Musings From A Bookmammal


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Stacking the Shelves–5/9/15

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Click to join the fun!

Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books we’re adding our shelves–books we’ve bought in physical stores or online, books we’ve borrowed from friends or the library, review books, gifts and ebooks!

This week I have five new books to share–two are used book purchases and three are from the library. Ready? Here we go!

5.9.15

Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers On Their Unshakable Love For New York edited by Shari Botton       I’m an easy mark for a book of pieces by different writers on a common topic, so when I found a “like-new” used copy of this book I snapped it right up. I’ve only visited NY once and while I enjoyed it and would love to go back someday, I can’t ever picture myself living there–so I’m interested to find out why the 27 authors featured in this book can’t picture themselves ever leaving.

Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea, and the Charter School That Beat the Odds by Joanne Jacobs       I may not be a teacher anymore, but I still love reading narrative nonfiction about schools, teachers, and students. This book tells the story of how a particular charter high school was formed in San Jose. The reviews I’ve read say that this is NOT an idealistic, fairy tale account of the process, but rather a realistic view of the successes and challenges that occurred–and that’s a plus for me!

Golden State by Stephanie Kegan       I’m always intrigued by stories that tackle the theme of how far we’d go to protect the ones we love–and this novel is about a woman who suspects that her brother is involved in a “Unabomber”-type crime at a college campus.

The Half Brother By Holly LeCraw       This novel takes place over the course of a year at a New England boarding school and involves a love triangle and a long-buried mystery. That’s enough to get me to give it a try!

State By State: A Panoramic Portrait of America edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey        Fifty authors were each asked to write a piece about one of the fifty states–this book is the result of that project. I don’t think this is a book that I’ll read straight through in one sitting, but I think it’ll be great for browsing. Plus–there are lots of cool charts! (Who knew that Minnesota has the highest voter participation rate???)

How about you? Have you read any of these? Which books found their way into your home this week? Please share!

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Musing Monday–Habits Of A Library Lover

Click here to play along!

click here to play along!

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by A Daily Rhythm that asks you to muse about one of several “bookish” questions… or you can just ramble on about anything you like that pertains to books! You can join in by clicking the graphic above. Go ahead–it’s fun!

Here’s my musing for this week about using my local library:

25c41eed283bd7af84d8229e3ac38e03I love to read, but I’m not independently wealthy—so I depend on borrowing library books pretty regularly to keep up with everything I want to read. Don’t get me wrong—I buy A LOT of books—but there’s just no way that I’d be able to get my hands on all the new releases out there without the help of my local library. I check out eBooks and audiobooks fairly regularly and once in awhile I’ll borrow a DVD—but the main draw for me is the books!

I’m very lucky to live in a town with a great library system. My local branch isn’t too close to where I live—it’s kind of out of the way to make a special trip—but I tend to stop by on my way home from work most Thursday or Friday nights. I find it helps me keep track of when books are due if I try to check things out on the same day of the week—believe me, this is a lifesaver when you’ve got stacks of library books all over the house! My library really doesn’t have a firm limit on the number of books that you can have checked out at one times (I’ve asked!) and I think there’ve been times when I’ve had at least a dozen library books in hand. The loan period is three weeks and you can renew if no one else is on the hold list. Right now I’ve got nine books checked out:

Picture1(So far I’ve finished Small Mercies, which was a good family saga taking place on Staten Island, and I just started Early Warning, which is the second book in what will be a trilogy.Have you read any of these?)

Once in awhile I’ll stop at the library on a Saturday morning and I tend to get there right when the family story time session is ending. I absolutely LOVE seeing the little kids pour out of the events room clutching whatever craft they’ve made that day and racing towards the kids’ section!

One thing that’s changed about my library habits over the past few years is that I rarely go into the library to just browse anymore. I used to plan on staying a good hour whenever I’d go—I’d usually have a list of specific books I wanted to find, and then I’d wander the shelves and pick out books that just looked interesting. Nowadays I do it all online—I’ll put the books I want on hold, or get on the waiting list for titles that aren’t available, and then I’ll stop by for only as long as it takes to pick them up. And with automated self-check out machines, I rarely interact with any of the librarians. It’s definitely efficient, but sometimes I do miss just wandering the stacks and finding unexpected new books or old favorites.

2312973323371462Something I love about my library is their willingness to order just about any book that they don’t currently carry—not just get it through interlibrary loan, but actually order it and add it to their collection. The requestor is then automatically added as #1 on the hold list for the title when it comes in. Plus, if you’re a total book geek like me, you get the thrill of knowing that other people will now have the chance to borrow a book that you recommended! Last week I made these two purchase requests and both were approved, so I’m anxiously waiting for the emails that will let me know that they’ve arrived!

I’ve also gotten into the habit of putting myself on a ton of waiting lists. When I hear that a new book is coming out, I automatically check to see it my library has it on order–if they do, I get on that list! My waiting list is usually made up of dozens of titles, but right now there are only ten books on it. The one that I’m most excited about is Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman which will be released on July 14–I’m #38 on the list of nearly 200 (so far!).

How about you? What’s the library situation like in your area? Do you use your library regularly? Why or why not? Please share!


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Friday Finds–5/1/15

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FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme hosted at A Daily Rhythm–it’s a chance to share the books you ‘found’ and added to your TBR list this week (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased)…whether you found them online, in a bookstore, in the library — wherever! Click the icon above to join in!

I’m limiting myself to the new books that have actually entered my home this week–-bought new, bought used, and/or borrowed from the library. I’m not listing books that I simply added to by TBR list–that could take days! This week it’s 2 books from the library–a pretty light week for me! Ready? Here they are:

Friday FInds 5.1.15Early Warning by Jane Smiley      This is the second book in a trilogy covering the lives of multiple generations of an Iowa farm family in the 20th century. I absolutely LOVED Some Luck, the first book in this series—it was one of the best books I read last year. Smiley uses an innovative technique of telling the story by using each chapter to cover one year in the life of one particular member of the family. As we read, we uncover events that have already happened, but that haven’t been explained . . . we’re left to put together clues based on what other characters say and feel about these events.

Some Luck covered 1920-1953, and Early Warning spans 1953-1986—again, with each chapter covering one year from the point of view of a single family member. This latest book was just published on 4/28, and I was thrilled to be #1 on the library hold list! (I may or may not have shrieked a little bit when I got the email notification) I really can’t wait to dig into this novel and I only hope that it measures up to the first book!

If you’re looking for books that offer dramatic plot twists and cliffhangers, these probably aren’t for you. But if you like family sagas and character-driven novels offering a taste of real life, please give this trilogy a try!

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson      As a former bookstore employee, how could I resist this title? I had to pick it up, even though the premise is somewhat out of my comfort zone. It’s about a woman who works at a bookstore by day, and at night has fascinating dreams about an alternate life—a life that  she once thought she wanted for herself.  I’m really not sure what to expect from this book, but I’m willing to give it a try!

How about you? Are either of these on your TBR list? What books did you discover this week? Please share!


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Musing Mondays–Ten Bookish Questions

Click here to play along!

Click here to play along!

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by A Daily Rhythm that asks you to muse about one of several “bookish” questions… or you can just ramble on about anything you like that pertains to books! You can join in by clicking the graphic above. Go ahead–it’s fun!

Here’s my musing for this week–

I adapted a couple of questionnaires I’ve seen recently into the ten bookish questions below. Ready? Here we go—feel free to play along!

credit Carol Marine

credit Carol Marine

1. How long did it take you to finish your last book?  Hold on while I check my Goodreads account . . . The last book I read was The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House. I started it on April 21 and finished it this past Saturday, so that’s five days. By the way—it’s a pretty good book! If you’re into American history and/or the presidency and want a lighter yet interesting read, it’s a good pick.

2. How many times do you stare at your bookshelves each day? Well, I have bookshelves in every room of my house except the bathrooms, so it’s pretty hard to avoid looking at them! I will say that I view my books as comfort objects, so looking at my bookshelves is a very calming experience for me. Plus, I’ve always loved the patterns that the spines of books make on the shelf—kind of like a crazy quilt of books.

credit Michele Del Campo

credit Michele Del Campo

3. How many Goodreads friends/books do you have? I joined Goodreads in January 2014 (late to the party—I know!). As of today I have a total of 899 books listed. (Seriously? I can’t get one more on there to get to an even 900?) Here’s the breakdown: 416 books that were read before 2014, 137 read since I joined, 1 currently reading, and 345 on my TBR list. I have 17 Goodreads friends. If you want to compare books, just click on the Reading Challenge link at the upper right!

4. Do you ever quote books in public? I’m sure that I have, but I can’t remember any specific instances. However, I do have this freakish ability to remember very specific lines of dialogue or even short passages from books, and then I will obsess over trying to recall which book these lines are from. I can usually eventually come up with the correct title and then I have this enormous sense of relief! Does anyone else do this???

5. Do you ever re-read books? I used to be a HUGE re-reader! There are some books I’ve probably read a dozen times. Since I started book blogging I hardly re-read at all because great book recommendations just keep coming from my blogging buddies! I did just re-read To Kill A Mockingbird because I wanted to review it in advance of Harper Lee’s new novel to be released in July—and I’m so glad I made the time to do so! My thoughts about this re-reading are here if you’re interested.

credit John Lidzey

credit John Lidzey

6. Do you judge a book by its cover? I don’t think I’ve ever decided NOT to read a book because of its cover, but covers certainly can prompt me to pick up a book. And speaking of covers, has anyone else noticed the trend over the past year or so of novels featuring a cover shot of a closeup of the back of a woman’s head? What’s up with that?

7. Do you take pictures of your books before you read them? Ummm. . . is this a thing now? I don’t do this.

8. What are your biggest distractions from reading? No question—fiddling around on the internet. The internet is a blessing and a curse for booklovers! Plus, the hockey playoffs are going on right now and that is really cutting into my reading time. (Go Blackhawks!)

credit Onelio Marrero

credit Onelio Marrero

9. Where is your favorite place to buy books? As a former bookseller it pains me to say this, but I buy 90% of my books online these days. My absolute favorite online book site is Abebooks, where you can search for used books from booksellers all over the US and even the world. I’ve bought literally hundreds of used books through Abebooks over the years. I do like to go to my local B & N occasionally and just wander around and browse—although these days their book selection keeps getting smaller to make room for the ever-increasing selection of toys, puzzles, workbooks, blankets (?) etc. Case in point–the biography section at my local B & N is now one case of books—ONE CASE! It used to be an entire section! (OK—mini-rant is over)

10. Do you always have a book with you? Silly question–of course! I always have my kindle in my purse and I usually have a physical book with me as well. You never know when you’re going to be stuck in traffic at an extra-long stoplight!

How about you? Do we share any of the same answers? Feel free to borrow these questions for your own blog—if you do, leave your link in the comments and I’ll check out your responses!


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Monday Musings–My Favorite Fiction of 2014

Click here to play along!

Click here to play along!

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB that asks you to muse about one of several “bookish” questions… or you can just ramble on about anything you like that pertains to books! You can join in by clicking the graphic above. Go ahead–it’s fun!

Here’s my musing for this week–

Where did 2014 go? I can’t believe that today is the first day of the last month of the year. I’ve had a great reading year, and today I decided to reflect on my favorite fiction titles from the past eleven months (I’ve read a total 0f 98 books so far this year, and 43 of them have been fiction. My top nonfiction titles will get their own Monday Musing post later this month!).

The ten novels below are all books that stayed with me long after I finished the last page, and all are books that I recommended to others during the year. Ready? Here we go—in order of when I finished each title:

tell the wolves i'm homeI started Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt at least twice during 2013, but I never got beyond the first couple of chapters. For some reason I just couldn’t get into the story. But this novel continued to show up on “Best Of . . .” lists, so I decided to give it another try. I have no idea what made the difference, but this time I couldn’t put it down.

This novel is set during 1987. The main character is a 14-year old girl who, along with the rest of her family, is dealing with the recent death of her uncle from AIDS. She forms a secret friendship with her late uncle’s lover and, in doing so, learns to process her feelings of grief, while also starting to come to terms with her changing relationships with her parents and older sister.

This is really a beautiful book, and I can’t believe it took me so long to realize it. It captures the essence of the mid-to-late 1980s very well—and it vividly brings back the fear and ignorance that surrounded us during those early, frightening years of the AIDS crisis. It paints a great picture of those teen years when you’re trying to figure out where you fit in, or if you even want to fit in. It’s also a very moving story of working through loss. (Finished January 11, 2014)

sisterlandI liked Sisterland a lot more than I thought I would. I’d put off reading it because, although I’ve enjoyed other books by author Curtis Sittenfeld in the past, the subject matter of this book initially didn’t appeal to me. It’s billed as the story of two twin sisters who share a psychic ability–the ability to predict the future by listening to their special “senses”. I’m usually not into books dealing with any sort of paranormal activity (I guess I’m too much of a natural skeptic!) so I wasn’t in any rush to read this book. But once I decided to give it a try I found that this book is about so much more than psychic ability–it’s about family, loyalty, marriage, parenthood, betrayal, forgiving–and although the “senses” of the twin sisters do play a big role in the story, it wasn’t an overbearing plot point for me. (Finished February 11, 2014)

book of unknown americansI absolutely LOVED The Book Of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez. It’s a novel about immigration, assimilation, staying true to your roots, family, unconditional love, friendship, and what we will endure to benefit those we care for. The story is told through multiple viewpoints, which is always a selling point for me, and I thought Henriquez did a great job of capturing the different voices of the characters throughout the book. I don’t understand why this book didn’t get more press—but this is one of those novels that I wanted to hand out to total strangers on street corners. (Finished June 12, 2014)

The Vacationers by Emma Straub was definitely one of this summer’s hot beach reads. Taking place over a two week period, this novel tells the story of an American family’s vacation to the island of Mallorca. The trip should be an escape from the tensions that are brewing at home in NYC, but the family finds that they can’t escape secrets, rivalries, and conflicts. The novel is made up of fourteen chapters—one for each day of the vacation—and the author does a great job of portraying the ebb and flow of the emotions of a close-knit group of people who are forced to spend most of each day together, and who find that they may not know each other as well as they assumed. I found this novel to be a relatively quick read, but also completely absorbing—and I just love the cover! (Finished July 18, 2014)

everything i never told youEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng takes place in Ohio in the 1970s and tells the story of a middle-class Chinese-American family, their relationships with each other, and how they cope with the sudden death of the middle daughter and the uncertainty regarding the cause of this death. This novel really recreates the time period well—a time when mixed marriages were an oddity and when racism was much more blatant in mid-America than it is today. Moving back and forth between the present and the past, and back and forth between the point of view of the five family members, this is a very moving story that makes the reader wonder how well we really know the ones we love. I was still thinking about the characters long after I finished the book– a sign of powerful writing. (Finished August 3, 2014)

still life with breadcrumbsAnna Quindlen is one of my “automatic authors”—I’ll read anything she writes. I adore her collections of essays—I often feel that she’s speaking directly to me–and her last novel, Every Last One, is one of the best books I’ve read in the past several years.

I really didn’t know much about the plot of this novel, and I think that’s the best way to go into it—part of the appeal of this book was that I really had no idea where the characters were headed. It tells the story of Rebecca Winter, a sixty-year-old photographer who experienced huge artistic success in her past. For various reasons, she decides to spend some time in a rental house in a small town near her NYC home-base. She forms relationships with her new neighbors and we also learn about her relationships with her elderly parents, her ex-husband, and her adult son.

It seems to me that Anna Quindlen found a new voice when crafting this novel—the narrative is unlike any of her others. The chapters—some only a few paragraphs or a page or two, many longer–move fluidly back and forth between the main characters and pivotal events. There was a lot of very subtle humor woven throughout, and I quickly decided that this was a book I really needed to savor in order to appreciate the writing. I felt invested in what happened to every character, and the dialogue rang true—which is always a deal-breaker for me. And when I got to the end, I immediately thought “I wonder what’s going to happen next!” (Finished August 16, 2014)

big little liesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty     The setting of this novel is an elementary school, and I usually enjoy reading novels taking place in any kind of academic setting—fortunately this book was no exception! At the beginning of the book we learn that a death has occurred during a school-sponsored event, but we don’t know who has died or what the circumstances were. As the book progresses we learn more and more about the parents involved, their children, and the secrets that are being kept from various family members and friends. Another great book covering the theme of how well we really know our friends and family. (Finished September 7, 2014)

paying guestsThe Paying Guests by Sarah Waters is an incredible novel. I found myself hiding away during my lunch hours at work to get in another chapter or two, and I even found myself reading at stoplights on a few occasions (I am NOT KIDDING!). I was completely immersed in the plot and the characters, and I found myself wondering over and over how Waters was going to resolve everything that was happening.

I completely agree with most other reviewers who say that it’s best not to share too much of the plot, so I’ll just say that this psychological thriller takes place in post WWI London. A young women and her widowed mother are forced to take in boarders (“paying guests”) for financial reasons, so they rent the upstairs of their home to a newly married couple . . . and drama and passion of all kinds ensues.

This novel weighs in at over 500 pages, but it seemed like a pretty quick read to me. I never felt bogged down with the plot or the characters, and the Waters did an excellent job of making me feel as though I was living the day-to-day life of a young women in early 1920s London. (Finished October 3, 2014)

 some luckThe premise of Some Luck by Jane Smiley was really intriguing to me—it’s the first book in what will be a trilogy spanning 100 years in the life of an Iowa farm family. This first book takes place from 1920-1953, and each chapter covers one year. Every chapter also contains the points of view from several members of the family–the husband and wife, their children (from birth into adulthood), and a few members of their extended family. As the chapters—and the years—progress, we experience the ebb and flow of their everyday lives, including births, deaths, marriages, the Depression, WWII, and many other events. I loved this book and thought it was a wonderful “slice of life” novel. I also really enjoyed the “one chapter for every year” technique because not everything that was happening to the characters was fully revealed–sometimes I had to “connect the dots” between chapters to figure out what had happened since a particular character was featured.

If you’re into stories that include big cliffhangers and huge, dramatic plot points, this may not be to your taste—but if you like a book that puts you right there beside the characters, I highly recommend it. And as a bonus, I just found out that the second book of this trilogy—Early Warning—is due to be published in May 2015. I can’t wait! (Finished October 9, 2014)

florence gordonFlorence Gordon by Brian Morton is a novel that seems to have slipped under the radar. It’s about 75-year-old Florence Gordon who lives in present-day NYC. She’s an author and a feminist icon, she’s brutally blunt with family, friends, and strangers alike, and she’s contemplating writing her memoirs. The book begins when her adult son,  his wife,  and his  college-age daughter return to New York after several years away—and Florence finds that as much as she wants to remain in solitude with her work, she becomes involved in the activities and issues that are surrounding her son and his family.

Florence was such a fascinating character to me! During the first ten pages of the book she abruptly walks out of a surprise party thrown in her honor, informing her friends and family that she’d much rather be home working at her desk. How can you not want to know more about the kind of person who can pull that off? And what a talented author Brian Morton is to be able to completely capture the personality of his main character is such a few pages!

There are over 100 chapters in this book, and they range from less than one page to a dozen pages or more. At first I thought that this would be distracting and that the technique would interrupt the narrative, but I very quickly got into the rhythm of Morton’s writing. I was thoroughly invested in each of the main characters and in the day-to-day flow of their lives—and the way that Morton chose to end the book was not at all what I was expecting. (Finished October 19, 2014)

How about you? Have you read any of these? What’s on your favorite fiction list this year? Please share!


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Top Ten Tuesday–Top 10 Books On My Winter TBR List

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Click here to play along!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new question or theme is presented. This week’s prompt is:

The Top 10 Books On Your Winter TBR List

I decided to list ten books that will be released from December 2014  through February 2015—plus two early March releases because when you live near Chicago, winter sometimes goes on into April! I’ve got 6 fiction and 4 nonfiction picks. Ready? Here we go—the Top 10 Books on my Winter TBR list!

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When Books Went To War: The Stories That Helped Us Win WWII by Molly Guptill Manning (Dec. 2)      This book will be released next week, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! It’s about the initiative to send books overseas to the troops during WWII, and the rise of paperback publishing that resulted from this movement. I read an excerpt of this book in a magazine recently and was absolutely riveted.

Almost Famous Women: Stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman (Jan. 6)      This is a short story collection consisting of fictionalized accounts based on the real lives of real women.

I’ll Have What She’s Having: My Adventures In Celebrity Dieting by Rebecca Harrington (Jan. 6)      Rebecca Harrington wrote Penelope, one of the funniest novels I’ve ever read—it’s one of those books that people either love or they just don’t get it. In this book, Harrington tries her hand at nonfiction and relates her experiences in recreating the dieting habits of famous people. I’m not expecting any hard journalism here—I’m mainly just curious as to how Harrington’s writing skills will translate into nonfiction.

West Of Sunset by Stuart O’Nan (Jan. 13)         I love Stuart O’Nan’s novels (Songs For The Missing is one of my top ten book club worthy reads) so I’m really looking forward to his latest. This one will be a departure in style for O’Nan—it’s based on the last three years of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life, and I’m curious to see how this one will pan out.

Love By The Book: A Novel by Melissa Pimentel (Feb. 3)       This novel—compared by some to Bridget Jones’s Diary— traces a year in the life of a young woman living in London who decides to follow a different dating guide every month for a year in her efforts to find true love.

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The Half Brother by Holly LeCraw (Feb. 17)      This novel is set at a New England boarding school and involves secrets and betrayals between two brothers. I love books that take place in school settings!

Golden State by Stephanie Kegan (Feb. 17)      This novel is being compared to Defending Jacob and We Need To Talk About Kevin,  two novels that I thought were both very disturbing and very thought provoking. This book is about a young woman whose brother is accused of committing acts of terrorism against several California universities—and she needs to decide how far to go to protect her brother.

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon (Feb. 24)      This novel shares a similar theme to Golden State—how far a father will go to protect his son, who is involved in a school shooting.

Just Kids From The Bronx: Telling It The Way It Was—An Oral History by Arlene Alda (March 3)       I love reading oral histories and I’m looking forward to this new contribution to the genre, describing what day to day life was like over 60 years in the Bronx.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania by Erik Larsen (March 10)     I really don’t know much about the Lusitania tragedy, but I love the way that Erik Larson—author of one The Devil In The White City—turns historical events into narratives that almost seem like novels.

How about you? Are any of these books on your radar for this winter? Which books are you looking forward to over the next few months? Please share!


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WWW Wednesday–10/29/14

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Click to play along!

To participate in this weekly meme hosted by MizB, simply answer the following questions:

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

UsUs by David Nicholls is the new novel by the author of One Day. It’s the story of Douglas Petersen, a fifty-something husband and father who reminded me of a milder, less intense version of Don from The Rosie Project. Shortly before Douglas and his family are set to leave London for a month-long summer vacation through Europe, his wife tells him she no longer loves him. They decide to take the trip anyway, as this will most likely be the last summer that the three of them will spend together. Douglas, however, has an extra agenda—he views the trip as his last chance to mend his relationship with his wife and his son.

The book alternates between the present vacation and the events that took place when Douglas first met his wife, as well as the history of their marriage. Nicholls does a great job of portraying the tension, the optimism (on Douglas’ part, anyway!), and the hopelessness that surround this vacation, and the atmosphere of Amsterdam, Paris, Venice, and Barcelona are portrayed vividly—even to someone like myself who has never been to Europe.

I enjoyed the first half of this book immensely. The second half seemed to drag a bit, and parts of the end of the novel seemed a bit unrealistic to me (I can’t be too specific here as I don’t want to include any spoilers!), but I’d still recommend this book as a very unique portrait of a marriage and a family at a crossroads.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Nothing yet—I just finished Us yesterday and haven’t had time to start anything new!

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

9.30.14 CI’m pretty sure I’m going to start the new YA novel Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley in the next day or so. I’ve been hearing a lot about this book—it’s being billed as one of the most important YA books of the year–and one of my reading goals this year was to read more YA novels.

 Told from alternating points of view, this historical fiction novel is set in Virginia in 1959 and tells the story of two female students—one white, one black—who attend a newly integrated high school. I’ve read a lot of African American history, so I’m very interested in how this YA novel will compliment the nonfiction that I’ve read about this topic. I know that this isn’t going to be a light-hearted read, but everything I’ve heard about this book tells me it’s a book that needs to be read.

How about you? Have you read either of these? What are you reading this week? Please share!