This is my monthly roundup of books that arrived on my shelves in June. I also share a bit of what’s been going on in our family’s lives as well. I can’t believe we are in the month of July already. 2018 is half over and summer will be gone in a blink of an eye. Last month, I was able to slow down a bit and spend some time reading. The kids have been busy with running, jobs, drumline, and theatre camp. We had some wonderful evenings on the porch, time spent with great friends, and a huge family reunion to finish the month. We are looking forward to a low-key family vacation this month and more lazy summer days to take us through the rest of the month. Here’s to happy reading ahead!
Currently Listening: EDUCATED – Definitely will be a favorite of 2018
If you would like to purchase any of the books in this post, click on the photo or title of the book to be directly taken to the product on Amazon. If you choose to purchase the book I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
THE LOST FAMILY
By: Jenna Blum
Published: June 5, 2018
I seriously can’t wait to dive into this one. It is the kind of book I love and Jenna Blum knows how to write a good historical fiction novel. I first fell in love with her writing in GRAND CENTRAL.
In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket bourguignon and impeccable service and to admire its dashing owner and head chef Peter Rashkin. With his movie-star good looks and tragic past, Peter, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the most eligible bachelor in town. But Peter does not care for the parade of eligible women who come to the restaurant hoping to catch his eye. He has resigned himself to a solitary life. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of the Nazi death camp while his wife, Masha—the restaurant’s namesake—and two young daughters perished.
Then exquisitely beautiful June Bouquet, an up-and-coming young model, appears at the restaurant, piercing Peter’s guard. Though she is twenty years his junior, the two begin a passionate, whirlwind courtship. When June unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Peter proposes, believing that beginning a new family with the woman he loves will allow him to let go of the horror of the past. But over the next twenty years, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways.
THE STORYTELLER’S SECRET
By: Sejal Badani
Published: September 1, 2018
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
I was drawn in by the synopsis of this one.
From the bestselling author of TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream.
Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past.
Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.
ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE
By: Gail Honeyman
Published: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Viking – Pamela Dorman Books – New in paperback June 5, 2018 Penguin Books
This was the Target Book Club Pick of the month. It was also one of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks and she will also be producing the movie version of this book. It’s been on my to-read list for quite some time, so I’m happy to have my own copy now.
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ALMANAC 2019
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Everything
Published: May 8, 2018
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books
I shared NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ALMANAC 2018 with you last summer. I gravitated towards these kinds of books as a kid and I still love them. I always learn something!
The world’s best-selling almanac for kids is back and in demand! This year’s includes the latest information about what’s new and newsy in our world, special dates to anticipate, and fresh topics, and much more.
Have fun keeping up with our quickly changing world with the New York Times best-selling almanac, curated and created just for kids. It’s packed with incredible photos; tons of fun facts, crafts, and activities; and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, and more. New features include an updated “Fun and Games” chapter filled with all-new games, jokes, and comics; all new weird-but-true facts; “19 Facts for 2019” feature in every chapter; updated reference material; and cool stuff on topics today’s curious kids care about.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC GUIDE TO NATIONAL PARKS
Published: January 19, 2016
Publisher: National Geographic
I couldn’t pass up this Kindle Deal. We love the National Parks and I hope to visit them all someday.
In time for the National Park’s 100th birthday, this flagship, best-selling guide is fully revamped and updated with all new text, photographs, and design. National Geographic writers hit all 59 national parks—including Pinnacles, the newest in the crown—for intensive on-the-ground research. 300 photos and 80 colorful maps complete the extraordinary package. Practical and comprehensive coverage includes engaging, individual park descriptions and brief history, travel planning tips, itineraries and directions, activities, park lodges and hotels, visitor center contact information, and camping information. Well-known national parks writers provide new insights into the parks and share favorite spots for viewing scenery, wildlife, sunsets, and more in this Centennial edition.
A Writer in the Kitchen
By: Laurie Colwin
Published: November 18, 2014
Publisher: Open Road Media
I love food memoirs and this was part of a Kindle Deal so I thought I’d check it out.
In this delightful celebration of food, family, and friends, one of America’s most cherished kitchen companions shares her lifelong passion for cooking and entertaining. Interweaving essential tips and recipes with hilarious stories of meals both delectable and disastrous, HOME COOKING is a masterwork of culinary memoir and an inspiration to novice cooks, expert chefs, and food lovers everywhere.
From veal scallops sautéed on a hot plate in her studio apartment to home-baked bread that is both easy and delicious, Colwin imparts her hard-earned secrets with wit, empathy, and charm. She advocates for simple dishes made from fresh, organic ingredients, and counsels that even in the worst-case scenario, there is always an elegant solution: dining out. Highly personal and refreshingly down-to-earth, Laurie Colwin’s irresistible ode to domestic pleasures is a must-have for anyone who has ever savored the memory of a mouthwatering meal.
SEVEN DAYS OF US
By: Francesca Hornak
Published: October 17, 2017
Format: Kindle – Library Overdrive
I don’t remember where I first heard about this book, but it sounded like a story I would enjoy. I added it to my library list and when my turn popped up, it was during my crazy month of May and I only got 40% in. So, I put myself back on the list and now it’s back. I’ll be finishing it this time. It’s quite captivating…this family full of secrets during the Christmas season.
It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years, the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.
For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.
As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.
In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive.
By: Tara Westover
Published: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Random House
Format: Audiobook – Library Overdrive
This has been on my list since it came out in February. I decided to see if our library overdrive had it in audio and have patiently waited for my turn to come up. I’m absolutely enthralled with Tara’s story and I know this will be a top read in 2018 for me. The author narrates her own book and I’ve just been riveted. I would highly recommend it!
Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.
Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.
Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wondered if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
EDUCATED is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.
I hope you can find time in your summer to read a few good books! Let me know what you are reading in the comments!