Wild by Nature by Sarah Marquis Sponsored by National Geographic, Marquis embarks on a three year journey that will take her through six countries, all on foot. I found this book inspiring for someone like me as stories like these remind me how remarkable and resilient the human body can be. It was a fun read and I recommend it for anyone in the mood for an adventure. Marquis’ bravery and survival skills are bar none. I wrote more about my experience with this book here.
1491 by Charles C. Mann This is the ultimate history of the Americas before Columbus arrived. Mann touches on everything from technology to population to agriculture. I’m pretty picky with books about history because the writing style can sometimes be dull, but he kept me captivated from beginning to end (ok, I skipped a few pages when he really went into the debate about maize but the book is almost 500 pages long, I won’t complain). I highly recommend it as he stresses the importance of recognizing the advancements made in the “New World”, a large part of human history that is often neglected and their accomplishments deemed rudimentary at best. Mann proves this is simply not true and urges the commentary to change.
Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson Wasson goes behind the scenes of the American classic, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. My appreciation for the film and Audrey Hepburn grew even more so out of this book. Reading it, I was amazed that the movie even got made at all, but I’m certainly glad that it did. It’s a quick read and he really gives you the scoop, which ultimately teaches you not only some juicy gossip about Hollywood but the impact stars like Hepburn had on American culture. I wrote a bit more on this here.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller Okay. This is a classic, I know. But to be honest I am STILL reading this book and I started it almost a month ago. The first 50 pages were great. I was actually laughing out loud. But it’s a 500 page book and by page 200 I’m thinking, “Okay, we get the point you’re trying to make.” I think it could easily have been half the length. It’s Heller’s commentary about the military during WW2 and the miscommunication amongst soldiers that is at first humorous (and smart, he is clearly a genius) but the point is driven home way too much. Maybe someone can help me get it better, maybe my intelligence is not good enough for this book, but for now I’m going to keep reading a few pages here and there and finish it at some point in the distant future (I’m too far in to give up now).
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate Although this is a work of fiction, this one taught me more than I bargained for going into it. Following the lives of two women in two different generations, it is based on the true story of Georgia Tann, a woman in Tennessee who would kidnap children and place them up for adoption. Through extortion, lies, and manipulation, she was able to pull this off for 30 years. I had never heard of her or her “orphanage”, which surprised me. How was such an extensive ruse never brought up in any of my history classes? This knowledge will stick with me for the rest of my life. As far as the writing goes, it was enjoyable, although parts of it were a little cheesy and not really believable, but the greater story is worth reading.
I didn’t read at all in May or June or most of July (yikes) so that’s it for summer! We have officially entered the Fall Reading List woohoo!