Tag Archives: reading challenge 2018

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

44 Scotland Street was a book group read. The host wanted something light for summer. I am glad she chose it because I really liked it. I’d only ever read one or two of Alexander McCall Smith’s Botswana books and didn’t even know about this series.

I think my favorite thing about the book was that it was written as a challenge by Armistead Maupin and the book reminded me a lot of Tales of the City.

We had the book group discussion about this on Thursday book and it seemed that everyone else enjoyed it too.

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

After reading Where’d You go Bernadette? and loving it I looked for more books by Maria Semple. I found Today Will Be Different at the library and started reading it. I loved it too. The protagonist makes lists. I make lists. My mom made lists. The protagonist has a few more issues than I do, making it a fun book instead of a self-study.

My daughter didn’t like this book, but that’s okay. She and I don’t always have to agree on books.

Hopefully I will get to meet Maria Semple next September when she’s at the Olympia book festival.

The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket

When the kids were young and, in my opinion, reading books too easy for them, I tricked them into reading the Lemony Snicket books by telling them they were too hard for them to read and maybe they could read them in a few years time.

They fell for it and both of them ended up reading the entire series while I only read up to The Carnivorous Carnival.

I binged on the Netflix versions of the books (oh wow! Neil Patrick Harris!!!) and since season 2 ends with the book I last read, I decided to go ahead and read the rest of the series but it would seem that our copies of the books have mysteriously disappeared, a phrase that here means “someone absconded with them but are not admitting it,” so I was forced to use the Libby app on my phone and put it on hold.

I liked it, just fine, but I am ashamed to say that I like the series better. The repetition in the book got to me (which is why I stopped reading the series after The Carnivorous Carnival (which I may or may not have finished).

I will still read The Grim Grotto, and The Penultimate Peril and The End, but I am pretty sure I will feel the same about them.

The kids gave me a couple of Snicket’s other books (or rather Daniel Handler — the real name of the author) and I do need to get to those, which I will, hopefully this year.

Where’d You go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Very enjoyable book, fun in many ways, easy to read. I was a little put off, however, about the mean-spirited things the author had to say about most people, especially those who were Canadian, Midwestern, from Seattle or even just “nice.” I would have attributed it to the characters in the book, but Semple said that she wrote the book based on her difficult transition from LA to Seattle.

That said, I suppose it was a satire, so I suppose I will let it pass. Looking forward to the film due out in October — although Cate Blanchett is not who I pictured as Bernadette.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Another bookgroup book, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, was interesting and enjoyable.

The book opens with Elena Richardson walking through her burning house wondering where her children are, then realizing they are all accounted for goes outside to watch her home in Shaker Heights, Ohio burn down.

The book then goes back a few months when Elena first meets Mia and her daughter, Pearl,  who are renting an apartment from Elna.

The book then goes on to describe the various relationships her family creates with the new tenants.

While I enjoyed this book, it was sometimes hard to read because Ng is so open with the characters’ faults.