Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Sunshine: Long Reads Edition

You have one more day to enter my giveaway of Brent Hartinger's books!

This week, I read one adult non-fiction book, in preparation for teaching it, and I thought that might be it.  It took me a few days, and then I picked up one of the longer books that's been on my TBR for quite a while.

Yeah, but then that book was so good I stayed up WAY past my bedtime finishing it.  So I'm happy to share my thoughts on two great longer reads this week!

I also can't wait to finish this blog post and go pick up a new book--for some reason, on my trip to Barnes and Noble yesterday, I was able to pick up a copy of Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers--the follow-up to Grave Mercy!  According to everything I looked up online when I got home, the release date seems to be about two weeks away, so I'm not sure why this was on the shelves...but I got so, so excited when I found it in the store.   It's not often these days that a release date sneaks up on me, and I had forgotten how exciting it is to stumble across the next book in a series I love. So, thanks, B&N!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but this is the kind of non-fiction writing that makes me want to read more. The three strands of narrative in this book--the story of Henrietta Lacks and her family, the scientific and legal developments connected to Henrietta's cells, and the author's own efforts to learn more about Henrietta--all wove together to create a really fascinating and compelling story. This is definitely a good bridge for readers who haven't read much--or any--narrative non-fiction; I imagine regular readers of non-fiction will love this one as well.

The Miseducation of Cameron PostThe Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been putting off writing this review because I don't feel finished with this book. Do you ever read a book where you feel like it could just keep going, and you'd just keep reading? That's how I feel about this book. Not because it's the most action-packed or hilarious or even heart-breaking (although it is frequently suspenseful and funny and incredibly sad)--but because it feels so real. I can't remember a book I've read that felt more like actual real life. Not that it's similar to my own life--it's that the characters feel so, so much like real people. There's a part of my brain that really thinks I can track down Cameron and ask her what happened next: how's her sweet, batty, diabetic grandma? What about her well-intentioned, loving aunt with a nerve condition? And her aunt's new husband the mild-mannered Schwan's man? I want to know what happened to every single character in the book, minor or major, because the book does such an incredible job making them real. That means that sometimes the story meanders, twisting and turning, and it's not always clear how things will work out for Cameron.

Losing your parents at age twelve isn't easy. Questioning your sexuality, and coming to understand that your community doesn't accept it isn't easy. Feeling stuck in your small town, or actually being committed to an alternative boarding school dedicated to changing who you are definitely isn't easy. Nothing about Cameron Post's life is easy, and nothing about her story is simple. But I think the way it's told in this book is as truthful and honest as it can be.

View all my reviews


  1. I agree about The Immortal Life... a great read.

  2. I'm SO jealous that you bought a copy of DARK TRIUMPH already! You lucky duck you! I can't wait to read that one and I really, really hope there's more about Ismae and Duval in it. Their story line didn't seem entirely wrapped up to me. Have fun reading it early!

  3. It is so exciting to find a book in the store. I'm so organised with my books these days, I sometimes miss the joy of just strolling around a store and finding things - maybe I need to plan a solo outing to Waterstones and indulge!

    The Immortal Life sounds excellent, I'll look out for it.

  4. Chapters is listing DARK TRIUMPH as being published on March 20th, but that it won't ship for 3-5 weeks. What? Weird. I checked my local Chapters and there aren't any in stock. Ah well. Glad you got your hands on a copy! That's really cool. :)

    I don't think I've ever heard of THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS, though I think I've seen it before because that cover is really familiar. I'm trying to branch out and read classics more often. I figure I can do what you did this summer and just even read a chapter a day. Speaking of, I still have to finish GREAT EXPECTATIONS. O_o


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