Books kept me sane during May.
Between creating and maintaining distance learning lessons that “needed to have value, but not overwhelm students,” while preparing juniors and seniors for their AP exams, I escaped into reading as means of escaping being chained to my laptop screen.
Fortunately, my local library opened up curbside service, allowing patrons to order up books from the website catalog and we would then schedule a pick up appointment. A definite sanity saver. I was beginning to wonder if I would have to raid my hubs’ technical reference books and hunting guides for reading material.
Title Highlights for May:
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
I will grant that Cormier is a brilliant writer, and his novels are unique in how they challenge readers to lift up the rocks of humanity to study the ugly that lives underneath. I personally cannot tolerate the bullying and senseless cruelty that is the center of the plot, and had to really force myself to finish the book.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Second read, six years later:
Having devoured the 530 page book in a day the first go round, I have always felt I did it an injustice. I am glad I returned to this sumptuous novel and took the time to savor its brilliance this time. I initially avoided it as I didn’t want to read about WWII during Covoid quarantine, yet I then realized it wasn’t so much a war story as it was a story how the human spirit can endure through tragedy, often continuing with the means to thrive. It is an inspirational story deserving of all its accolades.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham
Creative plot, and more mystery/thriller than detective novel, The Tiger in the Smoke is a quick and mostly satisfying read if one can keep the characters straightened out—a problem when starting out with #14 in a character driven series.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
The story vacillates between Mayberry and Parks and Rec with its wholesomeness, off-color humor, quirky characters, and small town politics. Apparently, this is the first in the series. Frankly, I was hoping the novel would live up to its title. The seventh daughter talking with books was the best part of the plot.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr
Despite its unique and lyrical style, it’s difficult to connect with characters who continually make incredibly unwise choices. No doubt a five star book in its own right, yet this reader still needs to enjoy the story, not just admire the writing.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ I Can’t Remember What I Forgot by Sue Halpern
For those who like their science delivered in friendly, anecdotal ala Malcolm Gladwell style, then Halpern’s book about the timely topic of memory loss, as in preventing dementia or finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, is a read to consider.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Take the trope of outlier girl meeting up with too-good-to-be-true boy (Meg/Calvin from Wrinkle in a Time) and stir in a time traveling plot complete with distracted mother and missing father, and you find yourself on familiar ground in Brashares’ story about the future.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Ah, there is nothing like a full-blown, well-written Victorian drama set in a quaint English town. There’s gossipy neighbors, entangled romances, unexpected weddings and funerals, secret undercurrents, plot twists—just the right elements for a BBC historical series. Bronte and Austen seem to be the more remembered lady novelists of that era; however, Gaskell holds her own and should not be overlooked.
May consisted of a grand mix of genres and the variety proved a tonic for my frazzled state of mind. You can find more reviews at my Goodreads website.
UPDATE: The library opened its doors today! Double Woo-Hoo!!