The Books of May 2021


Ignore It! by Catherine Pearlman

This book teaches frustrated, stressed-out parents that selectively ignoring certain behaviors can actually inspire positive changes in their kids.

Honestly, this book could have been a brief article. The whole idea is that when we acknowledge behaviors of any sort, that acknowledgment reinforces said behavior. Most of the time when children are acting out, they want someone to pay attention to them. Make sure you try your best to pay attention to those behaviors you want repeated. Not my favorite parenting book and a no brainer for anyone who has learned even a little about child development.  Verdict:

Outlawed by Anna North

The Crucible meets True Grit in this riveting, adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform the Wild West.

What a brilliant premise! Outlawed started out as a book that I couldn't put down, but fizzled out along the way. Once the main character joins the Hole in the Wall gang everything started to feel rushed and not all that developed. I just wanted more and I didn't feel like it delivered. Verdict:

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

 The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a powerful and thrilling love story about the what-ifs that arrive at life's crossroads, and what happens when one woman is given a miraculous chance to answer them.

I found this to be such a delight! I'm always so happy to discover a read that I find myself hugging upon completion. If you are someone who finds yourself wondering about the what-ifs in your life, then I think you will really appreciate this gem. Verdict:

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

. . . an epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America's most defining eras -- the Great Depression.

Hannah has such an incredible gift for creating a strong sense of place. I'm not even kidding when I say that I had to double-check that I wasn't covered in dust. What I don't love about this work and Hannah's work in general is that it leans towards the melodramatic. She tends to like to throw a lot at her main characters and this was no exception. Picture the worst and it happens. Verdict:

Camp Spirit by Axelle Lenoir

Summer Camp is supposed to be about finding nirvana in a rock garden. . . But Elodie prefers Nirvana and Soundgarden. Can she confront rambunctious kids, confusing feelings, and supernatural horrors all at once?

I don't normally gravitate towards graphic novels, but in an attempt to get some solid armchair travel to summer camp, I picked up Camp Spirit. I probably should have read the synopsis a bit closer, because I was completely blindsided by the weird supernatural element and that really detracted from my enjoyment. Supernatural weirdness aside, the camp elements I was looking for were all present and I found myself finding campers who made me laugh and others who drove me batty. Not a bad summer camp read at all. Verdict:

Soul City: Race, Equality, and the Lost Dream of an American Utopia by Thomas Healy

The fascinating, forgotten story of the 1970s attempt to build a city dedicated to racial equality in the heart of "Klan Country."

This was a fascinating read that did what so many great books do, it made me think. I thought about what makes some cities thrive and other crumble. I thought about the role that the Federal Government plays in the success of those cities and I thought about how race plays a part. This is definitely one of those rabbit hole books that you should absolutely go down. Verdict:

Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

Abbi has lived almost her entire life in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11. On that fateful day, she was captured in what became an iconic photograph. . .Now fifteen years later, Abbi is desperate for anonymity and decides to spend the summer before her seventeenth birthday incognito as a counselor at Knights Day Camp two towns away. . . Too bad Noah Stern. . .has a similar summer plan. . . the two team up to ask difficult questions about the history behind the Baby Hope photo. But is either of them ready to hear the answers?

I got it in my mind that I wanted to become a more serious Armchair Traveler, so I started with the theme of summer camp and this book popped up during my searches. This book has very little to do with summer camp, but that turned out to be just fine for this reader.

I have read a handful of fictional tales that deal with the legacy of 9/11 and this one is up there as one of my favorites. I was surprised by how emotional of a read it was for me, by how much I connected with these characters. Verdict:

The Chicken Sisters by K.J. Dell'Antonia

Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster.

If you need likeable characters who you can root for, then I think you may want to skip this novel. The people found among these pages reveal some of the best and worst parts of ourselves and I loved it. For me, this was a fun, quick read that I had a hard time putting down. Verdict:

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this book is for you.

I have been heard about this book for over a decade now and finally picked it up. At this point my expectations were very likely too high. While I found some quotable snippets, overall I didn't enjoy this book. It was a chore to read and made me realize that perhaps writing is not something I ever want to do. 

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, 'Dear Miss Sweetie.' When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society's ills, but she is not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender.

 I adored Lee's previous novel Under a Painted Sky, so this novel had some big shoes to fill. I appreciate that this novel exposed me to a portion of history in which my knowledge is lacking and made me consider some things that I had not fully considered before. The overall story itself and the characters fell flat and unbelievable for this reader. I'm still very much looking forward to Lee's other work but the verdict for this:

Ocean Renegades!: Journey through the Paleozoic Era by Abby Howard

Travel back in time before the age of the dinosaurs in this installment of the hit nonfiction graphic novel series about prehistoric Earth.

I grew up in a very conservative area where creationism was taken as fact by many. I think because of that any effort to share actual facts regarding the formation of Earth and evolution in general were far and few in between. In an effort to be a more educated human being, I have been trying to fill in the gaps where my education clearly failed and figured starting from the beginning was the way to go.

I found this graphic novel to be a fantastic supplement to my education. It was fascinating, engaging and even kind of fun. Verdict:

What was your favorite read in May?

No comments

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I read every comment and work hard to respond via email.

© EverEmmaReads • Theme by Maira G.