6 in 6 [2020]

July 11, 2020

6 in 6 [2020]

6 best in 6 months (image: a collage of 6 book covers)

The Six in Six is a meme created by Jo at The Book Jotter At the end of June (or in my case, mid-July!) we are halfway through the year,  so the idea is to share the books we have read in those first 6 months.

In the true spirit of the meme, we are asked to share 6 books in 6 categories. Because of the time factor, we can create a post with whatever combination works for us as long as it involves 6 books. Nicki @ The Secret Library Book Blog inspired me to participate in this meme.

For this 6 in 6 post, I will begin by listing the 6 best books I’ve read so far this year. Then I will add 6 additional categories but each category will have only one selection (not 6).

a cartoonish number 6

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National Poetry Month

April 13, 2020

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month (image: top view of a cup of coffee and an open book of poetry on a wooden table....flowers peeking into the frame)

Image Source: Canva

Do you read poetry?

In recognition of National Poetry Month, I’m pleased to highlight fiction and nonfiction selections written in free verse. What I love about poetry is the figurative language, sparse words to convey the most beautiful reflections, and  exquisite and unique turns of phrases. I need to expand my reading experiences with poetry, and I would love to hear about your favorite poets and poetry collections in the comments, please!

Here are seven of my favorite MG and YA free verse titles:

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The Last Train to London: A Review

March 13, 2020

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton (cover)

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Jewish, Nazi-Occupied Europe

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Rescuing children, her life’s work…

The Last Train to London shares the story of real-life hero Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance who risked her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany. (She was honored as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. )

The mission known as Kindertransport carried thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe. In addition to hearing about Tante Truus as she was known, the author imagines the lives of children such as Stephan (budding playwright), his younger brother. and Zofie-Helene (mathematics protegee).

Auntie Truus (headshot)

Tante Truus: Image Source: Wikipedia

 

Auntie Truus statue in Amsterdam

Tante Truus statue in Amsterdam: Image Source: Wikipedia

My Thoughts:

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The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover

February 18, 2020

10 Recent Reads That Gave Me a Book Hang Over

The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover

Have you ever experienced a book hangover?

Have you ever had difficulty getting up in the morning because you stayed up too late reading an unputdownable book?

Have you had difficulty starting a new book after finishing an especially great book?

Have you wanted to tell everyone you know about a certain book?

I think my very first real book hangover occurred when I read Gone With the Wind in high school! That was when I fell in love with histfic, compelling and unputdownable stories, and independent and strong female characters.

Book Hangovers are wonderful! They occur after I’ve read an engaging, compelling, unputdownable book with likable characters and substantial content and themes that I can’t stop thinking about for days and weeks. These books leave an emotional impact and years later I can remember how I felt reading them. They are the 4.5-5 star range and appear on my “best of the year” and “lifetime favorites” lists.

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for TTT: The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover.

Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my reviews are linked.
(listed in no particular order although all are recent reads)

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (cover)

A love letter of hope and encouragement to girls worldwide who are dreaming and striving to use their own Louding Voices. 5+ Stars

Full Review Here


The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri (cover)

A compelling refugee story of love, loss, hope, and compassion. 5 stars

Full Review Here


The Girl With Seven Names: Escape From North Korea by Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee (cover)

A compelling memoir of escape, determination, survival, family, and kindness. 4.5 Stars (4 Stars for the writing; 5 Stars for compelling content)

Full Review Here


Finding Chika by Mitch Albom

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom (cover)

“Families are like pieces of art. You can make them from almost anything. The only ingredient you need to make a family is unconditional love.” 5 Stars

Full Review Here


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (cover)

An inspirational and unforgettable character. 5 Stars

Full Review Here

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Most Memorable Reads of 2019

December 31, 2019

Most Memorable Reads of 2019

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Read in 2020 and Girlxoxo and Traveling With T for Month of Faves: Favorite Books Read This Year.

Top Ten Memorable Reads:
The List and The Categories

I mostly love the angst of creating top ten lists! It can be a daunting task! First, let me remind you that this list is subjective. It’s compiled of books I’ve read this year (there are always so many more great ones that I didn’t get to), and each one has made it onto this list because reading it was a memorable, emotional experience and gave me a “book hangover.” I’m presenting my list this year in two formats: in list form and in categories. the categories part is a bit more comprehensive because I provided some runners up. Titles are links to my reviews. Although most titles in this post were published this year, a couple were not.

Thanks for sharing great reads with me this year!

Top Ten Memorable Fiction Reads of 2019: The List

(see categories below for runners up and additional selections)

  1. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

2. The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

3. Ribbons of Scarlet by Kate Quin et al.

4. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

5. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

6. The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

7. If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

8. This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

9. The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

10. The River by Peter Heller

Most Memorable Nonfiction

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom



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Ten Favorite Historical Fiction Reads of the Decade

December 27, 2019

Can you name your top ten favorite books in your favorite genre?

favorite histfic reads of the decade

Ten Favorite Historical Fiction Reads of the Decade

How many of these titles have you read and loved? Are you a histfic fan?

I have a lengthy list of hisfic favorites….these are especially memorable and ALL received a solid 5 Stars from me!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

(in no particular order)

my dear hamilton

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

I love the (less public) story of the determined, smart, influential, and driven woman who was Alexander Hamilton’s wife, partner, and best friend. America’s First Daughter by the same authors is also excellent.
My review here.


From Sand and Ash

we were the lucky ones

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
and We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

(I read these almost back to back and because of the themes I always think of them together….so this is my sneaky trick to include one more!)
Themes make these stories memorable: I love the theme of faith in Sand and Ash; in We Were the Lucky Ones, I love the themes of family and faith….especially the beautiful ending). Sand and Ash review here. We Were the Lucky Ones review here.


invention of wings

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I love this imagined story of two brave women who were early pioneers in the abolitionist movement. Review here.


News of the World

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

I love the theme of found family and the moral dilemma at the story’s end of doing the right thing versus doing things right. I also love the beautiful prose. Brief review in this post.


Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I love the compelling themes of determination and survival. Brief review in this post.


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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books in My Favorite Genre: Historical Fiction

June 4, 2019

Do you love making lists?

Top Ten Tuesday:
10 Favorite Historical Fiction Reads

 

 

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books In My Favorite Genre. Last week, I made a list of my favorite historical fiction books for each of the last ten years. This week’s list is comprised of my absolute favorites in historical fiction! I actually didn’t think I could make this list! My initial list had several more titles and it was difficult to cut, so I’ve cheated a bit. How do I choose my favorites when I’ve read so many titles? The following titles are the stories that I connect with emotionally, the stories I still remember weeks and months and years later, and the stories I recommend over and over again! All are five-star reads and all have great themes. I recommend them without hesitation.

How many of these titles have you read and loved? Are you a histfic fan?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

(in no particular order)

my dear hamilton

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

I love the (less public) story of the determined, smart, influential, and driven woman who was Alexander Hamilton’s wife, partner, and best friend. America’s First Daughter by the same authors is also excellent.
My review here.


From Sand and Ash

we were the lucky ones

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
and We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

(I read these almost back to back and because of the themes I always think of them together….so this is my sneaky trick to include one more!)
Themes make these stories memorable: I love the theme of faith in Sand and Ash; in We Were the Lucky Ones, I love the themes of family and faith….especially the beautiful ending). Sand and Ash review here. We Were the Lucky Ones review here.


invention of wings

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I love this imagined story of two brave women who were actual pioneers in the abolitionist movement. Review here.


News of the World

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

I love the theme of found family and the moral dilemma at the story’s end of doing the right thing versus doing things right. I also love the beautiful prose. Brief review in this post.


Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I love the compelling themes of determination and survival. Brief review in this post.


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Most Memorable Reads of 2018

December 31, 2018

Top Ten Memorable Reads: The List and The Categories

I love top ten lists! Making them, however, is a daunting task! First, let me remind you that this list is subjective. It’s compiled of books I’ve read this year (there are always so many more great ones that I didn’t get to), and each one has made it onto this list because reading it was a memorable, emotional experience and gave me a “book hangover.” I’m presenting my list this year in two formats: in list form and in categories. the categories part is a bit more comprehensive because I provided some runners up. Titles are links to my reviews.

Memorable Reads of 2018

Top Ten Memorable Reads of 2018: The List

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

From Sand and Ash by Any Harmon

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Educated by Tara Westover

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens



Top Ten List: The Categories

It’s difficult to rank books in order from 1-10 because they are each special in their own way, so I’ve sorted them into categories (similar to last year) and included some runners up (because who can choose just ten?). Even though not all of them are 5 star reads, these are the books that were the most memorable for me….the ones that I still think about….the ones I recommend the most often.

Most Memorable Overall (and my BEST read of the year)

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
5 Emotional Stars
Genre: Family Drama


Most Memorable WW11 Historical Fiction

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
5 Stars
Genre: HistFic (WW11)
We Were the Lucky Ones author interview podcast link

Runner Up: From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon


Most Memorable Non WW Historical Fiction

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
4.5 Stars
Genre: HistFic

Runner Up: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor


Most Memorable Light Historical Fiction

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
5 Stars
Genre: HistFic (WW1)


Most Memorable Biographical Historical Fiction

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
5 Stars
Genre: Histfic (biographical)


Most Memorable Middle Grade

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
4.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Middle Grade Fiction

Runners Up: Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo (2nd review on page) and The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker


Most Memorable Dysfunctional Family

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
5 Stars
Genre: Women’s Fiction (also coming of age), Southern, Nature

Runner Up: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah


Most Memorable Quirky Character

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
4.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction (Allegorical)

Runners Up: Harold from The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce, Virgil from Virgil Wander by Leif Enger, and Keiko from Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata


Most Memorable Light Reading for Women

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
4..5 Stars
Genre: Light Women’s Fiction


Most Memorable in Contemporary Issues (Nonfiction and Fiction)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
4 Stars
Genre: NON FICTION (memoir, true crime, social justice)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
4.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary FICTION


Most Memorable Memoir

Educated by Tara Westover
4 Stars
Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir


Most Memorable True Crime

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
4 Stars
Genre: Non Fiction, True Crime


Most Memorable Young Adult

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
4.5 Stars
Genre: Historical Fiction (contains Myth), Coming of Age
Although not marketed specifically for YA, this could fit the genre nicely and is the closest to YA I read this year.



***This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info.



Link to last year’s post…most recommended reads of 2017



journey of a lifetime reading meme



Happy Reading Book Worms

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

Friday, I’ll be back with a review of The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner (author of As Bright as Heaven). This is an ARC and won’t be available until March.

Last Year of the War



Links

A treat for you in 2019: If you’re looking for an inspiring lifestyle blog, check out my new (in 2018) blogging friend Kendra Nicole for honest, inspirational, and reflective posts about motherhood, reading, self care, and living intentionally.

kendra nicole

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books Read in 2018.

top ten tuesday

I’m also linking up today with Traveling With T, Estella’s Revenge and Girlxoxo for A Month of Favorites:  Fave Books of 2018.

If you’re stopping in from these links, welcome! I hope you enjoy looking around!

A Month of Favorites TwithT



In Movie News….

Reese Witherspoon to produce “Where the Crawdads Sing” and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

And….here’s the trailer for Where’d You Go Bernadette starring Cate Blanchette.

(You might want to put these three books on your winter to read list in preparation!)



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



 Let’s Discuss

Please share your best read of the year in comments! Please?! I’d love to hear!



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Blogs and Podcasts

December 11, 2018

For this post, I’m linking up with two great memes. One is That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday

…and the second is with Traveling With T: A Month of Faves: The Blogger Love Edition. I have a huge list of favorite bloggers, but for this post I couldn’t possibly mention everyone. I’ve decided to divide the list into bloggers and podcasters.

If you’ve popped over from Traveling With T or That Artsy Reader Girl, Welcome!

A Month of Favorites TwithT

 

My Favorite Blogs and Podcasts

Blogs-Podcasts

Blogs

The Thankful Heart

Visiting The Thankful Heart is always a lovely treat that’s filled with reflection, love of family, books, and recipes. Rhonda at The Thankful Heart embraces a spirit of thankfulness all year long. ***EDIT to add that Rhonda is no longer publishing new content.

Modern Mrs. Darcy

Always high quality and consistent bookish recommendation, this is one of my major resources for my best reads. MMD AKA Anne Bogel has also created an online Book Club ($10/month) and it’s a wonderful bookish community.

The Ardent Biblio

A lovely literary lifestyle blog filled with great book recommendations, links, and inspiring ideas for literary dinner parties. Michaela and Rikki offer excellence in content, blog design, and photography. I love to stop in and “look.”

The Lexington Bookie and Jennifer Tar Heel Reader

Amanda and Jennifer always writes quality and comprehensive book reviews and we share many of the same favorites.  I’ve listed them together here because they are both also super encouraging and supportive which has been important in my journey as a fairly new blogger.

Traveling With T and That Artsy Reader Girl

Of course, I am pleased to include the hosts of  today’s memes where you will find an abundance of book reviews. Also, I greatly appreciate their support of the blogging community in providing opportunities like this for link ups.

Podcasts

I find that I need to limit my podcast intake or it seriously cuts into my reading time! Out of the many great podcasts, these are the ones that I’ve recently been listening to the most often (the first two are my “must listens”):

Fron the Front Porch Logo

From the Front Porch

I never miss an episode of From the Front Porch which features southern charm and the delightful bookish and lifestyle chatter of Annie and Chris. In fact, sometimes if I want to relax and not read, I will listen to a back episode. It’s a must listen every Thursday.

What Should I Read Next Logo

What Should I Read Next

This is a podcast from Modern Mrs. Darcy in which the guests tell her three books they love and one book they hate and she suggests three new reads for them. I always gain great reading ideas from this podcast and it’s a must listen every Tuesday.

Reading Women Logo

Reading Women

This podcast focuses on literary fiction and stretches my horizon as I hear about books that are not always making the best seller lists but might be winning other literary awards. I listen often and enjoy the hosts.

Popcast Logo

The Popcast

OK….. this podcast isn’t often literary but it’s my attempt to keep up with pop culture as explained by Jamie and Knox. It’s always entertaining! I listen to selected episodes based on the episode descriptions that sound appealing.

Sorta Awesome Logo

Sorta Awesome

This is another podcast that helps me keep up to date with pop culture, especially related to women’s issues. Some episodes are more interesting to me than others, so I pick and choose. The hosts also include occasional book reviews.



What are your favorite blogs and podcasts?


Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

This weekend, I’ll post my regular weekly review. I’ve read two books this week: Dear Mrs. Bird by A J Pearce and  The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (releasing in January). Both are interesting and very different from my usual reads. Dear Mrs. Bird will be reviewed on Friday 12/7, then The Dreamers on Friday 12/14.

 



My Fall TBR

I FINISHED ALL the books on my Fall TBR list! Usually I can’t get to every book on my list, so I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment. My winter TBR will post on December 21.



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



 Let’s Discuss

Please share some of your favorite blogs and podcasts in comments.



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

The Glass Castle

August 11, 2017

As Reading Ladies continues to focus on women authors writing about strong women, we’re using the occasion of the newly released movie to revisit/review an old favorite…

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (cover)

Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

The Glass Castle is a tender, tragic, and unique story of a girl’s remarkable resilience as she survives a childhood in a dysfunctional family who lived like nomads. The father is brilliant and charismatic and taught his children about imagination and living fearlessly as well as some physics and geology. A dreamer, he often worked on elaborate plans for their future home nicknamed “the glass castle.” However, he was also dishonest and destructive when he drank. On the other hand, Mother was a free-spirited artist who didn’t (or couldn’t) take responsibility for the care of her children. For the most part, the Walls children took care of themselves, demonstrating ingenuity, determination, bravery, and fierce loyalty. As the children became adults, found the will and resources to leave the parents, and enjoyed some success, the parents followed them to New York City and chose to remain homeless. The adventures are remarkable, harrowing, memorable, and quirky, all the while demonstrating themes of fierce loyalty, triumph against the odds, the power of hope, unconditional love, determination, and protectiveness.

Amazon rating (August): 4.6 stars

Read the first chapter free here.

My Thoughts:

For me, an indication of a remarkable book is one that I remember years later, one in which I learn something new, and/or one that allows me to make a personal connection. All three criteria are true for The Glass Castle. First, it has lingered for years on my list of recommended reads. In addition, this story allows me to gain new insights into the often unstable personal lives of my students at a Title l school and also allows me to reflect on the homelessness situation in that some choose this lifestyle. Finally, Jeanette reminds me in particular of one former student of mine as she and her mom often sought out different places to sleep for the night and often relied upon school resources for personal supplies, food, housing, etc. Like Jeanette, this student was determined to achieve despite her circumstances, a hard worker, and kept a positive (even cheerful) attitude–but unlike Jeanette, she had my support as a teacher and the support of the school (all of the staff were aware of her circumstances).  This student came back to visit me after she graduated from college (she was actually rescued in high school by an aunt). While reading the book, I wondered why a teacher or community members were not more aware of or alarmed by the family situation or why no one notices her hunger. Of course, Rex did keep the family on the move.

Even years later, I remember enjoying this well written, engaging, and inspiring memoir, and its reflection on homelessness. One thing that struck me during the reading is that it was written with an attitude of forgiveness and surprising affection for her parents.  Some critics would argue that she seemed to condone or excuse her parents’ behavior; on the contrary, I remember thinking that it was written remarkably free from anger and self-pity. When asked in an interview with the New York Times Magazine if she forgives her mother, she states, “It’s really not about forgiveness in my opinion. It’s acceptance. She’s never going to be the sort of mother who wants to take care of me.”

From reading an interview with Jeanette (on Amazon) we discover that her mom is now living with her. After she initially refused, Jeanette said she needed help with the horses, an offer Mom couldn’t refuse. Jeanette states, “I get along great with Mom now. She’s a hoot. She’s always upbeat and has a different take on life than most people. She’s a lot of fun to be around–as long you’re not looking for her to take care of you. She doesn’t live in the house with us–I haven’t that level of understanding and compassion–but in an out building about a hundred yards away. Mom is great with animals, loves to sing and dance and ride horses, and is still painting like a fiend.”

The Glass Castle is highly recommended for readers who love memoirs and stories about individuals overcoming difficult circumstances.

My rating 4.5 stars.

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

The Glass Castle (cover)
The Glass Castle Information

The Movie:

I was at the first showing today (release day!). Movie-goers who’ve read the book are often difficult to please! To me, the movie adaptations seem to be the “Flat Stanley” version of the book, much of the depth and details of the story are sacrificed. This image sums it up!

a picture of an iceberg comparing the smaller part above the water to a film and the larger part below the water to a book

First, allow me to focus on what I liked. I thought the casting was good….especially Woody Harrelson as Rex Walls. In addition, I appreciated the portrayal of Jeannette’s unfailing hope that her dad would come through for them. Finally, I noticed the love that both parents had for their children even though they couldn’t provide the care they needed and deserved.

The weaknesses include the feeling that this was the Disney or fairy tale version of the real story. Although the real version would’ve been a difficult movie to watch! However, I thought they could’ve shown a few more examples for the audience to gain a true appreciation of the neglect. Otherwise, the audience wholeheartedly buys into the glorification of Rex at the end of the movie.  Yes, he loved them and shared some endearing moments with the family and those facts can certainly be acknowledged; however, the overall neglect cannot be overlooked or swept under the carpet. A glaring omission in the movie included the part about the children making their way to New York City one by one and establishing a life together there apart from their parents. This venture took a lot of determination, planning, and courage on their part (of course Rex taught them to be fearless and to be dreamers!). In addition, nothing was mentioned about the youngest child, Maureen, who seemed to suffer the most from the neglect, especially after the older ones leave home.

One striking connection that I made during the movie is the similarity to Hillbilly Elegy. In fact, reading Hillbilly Elegy before reading The Glass Castle would certainly add depth to the reading experience. They would make great companion reads (more on this next week). Both stories involve Hillbilly culture and the understanding gained in Hillbilly Elegy helps me better understand the Walls family. Another important similarity is the theme of love. J. D. Vance in Hillbilly Elegy wouldn’t have made it without the love, support, and stability of his grandparents, even though the grandparents had many flaws and were less than perfect guardians. In The Glass Castle, the children felt Rose Mary’s and Rex’s love for them despite not being able to care for them. The deep love that parents or grandparents have for their children despite their flaws can make a significant difference in the ability of children to cope, survive, and perhaps overcome their childhood circumstances.

Would I recommend the movie?

Generally, yes. I think you’ll find the portrayal interesting and the chaos and the neglect are not as evident as in the book. I thought it was a simplistic portrayal of a very difficult story. I have the biggest issue with celebrating Rex at the movie’s end when he neglected to care for his family 90% of the time. I felt the ending sanitized the story. I encourage you to see the movie and then let’s engage here in the comments!

The Glass Castle Official Movie Trailer

The Glass Castle DVD

Meet the Author, Jeannette Walls

Author, Jeannette Walls

Jeanette Walls lives in Virginia and is married to the writer John Taylor. She is a regular contributor to MSNBC and has worked at several publications, including Esquire, USA Today, and New York.  I think it’s interesting that the impetus for writing The Glass Castle occurred when she was a gossip columnist and her lack of transparency and honesty about her own life caused her to feel guilty as she was exposing other people’s lives in her gossip column.

http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Jeannette-Walls/19723841



QOTD:

Is The Glass Castle on your TBR?

Please share your reflections on The Glass Castle (movie and/or book) in the comments section. I’d love to hear about what you’re reading, too!



Happy Reading Everyone!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke



Looking Forward:

Next week, Reading Ladies will review the memoir Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance if you’d like to “buddy read.” I think it’s a fascinating companion read with The Glass Castle!

Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy Information



Let’s Get Social!

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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

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