Five Favorite Books Lately

I’m going to review them ultra quick.  Blink and you’ll miss it.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.  A beautifully written page turner.  So many elements in common with Patchett’s Bel Canto: South America, dramatic beginning, characters stuck waiting in stressful situations and separated from their cell phones, opera.  But still a completely new and original story.  Really enjoyed it.

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen . Middle schooler turns to 1950s teen popularity manual and writers about the results.  Funny and heartwarming.  Anyone else wonder if a fourteen-year-old actually wrote this?  I don’t really doubt it, but this little part of me wonders.

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the LongestDan Buettner: Investigation of lifestyles in areas with unusually high number of people living to be 100 (topic addressed here).  Easy to read, although I think it could have been written better.  Also, his conclusion is that our life expectancy and quality of life are within our control.  I think his studies suggest the opposite, as most of the centenarians he profiles were just living the life customary to their particular culture.  They aren’t countercultural, as we would have to be to imitate them.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, audiobook read by Cherry Jones: We all finally listened to the whole thing on our last car trip.  Really enjoyed it, especially hearing her sing the songs with a fiddle accompaniment.  Only qualm is that Ms. Jones reads Pa’s lines with a Southern accent.  Charles Ingalls was born in New York and spent most of his life in the Midwest.  Seriously?  All the same, looking forward to getting the next in the series.

Ramona’s World by Beverly Cleary: Girl 1 is having us read certain chapters over and over.  I can’t complain.  I just love this series.

Started but not yet finished:

Pioneer Girl, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the newly released annotated version of Wilder’s original, never-before-published autobiography.  All the footnotes are fascinating but it makes for slow reading.

Reed of God by Caryll Houselander: There are parts I like about this book, but for the most part it’s not my style.  Everyone I know who has read it loves it.  I’m going to persevere.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead  by Brene Brown: I’m disappointed by this book so far, although I plan to at least skim the rest of it.  It has some great ideas but is written in such generalities that I skim over a lot of it.  Not the page-turner I’d hoped.

Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain’s Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII by Deborah Cadbury: Well-written look at the English monarchy during WWII.  Previously all I really knew was what I saw from the movie, The King’s Speech (just realized the movie is based on a book by the same name).  I never manage to finish history books, though, and this time it won’t be any different.

I’m linking up with Quick Lit at Modern Mrs. Darcy, and tomorrow with Jenna for Five Favorites.IMG_8474

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13 thoughts on “Five Favorite Books Lately

  1. I wonder if my son would like Ramona. I was trying to figure out which book is first at the library. I remember hearing about The Blue Zones: the Seventh Day Adventists concentrated in a particular area) had lower stress levels? Attributed to trust and faith in God. (Or something like that.)

    • I think Ramona books appeal to boys and girls. My husband read them as a kid. But there’s also Henry Huggins. . . . And yes, the Seventh Day Adventists in SoCal surprised me. Apparently their religion places great importance on physical health, and many of them are vegetarians.

  2. I’m finally reading Little House on the Prairie for the first time and now I’m very interested to read Pioneer Girl to get the “grown-up” version of the story.

    If you like the Ramona series, you might like Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. It’s memoir but written in third person and reminded me a lot of Ramona.

  3. I’m one of those who absolutely LOVED Reed of God, but I think it requires a particular “mood,” if that makes sense. I read the first few pages of State of Wonder a while ago but was swept off by other books. You make me want to pick it up this summer.

  4. I really liked Reed of God, but it is definitely a different style so I can see how it might not be everyone’s preference for a spiritual read. And I made it a little more than half-way through Pioneer girl but it’s due back today (womp, womp)…so back in line I go. I find it really interesting but my progress was so slow!

  5. Great ones here! I just love Ann Patchett. I just love her. State of Wonder was so odd and weird and at the same time I still liked it a lot. I kept thinking about NFP during the science/jungle bits, but that probably just belies my over saturation of that subject 😉

  6. I’m bummed to hear you have been disappointed with Daring Greatly. I just finished Brene Browns The Gifts of Imperfection and I LOVED it. I hope I don’t have the unfortunate experience of reading my favorite book of hers first. Thanks for the reviews!

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