America's Summer Reading; With and Without "Girl on a Train"

Quartz online magazine does a great job of mapping out the summer's most popular books in 15 cities across the country according to library statistics. The big winners? Girl on a Train and Go Set a Watchman.  Not surprised? Yes, those are the two with the most hype.

A second map Quartz has included are the most popular books that are not Girl on a Train or Go Set a Watchman.  Check it out. It's interesting to see what others are reading.

One of the books is Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf, which is reviewed here, as the review for Girl on a Train Come back for a visit to read a review of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman

2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner Announced

All The Light We Cannot See.jpeg

The coveted Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been announced, and it's probably not a big surprise.  Although it was a crowded field of worthy works. The 2015 winner is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, set in the second world war and tells the story of a blind French girl and her father who flee Paris upon the German invasion.

The judges describe the book as "an imaginative and intricate novel inspired by the horrors of World War II and written in short, elegant chapters that explore human nature and the contradictory power of technology".

Nominated for finalists for fiction were Richard Ford for Let Me Be Frank with You, The Moor's Account, by Laila Lalami, and Lovely, Dark, Deep, by Joyce Carol Oates. Find out more about the fiction award and other Pulitzer awardees on their website.

My Literary Soulmates

I’m not gonna lie - the large majority of my favorite books are ones where I see a lot of myself in the protagonist. Call it egotistical, narcissistic, or just plain selfish, but for one reason or another, I love reading about characters that are well... like me! Now, in real-life, I don’t put a lot of stock into the idea of soulmates. I generally think that there are lots of different people we can “click” with at different times of our lives. However, in the literary world, I totally buy into this concept! So, while I am ever-changing and evolving throughout this life of mine, at one time or another, the following characters were like giant figurative mirrors staring right back at me.

Francie Nolan - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Francie Nolan’s difficult and heartbreaking existence really hit home for me. Her mother, very clearly, favored her younger brother and nobody really fully appreciated Francie’s inquisitive mind and intellect. Her family was also extremely poor and the descriptions of the Nolan family’s daily life crushed me. Something about Francie made me want to give her a huge hug and tell her how brilliant she really is.

Ponyboy Curtis - The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

I’ve always had a “thing” for the underdogs, and Ponyboy Curtis definitely qualifies! He is hyper-aware that he, his brothers, and friends are not as fortunate as the preppy socs and despite his tough appearance, he is wise beyond his years.

Adso of Melk - The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

I did not actually choose to read The Name of the Roseit was required for a job. However, I felt a huge sense of pride upon completing this novel. Protagonist, Adso of Melk, is the obedient and very curious student of William of Baskerville. I connected to Adso because of the respect that he had for his teacher. He wanted to soak up as much knowledge as his teacher was willing to dispense to him and his unending curiosity really resonated with me.

Netti Sayuri - Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I really like Sayuri because she is confident and insecure all at the same time. She never really seems to fully understand how or why she became such a successful geisha, but she also knows how to get exactly what she wants. Her loyalty and dedication to the chairman throughout her life is also worthy of admiration.

Do you have any literary soulmates? Which characters would you love to chat with over a cup of coffee? Let us know!

Four Well-rounded Female Characters for Your Daughter

In the past, I’ve had conversations with parents who had certain books they did not want their children to read. By this time, technology was well-ingrained into our everyday society and “too much screen time” was a common phrase used when talking about raising kids. So, it was confusing to me why in the world, parents would deny their children any type of reading at all, regardless of what the character says or does. Isn’t the fact that your child is reading enough? Well, it turns out, I was wrong.

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