Mike and I read In Harm's Way out loud on our May road trips. It is an incredible story. The Indianapolis was sunk in some of the final days of World War II and no one noticed for days. And the survivors floated for miles, suffering all sorts of horrific experiences. Like any of these stories, it was both terribly sad and inspiring at the same time. I recommend.
The Wolves at the Door was another WWII story about a fascinating woman I had never heard of. I really liked reading about Virginia Hall and her accomplishments, but I did not enjoy the writing style of the book itself. Perhaps I got interrupted too frequently, but it was difficult for me to get lost in the story or even keep track of characters.
Trevor Noah's Born a Crime was even more fascinating than I was hoping. He had a very unique upbringing, and his success is a testament to his amazing mother. Very good read.
This was a very original YA fantasy that I really enjoyed. The book is thick, but the plot moves along quickly, with cliffhangers all over the place and a nice romance (of the rocky kind...they're still very much teenagers).
Between Shades of Gray was a slightly younger YA novel set in Lithuania in 1941, when the Soviets were deporting scholars, agitators, nationalists...anyone they perceived as a threat. Lina and her family are deported to Siberia, where life is even worse than you thought it ever could be. A beautiful, heartbreaking story.
Another one from Brene Brown. I felt this was more personal than the other books I have read so far, and I also think she chose quiet examples from her life about how to apply these principles. We often look for solutions to the tragedies in our lives, but I also think we have to look for solutions to the bad habits and bad mindsets that happen more frequently. She inspires me.
Oh my goodness. I haven't cried at the end of a book in a long time, but this one did me in. I have a thing for old people, I guess. This was a lovely story reflecting on a man's life, taking second chances, and finding love in unexpected places. It was a very poignant, beautiful novel.
I could not put this down. And then I recommended it to everybody I talked to for two straight weeks. I did not even know the Osage murders and the accompanying corruption was a thing, and I was fascinated in the story of trying to bring the perpetrators to justice. Excellent writing.
This was a murder story from a more personal point of view. The author carefully crafted a narrative, showing how no event occurs in a vacuum and the nuances of life, personality, and random luck factor in to everything. I finished reading it because I was curious, but the topic was heavy and hard to read.
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew was a little different than I was expecting. I knew it was old, but it was published in 1881! The book felt stilted, awkward, and contrived: "oh they are so poor but so good and so happy (did we tell you they were SO good?), so many good things will happen to them, including finding rich, lonely relatives and friends that will solve their problems." Meh.
I think I expected something a little more light-hearted from this collection of short stories--funny stories of Army wives hanging out together or even just the simple longing for significant others. Instead, this explores loyalty, devotion, connection, patriotism, war, loss, and many other difficult things through mostly sad stories. I am sure many of them are based on true-ish events, which made it even more sad to me.
Positive Discipline is saving our life over here, in the parenting game. Read it.
Encyclopedia Brown meets Lemony Snicket. Enjoyable and snarky. This is set during the All the Wrong Questions series, which these mini-stories reference but don't depend on.
This book is now a movie, though I'm not sure I would want to watch it (spoiler alert: cannibalism). The book itself was well written, but I think I need to stop reading ship sinking stories.
Clementine was a sweet story of a little girl with all the right intentions and all the wrong outcomes. I thought the characters were realistic and the writing honest. I would listen to this one again.
This book is physically small and the chapters in it small as well. Each chapter focuses on a principle of astrophysics and then explores it for a while (light, the beginning of time, etc.). It was very straightforward and understandable. I think it is made to be put down for a while in between topics, but I think it would have helped me to read it all at once. Also, scientists can be a pretty sassy bunch.