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Summer reads

July 12, 2009
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I’m a big fan of the nonfiction/memoir genre and these books did not disappoint.  I enjoyed each of them and am happily passing on the titles to you guys.

The Boys of My Youth is a great collection of autobiographical essays that bounce back and forth from Jo Ann Beard’s earliest memory through her adulthood.  Her relationships with her family, best friend, and the boys/men in her life are all here, written with both humor and seriousness.  I was completely drawn in by how honestly and unselfconsciously Beard shares these pieces her life.  I’m looking forward to reading more from her.

19 Varieties of Gazelle is a small book of poetry that is a total gem.  It’s actually pegged as a young adult book, but anyone over the age of 10 could appreciate it on varying levels.  Naomi Shihab Nye is the author of the 60 poems in this collection.  Many were written in response to 9/11, where she coped by doing what she knows – writing.  These poems show us the Mid East in ways that the mass media here in the U.S. don’t usually let us see.  These people, these families of mothers and fathers and children and grandparents, are just like us ~ this book demonstrates that so beautifully.   This is a moving and very hopeful collection that I’d love to have on my bookshelf to share with my kids.

(This was the book selection we did for book club in June.)

Kelly Corrigan’s memoir, The Middle Place, has been my favorite book so far this summer.  (Ingrid – thank you for suggesting this one!!) It is a cancer survivor story.  A father/daughter story.  A parenthood/parenting story.  A humorous story.  An emotional story.  It’s all of that and more.  It’s about that “middle place” where you’re still someone’s daughter, but you also have a family of your own.  It’s where those two worlds meet.

I laughed out loud and I cried and I reflected.  She just took me through every emotion as though I was right there with her when she found a lump in her breast and when she heard the news that her dad had been diagnosed with cancer shortly after she was.  This book is just plain good.  It’s heartwarming, but not sappy.  It’s funny, but she never shies away from the cancer or the journey it takes her on.

(This is the book club selection for July.  I can’t wait to sit down around that table to talk about it!)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2009 12:02 am

    The boys of my youth has been reced to me already once this summer. Is it a “chick” book? GREG

  2. July 13, 2009 2:23 am

    That book was excellent wasn’t it!? Thanks for the other two reading suggestions.

    Have you read any of Jodi Picoult’s books? I’ve read two and the most recent was My Sister’s Keeper. I really really liked it. I’m reading Greg Isles’ newest book but am going to try and read all of Picoult’s previous ones once I’m done.
    ~ingrid

  3. foododelmundo permalink
    July 16, 2009 8:07 am

    Oh thank you for the reco’s – I love to read – am in the middle of Julie & Julia right now and loving it. If you aren’t already on GoodReads(dot)com you should create an account – it’s the best – and if you’re so inclined you can “friend” me – Mary Winker

  4. sumshay permalink
    July 22, 2009 1:46 am

    The Middle Place is everything you said and more. I loved it. And I’m hoping Kelly Corrigan writes more. She can make you laugh and cry–she’s honest and doesn’t sugarcoat anything. Perfect.

    19 Varieties of Gazelle–probably up there with my favorite books. It’s poetry (but for those of you who are unsure about liking/reading poetry–don’t let that keep you away from this), she does an awesome job of capturing thoughts, feelings and relationships in a troubled time. It’s a great read for all of us.

    Haven’t read Boys of My Youth yet, but it’s in my bag to start next. I’m sure with your recommendation behind it, I won’t be disappointed!

  5. oneordinaryday permalink
    August 3, 2009 4:40 am

    Sippity Sup – I wouldn’t call it a chick book, by any stretch. I don’t usually read what you’d call “chick lit.”

    Ingrid – Thanks again for the recommendation. It was a big hit with my book club too. It’s just a great story. Can’t wait to read what she writes next!

    foododelmundo – I loved Julie & Julia! So funny!! Are you going to see the movie too?

    sumshay – I’m so glad you read the blog and comment!

    ~Michelle

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