It’s time for my monthly book report! Here’s what I’ve been reading this month…
“I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith – This story chronicles the every day life of two teenage sisters, told through the journal entries of one of them, as they navigate their way into adulthood. Although it was first published in 1949, it’s still relevant today. The story captures the timeless teenage issues of first loves, extreme emotions and bitter disappointments. Teenage angst transcends time and place! It was fun to see what teenagers were probably reading 50 years ago and compare it to recent, popular YA novels. The story is set in the spring and summer, but it’s such a cozy-feeling book that it felt right to curl up with it by the fireplace. Since it whisks the reader away to the English countryside, it’s the perfect “escape” from the wintertime blues. It runs a bit long; I felt like it could have used some editing toward the end. Overall, it’s a sweet story about growing up with lovely descriptions and insight.
“The Second Mrs. Hockaday” by Susan Rivers – This is one of those books that you can’t really describe and instead you must hand it to a friend and say, “just trust me and read this.” It’s part historical fiction, set during the Civil War, but also part mystery. It was a bit confusing at first (intentionally) but then it quickly grabbed me and kept my interest. It was an intriguing story with some surprising twists. I liked the author’s insights into the complexities of marriage. I think readers that liked “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield will also like this book.
With the Family
“The Thing about Jellyfish” by Ali Benjamin – Suzy, the main character, is a middle school-er – and as if that wasn’t hard enough to navigate – her parents are divorcing, her best friend has moved on to a new group of friends, and she’s having a hard time finding her way. Then her former best friend drowns. The story bounces between the past events and memories of their friendship, to present day as she’s trying to make sense of what happened. It’s a well-written and well-paced story. I know I’m not exactly the target audience but I struggled to justify some of the main characters actions. Also, parents be warned, there are some adult-ish themes here: including a same-sex relationship, death, divorce, and starting your monthly cycle.
“Come On, Seabiscuit” by Ralph Moody – My family listened to this story as an audiobook on a recent road trip. It was the perfect length to keep everyone’s interest. The narrator brought the story to life and often sounded like a radio announcer at a race, which was so fun. Seabiscuit had such a sweet, stubborn, loveable personality and his story of overcoming the odds against him was inspiring. It was also an interesting reminder of how horse racing was not only a national pastime but practically a national obsession at the time. Things have changed since then but this story will still capture your heart and make you smile.
“On Writing” by Stephen King – I loved listening to this book on audio. Since Stephen King reads it aloud it feels almost like you’re having a chat with him. Plus, I think so much of his personality comes out in the audio version. The first half of the book is about his life. I loved hearing how he got started and his reaction to the paperback sales of his first novel put a huge smile on my face. The second half of the book is filled with practical advice and encouragement for writers, especially writers that are just starting out. That said, I think anyone can still enjoy this book. The entire book is entertaining and the writing tips are applicable for anyone, really. I highly recommend it as an audiobook!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Wintertime reading is the best!
As usual, I’m linking up with the Modern Mrs. Darcy community.
Your turn: What have you been reading lately?