Monday, July 11, 2011

Rivoting Reads for Summer

I've been reading....and reading and reading. I just can't seem to get enough of it lately!  I just keep hearing about good reads and lucking out with fabulous finds from the library. I feel like I'm playing catch-up from college, when I hardly ever read books for pleasure because I was always plugging through books and articles for class.  With the lack of such requirements dominating my life, reading has become one of my very most favorite things to do.  With that being said, here are a few of the books I've read the past two months that have truly inspired me and some thoughts on each.  (I know the descriptions are pretty vague, but I'm paranoid about giving away any of the good stuff!)

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
Ever since elementary school, I have had a special interest in World War II.  I'm not sure why I've been drawn to veteran and Holocaust survivor stories, but I think it is because of the unbelievable amount of pain and suffering these individuals overcame during one of the darkest periods in human history.  Sarah's Key is a fictional story based on a true event, the Vel’d'Hiv’, a roundup of more than 13,000 French Jews in Paris by the French police kept very well hidden in French history.  The story is told from the point of view of a modern day journalist attempting to shed some light on the event so that those who suffered may not be forgotten.  The author uses an amazing twist to bring characters together that will help you remember this time in history.

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
A Ya-Ya Sisterhood-type book, this one is set in the 1950s and follows the lives of five very different women who meet as a result of taking their children to the same local park each week.  As the women become closer, they discover that they each have a secret love for writing and start their own writing club to hone their craft.  By the end of the book, I wanted to be a Wednesday Sister and found a new sense of admiration for the women raising a family in the fifties.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger Once again, I hadn't seen this movie, (I have never been a huge movie-watcher) so I wasn't sure of the plot before I dove in.  This novel is a romance that locks you in from the very first page, but keeps you on your toes throughout as you try to keep tabs on where you (and the characters) are in time and what information they may or may not know.  The author's concept of time and what happens when life occurs in the past and present simultaneously is incredible.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
I'm working on this one right now.  Again, I never saw the movie, so I can enjoy this one without any pre-conceived feelings towards the characters and plot.  I love Lily for her sassiness, Rosaleen for her honestly and August for her heart.  I'll keep you posted on my thoughts after I've finished the book, but so far, so good!

 Other Books I've Read Recently and Recommend:
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon:  READ IT!  You'll love it.  One of my top 10 favorites.  Romance, mystery, everything you want in one book.  Thanks, Scott K for this recommendation. 
Born To Run by Christopher McDougall:  I'm totally into running, so it was easy for me to drink this Kool-Aid and get obsessed.  While I admit it's probably more interesting to runners and endurance athletes, I'd recommend it to anyone curious about the human body and its amazing ability to run non-stop for hours.  The book describes a tribe in Mexico known for its incredible ability to run swiftly for hours on end, practically barefoot, without stopping.  It will blow your mind and make you think twice about your running form.   
Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy:  I recently finished up an internship with the Colts and simply had to read the book after seeing Tony's legacy on the organization.  Although my life isn't nearly as crazy as Tony's, this book gave me a unique perspective on an NFL coach's thoughts on faith in such a fast-paced, high-pressure environment in a way that was easy to relate to. 
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers  A story based on Hosea and Gomer from the Biblical chapter of Hosea.  Set during the 1850s California Gold Rush, this story focuses on faith, forgiveness and love.  LOVED it.

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