And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

and-every-morning-the-way-home-gets-longer-and-longer
Title
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
Author:  Fredrik Backman
Length:  96 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction


From the publisher’s description:  “From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go. With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.”

This story gives a glimpse into what it must be like not just for the elderly man who is losing his memory, but also what it must be like for those that love him. It is heartwarming, sad, real. While it’s a short read, it’s packed with lots of heart.


Quotes from the Book

“Noah holds the old man’s hand, the man who taught him to fish and to never be afraid of big thoughts and to look at the night’s sky and understand that it’s made of numbers. Mathematics has blessed the boy in that sense, because he’s no longer afraid of the thing almost everyone else is terrified of:  infinity. Noah loves space because it never ends. It never dies. It’s the one thing in his life which won’t ever leave him.”

 


 

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The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

the-language-of-flowers
Title
The Language of Flowers
Author:  Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Length:  334 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Language (including brief strong language)


Victoria was raised in the foster system from the time she was a baby. When she turned 18 years old, she had a certain amount of time in a transitional home to find a job and get set up on her own. But instead of looking for jobs, all she wanted to do was grow flowers. For Victoria, flowers were a part of her world that was therapeutic for her. She also has a gift for matching the right flowers with the right person. This gripping novel takes you on a journey through Victoria’s life as she tries to deal with the past and find healing. You will not want to put this book down.


Quotes from the Book

…it seemed that Earl, and then Bethany, walked home with a bouquet of flowers expecting change, and the very belief in the possibility instigated a transformation.” (pg. 113)


 

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

the-storied-life-of-a-j-fikry
Title
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Length:  258 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Language (including some strong language)


A. J. Fikry and his wife opened a bookstore several years ago. After his wife passed away, A. J. continued to run the bookstore. One day, someone unexpectedly leaves a baby in his store. This novel is a heartwarming story of loss, finding love again, and the power of books to bring people together.


Quotes from the Book

Remember, Maya:  the things we respond to at twenty are not necessarily the same things we will respond to at forty and vice versa. This is true in books and also in life.” (pg.41)

You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?” (pg. 87)

Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time.” (pg. 92)


 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

big-little-lies
Title
Big Litte Lies
Author:  Liane Moriarty
Length:  458 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Strong Language


In the beginning chapters of the book, you find out that there’s an investigation taking place in a small beach-side community. The book switches back and forth from the present time and the investigation to the past and all that happened in the months before the incident occurred. The main focus is on the lives of three women who all have hard issues they are dealing with. From the bookflap:  “Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.” This was one book I couldn’t put down.

 


 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Title
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author:  Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Length:  274 pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Content Notes:  Language


Juliet Ashton is a writer known for her light-hearted series about Izzy Bickerstaff; but she doesn’t want to write light-hearted pieces now. One day, she receives a letter from someone she doesn’t know who happened to find her name in a book he now owns. He lives on the island of Guernsey and wants to know if she will give him the name and address of a bookshop in London where he could find more books by Charles Lamb. They begin writing back and forth and what transpires is an unforgettable story that is delightful and charming, deep and moving. One minute you’ll be laughing , the next minute you’ll be in tears. It is funny, heartbreaking, sassy, genuine. Written in the epistolary style, these characters come to life as you read about war, love, loyalty and the power of books to unite and sustain.


Quotes from the Book

That’s what I love about reading:  one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book.” (pg. 11)


 

What I’ve Been Reading – February 2017

This is just a quick look at books I read in February. This was a big reading month for me. I don’t typically read this many books in a month’s time! Look for upcoming posts for more about some of these books.


big-little-lies

Big Little Lies
By Liane Moriarty

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid

This was the first Liane Moriarty book I’ve read. It was recommended to me by a friend who said it was un-put-down-able. And was she ever right! I don’t typically read mystery novels (in fact, I generally avoid that genre); but this one I couldn’t put down. While the mystery is part of the story, the real focus is the lives of three ladies in a small beachside community. Moriarty crafted the novel with such precision that the reader is drawn in from the very beginning and the characters seem real. In addition, Moriarty does a superb job of mixing humor amid heavy, heart-wrenching issues. (Heads up for strong language)
READ MORE


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book You’ve Already Read

When I saw this category on the Reading for Fun reading challenge, I knew that one of the titles I’d totally re-read would be The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I loved this book when I read it last year. In fact, it should have been in my blog post about favorite books I read in 2016. Reading it again, I was reminded once again of just how much I love this book. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is an historical novel centered around the German occupation of Guernsey in World War II. It blends the hard, terrible, and sad details of this time in history with plenty of humor and sass. It is by far one of the best World War II historical fiction novels I’ve read.  READ MORE


the-one-in-a-million-boy

The One-in-a-Million Boy
By Monica Wood

Reading for Growth Reading Challenge Category
A Book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks Author

This book had been on my to-read list for awhile. I was intrigued by the description on Amazon; but just hadn’t taken the plunge to read it yet. When I saw that it qualified for this category in the reading challenge, I finally decided it’s time to read it and I’m so glad I did. The One-in-a-Million Boy is a moving story primarily focused on an unlikely friendship between an elderly woman and a father whose son died. This book would be a great pick for a book club because when you read it, you’re going to want to talk about it! There are lots of themes that can be discussed such as loss, grief, redemption, and second chances.
READ MORE


the-storied-life-of-a-j-fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
By Gabrielle Zevin

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book about Books and Reading

I love reading books about books and reading, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is just that. Yet, it’s also much more than that. It’s an heartwarming story of loss, finding love again, and the power of books to bring people together.  READ MORE


the-enchanted-april

The Enchanted April
By Elizabeth von Arnim

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book You Were Excited to Buy or Borrow but Haven’t Read Yet

The Enchanted April is about the complexities of the lives of four women who decide to go on a holiday and share an Italian villa. I love the BBC movie adaptation of this book (starring Polly Walker, Miranda Richardson, Josie Lawrence, and Joan Plowright) and have seen it many times. I was really looking forward to reading the book; but for some reason, it sat on my Kindle for months. I’m so glad I finally got it read! There are definitely some movies that I like better than the books; that’s not the case with this one. While there may be some things I do like about the movie better, overall I loved the book more because I found that the novel had even more depth to it than the movie portrayed. (brief language)
READ MORE


and-every-morning-the-way-home-gets-longer-and-longer

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
By Fredrik Backman

Reading for Growth Reading Challenge Category
A Book in Translation

I don’t know about you, but something about many of Fredrik Backman’s book covers draws me to the books. In fact, I could easily put this one down for the category “A Book You Chose for the Cover.” When I saw the cover for And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer I immediately picked it up, read the description, and knew I wanted to read it. I loved A Man Called Ove and have been wanting to read more of Backman’s books. This is a very quick read, but packed with lots of heart.  READ MORE


the-language-of-flowers

The Language of Flowers
By Vanessa Diffenbough

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book with a Reputation of Being Un-put-down-able

The description of this book was intriguing to me when I first read it. I jotted the title down as a possible book to read and then out of the blue, the very next day a friend asked me if I had read this book and said that she loved it. I bought it and immediately started reading. When reading reviews of this book, it was described as un-put-down-able. So I chose it for this category. And indeed, I didn’t want to stop reading it. In this novel, Victoria has a knack for matching the right flowers with the right person. But where did she learn so much about flowers? And what role did flowers play in her own life? This novel is about dealing with the past and finding healing. (heads up for brief strong language)  READ MORE


Children’s Literature I Read This Month


charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
By Roald Dahl

Such a fun book…especially after having watched both movie productions many times. It was interesting to compare both movies to the book.


alices-adventures-in-wonderland-and-through-the-looking-glass

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll

This is one that I simply finished in February. I had begun reading it awhile back and needed to finish it. Then I followed it up with Through the Looking Glass.

Through the Looking Glass
By Lewis Carroll

Both this and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were among my favorites I read aloud to my daughters several years ago. Not all books work well as read-alouds; these did. It was fun reading these again. Humorous and at times lyrical, these books will have you laughing out loud.


Persuasion by Jane Austen

persuasion
Title
Persuasion
Author:  Jane Austen
Length:  236 pages
Genre:  Classic Literature
Content Notes:  I found it to be a bit wordy and tedious in some places.


Anne was in love with Captain Wentworth; but she allowed others to persuade her not to attach herself to him. In this classic novel, Anne has to find that balance between being open to persuasion and standing firm on her own convictions. This is a story of love, regrets, second chances, and determining when to be persuaded and when not to be. In true Austen style, it is a story of love lost and found. It doesn’t take the place of my favorite Austen novel (Pride and Prejudice); but amidst the wordiness and rambling sections, this novel grew on me.


Quotes from the Book

…there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison; no countenances so beloved.” (Ch. 8)

A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman. He ought not; he does not.” (Ch. 20)

You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever.” (Ch. 23)

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

the-bookshop-on-the-corner

Title The Bookshop on the Corner
Author:  Jenny Colgan
Length:  332 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Language (includging brief strong language), Course talk, Brief Racy Content


Nina loves books and loves her job at the local library. Then she finds out the library is closing and merging into a different branch with a whole new vision. In the midst of trying to figure out what she’s going to do, she gets hooked on the idea of starting a mobile library. The thought of it is scary and exciting at the same time. She steps out of her comfort zone and what unfolds is the adventure of her life.

A fun lighter read, this novel is about being brave and stepping out to do something you love. Enjoy this look at the power of books and reading.


Quotes from the Book

…for Nina, whenever reality, or the grimmer side of reality, threatened to invade, she always turned to a book. Books had been her solace when she was sad, her friends when she was lonely. They had mended her heart when it was broken, and encouraged her to hope when she was down.” (pg. 40)

Welcome to Silver Street Farm by Nicola Davies

welcome-to-silver-street-farm
Title
Welcome to Silver Street Farm
Author:  Nicola Davies
Length:  72 pages
Genre:  Children’s Literature


“Gemma says that it started with eating jelly beans on the merry-go-round in the park. Karl says no, it started with Auntie Nat’s poodles. But Meera knows that the real beginning of Silver Street Farm was their very first day of kindergarten in Mrs. Monty’s class.”  (pg.1) And so begins the story of how three children and some interesting circumstances bring about a farm in their city. Funny and creative, children will have fun reading this book.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

david-copperfield

Title David Copperfield
Author:  Charles Dickens
Length:  791 pages
Genre:  Classic Literature
Content Notes:  This is a long book; but the length shows the author’s ability to really develop the characters.


In this classic novel, Dickens tells the life story of David Copperfield. He does a superb job of developing the characters and leaving no loose ends when you finish the last chapter. The novel deals with a fair bit of heavy issues:  hardship and cruelty, poverty, death, loss, scandal, and misplaced love. However, it’s also filled with themes of enduring friendship, unconditional love, forgiveness, kindness, and strength of character to overcome. This is obviously not a light read; yet, Dickens manages to make it feel less heavy at times by sprinkling in humor here and there. Don’t let the length cause you to look over this book. While there may be some wordiness at times, it’s truly a well-written classic.


Quotes from the Book

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.