Friday, 15 August 2014

Summer Reading

Since I missed July's overview, I've got a big crop of books in this quick review. Looks like I had some time for reading, too, over the summer holidays...

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy's Twitterature. Go there for lots of great short book reviews - I know that my To Be Read list always grows when I read the Twitterature posts.


Niequist, Shauna: Cold Tangerines
Niequist, Shauna: Bread and Wine
I read both of these during our road trip. Plenty of good food for thought. I love the encouragement to live fully and to enjoy friendships and build relationships at the table. And to see God's presence in the ordinary, everyday life.

Lederer, Richard: Anguished English
and More Anguished English
Collections of funny language bloopers. My kind of humour. Such as:
"She watched as her father returned home with the horses all dressed in cowboy attire."

Hughes, Patrick Henry: I Am Potential
Patrick Henry and his Dad share their story. Basically, one of those "a disabled kid with talent, perseverance and a can-do attitude" inspirational stories. A very good read. For more information about this young man, see his website at

 Hopgood, Mei-Ling: How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm (And Other Adventures in Parenting, from Argentina to Tanzania and everything in between)
Mei-Ling Hopgood looks at different aspects of parenting, like bedtimes, food, potty training, etc., and how differently things are done around the world. I like her attitude: she keeps an open mind, respects the choices of others and tries to pick those methods that work for her family as well as the culture she lives in.

Lights, Camera...Travel!
Lonely Planet's anthology of travel stories by film-makers and screen personalities. The stories are as varied as the writers and their locations, from Brooke Shields's igloo-building adventure to Brett Paesel rafting on a river in India. Good for relaxed reading.

Lilwall, Rob: Cycling Home From Siberia
A British geography teacher spends three and a half years cycling, starting from wintery Siberia and going through e.g. Japan, Papua New Guinea, Australia... so, not the straightest route. Quite a good travel story, though obviously he has had to leave out many interesting things to keep the book length at least somewhat reasonable. #epicadventures

Rajesh, Monisha: Around India in 80 Trains
A British journalist (with Indian heritage) travels all around India in trains. The 4-month journey is quite an adventure, and Monisha writes well. I mostly enjoyed reading this, though the vivid descriptions do not exactly inspire me to go and experience it myself. (I'm not quite that adventurous :) )


Lucas, Jeff: Up Close and Personal (What Helen Did Next)
I was eager to read this, as I loved Helen Sloane's Diary, and I wasn't disappointed. Helen has a lot going on in her life: coping with grief and loss(es) on the other hand, and new promising developments on the other hand. Some romance, even, in the air...
As I wrote about the first part: good points and insights about Christianity (as well as relationships in general), communicated through a story with humour.

McCall Smith, Alexander:
The Double Comfort Safari Club
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

"No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" sounds like a detective series, doesn't it? Yet I don't think anyone reads these books for their detective plots, but rather for the characters and the setting. It's like taking a little trip to Botswana. 

Reading this series is a bit like having a cup of tea with a friend on a pleasant, shady terrace. The pace is slow, contemplative. No gruesome murders, not a lot of 'action' - but lots of pondering and insights about human nature, Botswana culture and things changing over time.
I love these books the same way I love to pause and take a deep breath when life gets hectic. 

However, if I read very many of these in a row, they start to feel repetitive. (Just like you can't stay on the terrace drinking tea forever :) So, good in small doses. And you gotta love a name like Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon...

NB: The ones I mention here are at the end of the series, and I think I've missed some in between. If the series is new to you, better start at the beginning, so you get to know the characters and their background. (This link goes to the Wikipedia article about the series, if you want to find out about the previous books and their order.)

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