65. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Kya basically raised herself in the marshes of coastal North Carolina from the time she was six years old with her mother and older siblings having run off to get away from her father and her father being a mean drunk that paid her little mind until he too ran off. Her story from the childhood all the way through the present is interspersed with a mysterious death in the present that may or may not be connected to her. Her story eventually leads up to the answer of what happened to Chase her one time friend.
This book has apparently been all the rage this year. It was fine, but I’m not sure that I understand what all the hype was about. I give it a 7 out of 10.
62. March: Books 1, 2 and 3 by John Robert Lewis
John Lewis wrote three graphic novels that illustrate his work in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s particularly leading up to the work they did in Selma, Alabama and the march they took over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It’s definitely a great way to bring everything that happened more to life and provide a way for younger people to read and engage with the story. I give it an 8 out of 10.
61. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Mayes
In this novel Mayes writes a historical fictional story about the pack horse librarians of Kentucky, who delivered library books to remote parts of the state on horseback during the Depression. Alice is a Brit who marries a man from Kentucky and is now living in a remote coal mining town with a husband who won’t engage with her and his abusive father. Margery is a woman who won’t let any man push her around and who bucks all the stereotypical roles for a woman of the time. In addition to heading up the pack of librarians she fights against the corrupt coal mining practices of Alice’s father-in-law’s company putting her in the crosshairs and putting both their lives in danger.
For the most part I enjoyed this book. I thought the trial section of the book was a little silly and I really wish that Alice’s husband had been given an actual story. Even his father, although one-dimensional, is more of a character with his role of being a foil to the librarians. It would have been nice to have some real story or explanation for his indifference towards his wife and his refusal to consummate their marriage. I give it a 6 out of 10.
60. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Danny and his older sister Maeve grew up in a large imposing mansion outside Philadelphia known as The Dutch House after the people who built it. Bought by their father after he built a successful real estate business the Dutch House became the centerpiece of their lives. The book covers five decades from their childhoods in the home through the many years after they were kicked out of the house by their stepmother after their father’s death. It’s the story of family, longing, and duty all influenced by a house that seemed to hold an undue influence over everyone’s lives. I give it an 8 out of 10.
59. The Weather Machine: A Journey Inside the Forecast by Andrew Blum
Blum explores how weather forecasts are created looking into the history of how people first began predicting the weather and looking forward to today to the super computers and algorithms that have helped make weather forecasts more accurate. He visits remote weather stations to look at their role in forecasting the weather. It’s a pretty quick read and I learned a lot about how weather forecasts work that I didn’t know before since I pretty much knew next to nothing. I give it a 7 out of 10.