Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Reading Roundup - May 2017

Book Day! I've been working my way steadily through my Summer Reading List - Here's what I read in May.


1) The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. Forty years ago, Anthony Peardew lost a keepsake from his fiancee on the same day as her tragic death. He spends the rest of his life collecting and meticulously curating a museum of lost items in his house, which he leaves to his sad and lonely housekeeper/personal assistant Laura upon his death, with the charge that she attempt to restore as many items as possible to the original owner. It's cute enough but a little twee. Everything comes together a little too perfectly at the end and there's a supernatural element which always annoys me if I'm not prepared for it.


2) The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler. This book made me feel a little grim about the hearts of men in general and navigating my son's teenage years in particular. It takes place over three generations and revolves primarily around a Boy Scout camp in north Wisconsin. I didn't really like or connect to any of the characters.


3) On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman. This is a nice little rom-com. It's light and cute and fun if a little predictable, but I don't think anyone's looking for the surprise twist ending in this genre. It's about a rather topsy-turvy year in the main character's life after she buys an adorable little house on Turpentine Lane. Thanks for Carly for the recommendation!


4) The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova. This book takes place in Bulgaria, and while I did enjoy the setting - Bulgaria sounds so beautiful and I enjoyed the folktales and history woven in - and the main characters are well drawn and likeable despite their flaws, this book didn't have the same magic for me as The Historian. It goes back and forth in time between an American woman recently arrived in Bulgaria in the modern day who gets caught up unraveling the story of a brilliant musician whose life was destroyed by years spent in the gulag in the aftermath of WWII. (Spoiler alert: The years in the gulag are pretty grim).


5) The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country by Helen Russell. This is a memoir of the author's first year living in Denmark after her husband takes at job at Lego. It's always fascinating to read about other cultures and the author's writing style, reminiscent of her former career in women's lifestyle magazines, is light and funny. This book is less helpful if you're hoping to incorporate any Danish philosophy into your own life because she concludes that many reasons for Denmark's high happiness rating are unique to Denmark. For example, there is a very high level of trust in the government. It would be laughable how untrue that is in America if it wasn't so sad.

That's all! As usual I'm linking up with Stephanie and Jana for Show Us Your Books - I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been reading lately!

18 comments:

  1. Crazy about the Danish trust in the government. I definitely (somewhat naively) feel that way in Canada and our government is similar to Denmark's, but I don't think it's a general feeling in any way. I haven't read anything by Kostova but the Historian is on my list, I think! On Turpentine Lane is on my list due to Carly as well. Glad to hear it was good...sounds like a nice summer read :)

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  2. Well, now that I've picked myself off the floor from laughing so hard at the idea of people trusting their government ... I should probably add that book to my TBR because I could use a little happiness. I don't mind books with supernatural aspects but I do dislike it, generally speaking, when it comes out of nowhere. It feels like a bit of cheat at that point.

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    1. Yes, Exactly! I enjoy books about ghosts, magic, etc if I know that's involved at the start but it seems fake to have what seems to be a perfectly "normal" book wrap up with a ghostly presence.

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  3. Steph sent me her copy of Butler's book and I haven't read it yet. Shotgun Lovesongs and Beneath the Bonfire were both amazing but I'm nervous about this one.

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  4. I'm really curious about The Year of Living Danishly! Bummer so many of the happiness factors are only suitable if you live there, but it makes sense.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. It was still a really interesting and funny glimpse into another culture, You should check it out!

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  5. I gave The Hearts of Men a shot, but couldn't finish it. Now that you mention worrying about your son's teen years, maybe I should. I have two! Haha! I'm very interested in reading all the Danish living books!

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  6. That's a bummer about The Shadow Land. I have it on my NetGalley list and was hoping it's as good as The Historian.

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  7. I feel the same about supernatural elements - always annoyed if I don't know about it going in.

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  8. Oooh I might have to read The Shadow Land. My SIL was born in Bulgaria so it would be interesting to read a book set there!

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  9. "There's a supernatural element which always annoys me if I'm not prepared for it" - so, so, so true! I don't mind supernatural or fantasy, but I need to know the book has it!
    The Hearts of Men sounds interesting...!

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  10. I recently picked up the Year of Living Danishly at Savers. Hopefully I can get to it soon. Pam

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    1. It was really funny and interesting - I hope you like it!

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  11. Added On Turpentine Lane (I love fluff!), and The Keeper of Lost Things. I have Kostova's books on my TBR but haven't gotten around to any of them yet. I have the Historian at home but it's so giant. It's a bit intimidating. HA. Glad you enjoyed Living Danishly, it sounds great, but I do love a good actionable book for incorporating things into my own life. That's really depressing about the government in the US. So so so so the opposite. I'm very intrigued by The Hearts of Men, but I think I will be pretty depressed by it. Seems like a pretty good reading month! XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  12. The Keeper of Lost Things has such a pretty cover, but nooo to a surprise supernatural component! I'm so glad you enjoyed On Turpentine Lane- it was such a fun, lighthearted read! I want to read The Hearts of Men, but probably won't make it a priority anytime soon- I definitely want to read The Year of Living Danishly, it sounds so interesting.

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  13. I'm interested in all the Danish books but also thinking that it may make me depressed that I don't live in Denmark or Sweden or any of those lovely places.

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  14. I want to read The Year of Living Danishly. I'm interested in other cultures, especially those that have a different approach to family leave and work/life balance

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    1. It was so interesting! I really wish the U.S. had a similar approach to work / life balance and the priority on spending time with family.

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