Do you have any big Labor Day plans? We’re spending the day playing family board games, going swimming, and then later this evening we hope to watch a movie all snuggled up on our couches. My father-in-law passed on Saturday. While the last year had been particularly rough on him, and we knew we didn’t have much time left with him, there’s still that too familiar punch in the gut over the finality. Thankfully, my 18-year-old daughter already had the day off work and my 16-year-old son, who just started his very first job, was able to get someone to cover his shift today so we could grieve and love and laugh and be comforted by one another’s presence. So that’s the plan.
Today marks the end of the Big Book Summer Challenge, hosted by Sue Jackson of Book By Book. So I figured I’d just use today’s post to share the “big books” I squeezed into my busy summer reading schedule. To qualify for the challenge, the book just has to be over 400 pages. They can be print books, e-books, graphic novels, or even audiobooks. Knowing we had an extremely busy summer planned, I committed to only three big books which I’ll share, below. Have you been putting off some big book reading? If so, plan to join Sue’s annual challenge next summer (usually starts Memorial Day weekend and runs through Labor Day).
If you’re new to this blog, welcome! Today is Monday, and I regularly participate in a weekly #IMWAYR meme. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!
Amari and the Night Brothers:
B. B. Alston
January 19, 2021
Balzer + Bray
I knew pretty much nothing about this book before I picked it up in June, but WOW was I in for a surprise! Thirteen-year-old Amari Peters is devastated when her older brother goes missing, but why is no one else concerned? Shouldn’t there at least be a huge investigation before assuming he was into something illegal? When Amari can’t let it go, she finds something hidden in her brother’s old closet which will change her world forever. This first book in a supernatural investigations series is imaginative and fantastical with a hidden magical society, budding friendships, and a young girl who desperately needs to find her voice. Book #2 will be released in February and I’ll definitely be looking for a copy just as soon as it becomes available!
March 16, 2021
Henry, Holt and Co.
I was completely lured into the world of Daunis Fontaine, a biracial, unenrolled tribal member who often feels an outcast on the Ojibwe reservation. The family relationships were rather complicated, but the history set up the story for an unexpected twist I did not see coming. I deeply appreciated the cultural learning and, while long and tedious, it was fast-paced and I never wanted to stop listening until the mystery was solved and everyone was safe. I’m so grateful to libro.fm for the opportunity to listen to this audiobook as the narration was wonderful!
A Promised Land
November 17, 2020
This book was, by far, my longest “big book” of the summer. I purchased it on audible and listened off/on in August (as it’s over 29 hours at normal speed!!). In the first couple chapters, I struggled to stay engaged. I would lose interest and I even remember telling my friend, Elisabeth, of The Dirigible Plum, that it certainly wasn’t Michelle Obama’s Becoming (which I ADORED!). However, it didn’t take long before I was ALL IN and would easily become frustrated when I had to stop listening for any period of time.
I found the complicated political relationships fascinating! Politics can be both a beautiful and ugly thing, but I came out of this book feeling such relieved and proud as I could more easily see the big picture. It provided such vibrant color and context to many happenings from those years – things I’d heard bits and pieces about from articles or news stations. And with all that is happening in Afghanistan right now, the insight into Afghanistan issues during Obama’s first term was eye-opening – including shared discussions between Obama and Biden during that time period. It just goes to show that never know the whole story when we’re not on the inside. There are countless twists and turns and minute details occurring that impact even the smallest decisions that are being made by POTUS.
It wasn’t until I was into the last leg of the book that I discovered it’s only Volume 1 of the autobiography. I mean, yes. I kept wondering how in the world he was going to squeeze the remainder of his presidency into the last few chapters of the book. But it wasn’t until I was nearly finished that I did some poking around and figured it out. Duh! Now I can’t wait to read the rest of the story!!
To Be Read:
I am hoping to get around to finishing and reviewing the following books, this coming week!