Hello to you! This has been a strange week because Colton’s treatment center was closed on Monday and we had a nice long weekend with him at home. Now I feel like today is Tuesday, except it’s not. Today is Wednesday, which is when I talk about books! I have a couple of finished Booker titles this week as well as a couple of other books that were good fun. I have a hot cup of coffee (despite this morning’s humidity) and I’m ready to chat with you!
FINISHED THIS WEEK:
I received an advanced copy of Little Eve from Netgalley and was excited because I’ve heard great things about Catriona Ward. This book was deliciously dark and gothic, a perfect Scottish setting for the coming fall days. It was a tale about a secluded “family” living in a rundown castle on an island with strange rituals and preparing for the end of days. In the opening pages, a villager delivering food to the castle discovers their bodies, all missing an eye. Everyone in the family is dead except for Dinah, who is barely alive. From there, Dinah tells us the story about life on the island and with Uncle, the leader of their cult. She unravels the mystery of that fateful day and we learn the truth about their lives and their deaths.
The writing was haunting and gripping and the story was disturbing, so this won’t be for more sensitive readers. I found it perfectly creepy and it only crossed my personal lines in the tiniest of ways, which made the story that much more enthralling. Little Eve will be published on October 11, 2022 and is available to be pre-ordered. Did I say this is the perfect October read for those of us who enjoy the scarier side of things? Because it is. And I’m planning to read more by this author as the season shifts because I have a feeling I’m going to love all of her work.
The Maid was a nice book to pick up between some more difficult ones. Molly Gray, maid extraordinaire, is a most interesting person. Presumably she’s somewhere on the Autism spectrum, has a very concrete understanding of the world, and has a difficult time reading other people’s body language and faces. And man — she is good at her job at a fancy hotel. One day she finds a guest, Mr. Black, dead in his bed. From there, Molly falls into the tangle of the world around her and begins to see things in a whole new light.
I really enjoyed this character and her quirkiness. She made me laugh a lot (with her, not at her) and I found her heartwarming and inspiring. I also loved how there were good people in Molly’s life to help her through the trouble she found herself in. I gave the book 4 stars — this is exactly what I needed to read right now.
I picked up Glory because it’s on the Booker list and whew! What a story. Set in a fictional African country, it describes life under brutal and corrupt regimes. Most interestingly, the characters are animals: donkeys, horses, goats, cats, chickens, dogs. They’re all living together in this country, doing their best to get by, and overthrowing their leadership together.
Glory on audio is a force to be reckoned with. The narrator was perfect for the role and brought the accents and language to life. There were moments that were genuinely breathtaking and arresting, which were intensified by the brilliant reader in my earbuds.
Treacle Walker is another book on the Booker long list. My copy has a blurb on the cover that says, Better than anyone else writing in English today. That’s quite a claim, don’t you think? And if I’m honest, a bit repelling. But that’s not the author’s fault, is it? I digress. This is a story about Joe, a little boy with a bad eye who trades an old pair of pajamas and a bone from a sheep for a magical donkey stone that allows him to see things that aren’t there. What’s a donkey stone? Not sure. There was a lot about this book that I wasn’t sure about, mostly: what the heck was happening.
I think I would have enjoyed this more on audio. Treacle Walker, the man who traded with Joe, sounded like The BFG to me and I couldn’t make heads or tails of what he was saying. I could barely understand Joe! I gave it three stars because I enjoyed the magical bits with Joe slipping into different worlds, but I just found this too hard to follow. I’m sure that says more about me than anything else.
We finished Who Was Leonardo da Vinci? at the end of last week for our summer school. There was so much that I didn’t know about him and I love how much I learn from children’s books and the entire Who Was? series. We typically read a couple of these a year. We chose da Vinci because we studied the early Renaissance at the end of this past school year and he was an interesting character that bubbled to the top. This was a wonderful little unit when paired with Leonardo: The Complete Paintings and Drawings. And when the school year begins, we’ll be learning more about great artists with books including Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art, Women in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the World, and Old Masters Rock: How to Look at Art with Children. Have I mentioned that I’m excited about the school year?
And that’s this week’s reading. It was a perfect mix that kept me interested and engaged and I’m looking forward to going to the library today to pick up a few more books. I hope to be back on Friday with a few joyful things. Until then — take good care.