By Seattle Soccer Mom
Fellow Totebaggers – what are the books you’ve enjoyed reading this summer? Or the books you haven’t liked?
Here are some books I’ve read and enjoyed this summer:
“Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren – combination memoir and science writing. Very good.
“Fool Me Once” – a page-turner thriller by Harlan Coben. I couldn’t put it down.
“Eligible” by Curtis Sittenfeld – a fun, lighthearted retelling of Pride and Prejudice.
“Cure: A Journey into the Science of the Mind over Body” by Jo Marchant. I found this book fascinating – it looks at the connection between the mind and the body. It’s written by a science reporter who has a PhD in genetics and microbiology – but is very readable (lots of really interesting stories).
“The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker – a chance meeting between mythical beings takes set in turn-of-the-century New York. Part fantasy and part historical fiction with a fairy tale-like quality about it.
And of course “Untethered” by Julie Lawson Timmer.
by Honolulu Mother
Atul Gawande now has a book out based on his 2007 New Yorker article on the use of checklists in medicine, piloting, and other fields:
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
His basic take is that although those doing complex work are reluctant to adopt a tool so simple as a checklist, they have proved a very worthwhile way to reduce costly errors and improve outcomes.
Do you use checklists for work or home tasks, or do you create checklists for others to use? How helpful do you find them?
Harry Potter and the curse of middle age: should fictional children ever grow up?
The best children’s books celebrate the innocence and joy of childhood. They capture and preserve it. Do we really want to know that Just William became an accountant or that Charlie sold his chocolate factory to Nestlé and took up golf? Speaking personally, I felt a sense of betrayal when we glimpsed Harry as an adult at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I was reminded of a wonderful film, Joseph Losey’s The Go-Between, which is as much about childhood as it is about love. At the end, the youthful Leo, played by Dominic Guard, is transformed into the elderly, ghost-like Michael Redgrave. “Leo, you’re all dried up inside,” he’s told and he doesn’t disagree. That’s what growing up can do to you. It’s what children’s books fight against.
Thoughts about seeing favorite characters as grown-ups?
Do you enjoy seeing this peek into the future, or does it ruin the magic?
You guys know how I love my lists.
What were your favorites of 2015 (books, movies, music, etc)?
16 Of The Best YA Books Of 2015
50 Best Albums of 2015
by Honolulu Mother
I meant to send this topic in the late spring, so it’s a bit late in the season, but since we’re apparently low on posts I thought I might as well send it in.
Let’s talk about beach books, aka shit lit. What are you reading this summer? Trashy nonfiction still counts — Primates of Park Avenue, the book by the lady who claims to have uncovered “wife bonuses” came out last month. All the also-reads for Primates seem to be shit lit — I haven’t read the sample of Crazy Rich Asians, linked to from the Primates book, but unless the cover is greatly misleading, it’s shit lit. I read a lot of genre fiction for my light reading — mysteries, fantasy, SF — and in that line, I really enjoyed Naomi Novik’s new book, Uprooted. That one’s probably too well written to really be shit lit, but it’s fast paced and very readable.
One of our road trip audiobooks was The Colonel and Little Missie, by Larry McMurtry. It was a fun look at the lives of Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, with the story-telling feel you might expect based on the author. Bear in the Back Seat is another eminently readable non-fiction choice. My 10 year old ended up reading part of it too after hearing me laughing. Those of you with a farming background may particularly enjoy his description of how he decided to change his focus away from agriculture.
If you’re reading Dostoevsky or Piketty this summer, I suppose you can share that too. Are more serious books on your summertime reading list? Or do you save those for the fall, or for the twelfth of never?
I looked for Scott Corbett’s book The Lemonade Trick at the library and was disappointed to find it was no longer available. Fortunately, Amazon has used copies. A couple other favorite children’s authors — Sally Watson and Sydney Taylor (All of a Kind Family) — now have their books back in print. We have a collection of Childhood of Famous Americans books (including lots of out of print ones) and other history books, including the Badger books. What books did you enjoy as a child? Are they still available? Have they been removed from libraries for a reason? (I doubt that drinking unknown concoctions made with your Feats o’ Magic chemistry set is still an acceptable plot line for children’s literature.)