It’s with some sadness that I announce that for now I’ll no longer be doing a monthly Link Love post. I enjoyed it, but it was very time-consuming — so I’m going to try using my time in a different way and see how that feels. Maybe I’ll change my mind before too long!
I’m going to try to be more active with posting links on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, so please follow me there if you like.
For the remainder of this year, I will still plan to do a round-up of posts for the Reading New England challenge every month or so. With four months of the challenge to go, I’m glad to see that some readers are sticking with it and getting through the various categories. However, even if you read only one book, you are welcome to participate. Don’t feel it’s too late!
Here’s what I’ve seen recently:
Penni of Penni’s Perceptions was a little disappointed in Orange Is the New Black, set in a Connecticut prison, but she would still like to check out the popular show. She found a more compelling read in The Secrets of Midwives, a novel set in Rhode Island that explores mother-daughter relationships.
Laurie of Relevant Obscurity delved into a couple of Massachusetts classics: The Blithedale Romance, based on an ill-fated utopian experiment, and Looking Backward, which imagines a utopian society with some interesting but not entirely satisfying results.
Continuing with the Massachusetts classics, Stephanie of Adventures of a Bibliophile conquered the giant Moby-Dick, and followed it up with a picture book chaser: Make Way for Ducklings.
At Monica’s Bookish Life, American Bloomsbury was a fascinating nonfiction read for those interested in the Transcendentalists and their period.
Getting a bit less serious, Clock and Dagger was another fun cozy mystery reviewed by Carstairs Considers. He also enjoyed Whispers from Beyond the Veil, a historical mystery set in Maine that centers on the Victorian craze for spiritualism.
The Munich Girlis set partly in New Hampshire and partly in Nazi Germany, juxtaposing a present-day story with that of the infamous Eva Braun. Chris of Calmgrove found it a remarkable piece of writing. He also ventured to Massachusetts with the intrepid Dido Twite, in Nightbirds on Nantucket. And don’t miss his map-laden tour of Dido’s travels!
Finally, from Lark Writes we learn of a historical mystery set in Gilded Age Newport, appropriately titled A Gilded Grave.
Not posted for the challenge, but of related interest:
From Books as Food, a couple of newly opened or forthcoming art exhibitions featuring Childe Hassam and William Merritt Chase. I really hope I can manage to visit these.
This month, I had to pick a review that simply made me laugh: Jenny’s hilarious tear-down of The Little Paris Bookshop at Shelf Love. There’s no accounting for taste, as this has been an international bestseller with some rave reviews — but I think I’m going to trust Jenny’s opinion and stay far away.
Otherwise, here’s what I gathered this month — a pleasant miscellany for you to enjoy, I hope.
Reading New England
From Adventures of a Bibliophile, a review that might inspire me to finally read Walden.
At Relevant Obscurity, reading Little Womenfor the first time as an adult sparked some thoughtful commentary.
Penni of Penni’s Perceptions was enthralled by Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes, making me feel I really need to read something by this New Hampshire author.
Avid Series Reader reviewed two books that sound like perfect vacation reading: The Martha’s Vineyard mystery A Deadly Vineyard Holiday, and Newport, an intriguing historical mystery set in Rhode Island.
With his review of Presumed Puzzled, Carstairs Considers introduced me to another mystery series set in Connecticut. And he loved the start of a new series set in Vermont, Toasting Up Trouble.
WildMoo Books shared a review of Disappearance at Devils Rock, “a creepy novel that calls to mind the Puritan mythology of the devil living in the wilderness of New England’s forests.”
From Kissin’ Blue Karen, a Connecticut-based thriller that deals with memory and trauma, All Is Not Forgotten.
Jean of Howling Frog Books did a fabulous multi-part summary of her trip to the UK, but my favorite installment was this one about visiting the Manor at Hemingford Grey (the real house behind the Green Knowe books by Lucy Boston).
Thanks to Books and Chocolate for an insightful review of a vintage novel, The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I’ve been meaning to read this for a long time, and now I’m even more excited about it — sounds like a perfect summer read.
And I’d also like to thank those who continue to participate in the Reading New England Challenge. If I’ve missed any of your reviews, don’t hesitate to let me know — and be sure to use the State Post and Genre Post linkups, now back after technical difficulties briefly took them down. Here’s what I came across this month, along with other posts and articles that caught my eye.
Since I think we all need some positive vibes right now, here are great ways to Share the Love from Pink Polka Dot Books.
There are so many interesting lists for the 20 Books of Summer challenge floating around, but this one from Consumed by Ink has some exceptionally unusual and fascinating sounding titles on it.
It’s great to know that Scott of Furrowed Middlebrow is working on publishing some forgotten classics, but in the meantime he has some splendid suggestions for some other old favorites that are now back in print.
For a different take on the TBR list, Annabel’s House of Books is showcasing hers in color-coordinated chunks. Here’s the luscious-looking Indigo selection.
Image of the Month
Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer
I’ve had Daniel Kehlmann’s Measuring the World on my radar for some time now, but three reviews in one week (from Lizzy’s Literary Life, My Book Strings and Consumed by Ink) have convinced me that I really should read it soon. It sounds like a brilliant fictional treatment of a fascinating period in history and science. Let me know if you have read or reviewed it as well.
This was the week of Armchair BEA (Book Expo America), which I took part in for the third time. Next year, I have my eye on attending the real BEA if it comes back to New York, but in the meantime the virtual conference is a fun substitute! Among the many posts I enjoyed were: First Day Impressions (from Tif Sweeney), Breaking Down Book Covers (from Sarah’s Book Shelves), and Surviving Fictional Worlds (from Meaghan Walsh Gerard). What were your favorites?
Here are other links that caught my eye, starting with this month’s round-up of Reading New England posts (watch out, there are a lot of them):
Daniela Ark’s blog offers a review of the “entertaining, action driven” fantasy Fury’s Kiss, the first in a series.
Penni from Penni’s Perceptions found a fun comedy to read in the play Almost, Maine. And she came up with another winner in the historical novel A Hundred Summers, set in a Rhode Island seaside community. Not content to rest on her laurels, she read a third book, Midwives by Vermont author Chris Bohjalian, and gave it five stars.
TJ of My Book Strings read several children’s bookstogether with her kids. It’s always great to see some reactions from real kid readers.
“I love a good apocalyptic dystopian,” says Kissin’ Blue Karen, and The Fireman provided her with just that.
Lark of Lark Writes… was sorry she couldn’t count Nobody’s Secret as her Massachusetts book (because she already had one), but says it would a great choice for that category. Lark DID count a Connecticut book, The Inheritance, for the challenge, calling it “a pretty entertaining read.”
Stephanie of Adventures of a Bibliophile was not bowled over by the classic play Our Town, but she might give it another chance someday.
At Carstairs Considers, Carstairs was delighted with All Murders Final! – a Massachusetts-based entry in the “Garage Sale Mystery” series.
Year of Charlotte and William
38 fun facts, one for each of Shakespeare’s 38 plays, at Mental Floss.
Brian of Babbling Books highlighted a fascinating-sounding story by E.M. Forster that veers into science fiction territory, giving some astonishing insights into the future (i.e. now). Be sure to read the comments, too.
This month, I’m moving Reading New England reviews into this monthly link summary for easier reference. Thank you all again for your participation! And remember, everyone, it’s not too late to sign up.
Reading New England
Avid Series reader found Death of a Turkey to be a worthwhile cozy mystery set in small-town New England.
Are historical novels literary? at Mirabile Dictu. (I don’t agree with her negative conclusion, but she follows it up with a terrific list of recommendations that somewhat belie her dismissal of the genre.)
Jenny’s review of Claire Harman’s new biography Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart hilariously gives us the five “Bronte-est” things that happened within its pages. For a more serious assessment of the same book, see this review from Gudrun’s Tights. And if you can’t get enough of this crazy family, there’s…
Announcement! Girl with Her Head in a Book is hosting a week of Brooding about the Brontes in April, and it’s going to be tons of fun. I was honored to be asked to contribute a guest post, and there will be many other exciting components as well. Join us!
At Literary Ramblings, a truly epic review of War and Peace (both the book and the miniseries) has gotten me even more excited to take the plunge into that sea of words myself. And I have to give honorable mention to Majoring in Literature, for summing up Eugene Onegin in “one really terrible sonnet.” (Actually, it was pretty impressive!)
Here are some of the other interesting links and lists that I’ve come across lately:
New England author John Irving’stop ten list has some of my favorites on it (hooray, Robertson Davies!).
For her 400th post, Views from the Tesseract has put together a great list of 100 SF/F books that influenced her, with some wonderfully obscure titles along with the big names. (Is there anyone else out there besides me who has read Under Plum Lake?)
This month I was intrigued by a review at The Captive Reader that expresses appreciation for seeing an author come through with the best she is capable of, even after some not-so-successful attempts. I hadn’t heard of Natasha Solomons but I’ll definitely be seeking her out now.
Here are more of my favorite posts and articles from this month:
This month, I’m highlighting a book about religious and intellectual history that looks awfully relevant in light of today’s cultural strife. Thanks to Tales from the Reading Room for bringing it to my attention.
My favorite review this month had to be the one in which Simon of Stuck in a Book fought his “natural aversion to historical fiction” to find at least partial pleasure in a novel most readers — even fans of the author — detest. I love it when our reading expectations are turned upside down!
More of my favorite posts and articles this month: