Here are some good books I've read recently:
1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
This book is a treasure, a sensitive and intelligent portrait of a young Brooklyn girl living in poverty in 1919. Francie is one of my all-time favorite characters with her sweet, soulful understanding of the world.
2. Rats: A Year With New York's Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan
This was an interesting premise and had a couple of good rat stories in it, but was not sympathetic to the rats and went on at length about killing them with poison, drowning, etc. I think this was a cheap way to write the book, and appeals to a cliche, dated perception. I would have appreciated more about the actual social structure and complex communities the rats have built and managed to survive in despite our most brutal efforts. Go rats!
3. The Good, Good Pig by Sy Montgomery
This was a great book because it shows how each individual animal can change lives. Just by being themselves, animals are transformative for humans if only allowed a chance. This was also a disappointing book because the author never promotes a vegetarian lifestyle despite her utter devotion to her dear pig friend, Christopher Hogswood. It's a shame, and would have been a great tribute to him.
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
I had to re-read this one because the first time I read it aloud to my child. I traded nights with my husband and we had to read fast to see what happened, and I'd forgotten nearly everything. It was great. I love Snape, and always have.
5. The Journal of Mrs. Pepys by Sara George
This is a great companion to the actual Diaries of Samuel Pepys, a British naval echequer and clerk in the late 1600's who kept a very detailed daily journal for 9 years. This is a fictional journal of his real-life wife, Elizabeth and does a great job describing what might have been her side of the story. She lived through the plague and the great fire of London, so it's a dramatic read.
6. The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe
A sad story of unrequited love. Dull and narcisstic.
7. Man o' War by Walter Farley
A tender biography of the greatest race horse of all time. Written by the man who wrote the Black Stallion series.
8. Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto by Anneli Rufus
A Fantastic Book!!! A clear and unapologetic description of the loner experience. Revealing stereotypes and misplaced distrust of those who prefer solitude to multitude. Inspirational ( And describes me to a tee!).
9. Red Tails in Love: a Wildlife Drama in Central Park by Marie Winn
The audacious Pale Male and his valiant hawk-wives move into the middle of New York City, build huge nests and raise young! A wonderful look into the biodiversity of Central Park and the dedicated bird-watchers that gather there, year in, year out.
10. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
I read this out loud to my daughter Cora and we both fell passionately in love with Mole.
The illustrations of the cozy burrows and gypsy wagon, the serene river banks and noisy Toad Hall were enchanting.
Bring on the rain and tempests!
I'm going to read it all away.