Friday, July 1, 2016

June Reads

This June we spent a week at the beach and I got much less reading done than I anticipated but it was still a pretty good reading month and I read some interesting stuff.

James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl)- James accidentally drops his magic crystals by the peach tree and before he knows it the peach at the top of the tree has grown as big as a house. After finding a secret entrance into the peach he makes friends with an assortment of bug pals and starts off on an adventure across the ocean. I think reading The BFG first was a mistake because so far no other Dahl book has stood out as much to me. Maybe I'm expecting too much of them because The BFG was such a superb piece of story telling. I'd been looking forward to this book for a while and it was okay but it just felt like things kept happening to the character and they'd all sit around exclaiming about the same thing. That was the extent of the dialogue. Or the bugs would be like 'James fix it!' and that was it. The ending was quite lovely, though. Much better than Matilda, which was rather abrupt.

In the Woods (Tana French)- Twenty years after a childhood trauma, Rob Ryan finds himself back in his childhood home town as a detective on a murder case of a young girl. The case is chillingly similar to his own unsolved mystery. With most of his memory of the trauma missing, Ryan has the chance to solve the murder and his own mystery once and for all. This was a thrilling story. It was engaging and character driven and beautifully written. My favorite mystery/thriller/detective story I've ever read. I'll definitely read more of the Dublin Murder Squad.

The Accident Season (Moira Fowley-Doyle)- The accident season comes at the same time every year. For a month strange accidents leave Cara's family bruised, cut, shattered and sometimes worse. With layers of clothing and padding on the furniture they all try to survive. This book was craaaazyyyy. In a great way. I was so intrigued by this idea of an accident season and people not being able to escape injuries no matter how careful they were. But it's so much more than that. There's a thrilling plot line and wonderful characters and growth. The book builds and builds until the beautiful ending that leaves you going whaaaat.

The Mark of Athena (Rick Riordan)- Percy and pals getting into trouble trying to save the world again! This book brought back Annabeth which was awesome because I love her. I loved that this book had such a focus on her and her parentage. There was a lot in the story about the power of thought and problem solving and I really enjoy that her character is such an embodiment of that. 

Daughters of the Sea- Hannah (Kathryn Lasky)- Spoilery- This book is hard for me to describe because there's not much I can say without giving it away so don't read if you don't want to know! I was looking for a mermaid book for the beach and my tiny, farm town library happened to have this in stock so I grabbed it and it was pretty meh. There's a mermaid but not until the last few pages and the story before that is pretty dull. The characters are boring until the very end of the book. A lot of questions go unanswered. The plot is spread too thinly across too many pages. Where there should have been a building of anticipation for the big reveal it fell flat. I don't know if I'll carry on with the series. I'm interested but mostly because it's mermaids and I love mermaids, not this particular story. It had such potential but it never got its junk together enough.

Daddy-Long-Legs (Jean Webster)- Jerush Abbott, an 18 year old orphan, is given an opportunity of a life time- an anonymous millionaire has agreed to pay for her education in exchange for one letter a month telling him of her studies. Daddy-Long-Legs is written through letters from Judy to Daddy. I read this book pretty often. At least every couple of years. My worn out, torn copy is one of my favorite possessions. I first read this book as a 13 year old girl (so my copy is 16 years old) and fell so hard for it that I have continuously kept coming back to it like a favorite comfort food. It's good for my soul. Judy is so lovable and wonderful and her tales are enchanting and fun. I will always keep going back for this book.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory (Caitlin Doughty)- A licensed mortician tells her experience as a crematory operator through witty and eye opening stories about how we view death in our society and how we treat the dead. I was so excited to read this book and it did not disappoint. I learned so much and I'm still thinking about this book a week later. It's poignant and funny and makes you seriously consider how we as a society try to hide death and how we treat the dead. It goes into some possibly triggering scenes, such as baby cremation and an unfortunate circumstance of a cremation machine screw up that leads to some.. melted human remains, for lack of better terminology, but in my experience with the book nothing was over the top or grotesque. It was all very respectful and humbling. A great read.

That's it for June! Another month dusted. Hard to believe half the year has gone by! Have you read anything about death or the caring for the dead? I find myself very curious to continue on and find some more books on the subject. If you have any recs, let me know! 

Happy reading!