So, my totally valid and not weak at all excuse for not blogging in so long is that I was away for spring break. Ok, I admit it, this is a lame excuse since I was only away for a week...a week ago. So really, I have been slacking a bit. This is mainly only a detriment to myself as the reason I blog in the first place is to better remember what I read and have someplace to look to remind myself what I have read and how I felt about it.
The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell, author of The Vespertine. This book is not a direct sequel of The Vespertine, but instead involves the cousin of Amelia, who has her own supernatural power...she has a way with water. This power comes in handy when Zora is sent by her mother to live in the Oklahoma Territory. Zora's love has died (as detailed in The Vespertine) and she longs to escape Baltimore and the memories. She compromises herself by publicly smooching a stranger and quicker than you can sing O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A she is off. I enjoyed The Vespertine and this book did not disappoint. It ends clearly pointing to a story that will bring the two girls together.
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani I made a concerted effort to take along some of the non-YA fiction I have been wanting to read. I love YA, but I do sometimes feel the themes can be repetitive, I also find adult fiction to be sometimes more challenging and thought provoking. With that goal in mind, I purchased The Shoemaker's Wife the day it was released so I would have it for the trip. While Trigiani's novels also repeat elements, I find them engaging and informative. This one began in the mountains of Italy and ended in Minnesota. Trigiani often focuses on Italian families, which is always interesting for me as we are not Italian. I also like the tales of the immigrant experience as researched by Trigiani. I cannot rave about this book being unique, or different, but it is another tale from this author who can be counted on to tell a good story.
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter This is essentially a retelling of The Secret Garden. It could have been done poorly with trite modern additions, but Potter really kept the good bones of the story and made each character new and separate from those of Frances Hodgson Burnett. I enjoyed revisiting a childhood favorite in this way. I would not use this book as a substitute in the reading life of a child I love, but instead encourage reading both.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles This is the book I most enjoyed. It takes place in New York City mainly in 1938; it begins on New Year's Eve. Katey Kontent is the main character. But her friend Eve and the young man, Tinker Grey, whom they meet on the book's opening night figure prominently in the next year of Katey's life. In general I like historical fiction, but while this one addressed World War II and other world events tengentially, it is much more a story about day to day life for Katey, who has a job, lives in a small apartment and is just trying to make a life for herself with hopes for finding love and fulfillment. I would not have known the author was male, if I did not know the author was male. He smoothly tells the story from the perspective of a woman, reminding me a bit of Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar. I was originally attracted to this book by the cover, and it really lived up to my expectations.
The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch I did not actually read this book while on break, but I bought it in Charleston, SC (our first stop) at a little indie bookstore called Blue Bicycle Books right on King St. They are a mix of new and used, with a great local authors section, where I found this book. And that had that little extra something that makes an indie store great: a sweet, fluffy cat. Alexandria Lee begins her time in Savannah by smoking a great deal of pot. (For this reason I will not be able to take this to my middle school library.) She is there because her mother has died and she is not yet old enough to be on her own. Life is significantly different in upper-class Savannah than it was on the commune in California. First of all, Alexandria finds she is legacy in the Magnolia League of which her grandmother is the grand pubah and her mother was a member. What takes a bit longer is to discover why exactly the league members are so special, and why they cannot ever leave Savannah. I am looking forward to the second installment in July, though I have made a pact to read through my TBR pile of adult fiction, including John Irving, Ann Patchett and others, this summer! Sigh...so many books, so little time.