Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Books I Read in June

Happy 4th of July!

It's a good day over here. We just returned from a visit to Houston to see my grandma, and soon, we're headed over to see Elda and enjoy some fireworks.

But before we leave, I'm behind on these book reviews! As you may recall, I didn't read any books in May, and I was feeling pretty guilty about it. So, I made up for it by reading two books in June.

The first book was Swamplandia! by Karen Russell.

I think everyone needs to go read this book. Here's why: Karen Russell writes the most beautiful prose, and still creates an imaginative world and plot driven story. Her young protagonist, Ava Bigtree, is proof against some of the worst writing advice I ever got (that young people are not "fully formed" enough to center a story around). Here's the exciting premise: Ava's family, the owners and alligator wrestlers of Swamplandia!, is falling apart. After her mother's death, her father and siblings try to cope in their own disastrous ways, leaving Ava to rescue them. For Ava, that means forging through a deadly swamp in search of a ghost. Swamplandia! is outstanding. A masterful follow-up read to St. Lucy's Home For Girl's Raised by Wolves. I found the story spellbinding and jaw-dropping. Karen Russell is officially on my list of iconic role models.

The second book was Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

I'm afraid this book has a much narrower market than any I've ever shared on my blog...women who read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series in their young adulthood will love the throwback. Everyone else...not so much.  The story catches up with Bridget, Lena, Carmen, and Tibby when they are 29 years old. A tragedy changes the course of their friendship and forces them to confront their past mistakes. If it sounds cliche, it is! But it was also a lovely break and a nice, easy summer read. I put it in my pool bag, and I didn't regret it (I'm one of those saps that read all 4 books and cried at both the movies).

Well, I'm sorry for the May hiatus, but I'm back to reading now. I've already finished my first July book (a birthday gift from Brendan), and I'm onto the second book (a birthday gift from my brother). I will look forward to sharing those with you in August!

Before I leave, check out our engagement gift from Brendan's parents that we found on the porch upon arriving back in Austin.

They wrote that we were a "perfect blend" in the card. I was overjoyed! (And I think Brendan's pretty excited too!). Expect more recipes from us soon :) Thanks Sharon and Tim!

Happy reading, and cooking, and 4th of Julying.
<3 S, B, L&Z

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