The Bookshelf: August 2016

Every month I challenge myself with reading as many books as possible (as any bookworm would).  I look at the piles of books around my house and try to pick a variety. Something that’s been on the shelf for a while, something by an author I love or have been wanting to read for a while, something that is going to inspire me.  I think I found that this month.

Some of the books were amazing, others not so much.  But that is the beauty of reading. You never really know what you are going to get. Each book is an adventure, and some of the adventures leave you confused and wondering why, while others leave you wanting more and you are sad to see them go.  That’s the beauty of the written word.

This month I added 5 new to books to my “have been read” pile. Below I have listed them out and added the descriptions from Goodreads, but I’ve also added some of my own opinions.

Have you read any of the below books? What are you reading? Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to hear from you!

Shrill BookcoverShrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West– A brilliantly written book that portrays one woman’s journey of self acceptance and facing online trolls head on. A blunt and bold memoir of Lindy West’s journey from a quiet, chubby girl to the in your face feminist that we know today. This book hit home on many levels, but more importantly it made me stop and think.

Goodreads: With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss–and walk away laughing. Shrillprovocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.

Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildHarry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling– Since the announcement of this book, I have been awaiting for it rather impatiently. This book takes you on the journey of Harry Potter’s youngest son, Albus, and unfolds a story that is more than a good wizard vs. a bad wizard. It shows the relationship of a father and son and how things are not always as black and white as we want them to be. This book was finished in an afternoon and it was one of the most satisfying reads that I have had in a while.

Goodreads: While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

A Lion Amoung MenA Lion Among Men (The Wicked Years, #3) by Gregory Maguire– I am a lover of the world that has been created by Gregory Maguire, but this book left much to be desired (in my opinion). The story follows the life of the Cowardly Lion and flashes through past and present events to show the struggle of his life and how he has ended up in his current predicament. This book answered very few questions and did not move the story along for me. (Has anyone else read this book? What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them!)

Goodreads: In this much-anticipated third volume of the Wicked Years, we return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion – the once tiny cub defended by Elphaba in Wicked. While civil war looms, a tetchy oracle named Yackle prepares for death. Before her final hour, an enigmatic figure known as Brrr – the Cowardly Lion – arrives searching for information about Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West. As payment, Yackle demands some answers of her own. Brrr surrenders his story: abandoned as a cub, his earliest memories are gluey hazes, and his life’s path is no Yellow Brick Road. A Lion Among Men chronicles a battle of wits hastened by the Emerald City’s approaching armies. At once a portrait of a would-be survivor and a panoramic glimpse of a world gone shrill with war fever, Gregory Maguire’s new novel is written with the sympathy and power that have made his books contemporary classics.

The Girl On the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins– A woman rides the train and passes homes everyday. She sees the people who live there and fantasies what their lives must be like. Then someone goes missing.  By the end of the book, I enjoyed it, but I found it hard to get through just because the main protagonist is an alcoholic and cannot seem to get control over her life. This book does have the twist and turns of a good thriller, but if you have a hard time sympathizing with damaged characters, then this book may be hard to read.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

BrooklynBrooklyn by Colm Toibin–  This book is a quick read, but it paints a beautiful story of Eilis, a bright young Irish girl who has been persuaded to move to America in order to find work. Having watched the movie first, I was hesitant to read the book (I LOVE the movie), but it didn’t disappoint. The movie is true to the book and shows the growth that this young woman goes through as she finds herself while living in a foreign country. It’s a story of  finding yourself, finding love, and finding what that means to you.

Goodreads: Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood “just like Ireland” — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

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