…because I’m gonna talk about it anyway!

It’s Summer Reading Wrap UP time!


Yeah, I know!

Reading is something I take seriously, and frankly I feel badly for folks who don’t enjoy it.

Now, when I read a good book I like to tell folks about it, and since Summer Reading is a part of the American psyche as well as the American Educational experience, it’s stuck with me since the first grade!

So, here we go…

I posted warned you about this first one earlier in the Summer, so I’ll only mention it

Robert Morgan’s Gap Creek is well written, but terribly depressing and sad.  You can read my review in the Good Books category if you’d like.

But, unless you’re a Robert Morgan fan…don’t bother.

Nancy Isenberg’s  White Trash: 400 Years of Class in America is shockingly not about my family, but a treatise on American culture that is eye-opening as well as informative.  It’s not what you think it is, but it will teach you a thing or two, and it wouldn’t hurt anyone to read it.

You’ll find out why we do what we do and why we think what we think.

It’s a text book, but doesn’t read like one.

I recommend that you read it along with something entertaining as often it gets a tad technical.

I first came in contact with Robert Hicks’ Widow of The South several years ago.  Based on a true story, it’s a good read which I read at that time.  I stumbled on his second book, A Separate Country, a semi-sequel a few years later.  It was awesome.  So, when I saw The Orphan Mother, the third in a non-series, I jumped on it.

The Orphan Mother is the story of a newly freed slave during the Reconstruction.  Hicks can bring a story together, and the great thing about him is that though his books contain some of the same characters, you don’t have to read them in order for them to make sense.  This one is a keeper.

County Line  by Bill Cameron was recommended to me by  Emily Burns Berry. #myniecenotmyniece,

Since it is set in Oregon and Farmersville, Ohio, I had no choice as there are numerous Germantown, Farmersville, and Valley View references.

Cameron writes a good mystery, keeps you guessing, and since he went to Valley View and lived on County Line Road in the 1980s, he nails the area completely! And I’ll forgive him for referring to my high school on Farmersville Pike as “…a post mid-century monstrosity sitting in the middle of a corn field…”

Sometimes, the truth hurts!

Good book, even Jan would like it!

Martin Van Buren by Ted Widmer:

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that one of the many items I collect are books on the Presidents.  I don’t have one on each President, but I add one from time to time.

My most recent presidential read is the 8th in the American President series is written by Ted Widmer, a former Bill Clinton staffer, it’s a terrific read about a not so terrific president.

Slick, dandyish, and professional like the character it describes, the book chronicles the rise and fall of the father of the modern Democratic Party.

This is one of the best Presidential biographies I’ve read in years.  Fast moving, fact-filled, and interesting, it’s an easy read that opens a window on a time most Americans know nothing about.

The comparisons to the election of 2016 are astonishing.

All He Ever Wanted by Anita Shreve

I’ve always been an Anita Shreve fan, and it’s not just because she’s a fan of Edith Wharton and lives in her house.  All He Ever Wanted had been sitting on my bookshelf for nearly a decade, but I kept ignoring it. Once I picked it UP, I couldn’t put it down.

What begins as a love story ends in tragedy; it’s as my friend Valerie said, “…haunting…”

There’s no other way to put it.

If you’re a Shreve fan such as i, you’ve read it.  If not, do, and you’ll become a fan for life.

Troublemaker : Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini was a gift.  I’ve never been a fan of her, and though King of Queens was a fun show, I detested her character.

After reading the book, I realized she wasn’t acting, and that’s pretty much what she’s like.  But, the book is beyond good.

Sure, it’s got some language that is offensive, but again.  An eye opener.

My own experience in the 1980s when the Church of Scientology was one of my largest customers was enough to steer me away from them even if I’d not grown UP in the home of a Baptist preacher.

Remini was brought into the cult as a child.  Her deliverance is chronicled in the book, and of course now, she’ got her own TV show.

Mediocre writing, a typical celebrity write UP.

Sleepwalker. Chris Bohjalian is my favorite writer alive today.

I’ve read most of what he’s written and fell in love with his style from the first page of Midwives. This, his latest, is UP to his standards, and mine.  Highly recommenced.

Hounded, What I learned from Three Dachshunds by Matt Ziselman was a $1.00 impulse buy at the Dollar Tree.

So glad it bought it.  Dachshunds are my favorite breed, I’ve had four, and I’ve learned a lot from all of them.

This is a light, simple, read that points out facts we all should know, and they are taught by three of the most cantankerous and spoiled pups out there.

Really a fun, fun book.

Condelezza Rice:   Democracy: Stories From the Long Road to Rreedom in a nutshell is proof that this woman should run for President and should win.

She’s a great political mind and asset to the nation. Educational, informative, and inspirational; her writing has changed my mind on a point or two. Which at this age, ain’t easy!

America’s Robert E. Lee by Henry Steele Commanger and Lynd Ward was one of the first biographies I read as a kid.

Mrs. Kindig at the Germantown Public Library recommended a different biography of Lee to me; I very clearly remember her mentioning that since I was from Virginia, she was sure I’d love to read about Robert E. Lee.

Of course I’d already read about Robert E. Lee, but I took her advice and read the book.

I still have a copy of the first one I read about Lee, and re-read it again due to all the hoopla and angst about the statues of the great man.

It’s a kids book, I don’t expect you to read it.  But I know now it wasn’t just the 2,000 page 4 volume work by Douglass Southall Freeman or the 40 other books I’ve read on Lee that made me an admirer of him, it was this book and of course, Mrs. Kindig.

Finally, and I know you’re glad I’m here, I’m reading The American Home Front 1941 to 1942 by Alastair Cooke.  Discovered after he died, and published in the 2,000s, it’s a “diary” of his travels throughout America during World War II.

If you are into the study of WW II, this one is a must. I’m almost done, and I can’t imagine it disappointing me.  Check it out.

So, there you have it.  What did you read this summer?