Reading Round-Up: February Edition

This is a short month, even with the extra day, and my reading list reflects that. I’ve only finished three books since my last update, so this will be a quick post.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

This is the one my book club is reading, thanks to everyone who voted in my recent poll. We meet on March 1st, so we haven’t discussed the book yet. But I loved it and I’m eager to talk about it with the group. Here’s my review:

“There is so much to love about this book, even with the heartbreak that runs through it like a river. Cussy Mary, the main character, is as strong a woman as I’ve seen in a novel, and her determination to bring books and learning to the hill folk of rural Kentucky is inspiring. The Book Woman is a beautiful tribute to the Pack Horse librarians of the WPA and to the ‘blue people’ who lived in Kentucky.

This book taught me a lot about the Depression-era sacrifice and the hardscrabble lives of the people in that unforgiving land, and I am happy to recommend it to anyone who loves books and libraries, anyone hoping to learn more about a group of people that I hadn’t heard of until I started reading the book, and anyone who loves a great story.”

***

Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries Cookbook

Author Jenny Kales will be here in April to talk about this fabulous cookbook, and I couldn’t wait until then to read it. I’m going to make one of the recipes in it this week for my family, so I’ll be able to report back to you in April. Here’s my review:

“I am going to make every single recipe in this book. I can’t wait to get started! The Greek recipes sound fabulous and the Greek-inspired tweaks to Midwestern American foods are just that–inspired! This book is a great addition to any cook’s repertoire.”

***

Under the Tuscan Sun

It took me almost a month to read this book and I will confess, I didn’t review it on Goodreads or Amazon because I just couldn’t give it a review of three stars or more. I finished it because by the time I got halfway through it, it had become a challenge and I’m no quitter.

The book is comprised of the musings of a professor from San Francisco who bought an old house in Tuscany and spends summers and winter breaks there. I found the writing pretentious. It tried way too hard to be poetic and it ended up sounding corny and off-putting. If the author implied one more time that she came from wealth by mentioning the cook her family had when she was young, I would have screamed. What could have been a fun story about the pitfalls of restoring an old house in a faraway land turned into a collection of so many lists of things to be done and excruciating details of some of the more expensive renovations.

The book did, on the other hand, encourage me to put Italy on my bucket list. I don’t know if I’ll ever get there, but I would like to visit Tuscany someday.

If you have read the book, please let me know what you thought of it. I am definitely in the minority of people who didn’t like it.

What have you been reading this month?

Until next time,

Amy

10 comments on “Reading Round-Up: February Edition

  1. Two lovely books, Amy, and well done on finishing the dud. I wouldn’t have.

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    • amreade says:

      Thanks, Robbie. At my book club the consensus seemed to be that people don’t finish books they don’t like because life’s just too short. But once I get started on a book, I just have this compulsion to finish it. And there’s usually something redeeming about it. 🙂

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  2. I agree with you about the book Under the Tuscan Sun. I didn’t even get all the way through it. The movie was lighter and easier to watch. I have place The Book Woman in my TBR list! Happy February 28. Today is my mom‘s 96th birthday. 😊

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  3. lindamthorne says:

    Your blog is always good. Your comment, the last one about Under the Tuscan Sun caused me to want to caution you about going to Italy before that awful virus-outbreak strain is done and gone. I’m sure this is a long-term bucket list of yours. I would have loved to have gone to Italy too, and France. Good list of books and reviews. Thank you.

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    • amreade says:

      Thanks, Linda. I’m glad you stopped by. My eldest child (who has actually been to Italy and LOVED it) was supposed to go to Switzerland for a school trip next week, but the school cancelled the trip just yesterday because of Switzerland’s proximity to Italy. I feel terrible for the kids who can’t take that once-in-a-lifetime trip, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’m happy staying home right now!

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  4. I haven’t read any of these myself yet, but I’d heard another reader complain similarly of the “trying too hard” feel of Under the Tuscan Sun.

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    • amreade says:

      It’s too bad, because the book had the potential to be outstanding. If you’ve read Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence, you know that it’s possible to write about living abroad with humility and humor. I loved that book, and I hoped Under the Tuscan Sun would be a similar read. Thanks for visiting!

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  5. Darlene says:

    I have heard some great things about The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and it is on my TBR list. I haven´t read Under the Tuscan Sun but I loved the movie. I´m reading Catcher in the Rye as it has been on my shelves for about 20 years or more. I have to say, I´m not enjoying it as I thought I would, even though it is a classic. I did, however, read an ARC of Good Mother´s Don´t by Laura Best. It will be released in April. I just loved it and I think you would too. So well written and full of emotion. My review is here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3174044515?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

    Like

    • amreade says:

      I read your review and it sounds great. I don’t recall reading anything by Laura Best (yet!), but she sounds like an author I would enjoy. I think you would enjoy The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek—let me know what you think when you get to it.

      My husband loves The Catcher in the Rye, as does my eldest daughter. I have to admit that I’ve never read it, though of course it’s on my TBR. I have a hunch I’ll feel the same way you do about it.

      With regard to Under the Tuscan Sun, many of the reviews I read stated that this the rare book that does not live up to its movie adaptation. I haven’t seen the movie, so I can’t compare the two.

      Thanks for visiting, Darlene!

      Like

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