Monday, July 17, 2017

Book Bingo 2017 | Mid-summer Update.

you can see all these books on my Summer Bingo 2017 shelf on Goodreads
Hello, readers! Do y'all feel like it's "mid-summer" already? School starts around here in just three weeks (yep, August 7 ... crazy, huh?!) so for a lot of folks, summer is winding down. Same with my bingo card.

Friday morning I finished Hallelujah Anyway for a fourth bingo. I also finished South of Broad (upper right corner); it was even better than I expected, which is saying a lot! I gave it five stars, bringing my summer reading total to five five-star books. I've already raved here about Jimmy Carter's A Full Life, but I haven't shared much at all about the other four. Here are the short reviews I posted on Goodreads.

South of BroadSouth of Broad by Pat Conroy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Bingo - An author who died last year.

Pat Conroy can tell a story beautifully and this is one of his best. Beach Music has been on my all-time favorites shelf for years; this one goes there, too. It has all the things I love about a book - an epic story, family secrets, interesting characters, great settings (Charleston and San Francisco) a little mystery and a little love.

As I was reading this - and raving about how good it was - a few friends said they'd read The Prince of Tides and wasn't Conroy a really dark author. I replied that Beach Music was different - all the great things, and yes, a little dark, but the overall feeling is that the book is just.plain.good. South of Broad is like that, too.

Note - I listened to parts and read parts. The audio was decent. The southern accent wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible; and the male narrator did a fine job with both male and female characters.

The Snow ChildThe Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Bingo - Set in a place I'd like to vacation.

An hour into the book, I wasn't sure I'd chosen the right square for this book; the cold, hard frontier of 1920's Alaska is certainly not a place I'd like to vacation! But as I got deeper into the book, I saw love and friendship and wild beauty and I decided it was OK.

I love everything about this book. It's magical, heartbreaking and beautifully written.

Sigh, I can't wait for Ivey's next book!

The Gene: An Intimate HistoryThe Gene: An Intimate History by Siddartha Mukherjee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summer Bingo - Non-fiction about science. I'm adding this book to my "everyone should read" shelf (along with Gawade's Being Mortal, Mukherjee's previous book The Emperor of All Maladies and Ellenberg's How Not to Be Wrong) and recommending it to nearly everyone.

My friend Bonny wrote a wonderful review.

I'll just add this:
Fascinating material, beautifully presented, ultimately approachable and such important information for everyone to understand. The moral and ethical problems we're facing now around genetic testing and gene therapy give me pause. Where we could be in another five or ten years, well ...
The genome is only a mirror for the breadth or narrowness of human imagination. It is Narcissus reflected.

It is nonsense to speak about nature or nurture in absolutes or abstracts. Whether nature, that is the gene, or nurture, that is the environment, dominates in the development of a feature or function depends acutely on the individual feature and the context.


One Hundred Years of SolitudeOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summer Bingo - Translation. Wow. I LOVED this book on audio. Listening to it - hearing the names just roll off easily, the inflection that helped me see the really funny parts (seriously, I laughed out loud many times) and the sad parts. I am so glad I gave the book another chance - a big thank you to all my friends on Goodreads who kept telling me how wonderful it was!!

notes from my 2008 reading: it was ok, but honestly, after so loving love in the time of cholera, i was disappointed. it may be a while before i attempt another of his books.

That's right, back in 2008, I read the book and gave it two stars ... just goes to show that time of life - and book format! - can make a huge difference in how we perceive books.

I then spent most of the rest of Friday (hence, no blog post 😉) sorting through my to-read shelves to come up with a plan for the remaining six squares. I started LaRose (An author of color) and A Piece of the World (About art) and committed to three others (Strangers on a Train, The History of Love and The Memoir Project).

That leaves just the Free Square undecided. I've only purchased two books this summer - The Memoir Project and Hillbilly Elegy (which I was going to read for Bingo, but decided I'm just not in the mood); there's room in the budget for a third (and I have audible credits). I'm hoping y'all can help me choose something good. Recommendations welcome!!

Once I finish this card, I'll get back to the Read Harder Challenge. I still have a ways to go ... but there are several titles (including Beartown, Their Eyes Were Watching God and One Man's Meat) I've been looking forward to for months!

It's been a wonderful summer - and honestly a pretty good year - of reading so far. I hope you can say the same!



8 comments:

  1. Excellent! I will have my first bingo this week! I will be interested to hear what you think of LaRose - I read it last year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love your card! You certainly read a wide variety of great books (quickly!). I could not get myself to read HE either and after reading several reviews I decided it wasn't for me. I loved LaRose. The History of Love is one of my all time favorites!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're well on your way to a cover-all! And it's great that so many of the books you have read have been real winners.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That is a great card full of great books! I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think of LaRose, A Piece of the World, and Strangers on a Train. You've read so many good books I had trouble coming up with recommendations that you haven't already read, but here are two possibilities: The Children Act by Ian McEwan and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. Very different books but I loved both of them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a nice assortment of books you've read and such great ones too! You will have a cover-all very shortly. I finished South of Broad and loved it too. As for recommendations, I have a few older ones, but favorites of mine: Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner; Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund; Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You have read such a variety of good books this summer! I got my first bingo last week and when I finish the book I'm reading now, it will give me two more bingos! I would recommend Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury or Bambi, my two favorite books from Summer Bingo this year.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great on and a wide variety of titles...but you always do have wide tastes and interest. Congrats on your almost getting there. Read on!
    Cheers~

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love reading your reviews Mary and am so inspired by the depth of your reading! LaRose was one of my favorites too and History of Love (second attempt caused by lost book 5 years ago!) will go on vacation with me in August.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for the feedback!