July was a month spent on vacation which meant I had so much more time to read and read I did! I may have also gotten caught up in the competition of the Seattle Public Library 2016 Summer Book Bingo. My yearly total for books now stands at 39 books which means I read 10 books this month. TEN!
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson was my "Recommend by a Friend" bingo slot and it was one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Written entirely in prose, the book details Woodson's life from her birth in the midwest to her childhood in the South and her eventual move to New York City. I'm so glad my friend recommended this book to me.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout fulfilled my "You Finish Reading in a Day" bingo slot. I could not put this book down. I started reading it at my Silent Book Reading Party and came home where I kept reading until almost midnight. Getting up at 5 a.m. the next day to workout was so painful but worth it. This is a story about a woman who ends up in the hospital and her estranged mother comes to visit. She shares details of their lives and you learn so many interesting things about Lucy Barton.
Lobster is the Best Medicine by Liz Climo fell into my "Recommended by a Librarian" bingo slot on accident. I was at the library and noticed this silly little book as a recommendation for the Graphic Novel slot. I didn't notice until I got home that this year's bingo card doesn't have this slot so I looked for somewhere else to fit this book and bingo!
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren fell into my "From Your Childhood" bingo slot. I never read this book as a child but my Mom talked about it often. It was always on my list but I just never ended up reading it. It's quite a confusing little book and I'm not sure I would have liked it as a child. It was an amusing read though.
Lust and Other Stories by Susan Minot was my choice for the "Collection of Short Stories" slot. I'll be honest, I'm not really a short story person and this collection didn't really grab it. I was looking for more lust and I was left with ehhh, ok.
The Night is Filled with Wonder by Kristel Gibson was my "Local Author" bingo winner. Kristel is actually a good friend of mine and an amazing writer. She wrote this book awhile ago and I quickly bought it. Then I promptly did not read it which was such a waste! I really enjoyed this book and wish I had read it sooner. This novel is set in the prohibition days after the war. A girl has lost her treasured brother in the war and is fighting to find his friend. After finding him, she lands in a heap of trouble and has to turn things around.
Pretty Good #1 by Matthew Amster-Burton had me ready to pack my bags and head to Tokyo. I was craving good Asian food the entire time I was reading this book and fulfilled my "Cookbook or Food Memoir" slot. Scott kept saying, Japanese again? Not Sushi? Japanese? This book is about Matthew's month long trip to Tokyo with his family to basically eat and eat he did. Oh man, the food sounds amazing. I'm ready to go now!
Shrill by Lindy West was my choice for the "Memoir" bingo slot and I really enjoyed it. West is a former reporter for The Stranger, a Seattle Weekly newspaper. Her life living out loud as a larger woman was inspirational. She's had some mean things written about her but she's done some amazing work.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates was for "We Need Diverse Books" and this is probably the one book that changed me this year. It is a letter from Coates to his son. He details his upbringing in Baltimore as an African-American boy to an eventual writer in New York City. His use of words sang to me and I was highlighting everything. One of my favorite passages is, "Poetry aims for an economy of truth -- loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts. Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions - beautiful writing rarely is. I wanted to learn to write, which was ultimately, still, as my mother had taught me, a confrontation with my own innocence. my own rationalizations. Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life." I believe everyone should read this book. EVERYONE!
Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert is the tale of Ruth Thomas and her upbringing on an island off the coast of Maine. Stern Men are the helpers on lobster boats which is the main occupation on the island Ruth grows up on. This was my "Written by a SAL Speaker". After "Eat, Pray, Love" I was not impressed with Gilbert but then I read "Big Magic" and now I want to read all her books. This one has been great!
I have eight more slots on my bingo card for a blackout which I expect to achieve before the September 6th deadline. Read on!