Tuesday, July 14, 2020


I've been reading a good bit more than usual thanks to all this time at home, and surprisingly, I'm 4/4 on good book selections. I'm sharing those selections with you today. I really enjoyed all of these books, and it's kind of hard to pick a favorite. I'm one of those people who really doesn't like to watch a movie trailer because I feel like they give too much of the story away. I've tried to keep that in mind while peaking your interest in what I've read this summer.

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum - I really didn't know what to expect from this book. I just knew a lot of people were talking about it, so I read a small amount about the plot and bought it. It is set in America and written by an Palestinian-American. It is the debut novel of Etaf Rum. It's a close look into the lives of Arab women, their violent culture, and the abuse they at times endure. The story is woven really well. It follows the lives of several women and their arranged marriages, and the daughters of these women who decide they prefer another way of life, which in turn brings great conflict into the family. It seems strange to say I enjoyed this book, but I did. It's not a feel good book; it was sad, but I appreciate the insight I gained about the culture.

The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah - If you forced me to pick a favorite of these four, it would definitely be this one. The story doesn't start in Alaska, but pretty early on in the book, the setting becomes Alaska. About half way in I decided I was ready to get on a plane and go; I really want to see it one day now.  The story takes place in the seventies, post Vietnam. The book is a story of survival. But not just the survival of people, but also of ideals, communities, families, relationships, and at some points, sanity. The family that we follow has a father, mother, and daughter. The dad was in the war, and much of the conflict has to do with his inability to leave it behind. There is also a deeply moving love story between the daughter and the person she meets after the move to Alaska. The book reminded me how the characteristics of love create bonds that are almost impossible to break. Okay, I better stop there.

In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn - This book I stumbled on from the Amazon Prime free reading list that comes out each month. I had not heard of it, but it sounded intriguing. It chronicles a trip that a family of five with a special needs son and two daughters takes with another family of friends. While on the trip, an event transpires that threatens their lives. It's definitely a character study of people who are put into situations beyond their control, and we see how danger affects everyone so differently. Some relationships are destroyed, others are restored. Many of the characters are teenagers, and I've been teaching teens for 23 years. I really enjoyed this one.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides - I was nervous about reading this one because, well, I'm a chicken. I don't want to be scared. But I ended up being pleasantly surprised and only a little scared. I don't think I've read a "psychological thriller" in a really long time. Although, I've taught a few things that might fall into that category. The characters in this book were really well-developed in my opinion, and I felt like I understood why they were the way they were. One of the main characters, the silent patient, is arrested for killing her husband. But why is she silent? Multiple people want to figure it out. And finally, there is a fabulous twist in the story! This one was hard to put down. I stayed up late several nights.

Okay. Your turn. What are you all reading?
Leave a comment below!

See a few other book suggestions here and here.

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