Not In Jersey: What I’ve Been Reading #3 What I’ve Been Reading #3 - Not In Jersey

What I’ve Been Reading #3

Friday, October 19, 2012

After I cut last week’s What I’ve Been Reading post short, I decided I’d come back today with more of the books I’ve read recently. I actually read some of these books before the ones I wrote about last week! I use goodreads.com to keep track of my books, but sometimes forget to add them to my list. I’m using the app now too, so hopefully that will help!

My book group read City of Thieves by David Benioff a few months back. I unfortunately did not read the book on time for the book group meeting, but it was one of the only books I remember our group unanimously liking! So after the meeting I got the book from the library. This is a “novel based on [Benioff’s] grandfather's stories about surviving WWII in Russia. Having elected to stay in Leningrad during the siege, 17-year-old Lev Beniov is caught looting a German paratrooper's corpse. The penalty for this infraction (and many others) is execution. But when Colonel Grechko confronts Lev and Kolya, a Russian army deserter also facing execution, he spares them on the condition that they acquire a dozen eggs for the colonel's daughter's wedding cake. Their mission exposes them to the most ghoulish acts of the starved populace and takes them behind enemy lines to the Russian countryside. There, Lev and Kolya take on an even more daring objective: to kill the commander of the local occupying German forces. A wry and sympathetic observer of the devastation around him, Lev is an engaging and self-deprecating narrator who finds unexpected reserves of courage at the crucial moment and forms an unlikely friendship with Kolya, a flamboyant ladies' man who is coolly reckless in the face of danger.” I agreed with the rest of my book group, finding this book to be historically interesting with likeable characters and a well-told story.

A Month of Summer by Lisa Wingate was one of my finds at the Library Book Sale. “For Rebecca Macklin, an ordinary summer brings about an extraordinary change of heart when she discovers that her aging father has been wandering the Dallas streets alone, and his wife, Hanna Beth, has landed in a nursing home. Now Rebecca must put aside old resentments and return to her childhood home. In this moving story of separation and forgiveness, two women will unravel the betrayals of the past and discover the true meaning of family.” What this story is really about is what happens when two dependent people are left without care. When Hanna Beth has a stroke, her husband who has Alzheimer’s and her son who is developmentally delayed are left to fend for themselves. Rebecca arrives and needs to work out how to help everyone. I like books that are told from the view points of different characters. This is told from the view point of Rebecca and Hanna Beth. I enjoyed this book, as did my mom!

Insurgent by Veronica Roth continues the story from Divergent, which I wrote about in my first What I’ve Been Reading post. “Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.” This was a long book which was action packed. It confused me in parts and of course ended with another cliffhanger. My favorite part of the series so far is the friendships that the characters share with one another.

A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White was another Library Book Sale find. “For more than ten years, Naomi and Phil Harrison enjoyed a marriage of heady romance, tempered only by the needs of their children. But on a vacation alone, the couple perishes in a flight over the Grand Canyon. After the funeral, their daughters, Ruthie and Julia, are shocked by the provisions in their will. Spanning nearly two decades, the sisters journeys take them from their familiar home in Atlanta to sophisticated bohemian San Francisco, a mountain town in Virginia, the campus of Berkeley, and lofts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As they heal from loss, search for love, and begin careers, their sisterhood, once an oasis, becomes complicated by resentment, anger, and jealousy. It seems as though the echoes of their parents deaths will never stop reverberating until another shocking accident changes everything once again.” This story of what happens to two sisters after losing their parents was an okay read which I think could have been done better. Aside from letters written by Julia and an excerpt from a memoir written by Julia, the main voice of the book is Ruthie’s. I would have preferred alternating chapters by the two sisters. It wasn’t a bad story or a boring book, I just think it could have been written better. I actually forgot to record this book on my Goodreads list until I was looking at my books and remembered I’d read this one. I guess I would call it “not very memorable!”

Stay tuned for most posts like this one in the future! And feel free to make book suggestions in the comments.