August Crush: the books I fell for (and didn't)
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
Let’s be honest. I love books about people who do things for a certain amount of time and write about it. This book is about a woman who researched happiness and then spent 12 months trying to make herself happier using resolutions she came up with, similar to Ben Franklin's virtues approach. I got a lot out of this book, perhaps because things in it seemed so simple and practical. It made me think, and it made it's way from thinking into my actions. If you've ever wanted to be happier and thought you couldn't do anything about it, I'd give this book a try.
The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley.
This is the beginning of the Sisters Grimm series, and though I’ve never really been a fan of the brothers Grimm, I really liked this cute spin on them. It’s set in modern day and these girls are descendants of the brothers Grimm, but the stories they told weren’t fairy tales, they were history, and it’s still going on. I entered into a fun, action packed world of familiar characters. You never know what is going to happen next.
Who knew what to expect when I picked up this book by a writer much loved by a good friend? It was beautiful, filled with the joy of everyday life, the haunting quality of loss and the loveliness of being thankful in all things and keeping a gratitude list that started as a dare and became a lifestyle. There is nothing prescriptive about this book, nothing that tells you how to do it, but she shows us how. She, as I told my friend half-way through the book, is amazing in the way we all can be, when we let God move in our lives. I found encouragement here.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.
This is a beautiful children's book with drawings (as you can see) that won it a Caldecott. The hope with this book was to make it seem a bit like an old black and white silent movie, many of which are featured as part of the story. This is children's historical fiction at it's best, inventive, intriguing and not too in depth. Loved it. Oh, and they are making a movie of it, shocking.
This is a Newberry award winner. For me, this can go either way. There are a few of them I loved and a few I can take or leave and a few I really hate. I loved this one. It starts sort of slow, getting you into the world (vintage New York) and slowly brings more magical realism into play. Give this one a try, it's a surprising, fun, quick read harkening to Madeline L'lengle and our desire for the mysterious in everyday life.
Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table edited by Amanda Hesser.
This was a light read all about food and what it meant to people. We hear from chefs, writers, poets and all sorts of people about foods they remember, trips they took and all the fun connections that can be made with food. It was light reading, funny in places, sad in others, but very satisfying.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.
This book was beautifully written magical realism filled with lovely wordplay and descriptions and truly strange subject matter. It's about a little girl who can taste the emotions of the person who made the food she is eating. Her mother is sad when she makes her lemon birthday cake, she tastes the sadness. It was a really interesting concept and I enjoyed it for the most part, but there were some strange bits. Enter, as with most magical realism texts, at your own risk.
I have met the author of this book twice. I have heard him speak about it in depth, attended a meeting of the C.S. Lewis society in Oxford with him and been invited out to have a drink with him, but I had not read the book until now. Michael claims that there is another thread underlying the seven chronicles, the seven heavens or the mystical planets. Having heard his arguments and read the book, I am prepared to agree with him. I've always thought that this was something that Lewis would do, as soon I heard it. I hope it's true. Warning: this is a very scholarly book, read it only when you're not tired! Why do you think it took me so long?
I hope you've enjoyed this walk down August's books. Please let me know what you think of them!