Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Reading

I remember being handed homework on the last day of 8th grade (and thinking my teacher must be crazy if she thought we would be coming back to school the following day to turn it in). But this wasn't regular homework, this was summer reading. Ugh. I've always loved to read, but what drove me bonkers about reading for school was the teacher choosing the books. I was always biased against them right from the start because I didn't want to be told what to read. Thankfully, no one is telling me what books to read now so I'm enjoying my summer reading ;)

Dead End in Norvelt: Really enjoyed this one! Jessica wrote about planning to read it this summer and I took the idea from her. :) It's about Jack's summer - he's grounded after accidentally firing his dad's gun and mowing down the corn his mother is growing for the needy. The only time he can leave the house is when Ms. Volker needs a scribe for her obituary column, and there are quite a few old ladies passing away this summer . . then add in a meddling biker gang, arson, nose bleeds, and poison (oh my!). Even with the unexpected plot twists, the characters were my favorite part of this book. I loved reading about Bunny teasing Jack, what Jack was reading/learning about, and how Ms. Volker would tell off Mr. Spizz. I'll definitely be reading more books by Gantos this summer!

Dinner, A Love Story: Jenny is a pretty typical gal - she wrote this book as half memoir  half cookbook. It details how dinner has changed over the past 15 years or so for her, starting with simple meals for her and her husband in a tiny city apartment, followed by the chaos of cooking when you have small children underfoot, and ending with her bigger place in the suburbs, and slightly more mature daughters. :) An overall cheerful read, and I'm pumped to try a few of the recipes!

The Silver Linings Playbook: Nine times out of ten, when a book is made into a movie, I read the book first and then watch the movie. This book was one of those times when I watched the movie first (I didn't realize it was based on a novel) and it clouded my judgement of the book. The movie deviated from the book quite a bit (certain characters weren't included in the movie or were characterized differently, some happenings became more prominent in the movie while others were completely removed, the overall sequence of events had been changed). I guess similar things are done to most movies to make the story appropriate for that medium - it was more noticeable to me this time because I watched the movie and read the book so close to each other that the details hadn't faded in my memory yet. A good book, but in the end, I prefer the movie version.

Al Capone Does My Shirts: This is the Depression-era story of Moose and his family, who have recently moved to Alcatraz because his dad was hired by the prison. Very little of the book actually deals with Al Capone though, so you may be disappointed if that's what you're reading for. (The only thing that bothered me was how his sister's autism was presented (mostly her savant syndrome) - but I'm sure it wasn't the author's intent and I'm trying to let it go.) The focus is actually on Moose's relationships with members of his family - mom, dad, and sister, Natalie - and how those change as he grows up. It was well written, but still sounded like a kid's voice. I may read the sequel . . 

What have you been reading lately?

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