Saturday, August 30, 2014

August Book Reviews

August was a good reading month for me! With temperatures in the high 90s most days, I've enjoyed spending time indoors and have devoured several books in the past few weeks.


Many of you know that Robbie and I enjoy watching professional football games, so with the football season gearing up here I chose Sidelined (which I received free in exchange for an honest review) as my latest book from Booklook Bloggers. This book is the story of Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts during the 2012 football season. Chuck Pagano was the new head coach for the Colts that year, and three games into the regular season, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia and immediately admitted to the hospital to begin chemo treatments. He was able to keep in touch with the coaches and players through texts, emails, and phone calls during his treatment and recovery . . . and he was in full remission and on the sidelines coaching again for the last regular season game. He stresses that his priorities are faith, family and football - in that order. However, the book's primary focus is on football and the fantastic comeback season the Colts had, juxtaposed with Pagano's fight with cancer and the overwhelmingly strong support that resulted in the CHUCKSTRONG foundation which raised tons of money for cancer research. I enjoyed the book as it is well written and easy to read (I finished it in an afternoon) and would recommend it for those who enjoy football and/or stories about overcoming adversity.

After reading some of my book & movie reviews earlier this month, Cheri and Rinda both recommended Divergent as a book and/or movie I might enjoy. They were right! This book is the first in a trilogy and is similar to The The Hunger Games Trilogy because it's set in the future when a new form of society has developed. In this case, everyone is divided into five factions (Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Erudite Dauntless) that each serve a specific purpose. Beatrice, the main character, must choose a faction now that she is sixteen-years-old. The test that everyone her age takes is supposed to reveal which faction they should be in, however her test is inconclusive making her a divergent. She must keep this secret as divergents are considered dangerous to the faction system. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am waiting for the remaining two books to come out in paperback. Robbie and I also watched and enjoyed the movie - it's a well done adaptation of the book, with a few changes for length and cinematic effect. I highly recommend the book and movie.

I was on the library waiting list for a while before I finally got a copy of  Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book has been on my to-read list since my sister mentioned that it was one of my niece Laurie's favorite books. This is a fantastic story of a 10-year-old boy with multiple face and head deformities who is entering school for the first time. Auggie is an intelligent boy who has a great sense of humor (especially about his deformities). Each section of the book is told from a different point of view and reveals how some kids can be so cruel (for example, by instigating a game called The Plague that spreads the rumor that if anyone touches Auggie they will get a disease like him), while others are compassionate and accepting (like Summer who befriends him on the first day of school by sitting with him at lunch when no one else wanted to be near him). Along with Auggie, there are quite a few memorable characters in the book - Jack, the boy who initially befriends him because the principal asked him to, but who eventually becomes a true friend; Olivia, Auggie's sister who has spent her life being understanding of the fact that her parents must give Auggie more attention and watching other people stare or be repulsed by Auggie's appearance; Justin - Olivia's boyfriend, who sees boys taunting Auggie and puts a stop to it without letting Auggie know about it; Miranda, Olivia's friend who has loved Auggie like a brother since he was a baby. The actions of Auggie's classmates during an overnight trip are a highlight of the book. I highly recommend this book for everyone!

I know it's been said that we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but it was the happy cover of The Cherry Cola Book Club that caught my eye as I was perusing the new books shelf at the library. A room with yellow walls, bookshelves, colorful chairs, and sunflowers totally made me smile . . . and then I noticed that it was a story about a library book club! I read this FUN easy-to-read book in one day and thoroughly enjoyed the story of how the librarian in a small town saved the public library from being struck from the town's budget despite the local politician's insistence that it served no purpose!

I first read The Artist's Way several years ago, but pulled it out again last week to re-read as I was thinking about trying to incorporate more inspirational outings into my schedule this fall. This book is designed to help artists of all kinds (writers, painters, directors, sculptors, etc) get unstuck or out of a creative rut. Two main tools are introduced at the beginning of the book - Morning Pages (three pages of stream of consciousness writing each day) and Artist Dates (what I refer to as inspirational outings). Each chapter also ends with suggestions for things to do or write about or think about or sometimes even things not to do! I definitely recommend this book if you haven't read it before.

Was August a good reading month for you?  Do you have any recommendations for books I should add to my to-read list for this fall?


  1. Glad that you had a better month's reading than I did. Divergent appeals to me (I loved the Hunger Games Trilogy) as does Wonder - sounds like a book to make you think!

  2. I don't think I ever get that much reading done in a month. I have a copy of Wonder sitting on my shelf---must get to it!

  3. Wonder has been on my to read list for quite some time. Thank you for the review. I think this would be a great read to do with my boys.

  4. The number of books you read in a month continue to amaze me. I consider myself a voracious reader, but still that's more than I can do!!

  5. PS Read the Divergent series and thoroughly enjoyed it---but not more than The Hunger Games.


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