I've been making a conscious effort, lately, to go back and re-read some of the books I already have. I have a lot of books in my house but I only keep the ones I know I will read more than once. The books I don't care for so much get donated to the local thrift store. I consider my books as old friends and new friends. I am a printed page person. I cannot read books on a screen, I've tried and it just gives me headache. I need to hold the physical book but it's about more than just holding the book, it is the smell and feel of the paper. I enjoy how the book feels in my hands. Covers feel so different and some have raised fonts or a beautiful dust jacket. Others have a fabric cover with an embossed design which is begging to be touched. The paper used for the pages can be so different too. I like the ones which have a deckle edge that looks like an old book. This month has been a great mixture of old friends and new!
At the bottom of my pile, are my two new Japanese crafting books. One is about embroidery and the other about making small creatures from felt. I don't know the titles or authors because it is all in Japanese but they are beautiful, inspirational books!
Next up is "The Supreme Macaroni Company" by Adriana Trigiani. I have loved this author for several years and have read all her books. This one is the final book in her "Valentine" trilogy. The focus is on family, love and work and how these fit together in real life. The characters are mainly Italian and there are great descriptions of trips to Italy. The first time I read this, I was totally unprepared for the tragedy that overtakes Valentine, I had been sucked into the chaos and joy of her extended family and cried hard with her when the bad times came. It's a great story though and I do like books that have a real plot and a proper ending!
"Lost Lake" by Sarah Addison Allen is also a book I have had for a while and this was my second read. Sarah's first book "Garden Spells" is my favorite of her books. All her books are whimsical and quirky. The characters are real though and I like to lose myself in their worlds. I become attached to them! I enjoyed this book better second time around. I think I read it more slowly. I have a tendency to devour new books by my favorite authors and sometimes that isn't a good thing. Sometimes you have to slow down and let the story do it's magic and this book, like her others has plenty of magic woven through it. This book also has a layered story and a satisfying ending.
"The Aviator's Wife" by Melanie Benjamin was a new book. It is historical fiction about the wife of Charles Lindbergh. I didn't come to this book with any real knowledge about the characters or events. I found it fascinating. I couldn't believe how devoted she was to him even though he was an unpleasant husband, at least in this portrayal. In her obsession with him, she reminded me of Bella in the Twilight series! It was interesting to observe the development of their relationship through all the difficulties they faced with the Press and the Public. It made me sad to see how Anne Lindbergh behaved and the choices she made but I realize reading her story now with the time lapse and changes in society since then makes a big difference. It was a story with much sadness in it but I'm glad I picked it up.
"The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green was my book club book for May. It is a teen book and I don't think I would have read it otherwise although my daughter is a big fan of his books. There is a lot of back story to this book and John Green and his brother are very interesting guys. They have several educational YouTube channels. John Green also started the "NerdFighters" because of bullying he experienced at school. It promotes the message that it is ok to be different, to be a nerd or geek. The NerdFighter motto is "Don't Forget To Be Awesome" or DFTBA. The book follows two friends with terminal cancer and their blind friend. It sounds really depressing but I found it uplifting just as I did "The Book Thief". It was witty and devastating at the same time. I was not at all prepared for what happened while I was waiting for Hazel to die. The movie opens here next week and I will be seeing it and taking a box of tissues!
"The Girl In Hyacinth Blue" by Susan Vreeland was another re-read. I found this book disjointed the first time and no better this time. It follows the history of a Vermeer painting backwards in time to the painter and his subject. Each chapter is like a short story and the end of each story is the beginning of the one before it. I like the concept of the book I just found it difficult to read and keep track of.
And Finally.... "Beauty" by Robin Mckinley. This book was recommended to me because one of my all time favorite books is "Wildwood Dancing" by Juliet Marillier. It was a light read, a re-telling of the story of Beauty and the Beast. I loved that it was so different to the versions I've come across before and certainly bore no resemblance to the Disney version! I don't think "Beauty" has the depth of Juliet Marillier's books. It seemed simpler somehow but it was a satisfying story and my daughter and I both enjoyed it.