Posted in book review, books, historical fiction

The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg

When I was browsing titles on NetGalley’s website, I got excited when I saw a Fannie Flagg book was open for requests. She’s written some excellent books. This one was good, as she’s a good writer, but it’s not one of her best. I gave it a solid 3 stars on Goodreads. The book is entertaining and funny, but also flawed. The Whole Town’s Talking is about a town and its people over 100 years. And it imagines what might happen to us after we die.

The book would have been better with a tighter focus. It’s difficult to become emotionally invested in characters or their stories when they are rushed through. The stories and characters that were given more time and more pages were interesting and I enjoyed reading them. This probably would have been better for me if it had been made into a series or just focused on a much shorter time period. If you’re a fan of Fannie Flagg (as I am) or just like a book with a big cast of small town characters, then this is a good book for you.

Posted in book review, books

The Graces by Laure Eve

The Graces is the kind of YA novel I would have loved as a teen because the MC feels like she’s all alone in the world and there’s magic. I did enjoy it as an adult, but I think teens probably like it even more than me. I gave it a solid 3 stars on Goodreads. It’s a novel about a mysterious family who appear to be witches. In comes a new girl from out of town who desperately wants to be a part of the Grace teens’ circle. But it isn’t just because the three Grace teenagers are the most popular kids in high school. The new girl has a dark secret that she is hoping the Graces can help her with. One thing I really liked about River (the new girl) is that she’s not a perfect character. There are things about her that make River relatable (such as the outsider aspect), but she’s also flawed, which I think makes for a better story. It’s the first half of a duology and I plan to read the 2nd book when it’s published in 2017.

Posted in 3 things, books

3 Things

1

This election has left me sad and wanting to do what I can to make the world a better place. I’m not the only one and Book Riot has had some good essays on what book lovers can do or where they can donate money. I found them helpful, so I’m going to share them here.

Bookish Ways to Fight the Good Fight “Since Tuesday, many of us are looking for more ways we can stand against racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, ableism, and any other form of bigotry or lack of compassion…You can vote, write letters, volunteer for or donate to civil/human rights organizations, and much more, but if you also want to take a page out of Emma Watson’s playbook and fight back in a bookish way, here are some suggestions.”

What You Can Do: Bookish Charities You Can Donate to Right Now

“It’s been a long and ugly election. No matter who you voted for, or didn’t vote for, or voted against, the election was excruciating. The days after have been particularly miserable, and for many, it seems as though we’re descending into an age of willful ignorance. But we can do something to help. There are lots of good people out there who are putting books into the hands of children, teaching grown-ups to read, getting literature into prisons and helping deployed military personnel read to their children from overseas. We can help them do that.”

What You Can Do: 6 Volunteer Ideas for Bookish Citizens

2

I mentioned in the last 3 Things post that I need to read the books I own before I buy new ones or check out more books from the library. I plan to start doing that after I finish my current library book (The Graces by Laure Eve) and continue with it at least for the rest of this year. We’ll see how good I am at that goal, though. I’m counting current egalleys from NetGalley in “books I own” to read. Out of 3 books, I need to read at least one of those before the end of the year.

3

This week’s personal picture book pick is Red Wagon by Renata Liwska. The boy picked a lot of non-fiction animal books again. My favorite non-fiction books that he tends to pick are National Geographic books. The pictures are high quality and writing is interesting, even for adults.



Posted in 3 things

3 Things

1

I almost forgot to do the 3 things post this week. It’s been a stressful week with the elections. And yesterday my husband got home from a business trip. So, we’ve been a little busy. This year feels like such a wild one for many reasons.

2

This year I’ve been trying to be an activist consumer, as a book buyer. I’ve started using trips out of town as excuses to visit independent bookstores and purchase at least one book, if possible. And most of my book purchases have been diverse books. The problem is that I don’t tend to read the books that I buy. There’s no due date and I think I need that as a motivation sometimes. I see books at the library that look good (and do have a due date) and I sometimes request eARCs from NetGalley. I do check out diverse books from the library, but I need to stop adding all of the hyped books onto my TBR of Goodreads and Litsy and just read what I have.

3

Story books are getting to be a tiny bit more popular with my son. He loved NanoBots by Chris Gall. And he eventually warmed up to my pick of Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, which I really like. He has stated that he hates my personal picture book selection this time, though, Maple by Lori Nichols. I like it, though I’m under no illusion he’ll warm up to this one, since there are no creatures. But it’s nice for me to be able to read at least one sweet story book a week and not just non-fiction bug books.

Posted in book review, books, diverse books, historical fiction

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

I read Another Brooklyn immediately following Upstream by Mary Oliver. That was an accidentally wise choice. Mary Oliver is a poet, so Upstream essays felt lyrical. Well, Another Brooklyn was written in a similar sort of dreamy style, though it’s a novel and not an essay collection. It’s basically a book of someone reflecting on the past. That past involves a mother and a group of friends and Brooklyn. It’s a short novel and I just flew through it. It’s the kind of novel that I particularly enjoy: it’s historical fiction, the MC is a girl, and it is well written in dealing with what it’s like for a girl growing into a woman. I gave it a solid 4 stars on Goodreads and recommend reading it.

Posted in 3 things, Uncategorized

3 Things

1

I like the Goodreads Challenge. I fail a lot of my new year resolutions, but I love to read so that goal setting, if done right, is possible to achieve and fun for me. Originally I set a goal of 52 books. But then I realized this year, especially the first half, would be a very busy one for me. So, I adjusted it to 24. I thought that I should be able to read 2 books a month and if I didn’t, that’d be kind of sad considering how much I love to read. Well, I just completed my goal. It helped that I read some novellas this year. I didn’t set out to read shorter books, but it just worked out that some of the ones I was interested just had fewer pages. I think it also helped that I joined Litsy (a wonderful bookish app) . The Litsy community is a great collection of book lovers and they don’t tend to steer me wrong on book recommendations. (Not a sponsored post. I just really like Litsy.)

2

I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve read almost no non-fiction this year. Unless you count magazines and newspapers. That changed due to a lot of love I was seeing on Litsy for Upstream by Mary Oliver. I posted my review yesterday for that book, which is lovely. I’m a nature lover and she’s a good writer, so we’re a good match. Based on the books I need to read either from the library (recently picked up Another Brooklyn and Dark Matter) or NetGalley, I don’t think I’ll be reading anymore non-fiction this year. Hopefully, though, I’ll read a few non-fiction books next year. I have read a lot of children’s non-fiction since my son is in a non-fiction animal books phase, but I don’t count the books of his I read to him.

3

My son and I have very different reading tastes, which makes me a little sad. One of the great things about being a parent to a child who enjoys books is reading to them. There are so many great children’s books that have been published. So, it’s frustrating when you have a child with a narrow set of book preferences. I love that he loves books and when he reads to himself, I hope I’m good about respecting his reading choices, but there are so many wonderful books I want to read to him and can’t. At our last library trip, I decided to select one picture book that looked good to me, but was not one my son chooses. I knew it was unlikely he’d enjoy it, but if nothing else, it let me look over books to see if they were good enough to buy as gifts for my niece, nephews, or little cousins. I picked Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke and I really like it. The illustrations are good and the story is cute. It doesn’t get my son’s approval, but I think I’ll be buying it for a birthday gift for someone else.

Posted in book review, Uncategorized

Upstream by Mary Oliver

Upstream is a beautiful essay collection. Most of the essays are nature related. Some are literature focused, with essays about Emerson, Poe, and Whitman. By the end of the book, it felt a little memoir-ish, but in a good way. You get tiny snapshots into Mary Oliver’s life within many of the essays. I liked that. It made it more personal, though her writing is lovely and I think I’d like just pure (no personal details) nature writing from her.

The entire collection is good, but particularly enjoyed the nature ones. Reading about foxes, dogs, owls, gulls, etc was wonderful. I did enjoy the literature focused ones, too, and it makes me want to read Emerson and Thoreau. These essays made me hungry for more of nature, both as a reader and a person in the world. I went for a walk to the library today with my son and felt like I had more of an appreciation of the beauty all around me. I also found the Poe essay to be quite interesting. A great collection. This is the only non-fiction I’ve read this year and I’m glad to have strayed from my fiction reading.

(I received an egalley of Upstream from NetGalley for an honest review.)