Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Sunday Salon: What I Read on My Summer Vacation

Haven't had much of a chance to read today, but I am hoping to remedy that later this evening. I did, however, spend most of the past week reading for hours at a time ... because we were on vacation!

Last Sunday I was finishing up The Red Leather Diary by Lily Koppel (you may remember that my theme for last week's Sunday Salon was about the literary salons of days gone by and what we do here). Well, imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this post on Lily Koppel's blog which linked to my post! To say I was thrilled and grateful is putting it mildly.

Back to the vacation reading. On Monday I read Beth Kephart's latest novel, Nothing But Ghosts.

It was just as wonderful as others said and just as wonderful as I expected. As with Kephart's House of Dance, this may be billed as a young adult novel but it doesn't come across as one. I'll have a longer review soon, but I've already recommended it to my aunt as a gift idea for a very mature 16 year old. (She might also buy her The Red Leather Diary - along with her very own red leather diary.) Nothing But Ghosts has definitely earned 5 stars from me.

Tuesday, a gorgeous beach day, found me spending six hours at the ocean's edge with Vicki Forman's memoir This Lovely Life.

I read this heartbreakingly inspirational and beautiful story in one day. It's hard to put into words all that this book is about, but it is a story about Forman's twins, Evan and Ellie, "super-preemies" who were born at 23 weeks. I've been thinking about Vicki, Cliff, Evan and Ellie so very much this week, since the end of July holds a few poignant anniversaries for this family. I have a difficult time rating books that I know are based on true stories, because it feels like I'm assigning a number to a person's life, so I've decided not to rate memoirs from now on. However, if I was rating This Lovely Life, it would definitely be 5 out of 5 stars.

Finally, I wrapped up the week at the shore with Matters of Faith, Kristy Kiernan's second novel.

I liked her debut novel, Chasing Genius, so I was glad to see her second novel on the New Releases shelf at the library. Overall, Matters of Faith was a good read - not the most incredible book I've ever read, but not the worst either. It seemed to have a little more substance than typical chick lit, and it did make me think in several places. However, there were a few plot elements that may have been worth developing a little more and the ending seemed a bit rushed ... hence, this will be getting 3.5 out of 5 stars.

On tap this week is a short story collection (Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff), Looking for Alaska by the much-heralded John Green (never read anything of his), and Jennifer Weiner's Little Earthquakes on audio as something light to help ease my way back into the drive to work after a delightful week's vacation.

Hope you have a great reading week!


Meghan said...

So far your reading looks great! I loved Nothing But Ghosts too. I really have to read more of Kephart's work!

Beth Kephart said...

Thank you, Melissa. All of your book choices look wonderful.

bermudaonion said...

You've got some great books lined up for your time at the beach. I loved Nothing But Ghosts, too!

Beth F said...

Good summer reading. I loved Nothing but Ghosts. Now I have to read more of Kephart.

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Meghan and Beth F., have you read House of Dance yet? Also highly recommended.

Beth K., you're quite welcome. I'll have a longer review (a very positive one) soon.

bermudaonion, there's nothing better than beach reading, is there?