A Month of Great Books

Lots of other things going on in the past month, with Autumn Jubilee plus more car club events and more, so reading time was a bit more sparse. If it wasn’t for the early morning hours, I wouldn’t get much reading done. But four books for today’s reviews are spectacular, all highly recommended with one dud. The first two books were recommended on my blogger buddy Vicki’s blog, Colorways By Vicki (also a great site for hand dyed fabrics). She listens to audiobooks and gets more reading done that way than I could hope to ever do! Amazon links provided, thank you for using my links when you can.

Haven Point by Virginia Hume – A multi-generational story, the reader sees the relationships between the main character, Maren, as a young bride, then a mother, then a grandmother. Her relationships with her husband, her daughter and her granddaughter are the essence of the story. The timelines jump around, and it is essential to the plot, as the secrets cross generations, slowly unfolding to the granddaughter in the most present timeline. The writing is realistically presented, easy reading and draws the reader in over the course of the novel. (Spoiler alert) The hurricane at the last part of the novel is a bit heavy handed in the author’s attempt at metaphor, but overall I did enjoy the novel and would recommend as a light read.

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore – A fascinating historical fiction novel surrounding the legal battles between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over the invention of the light bulb and the fight to win the ‘Current War’ of alternating current vs direct current. Lawyer Paul Cravath, Edison, Westinghouse and Nicola Tesla’s own writings, articles and books provide the details, although in actual fact, some of the scenes took place over years rather than months or weeks. Interestingly, the author provides a detailed description of the actual events in the afterward of the book, and was just as interesting (in some ways even more so) than the story. Highly recommend!

These next two books are excellent reads, and the first one I will want to read it again.

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt – Heartwarming and uplifting story, a little different than the usual. A highly intelligent octopus named Marcellus sees what the humans do not, and tries his best to help a woman find out what happened to her son many years before. Marcellus does this with his prodigious memory, his keen observation skills, and his penchant for escaping his tank and collecting things. His smug attitude is hilarious. This is not a talking octopus story, yet he communicates quite well by leaving things from his collection of treasures for the humans to find. The ending is wonderful. Highly recommend!

The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore – My Sweet Babboo read this nonfiction book on his Kindle and recommended it. It is the story of Elizabeth Packard in the 1860s who was sent to an insane asylum on the word of her husband who did not like her outspoken views. At the time, women had no rights at all, they were chattels of their husbands, subject to their whims and could be ‘put away’ without cause. At the time, there was no oversight of institutions, and the doctors that ran them ruled with iron fists with abusive policies and torture to make women submissive and meek. Women speaking out with political or religious opinions different than their husbands were subject to being diagnosed as insane, and committed. This book is powerful in its exposure of the injustices of the past, and in the last epilogue, relates the history to things still going on today. At times it will make you furious, at times heartbreaking, but ultimately, Elizabeth Packard would not be silenced, and dedicated her life to passing legislative bills and laws to ensure married women rights to their possessions, money, and the right to have a trial before being sent to a mental institution. She is responsible for many of our modern laws protecting women’s rights, and an unsung hero. Don’t let the length of the book deter you, the pages fly by, and the last 100 pages are footnotes to actual documents and writings used to tell the story. Highly recommend!

Did Not Finish – The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave – books with stupid, weak female protagonists and sullen step-daughter teenagers are not appealing. Wallbanged at 50 pages.

What are you reading now?

21 thoughts on “A Month of Great Books

  1. Julie

    The Woman They Could Not Silence reminds me of The Yellow Wallpaper fiction by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, except your book was for real! I decided to read spooky things in keeping with the season. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo about Chinese families in Malaya. It was very interestingly structured and I enjoyed reading about their customs. And my second book was The Haunting of Maddy Clare set in 1920s England. This was a more traditional ghost story. I enjoyed the inter-war timeframe.

  2. I just finished a light mystery with a surprise but a feel good ending. “Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel” by Samantha Silva is fantastical fictional backstory of how Charles Dickens found the characters for his “A Christmas Carol”. Because most readers know the characters from Scrooge to Fezziwig and beyond, it is interesting to find them intertwined in new ways that lead to their eventual roles in “A Christmas Carol”.

  3. I don’t care for books with weak sullen women in them and so often they will have a teenager in them who is so immature and whiny that I can’t stand them – A strong women is usually a good read to me. On a totally different subject line if you like John Grisham I just finished “the Rooster Bar” and it was good. It was published in 2017 on scam law schools.

  4. Rheanna

    Thanks for the recommendations! I didn’t mind The Last Thing He Told Me, but would agree that it wasn’t a favorite.
    I am currently reading Lessons in Chemistry. It reminds me a bit of The Rosie Project. A female chemist in 1951 is frustrated with being shoved aside and not recognized for her accomplishments. She ends up falling in love with a quirky genius who doesn’t undervalue her. I am finding it an easy, enjoyable read so far.

  5. I am happily continuing the Irish Country Doctor series by Patrick Taylor. I don’t care for the language, but he does apologize for it and explains that it’s part of the vernacular, so I just move on. Since I enjoy character-driven tales, I’m well-rewarded with quite a vast of characters along the lines of the James Herriot books and Jan Karon’s Mitford series. I’ll feel lonely when I finish the long series, which will be soon.

  6. I read Remarkably Bright Creatures and I loved it! Such a different type of story. Right now, I’m reading Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves. It’s the 2nd in the Vera Stanhope series. I enjoyed watching Vera on Britbox, so I wanted to deep dive into Cleeves’ books.

  7. CarolE

    Thank you for your recommendations. Remarkably Bright Creatures looks like a good one to start with! I laughed out loud at your “wallbanged” comment! I have had a few of those!

  8. jseccurrtwcnyrrcom

    Carole,

    Love your book reviews and my library has three of your recommendations available on my favorite medium…audio! Yay!

    The Violin Conspiracy which you highly recommended was my favorite listen this month. Brendan Slocumb’s writing was compelling and gifted. On the nonfiction front, I listened to Zero Fail by Carol Leonnig who writes about the US Secret Service…an insightful read.

    I applaud you for your honesty on books that don’t make the grade. My litmus test is after an hour of listening, if I am not engaged or the book’s character or direction are not appealing, I move on. My time is too precious to waste.

    Thank you for sharing your reviews! Valuable!

    Jo Anne

  9. Loris Mills

    Great to read your reviews, Carole. I just read a new book by Elizabeth Berg that I really enjoyed. “Earth is the Right Place For Love”. As well as one by Rachel Linden, The Enlightenment of Bees. I haven’t read much non-fiction lately and these were wonderful.
    And by the way, I’m still trying to re-home more stamps and papers if you’d like another priority box 🙂

  10. Shari Holden

    A book I recently read that I highly recommend is “The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett”. It deals with multigenerational friendships, birth, death and aging. It laughter, tears and joy.

  11. Niki Barber

    I read 2 books by Michael Koryta this month, So Cold the River and Never Far Away. I liked both and recommend them. I preferred Never Far Away. I also read How the Light Gets In by Louise penny. It’s a police mystery in Canada. Fine as a stand alone book, probably better if you’ve read some of her earlier ones. I like her style and characters

  12. Joan Sheppard

    “Wall banged” a book. WOW. Now I did read one that I fed to my dogs (they didn’t like it either!). Your new selections look promising. Best part of the library is no cost, no foul. I think the octopus story gets the nod this week. Thanks.

  13. Susan

    I read, “Remarkably Bright Creatures,” by Shelby Van Pelt, about a month ago. I really enjoyed it. Other books that I have recently read and would recommend are:
    “Uphill Both Ways,” by Neta Jackson
    “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry,” by Rachel Joyce and it’s sequel, “The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.
    “La’s Orchestra Saves the World, by Alexander McCall Smith

  14. Terri Karasch

    Thank you for your book recommendations. I read 2 of your recent recommendations, The Violin Conspiracy, and The Dutch House, thoroughly enjoyed both. Just finished Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan, great read. Also recently, The Marshking’s Daughter (for the 2nd time) and The Girls In The Stilt House.

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