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text 2017-05-28 22:04
Summer Reading List 2017 (in a Nutshell)
Nutshell: A Novel - Ian McEwan

I've been on a bit of a reading slump in the month of May.


Oh, I'm still reading every day. But instead of having 3-5 books going on in various categories, I've mostly just been reading Philippa Gregory novels. To mixed effect. (You can read more about that in my last post here: http://carissagreen50.booklikes.com/post/1566197/in-her-head.) And always a poem, or two or three, every day (mostly).


I suppose it's partly an end-of-school-year thing. Lots of energy gets invested in the last weeks of April and beginning of May when you work in academia, regardless of your job. I also read like a champion in February-March, preparing for our university's Writers Conference, completing a personal project, and working my way through August Wilson's Century Cycle, one of my 2017 reading marathons. 


Being in a slump with relatively low reading energy and focus was frustrating, because good things continued to happen in my reading life. A friend sent me his new novel (look for a column on that soon). An interlibrary loan request fell through, so our local library just purchased the book and reserved it straight through for me, which was nice. Another friend published a new middle grade novel. There's a writer's conference with free public readings coming up in my area in June.


But now it's Memorial Day Weekend, the official summer kick-off, and time to publish my Summer Reading List for 2017. You can read the "app" list on BookLikes here: http://booklikes.com/apps/reading-lists/792/summer-reading-list-2017. Each book fits a category that I've been working with for the last several years of these lists, and I'm going to walk you through my choices below:


1. An Ian McEwan novel - "Nutshell." McEwan is one of my favorite living authors, and "Nutshell" is his fall 2016 release - too late for last summer's list. Last summer, I read "The Comfort of Strangers" from far into his backlist, and it was firmly in the "Ian Macabre" phase of his career. I'm happy to get back to his more current oeuvre. 


2. A Michael Chabon novel - "Moonglow." One of my other favorite living writers. I went to the Cities back in December for Chabon's book signing. I've saved the book for this summer because, except for graphic novels and screenplays, I'm pretty much completely caught up with his published books. 


3. A recent "big" book  - "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. I just can't be the last person on planet earth to read this important, beloved book. Plus: Oprah movie.


4. A classics I have neglected - "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" by Anne Bronte. Saw that Bronte biopic on PBS earlier this spring and realized I had completely neglected poor Anne. 


5. A YA / Middle Grade book - "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio. Film releasing soon (always read the book first). My boss' kids loved it. Who didn't love it? 


6. A play - Finish August Wilson's Century Cycle, so the last play, "Radio Golf," will stand for that.


7. A baseball book - "Slouching Toward Fargo" by Neal Karlen. Last year, I discovered a cool website called the Casey Awards, which honors the best baseball books of each year. These kinds of "best of" lists are one of my true loves, and from it, I found a book that not only fulfills the "baseball" part of my summer but also relates to the region of the country in which I live. 


8. A recommendation from a friend - "The Luminaries" by Eleanor Catton. Both my aunt, who read it before her NZ adventure, and my friend D., who included the book in his students' syllabus last year, said I'd like it. Say no more.


9. The book from last year's list that didn't get read - "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell" by Susanna Clarke


Not on the list, but coming up quickly, will be "Life on Mars" and possibly another work by Tracy K. Smith, who is reading in my area on June 21. Poetry (always) and plenty more to be determined. Won't you read along with me?



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text 2017-05-20 15:34
Tea, Rain, Book's COYER Summer Vacation 2017 Sign Up Post

To sign up and for rules, see COYER Summer Vacation 2017 post


This is my second COYER (my first was last year's summer edition) and I really enjoy the book discussions (on FB and Twitter) and giving me incentives to keep reading during the summer.


COYER Summer Vacation has two ways to play this year: one way is to do basic "read anything you want in whatever format you want" COYER and the other way is to build your own summer reading list (a throwback to summers spent reading off a list given by teachers). I decided to go with the COYER Summer Reading List, as I like a focused group of books to track. I made two copies of my summer reading list, here on BL and on GR. My list is a mix of print and e-books, all from my personal library. I don't know if I will add more books as I read down the original list (see rules in the linked post); that will be a decision I make come in early August.


For the summer reading list, there will also be mandatory read-a-thons- the last read-a-thon will happen at the same time as Bout of Books Cycle 20, so I can participate in two read-a-thons in one week (of course, the read-a-thons end the day before school starts).


Now I just need to wait patiently for June 17th to come around.



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review 2016-11-03 22:29
Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight

Wow, this was intense. It was hard to get into at first, but after the first couple chapters I was enthralled. I couldn't put it down.


All the terrible shit Amelia went through with the club and the hazing and the girls harassing her? It made me thank my lucky stars that I've never had to experience that for myself. I have good friends who actually give a damn about me, and this book made me remember that I'm so fucking lucky. Amelia was a complex, complicated young woman with her whole life ahead of her, and I really enjoyed her chapters. I really liked her and I'm really sad she died.


I did not see that ending coming! There were so many twists and turns and it was so exciting. This was also a sad read. I didn't cry, but it made my heart hurt.


My only complaint is that there's a few plot developments that seem irrelevant? But I guess every mystery needs some red herrings.


Tl;dr version- Overall I really recommend this one. It's a nice good mystery.

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review 2016-11-03 22:27
Dance With Me - Heidi Cullinan

Okay, actually I really don't have much to say about this one. I just have a few random thoughts:

•to be quite honest, Laurie was a total jackass in the beginning. But I grew to like him. He's not a favorite character of mine, but I don't dislike him so that's good
•as for Ed, I always liked him. He's cool
•I guess hate to love relationships aren't my thing? I've read a few and I've never loved them. I did like this one overall, but it's certainly not a favorite of mine
•there's a weird scene where Ed and Laurie have a foursome with another couple. And I try to be open minded about sex, since it's all about personal preference. But, I don't know, this scene just sat weird with me.


That's really it. Overall it's not something I would recommend and it's not Heidi Cullinan's best. But I did enjoy it somewhat.

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review 2016-11-03 22:25
Haunted - Meg Cabot

Well this series took a turn for the worst. I love The Mediator series. I adore Suze and her tough, kickass nature. And I've grown fond of the other characters: Suze's stepbrothers, Jesse, CeeCee, to name a few. I do like this series. But Haunted was probably the worst book in this series so far.


Paul is a pushy, invasive, patronizing piece of shit who does not understand the meaning of the word "no", and I hate him with the fire of a thousand suns. Someone kill him.


There's literally nothing happening in this one. There's just some love triangle-esque, romantic angsty bullshit. Can Suze and Jesse just admit they have feelings for each other so Suze can get back to ghost busting and kicking ass? Ugh.


I have two simple requests for the next book: Suze needs to resume her badassery, and Paul needs to fuck off. That's literally it.


Tl;dr version- So fucking disappointed with this one. Paul is the bane of my existence. He literally ruined the entire book.

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