destructive first female detective on his force. It is fascinating to watch the characters change and grow over the six years of the entire series. Each book involves at least one mysterious death and there are plenty of twists and turns. Each book can stand on its own but it is more fun to read them in order. I have about 200 pages left to read in the last book and I am hoping that the three main characters all manage to survive. (I’m trying very hard not to turn to the last page to see if anyone dies in the series’ conclusion.)”
  • Nancy W.: Nancy is reading Tempting Fate by Jane Green.
  • Louise:
    • “I am currently reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. This novel is a really good read. I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys reading about the lives of the rich and famous, and who likes good character development and excellent descriptive writing. Supermodel Lula Landry is dead of an apparent suicide. Could she have been murdered? Private Investigator Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin, will find out.”
    • “I recently read the book: The Reason I Jump:The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy With Autism by Naoki Higashida. I love this book. Naoki Higashida, along with his teachers and his mother, developed a system of communicating through an alphabet grid The book is beautifully written and really helps one understand from the inside what it is like to be a highly intelligent boy struggling with autism. This book will touch your heart.”
    • “Fans of that book may also enjoy: Love Anthony by Lisa Genova. This is a fictional work about a boy with autism and his impact on the people around him. Lisa Genova grew up right here in Waltham, Massachusetts. This is her third novel.”
    • “I would also recommend a gem of a book: Son Rise by Barry Neil Kaufman. This is an older book, written in the 1970’s by the father of a boy suffering with autism. The Kaufmans worked tirelessly with their son, Raun, who had a severe form of autism as a child. Raun blossomed under their tutelage.”
    • “These books all make me curious about the well known Thinking In Pictures: And Other Reports From My Life With Autism by Temple Grandin. Grandin, like Raun Kaufman, fictional Anthony, and Naoki Higashida, is someone who can really teach us about autism and what it is like. In all of these books, one is left with a greater understanding of and respect for the experience of an autistic person. There is also a great deal of hope and possibility for those diagnosed with autism and those who love and care about them.”
    • “One can not stop there: The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night Time by Mark Haddon is a fabulous novel about a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who solves a murder mystery (the neighbor’s dog) in his own unique way. This book will appeal to anyone who likes a well written novel as well as those who are curious about Asperger’s Syndrome, a more high functioning form of autism.”

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