We’ve been reading and reading and reading here as the rain falls day after day…but the kids were reading for a contest at school and I was (mostly, anyway) reading some pretty dry textbooks for school. I did sneak in some time to read a few really exceptional books since the start of the year, and I wanted to recommend them to you!
But first…look at my little hooligan-bookworms!
The kindergartener and the second grade won first in their class and third in their grade…so they got nifty medals and gift cards to Barnes and Noble, a perfect prize for them. The fourth grader chose to spend his time building Lego creations and read just enough minutes to help out his class somewhat, but not enough to win a prize. He was okay with that, though.
I was a bad parent and didn’t take a real camera to the assembly…but my phone photo is not too awful! Princess Thundercloud is big into Dr. Seuss books these days (she reads those herself) and I’m reading Junie B. Jones books to her each night. My overachieving middle kid is reading the Spirit Warrior books with me and Huckelberry Finn with the hubs, as well as the Wimpy Kid books at night…I’ve caught him several times with his headlamp on, reading after lights out!
And now on with these books I’ve read…they’re all worthy of a look!
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
I read this for book club…it was “Romance” month in our genre list…and really thought it would be a sappy, not-worth-my-time bit of fluff. It was definitely not any of those! I loved this book, filled with twists and turns. Here’s the synposis from Goodreads.com:
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia – or each other – but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s devastating secret.
Honolulu by Alan Brennart
Molokai by the same author was one of my favorite books I read last year, and Honolulu is even better. I may or may not have neglected my math homework a couple of days to finish this. Having never lived in Hawaii, I found this historical tale riveting, and I think I learned quite a bit about the islands…and I learned that even if you’re not a tropical beach kinda girl, reading this in the middle of a rainy winter certainly will make you long for a sunny escape! Here’s what Goodreads.com says:
“In Korea in those days, newborn girls were not deemed important enough to be graced with formal names, but were instead given nicknames, which often reflected the parents’ feelings on the birth of a daughter: I knew a girl named Anger, and another called Pity. As for me, my parents named me Regret.”
Honolulu is the rich, unforgettable story of a young “picture bride” who journeys to Hawai’i in 1914 in search of a better life.
Instead of the affluent young husband and chance at an education that she has been promised, she is quickly married off to a poor, embittered laborer who takes his frustrations out on his new wife. Renaming herself Jin, she makes her own way in this strange land, finding both opportunity and prejudice. With the help of three of her fellow picture brides, Jin prospers along with her adopted city, now growing from a small territorial capital into the great multicultural city it is today. But paradise has its dark side, whether it’s the daily struggle for survival in Honolulu’s tenements, or a crime that will become the most infamous in the islands’ history…
With its passionate knowledge of people and places in Hawai’i far off the tourist track, Honolulu is most of all the spellbinding tale of four women in a new world, united by dreams, disappointment, sacrifices, and friendship.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I know, I’m probably the last person in the world to read this book from several years ago. I’ve had it on my nightstand since it was first a bestseller, but each time I started to read it, I was put off my the fact that it’s narrated by Death. Once again, the book club forced me to read it, and I’m so glad whoever chose it for January did! Read it…immediately. Although you might neglect your laundry, dishes, and, possibly, family, until you finish.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
A few other books that, while they didn’t make me neglect my studies, certainly provided an enjoyable distraction (if you’re looking for a Spring Break book, say).