What I’ve Been Reading: Poolside Edition

WhatIveBeenReading

I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy today to discuss books we’ve been reading lately. My reading this month was greatly influenced by Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend taking a look.

Since we’re not traveling this summer, I felt the need to read a few books about other people’s travels (both fiction and non-fiction). I like to live vicariously through books. As my friend says, it’s like a “faux-cation.”

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes – I started with this book, which is about a struggling, single Mom trying to find the money to get her math-genius daughter into a prestigious – and expensive – private school. The answer seems to lie in a math competition with a hefty reward for the winner. The book is mostly about the travels getting to the math competition –literally– since they have to hitch a ride with a self-absorbed, wealthy man headed in the same direction.

I liked the unique and somewhat odd premise of this book. I thought it started off strong and I enjoyed the first half. The second half was, in my opinion, a bit melodramatic. I almost put it down but I’m glad I didn’t because it ended well. I don’t generally like chick-lit, but I on the days that I wish I did, Jojo Moyes stories are a good place to start. Her stories are just quirky enough to keep me interested.

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“A Walk in the Woods” by Bill BrysonI’m currently reading this book about Bill Bryson’s hike on the Appalachian Trail. Let me give you this disclaimer…this book is NOT safe to read in public! I can’t tell you how many times I burst out laughing while reading this book at the pool. And when I wasn’t laughing, I was muffling giggles.

He sets off on the trail with limited hiking experience, accompanied by his old friend, Katz, whom he’s lost contact with over the years but reconnects with to go on this hike. They are an unlikely traveling duo, to say the least. They have several hiccups along the way, but somehow Bill Bryson is able to recount every story in a way that readers can only “look on the funny side” of things. He’s a master storyteller and extremely witty.

If you think you might not be interested because it’s a book about hiking, think again. This book is entertaining, informative and (did I mention?) hilarious!

(Side note: Bill Bryson’s Neither Here Nor There, about his European travels, is my all-time favorite travelogue.)

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – This book isn’t about travels but it did sweep me away to New York City in the 1930’s. Readers are quickly transported to the magical time of jazz clubs and outlandish parties. I can’t say too much about the story without giving something away but I will say the characters and their witty conversations are absolutely charming, even when they are being delightfully devious. The “lesson” and plot line reminded me of a modern Gatsby story. And in a way, it also reminded me of another book that I enjoyed, “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain. This book kept me up late on several occasions – it’s very hard to put down once you start!

What have you been reading lately?

8 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading: Poolside Edition

  1. I am almost finished with Marisa de los Santos’s The Precious One. I love it. Also her book, Loved Walked In is good. I think you’d like her stories. Sweet, great plot lines and not too smutty. =)

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog!!

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    • Loved Walked In has been on my to-read list for a long time but somehow it keeps getting pushed. Thanks for reminding me! I’m going to bump it up the list. I heard there’s a movie based on the book coming out soon with Meg Ryan?

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      • I just read Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos and now I’m eager to read her other books, including Love Walked In. Such a good writer. BTW, the main character from Love Walked In is also the main character in Belong to Me.

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  2. I’ve enjoyed Bill Bryson, too, but I barely remember what I’ve read. I think I would like rereading them! I have One Plus One checked out of the library but haven’t gotten to it yet. It’s my first of hers since Me Before You, which I thought was really good but made me very angry. I also want to get back to Rules of Civility, which I thought read so smoothly…..but I didn’t finish before the electronic borrowing time was up! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I love Jojo Moyes because I admire her ability to write “chick-lit” that I can’t put down, like One Plus One, but also something historical like The Girl You Left Behind. There is definitely no formula to her writing.
    I adored Rules of Civility. I think it might have been the only novel that I read the year or two after I graduated from college. That time period is one of my favorites. Like you said, it is fun to be taken back in time to another era 🙂

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  4. The last two books were Tuesdays With Morrie and Killing Patton. I’ve enjoyed some of Bryson’s work, but I hear the intended voice more clearly when my Ginger reads it aloud.

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