Considering I gave up a week of my life for this year’s Row by Row quilting experience I am quite pleased with the level of reading I did for June. Part of this may also be due to the multiple summer reading programs I am currently taking part in and enjoy ever so much.
Shout out to:
- Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library
- Love this library as it’s my hometown. I’ve been using their online program to log my reading. This program requires you to read at least 1 book during the course of the program. They also send out weekly emails (opt-in) recommending different books and you can create a virtual “wish list”.
- Hudson Library & Historical Society
- When I write about us going to the library every week this is the place we go. Dave loves the business section and since they’re a CLEVNET member he can request books from tons of other locations too. A lot of libraries have branches or sister libraries like this, but this system seems to work best for him. This summer reading program has weekly prizes as well as a grand prize. Each book completed gets you an entry and it’s all logged online.
- Cuyahoga County Public Library
- The nearest library in this system is a good 40-45 minutes away from me. I joined a while back for access to ebooks. I also enjoy the different news updates they send out on occasion. Next month I signed up for a meet the author night of We Were Liars and I’m super psyched. Their summer reading program is logged on the same type of site as Hudson which makes the switch super easy as my username logs into both accounts. The cool thing about their program is it’s based off time spent reading not a completion of the book requirement. It also has challenges for math and volunteer activities. Because of this system I learned about Freerice.com
- Akron-Summit County Public Library
- Many many branches in my area. I’ve probably used this library the most over the years. The main branch in Downtown Akron is always hosting events and was a place I spent many hours at when I worked downtown and they hosted training. It’s also the place I go for a lot of “must have” books for research. One of the local branches was located behind the building we moved to when I worked at my old job, another branch is about 20 mins from my current home, and yet another is an area of town I frequented for years and went there for speaking competitions and Sign Language classes. Lots, right? This program has you log any time you spend 20 minutes reading or time spent exercising. There’s prizes along the way up to 50 days of reading I believe and if you do at least 26 days of reading and 26 days of movement you get a finisher’s shirt. Also entries for grand prizes.
- Kent Free Library
- One of the newer libraries in my world. I had been here for several work events with my current job and I am able to walk to this branch in about 5 to 10 minutes from my place of employment. Each book read is an entry and there’s weekly prizes too. I usually drop slips off on Monday or Tuesday on my lunch break.
- Twinsburg Public Library
- The newest of the mix. I joined a group on Goodreads where they are having a challenge to read 50 books this year. When I joined I had read about 30 so I figured I could get the next 20 NBD. I’m currently at 45 for those who are curious. After attending a Halfway party for this group I signed up for their summer reading challenge. As a thank you I was given a free book! I picked something about a women in the 1950’s whose husband is transferred to a new job involving nuclear weapons and there’s all types of lies and deceit from there. Most of the other books were author’s I know I don’t enjoy or random selections from a series I have no desire to start of finish and was afraid I’d be lost. Don’t get me wrong a free book is AWESOME and I bet if I signed up sooner there were other choices! I also received a free book for attending the party which sounded AWESOME (Picked it out myself) then when I looked it up on Goodreads I see it’s a to be published sequel to another book in my to be read shelf. Oof. At least I have it, right? The summer reading program is in person and each slip is an entry to one of several gift baskets choices.
All of these programs allow me to log any book I read, borrowed, purchase, whatever from any source. Another library I belong to (Cuyahoga Falls) has a program too, but requires all books to be checked out from their site so I decided not to sign up. It’s been great to challenge myself to get back on the reading train and since we last “spoke” I’ve added quite a few to my list, 8 to be exact which is double the number in May. Let’s see what we have, shall we?
Reminder all links are to Goodreads, feel free to buy it from your own source.
My Fat Dad by Dawn Lerman
I just did an extensive review a few days ago so in case you didn’t or won’t read the whole thing here’s the highlights. Dawn grew up in the 70’s with a dad famous during the “Mad Men era of advertising”. Her Dad also struggled with his weight (over 400 pounds) during her childhood, teen years and adulthood. This book is part memoir, part cookbook. Dawn shares what it was like to grow up watching her Dad struggle and jump from fad diet to fad diet and how she learned to love cooking and use “real food”. For the most part I enjoyed the book, but when I agreed to review it I was thinking it would be more the perspective of the person dealing with weight issues.
Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper
I read this book for one of my books clubs. The club won’t review it for a few months, but I wanted to read something more “adult fiction” since I’ve been focused on YA for a while. There’s lots of choices on my list, but I also didn’t want to jump into something 600 plus pages. This was a rather sweet book with some parts requiring a suspended belief. Etta sets of on a journey to the “water” and along the way changes people’s lives without knowing or meaning. There’s a shifting POV between Etta and her husband Otto as well as a shift from present day events to 50 or so years ago when they met and choices they made as young adults. A good general read selection, I don’t recall anything overly sad or traumatic. My favorite part of course was when he bought a guinea pig and is trying to be sweet to the new pet.
The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen
One of the months recently this was a Kindle First selection. I thought it sounded fascinating, but ultimately picked a different title with a better rating. When I came into a $5 credit toward any ebook I knew when one to pick. Somehow I missed the part about this being translated. This is now the second book I’ve read which is a translation and both had some of the same pacing issues or places where the descriptions lost me and it may be a language barrier. What starts off as a great idea for a book ultimately dies by the last third of it give or take. The first part is told via the 10 year old boy (I forget about that age) who was born in captivity essentially. His whole family lives underground and never goes to the surface and claim the world outside is too cruel to ever come out of hiding. In the second part the’s a flashback to before he was born and the read learns what happened that the family felt the need to take refuge underground. The last part if present day again, picking up where part one left. The end has a “so many years later” conclusion too. Personally I hated a great number of the characters by the end and hated the ending both because I didn’t like in general and because it seemed too unrealistic. Possibly by least favorite book this month.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
I never knew this was a YA read and I didn’t know it was a fast read either or I would have picked it up a long time ago. Countless lists have this as a must read. A young boy in WWII and his family move from their large and lovely home in Berlin to an old and must smaller home he hears people call “Outwith”. Knowing what I know about this time period I was able to pick up on what all the “wrong” words really meant long before they’re revealed in context. However if you’re not familiar you might still find yourself Googling what the term in the book means. Don’t feel bad if you do there’s a lot of sites with that exact search topic. Because it was such a quick read some parts didn’t hit me until days or weeks later when I thought back on it. One of the few books where I gasped and had to stop reading at parts to comprehend “Did that REALLY just happen”.
Recovery Road by Blake Nelson
Another book I have BookBub to thank for as they give amazing discounts. Considering one of my fave teen dramas is Switched at Birth I saw an insane number of ads for the show Recovery Road on the new Freeform. (Rolls eyes). When the book it was based upon came up for about $2 I decided to give it a go. Honestly I LOVED this book. I think the author did a great job hitting on some of the major ups and downs of recovery in general, but especially recovery for a young person. The character seemed genuine even if she wasn’t always likable. As I always admit though, I have a soft spot for this topic. I don’t think I’ll be watching the show though.
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
My other translated book where some of the phrasing may have been lost of changed in translation. I highly enjoyed this writer’s style. It was witty and at times very tongue in cheek. My only complaint about it, is that just like a friend who says everything with a sarcastic tone, after a bit you need a break. This book was a book club pick and we met this past weekend to talk about it. Some may think that puts me at an advantage to talk about it, but honestly it doesn’t. While at club we all decided it’s hard to really talk about this book. You can’t go more than a few pages without some new detail or change and everything is so far fetched. It’s a fairy-tale of sorts honestly meshed with real world locations and bending of the facts with real world historical events.
The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
Since one of my book club friends kept talking about this being her favorite book one night I picked it up for $1 or $2 at a garage sale one weekend. I read it in one day and wasn’t sure why it was so popular, but still really loved it. The book sets up the story as one of fact, which is one reason I loved it so much. As I started to look it up after finishing I learned the whole book is a work of fiction, but I’m not the only one who missed this detail. Haha. Knowing it was made up did take some of the sparkle out for me, but it was still an interesting read and really challenges if we know the people in our lives without forcing a tragic death or accident on the audience.
Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes
I highly enjoyed this book. Some parts where a little far fetched, but at the same time I could see how with the right set of circumstances it would happen. A YA novel where a set of friends decide to start a business selling lies. Calling in as kid’s parents, forging signatures on permission slips, the usual stuff kids want to get away with and it all started with an accidental lie. Of course things get out of hand and there’s a suspicion of murder and lots of fact finding craziness. Like I said it was a fun read, but don’t think it’s going to change your life or anything alone those lines. No lessons learned with this story.
OK, looking at the 8 books from this month there’s two I have to nominate for the book of the month. If you read my snippets I’m sure you can guess the first is
Since I know not everyone LOVES that topic though, I’d have to say the other would be
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
Even with all the other WWII era books out there, this one stands on its own.