My best advice? Decide what you are going to read before you get to the book store or library. Have a list. Get acquainted with your library’s online system. My library even allows you to reserve a book online, so when you show up with your gaggle of children and the overstuffed canvas bag spilling out Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and the entire Dr. Seuss collection, you have one less thing to think about.
Need some inspiration? Check out these books at your nearest library:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: What a fun read! This book weaves narrative through a series of letters from Juliet Ashton, an author in Post-World War II England. Early in the novel, Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Intrigued, Ashton responds to the letter, sparking a kinship with an extraordinary reading society, learning of their lives during the German occupation of the Channel Islands. I love the main narrator. I love her friends who send her letters. I love how the novel deals with the severities of German occupation without losing the optimism and strength of the characters. Overall, the book honors literature as a way to cope with the harsh realities of life – even German occupied life.
Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children: This young adult novel offers a new twist to a typical coming-of-age hero by incorporating fascinating photographs throughout the novel, which tie in to the narrative. Not unlike Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or Wolverine, Jacob leads a relatively normal life and childhood, admiring his spirited and sometimes frightening grandpa and dreaming of becoming an adventurer. He finds his teenage years to be disheartening and mundane when he gets a panicked call from his grandfather – monsters are after him and he can’t get to his guns. This message sends Jacob on a quest to find the answers about his grandfather’s past, many of those answers awaiting him at an orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales. What was actually truth and what was myth? Parts of the novel seem underdeveloped, especially at the end, but overall, I like the world the author creates, especially with the fascinating photographs. He also sets up a the novel for an exciting series. Check out my friend Lauren’s post here for a more in-depth review (some spoilers).
Half Broke Horses: A novel of sorts by Jeannette Walls, which offers some back story to her first work, The Glass Castle – one of my favorite memoirs ever. Half Broke Horses recounts the life of Walls’s maternal grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, in a first person narrative. We meet the fiery and resilient grandmother at the age of ten, as she saves her younger brother and sister from drowning in a sweeping flash flood off of the Pecos River in West Texas. Each chapter brings to life the American West and the life of a true pioneer (think Laura Ingalls meets Annie Oakley meets Amelia Earhart). Walls recounts her grandmother’s life as she traveled hundreds of miles alone on horseback (starting at the age of fifteen!) throughout Arizona to teach in one-room schools, eventually marrying and starting a family with her husband, a rancher.