I can’t wait for school to be out so I can sit in the hammock or out on the porch with a glass of lemonade or coffee or wine and read for hours and not feel guilty! How about you? That’s my favorite part of summer: having time to read! I have a list a mile long and can’t wait to dive in.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve read two really good books. The first one was “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. I found it on a “10 Best Book Club Books” lists on Pinterest. I had no clue what it was about. When I picked it up from the library and saw it was a memoir, I was a little disappointed. Even though I’ve read a couple of really outstanding memoirs (like Unbroken), I kind of wasn’t in the mood. But! This books was amazing! I’m glad I didn’t let the genre deter me. In “The Glass Castle”, Jeannette takes us through a first-person account of what it was like growing up in her very unconventional family. It starts with a bang as a 3-year-old Jeannette recalls her first memory and it’s a doozy: she’s being severely burned while making herself some hot dogs. She’s 3 and boiling hot dogs on the stove…alone! She retells all of her family’s moves from the dessert to California to West Virginia. She recalls being homeless, being hungry and so very poor. She recalls being hurt, being teased, being left alongside of a country road. The crazy part? She tells her story with a lot of love. I was surprised by that. After all her family put her through, you would think she would have so much anger but she really doesn’t. Her memoir reads like fiction. You can’t believe all of these things are happening to this family. Some have disputed whether or not these things actually happened; Walls maintains they did. I enjoyed reading it as a story of strength and perseverance instead of a story of pain and anguish. You really can’t believe everything that happens to this one family. Give it a chance, I did, and I really liked it!
The second book I read was another non-fiction book from the same Pinterest list. Again, I was surprised when I picked it up from the library and discovered it was non-fiction. The book was “The Secret Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. It was the true story of Henrietta Lacks and her stolen cells. In 1950, she died from a very aggressive form of cervical cancer and the doctors at Johns Hopkins took some of her cancer cells without permission (which was common practice at that time). Her cells were amazing; they grew and reproduced like no other. Doctors grew them in a lab, sold them and used them to make many gains in medical research including the Polio vaccine and AIDS research. Her family had no idea that this had happened and when they found out, they were outraged. The book goes back and forth between conversations with Henrietta’s family in the early 2000’s to flashbacks of Henrietta’s life. It wasn’t gripping, and at times it was very scientific and dry, but it was fascinating. The way Henrietta was treated, the way her family was treated, will leave a bad taste in your mouth. I liked it because it was different from anything I’ve ever read. It’s worth a shot!
Oh! I just remembered that I also finished “Notorious Nineteen” by Janet Evanovich. Any Stephanie Plum fans out there? Evanovich needs to wrap up that series right quick. Nineteen was a snoozefest.
Right now I’m in the beginning of “The Smart One” by Jennifer Close and so far it’s really great. It’s total fluff fiction! I’ll let you know how it turns out. What good books have you read lately?