On history, real and imagined.

On history, real and imagined.

 

This month’s twitterature post is sponsored by HarperCollins Christian Publishing.  

Welcome to twitterature, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately on the 15th of every month. I’ve been plugging away at my summer reading list, but I let a few books cut in line this month. (I just couldn’t wait to dive in!)

PEACE LIKE A RIVER

by Leif Enger

Peace Like a RiverThe description on this debut novel didn’t capture my fancy, but so many of you gushed about this book that I gave it a try anyway. (For that reason, I’m not saying a word about the plot!) I’m so glad I heeded your advice, and I totally understand how this book makes so many MMD readers’ Best Book I Ever Read list. For fans of Wendell Berry, Wallace Stegner, Barbara Kingsolver.

HOW TO TELL TOLEDO FROM THE NIGHT SKY

by Lydia Netzer

How to Tell Toledo from the Night SkyI stumbled across Netzer’s new novel at the bookstore, and—unlike Enger’s novel—the jacket description made me want to dive in immediately! Perhaps my high expectations doomed me to disappointment. While there were themes I appreciated (destiny, free will, soul mates), there was a lot that made me squirmy. (Opaque writing and so much sex.)

THE TASTE OF MANY MOUNTAINS

by Bruce Wydick

The Taste of Many MountainsThree grad students trace the path of a cup of coffee from the poverty-enmeshed Guatemalan village where the beans are grown to the San Francisco café where they’re ultimately consumed. The author, who frequently works with Compassion International and the World Bank, engages the fair-trade vs. free-trade debate, and I was surprised by his conclusions. Part economic treatise, part coming-of-age novel. An interesting read for econ junkies and coffee fanatics, aimed at the late teen crowd.

TEAM OF RIVALS: THE POLITICAL GENIUS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Team of RivalsI’ve been meaning to read this book for years, and now that I’ve finished (all 800+ pages!) I’m eager to dive into the author’s histories about the Kennedys and the Roosevelts. The first 100 pages were slow-going, because I knew so little about Lincoln’s political rivals. Once I got oriented, it was smooth sailing. I had no idea how much I didn’t know about Lincoln and the Civil War.

Two confessions: I do wish it was shorter, and I cried like a baby at the end. “Now he belongs to the ages.”

11/22/63

by Stephen King

11/22/63If you don’t read horror either, don’t worry: this novel isn’t typical King (even though it may still give you the heebie-jeebies as you ponder what if). The 800 pages of this time-traveling spin on the JFK assassination fly by. Truly. I finished this and handed it straight off to my husband, telling him he had to read it. (That’s high praise.) Creative, imaginative, entertaining.

What have you been reading lately?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

54 comments

  1. MK says:

    First to link up? That *never* happens. Yay for pregnancy insomnia, I guess. We’re finally settled after an 800 mile move (and by settled I mean I have a shiny new library card!), so I’m eager to go look for Peace Like a River at my new-to-me library. Thanks for the great recommendations, as always! 🙂

      • MK says:

        Well, I will take all the empathy I can get! Ha! Maybe since we’re up all night we’ll have extra clean houses and get through extra books? Because it’s not like I end up surfing BuzzFeed or staring at the ceiling when I’m awake those extra hours…

        • I hadn’t even considered making productive use of my awake time. Think of all I could do if I weren’t laying in bed considering plot variations of Divergent (I watched it before going to bed last night…not smart). 🙂

  2. Love Walter Stegner…looks like Peace Like a River is moving up my list of must reads. I have started and restarted Team of Rivals…and those first 100 pages are just slow, but you give me some hope for the pages that follow…must push through! Happy Friday!

  3. MelissaJoy says:

    The Fault in Our Stars was beautiful and I finished it in one day. Couldn’t put it down. The Hunger Games moved along quickly too and I’m excited to start the second installment. Still working through 11/22/63. My first King novel and maybe my last? The things I’m left wondering about time travel give me chills so I’m sure I can’t handle his typical thriller. I love that you tried Enger.

    • Molly says:

      Don’t let this be your last King novel. I am not a fan of horror so I haven’t picked up any of his more well known titles. I have read his short stories in Different Seasons and liked them, but my favorite King books is Eyes of the Dragon: part murder mystery, part medieval fantasy, with a dash of Shakespearean drama. I think this is one of his earlier works before he got into gore and demons.

  4. Kristen says:

    I’m always gushing about Peace Like A River and never quite know what to say when people ask me what it’s about. Maybe I shouldn’t try to explain it; I can never do it justice. I recently bought three used copies just to give away and had a great conversation with the shop owner, who knows Leif Enger. I’m looking forward to reading it again soon for my book club, and so glad I finally talked them into reading it!

    • Jennifer says:

      How cool to know someone who knows Leif Enger! It is unbelievable it is his first book and I like it so much more than his second.

  5. I have a few more books I want to finish (I have Attachments and AJ Fikry on loan from the library), and then I want to dig in to 11/22/63! Your high praise makes me even more eager to read it. 🙂

  6. Jillian Kay says:

    Wow, impressed with the long books you read! I loved DKG’s book about the Kennedys if you can find it.

    I cried at the end of Team of Rivals too. I also found the part about Mary going to visit the Civil War hospital very touching. I always read about her as an over spending crazy person. It touched me to see her portrayed as a normal person too.

  7. Sarah M says:

    I am currently reading Global Mom by Melissa Dalton-Bradford. I’ve barely started it, but I really like the gritty details of the first country she’s written about–Norway. I’m learning so much, and I’m only on page 20!
    Sarah M

  8. Virginia says:

    Ok, now that I’m done being excited…

    I have seen Peace Like a River but hadn’t heard from anyone I know who’s read it. I’ve added it to my list.

    I am dying to read Team of Rivals. I grew up in Illinois and loving Abraham Lincoln is instilled into every Illinois born child from nursery school. My husband was listening to the abridged version of Bully Pulpit and was not impressed, but I don’t know if that’s because I accidentally checked out the abridged version or if he just didn’t like her writing (but, is it really her writing if it’s abridged? You know?). Still, I’m keeping it on my list.

  9. Stacey says:

    My favorite day of the month! I downloaded 11/22/63 earlier this summer and then became completely overwhelmed by the length. Glad to hear that you loved it- I might be inspired to read it next!

  10. Kate says:

    I’m about halfway through Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and enjoying it for the most part because she’s such a lovely writer, but she and her family can get a bit sanctimonious at times. A great companion piece to The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Sugar, Salt, Fat.

  11. Jeannie says:

    Couldn’t do a Twitterature post this time round, but I’m so glad to see you liked Peace Like a River. Our book club did it a number of years ago & it was very memorable.

  12. Dawn says:

    Anne, I’m happy that you enjoyed 11/22/63. One of my favorites from the last few years, for sure. I’m no horror fan but I think King is a genius.

  13. Erica M. says:

    Team of Rivals is definitely on my list! I might have to give Peace Like A River a try too. It didn’t catch my attention either, but hopefully this will teach me not to judge a book by its blurb. 😛

  14. Arenda says:

    Interesting selection of books, Anne! For some strange reason, I always thought Peace Like a River was written by Rudy Wiebe (whose books I don’t care for) so I’ve never considered reading it . . . now I’d love to, though! Thanks for the review. 🙂

  15. Deborah says:

    Team of Rivals is so worth the time investment. Detailed, nuanced, and accessible for non-specialists. Two cents from someone with a B.A. in American History!

  16. Pingback: Living In The Rain

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.