Around here, Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of “summer.” In Virginia, most public schools don’t start until after Labor Day due to the “King’s Dominion law,” which I guess was passed to serve the interests of King’s Dominion and other summer tourism businesses who need high school kids to fill their job openings and families to fill their rides. That means we’ve got a few more days to finish our “summer” reading. I read a few books this month that you might enjoy on your last trip to the beach, your last afternoon at the pool, or your last evening on the patio.
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Now I See You: A Memoir, by Nicole C. Kear
The first book I read was Now I See You: A Memoir, by Nicole C. Kear.
I was interested in reading this book after I saw Christine’s review, but since she got an advance copy, I had to wait a few weeks until I could get it for myself!
The book recounts the author’s experience after she learns that she has retinitis pigmentosa and will gradually go blind. She goes to great extremes to try to live a normal life for as long as she can–but is she living life to the fullest or living in denial? I found some of her antics a bit hard to believe, but I could relate to being part of family that would rather focus on the positive than talk about serious things. Given the subject matter, the tone is quite light–although that also fits with her coping mechanism.
Take Me With You, by Catherine Ryan Hyde
My favorite book from this month was Take Me With You, by Catherine Ryan Hyde.
The story focuses on a teacher who is on his way to Yellowstone for an annual camping trip when his RV breaks down in a small desert town. The local mechanic is able to fix his RV, but asks him to take his children with him for the summer. It’s hard to say more without giving too much away, but needless to say everyone gets more out of the trip than they bargained for.
While some parts of the story tug at your heart strings with the subtlety of a Hallmark Channel movie, the book is heartwarming without being cloying. I thought the author was really good at developing the characters, and there were some scenes that struck me to the core because they could have been based on conversations we’ve had with our son this summer.
Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty
After the relative seriousness of Take Me With You, I was ready for what I thought would be the “lighter” fare of Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty.
Yes, I knew it was a murder mystery, but since I didn’t expect it to hit close to home, I figured it would be lighter reading. In fact, even though I enjoyed The Husband’s Secret, I wasn’t sure I could get interested in another story focused on elementary school families. To my surprise, I really enjoyed this book too.
The book is basically a “who done it” tale, but it also is a “who got done” tale, because you don’t even know who got killed until the end!. The story recounts the events leading up to the fateful Trivia Night, developing the characters and revealing their liaisons, their conflicts, and their secrets along the way. This is probably the best “beach read” out of all the books I read in August.
Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
I just finished reading Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng this week.
The story follows a family in the aftermath of a tragedy–the body of their teenage daughter Lydia was found in the neighborhood lake–as they try to figure out what might have happened. Each of her parents think back to the very beginning–when they first met, got married, and Lydia’s childhood–while her older brother focuses on more recent events–including a neighborhood boy she’d recently been hanging out with.
If I think about it too much, I’d probably say this book is a bit depressing. The description on Amazon calls it “a gripping page-turner, about secrets, love, longing, lies and race.”–that sounds too serious for the last few days of summer!
Did you finish all the books on your summer reading list?
Are you reading anything good right now?