book report: chapter 7

I ended last year with some very specific goals for myself in 2015. One of those goals was to read more. Instead of waiting until the end of the year to make one gigantic list, I am going to post a monthly book report of what I’ve been reading. And instead of just listing the titles, I wanted to give my two cents while the books were still fresh on my mind. (I am, however, keeping this year’s giant list–sans reviews–here.)

a title here

The Bee Keeper’s Daughter (Montefiore)

Loved, loved, loved this sweet story. There were a few PG-13 moments so fair warning. But the author weaves a multi-generational, multi-continental story of love, even when it succumbs to the barriers of class. This book has strong characters, picturesque settings, and a moving plot. I’d recommend this for a good beach read.

Orphan Train (Kline)

This book has been on my radar since it came out. It finally came up on my library queue. I’m not usually much for historical fiction but this story blew me away. There’s a disparaging phenomenon in U.S. history during the 1920s-30s. The barrage of immigrant orphans in New York City became epidemic and this story parallels the tragedies and triumphs of the hundreds of thousands of young children that were farmed out to the midwest on Orphan Trains. This story follows one such orphan (a fictional character based on a real life situation). I literally couldn’t put this book down.

Matilda (Dahl)

The kids and I have been on the road ALOT this month. Knowing that we might need a diversion from the stretch of I-20 and time on their DSs, I picked up this classic on audiobook from the library. Matilda is a great story; timeless, classic, full of wonder and cheer for (really two) protagonists who beat the odds and find happiness. BUT THE REAL TREAT OF THIS STORY WAS HEARING KATE WINSLETT NARRATE IT!

I cannot rave enough about what an outstanding reading Kate Winslett does with every single character in this story. From the stodgy Agatha Trunchbull, to Matilda herself, Miss Honey, and every other minor role, Kate Winslet’s British accent DELIVERS! Full of spunk, joy, wonderful onomatopoeia, and vibrancy…this is now my number one recommendation for a road trip. I may actually buy a copy for us to listen again.

Old Friend From Far Away (Goldberg)

I read Goldberg’s cult classic, Writing Down the Bones, in graduate school and the follow up, Old Friend didn’t disappoint either. As a style guide for memoir writing, I love how Goldberg ties in her own memoirs with AWESOME writing exercises. This isn’t a book you start and read cover to cover. This is a book that you dog-ear pages, stop reading, do the writing exercises, think about them, pick the book up again, stop and process, think about whether you’re taking these suggestions to heart in your own writing–vow to incorporate more of them as often as possible. If you are a writer, blogger, story-teller, human-being-who-values-self-reflection-in-order-to-make-sense-of-your-life, then this book is for you.

Bill Roorbach-4

Crazy in Alabama (Childress)

A prolific lover of Southern, regional literature, I’ve been asking myself this question. Where has Mark Childress been all of my life? Seriously, I stumbled upon a stash of his books at the library and after reading the titles alone, I was hooked. (I’ve got Georgia Bottoms and One Mississippi on my nightstand as I type!) When the likes of Pat Conroy, Anne Lamott, Fannie Flagg and HARPER LEE herself praise an author’s work then I know I’ve found a match.

I’ll skip the fact that this book has a cheesy-Melanie-Griffith-remake (which I have not seen) and shoot straight. I love the often dark and ironic humor that Childress expertly weaves through a story that quite possibly, only true Southerners, may appreciate. Childress reminds me of a more shadowy Clyde Egerton and Crazy in Alabama just sings of the outrageous family ties that bind. (PG-13 moments)

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