May brought with it so many life changes. Best of all: we found a house to make our home! It’s true that good things come to those who wait. After putting in several offers that were rejected, my boyfriend and I both felt like our lives were a roller coaster. The elation that came with finding the “perfect” house only to come crashing down when that text message appeared from our realtor letting us know that we didn’t get it. Just as my boyfriend and I talked about looking but not actively getting attached, our house literally fell into our laps. So the month of May was spent finding a balance between work and life and all the while closing and dreaming of our new home. So it’s no surprise that I found little free time for reading. But now that June is here, and we’ve moved and are getting settled, I plan to enjoy every bit of summer reading on our new deck with a glass of Prairie Berry wine in hand.
by Alice Hoffman
This is a title that’s been on my “to-read” list on Goodreads for quite some time. So when I saw it come across my library, I decided to check it out and give it a chance. The story is set in the 1800s in the Caribbean and is about the life of Rachel (eventual mother of painter, Camille Pissaro) who dreams of leaving the small island life behind and experiencing the world. But Jewish life for women comes with many restrictions, which Rachel balks at. She does agree to some comprises at first, but as time passes, she begins to follow her own path, which quickly excludes her and her family from the rest of the Jewish community. I’ve never read Alice Hoffman before but I am a big fan of the movie Practical Magic which is based on a book that she wrote. But I found it a struggle to get through this one. I also had a million other things on my plate distracting me, but once I reached half-way I had to force myself to finish. I thought the beginning was really interesting, but about half-way I lost interest in the characters. They seemed very flat compared to the earlier chapters where they were vibrant and full of life. And perhaps that was intentional. I found adult Rachel extremely disappointing. She appeared to me as selfish and hypocritical. I also found the switch of voices for each chapter a little awkward and found I myself flipping back several pages to remember who it was I traveling with at that particular time. The ending felt extremely rushed as well and before I knew it, I was rereading the last sentences over and over trying to understand what the heck just happened. Even though it lost my interest, there are a few more Hoffman titles I’d like to try.
by Candice Millard
After canceling and replacing my hold request for the book twice, I decided to give the audio book a try. I figured with my 30+ minute commute twice a day I would knock through this book in a week. I adored Millard’s biography on President Garfield, Destiny of the Republic, and I’ve wanted to read her biography on Teddy Roosevelt’s journeys on the Amazon, so I assumed a biography on Winston Churchill would be just as exciting and interesting. But the dry British narrator destroyed that hope. After disc 4 I found myself ejecting it and not caring if I ever heard another word of this story again. I ended up reading Churchill’s Wikipedia page for any answers to questions I still had. Maybe some day I’ll get around to reading the actual book.
by Marianne Monson
Oh, man! The one book I wanted to enjoy so much! When I first saw this on our New Book lists last year, I immediately requested it simply because of its title. And while I loved the quick readability (because it’s considered a Young Adult non-fiction) I was left wanting to know more about these fantastically awesome women. Many thanks to the bibliography that followed each chapter gifting me book titles to do just that! For a simple collection to introduce young women to the courageous and unknown stories of women who braved new frontiers, I’d say this is a great little collection.