Friday, August 21, 2015

August Reads // Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge

August has been an amazing month so far. I'm not working over-time. We don't have any big plans. It's just been about organizing ourselves and taking it easy. HOORAY! :) 

That being said, I also haven't been on any planes recently. So, so far in August I have only completed 3 books.

1) Breakfast at Tiffany's + 3 Short Stories - Truman Capote 

Most of you have probably seen this movie, I took the chance to read it during the end of our Florida trip and our first week back home. Capote has a talent for description. He makes these quirky characters seem so real and vibrant. I enjoyed the fact that the book was different than the movie. I liked the additional characters. I did like that some of my favorite parts of the movie were in the book as well. But overall, Holly Golightly's character is much less delightful, and a lot more certifiable in the book. You can see that her intentions (wanting to marry rich and live a big life) are much less a whim than they seem in the movie. She's pretty calculated, and unstable in the book. It was very interesting, but had me feeling less attached to her character and the writer's fascination with her. And I don't even want to talk about Cat.

On the other hand, I really liked the three short stories that followed the novel. They were called A Diamond Guitar, House of Flowers, and A Christmas Memory. They were all really good. And I think I liked them overall better than Breakfast at Tiffany's. 

A Diamond Guitar is about a group of men in prison, and a recently arrested young man who changes group dynamic. He is very young and reminds the older prisoners of what they cannot have. Bonds form between the prisoners, and it's kind of a sad story, of what could have been.

House of Flowers was about a young girl who lives in a brothel in the Caribbean. It has a folk tale element to it, a kind of magic, which I loved. She runs away to marry a young man she meets. Conflict arises when her husband's grandmother decides to play tricks on her. On goodreads it seems that many people were disappointed in the ending. I wasn't. I should also mention that the description of the settings especially are really lovely. If you like pretty setting description and short stories I would recommend this one.

A Christmas Memory was the longest short story I read, and it was my favorite. It is about a young boy and his "friend," an elderly cousin. Every year the two have a tradition of making fruit cakes for their friends and family, but they don't have any money. It's a lovely story of friendship, resourcefulness, and quirky characters. As the story progresses you notice that something is off, and then it becomes somewhat sad. But I loved the story, and I loved the characters. I would highly recommend this one!!

After reading these stories, I have a new love of Capote's writing. He is so observant, paints some amazing characters. I can't wait to read more of his work!

2) Lost Lake - Sarah Addison Allen

I love Sarah Addison Allen's books, they are filled with subtle every day touches of magic and rich characters. I found this one at Barnes & Noble for $6 during the summer clearance, so I jumped at the chance to buy it. It follows Kate, a recently widowed young woman, and her daughter Devin as they struggle to find their new normal. It begins with Devin discovering a post card from Kate's aunt Eby, from a place called Lost Lake in Suley, GA. Kate had never been given the post card, and takes Devin to Lost Lake to re-live and remember her favorite childhood summer. The characters in this book are great, I especially loved the older guests at the lake. It made me want to own vacation property.... but overall this wasn't my favorite of Addison Allen's books. Perhaps because there were flashbacks and a focus on Devin that they were a little different than her others that I read. That being said, I would still give this one 4 stars. I would recommend it!

3) The Rosie Project - Graeme Simison 

This one has been really popular recently, and shockingly another book I found for $6 in the clearance section at Barnes and Noble. I started reading, and immediately fell in love with the Don Tillman and the way the story is told. It is quick, it's fun, it's hilarious. Picture Don as a mix between Sheldon Cooper, Hector (from Hector and the Search for Happiness), and Harold Crick (Will Farrell's character in Stranger than Fiction). He is an extremely calculated and intelligent geneticist. He decides that having a life partner would be beneficial, but he knows he isn't interested in smokers or picky ice cream eaters, so he devises a very logical questionnaire to rule out the undesirables, thus calling it "The Wife Project." Along the way he meets Rosie, a woman who is not at all his desirable life partner, but she does need help finding her real father. Being geneticist, Don offers to help and his world is turned upside down. I told KC how good this was. He read it in less than 24 hours. Might I just say, this man is not a huge reader (normally). He has however, read 5 books this summer. :) He loved this one. Highly recommend! 

4) Well-Read Women - Samantha Hahn

This book is an artsy, coffee table type book, and I loved it. It features illustrated pictures of literary leading ladies like Jane Eyre and Anna Karenina, next to beautiful quotes from the novels. I love this book, I picked it up in Florida, because I've wanted it forever. Being and art and lit lover its a great little treasure. This doesn't count for the summer challenge or anything, but it's lovely. I would recommend it just for fun, or to treasure on your coffee table forever. :) 

Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge Update: 6/10 (Hector and Tiffany's are too short!) - and I have clearly switched some of my books around.... Only 4 left! :) 

Summer Total: 9 books(!) 

Year Total: 11 books(!)

Current Read:

The Rosie Effect - Graeme Simison 

The sequel to The Rosie Project. So far it's delightful, but I have found myself working on other projects, so I haven't had as much time for reading this week.

I have put holds on The Selection Series by Kiera Cass and Paper Towns by John Green, but I am 6th on the list for both.

Check out my July Reads too!

What have you been reading lately?!?!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Also: I am super pumped about this!!




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