Lots of books! Some good, some bad, one or two AMAZING. I was like a fat kid with cake.
I started reading The Taking by Dean Koontz on the way down to Alabama.
Ryan is a big Dean Koontz fan, and I picked this copy up at a used bookstore for $1. The book was written in 2004, and Ryan says his stuff goes downhill post 2000. The beginning was good, and the ending was great, but the middle went ON and ON and ON. The plot is pretty out there, but I really liked the way he wrapped it up. I'm not mad I wasted the time reading it, but I won't pick it up again either.
Next I read Falling Angels, by Tracy Chevalier, who also wrote The Girl with the Pearl Earring.
The book seemed more about the setting than anything else-an elaborate Victorian cemetery. It was almost as if the author had a picture of this place in her head and that's what made it down on paper the best. The plot was not nearly as well developed as the background.
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett was SO GOOD.
I'm sure this is old news for most of you; the book is a best seller and it's been out for quite a while. But I loved it from start to finish. It was by far the best book I have read in a bit. The book chronicles a young journalist fresh out of Ole Miss who decides to interview the domestic help of Jackson, Mississippi in the early 60's, fueled by her friend Hilly's campaign to require separate bathrooms for black maids. There's a movie coming out with Emma Stone playing Skeeter- I can't wait!
Then I read another Chevalier book, The Lady and the Unicorn.
Once again, it seemed like Ms. Chevalier took one "thing" and built the story around that. In this book, it was a series of famous tapestries. Not my favorite book by any means, but she did tell you what happened to all the characters at the end, which I always appreciate.
After that I picked up What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth: Radio Shangri-La, by Lisa Napoli.
This was a documentary-esque book about a woman who works for NPR who travels to the remote country of Bhutan, where the GDP doesn't exist....instead, there's a Gross Domestic Happiness measurement. I loved it, and it made me want to find out more about that little country. This is a great travel book that really takes you to Bhutan.
I also read Portrait of an Unknown Woman, by Vanora Bennett.
This was all about Sir Thomas More's adopted daughter, Meg Griggs. Sir Thomas More was a big muckety-muck in King Henry the VIII's court who stubbornly clung to Catholicism and refused to recognize the king as higher than the pope-which ended in his execution. Sir Thomas More was famous for his revolutionary schooling of his family, particularly the women. This book did drag a bit but it was a really good piece of historical fiction basted on real life events.
Rounding out my beach vacation was The Beach, by Alex Garland.
I liked this much more than I thought I would! A group of travelers stumble upon the location of a legendary and secret beach in Thailand, and the people they find there have created their own world in paradise. This reminded me of Lord of the Flies but with grown ups. And fields of marijuana.
I also picked up Swampandia! by Karen Russell, Bad Men by John Connolly, Love Among the Ruins by Robert Clark, Being Dead by Jim Crace, and A Secret Gift by Ted Gup, none of which I could finish. I got 2/3's of the way in to Swamplandia! but just couldn't power through. I get maybe 5 pages into to about half of the books I read and just put them down-there are too many good books out there to force myself to slog through a book I don't enjoy.
I love gorging myself on books on the beach! I also signed up for the adult summer reading program at my local library, like a nerd. I LOVE it.
Are you doing any summer reading?