Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/29/13

I am excited to join the conversation at #IMWAYR!  Thank you to SheilaJen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting this meme.

I was away at yoga camp last week, which meant that my reading was pretty low key.  Interestingly, I always have vivid memories of the books I read when I'm at a multi-day yoga retreat - I can still remember the plot lines of the books I read several years ago at yoga camp!  

An interesting combination of fantasy, adventure/survival and historical fiction, The Lost Kingdom by Matthew Kirby takes place in 1753 and Billy Bartram and his dad are heading out into the American wilderness.  Their mission, taken via airship, is to find the settlement of the Welsh Prince Madoc with the hope that they can forge an alliance to defeat the French.  Kirby included a bit of everything - mythology, history, fantasy, and family dynamics.  At times it felt like too many elements in one place, but I think this will appeal to kids who enjoy action and adventure and teachers will enjoy the historical fiction angle.  
I had heard lots of positive buzz about The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani (which sounds like it might be a book for middle grade readers, but it most definitely is for adults) so I was excited to read it.  Set during the Depression in both Florida and the Blue Ridge Mountains, Disclafani examines the aftermath of a family scandal involving Thea Atwell, a young woman just coming of age.  Thea is banished from the family compound in Florida and sent to a camp in the mountains, where she both remembers what she's done and attempts to move forward.  I at once really liked Thea for her strong will and also felt frustrated by her choices.  The setting and the exploration of social mores and taboos was quite fascinating!

Finally, I just finished up Cuba Diaries: An American Housewife in Havana by Isadora Tattlin.  This is a fascinating account of living in Havana during the "special period" of the 1990s.  Cuba is a place I dream about visiting one day and I was hoping that this diary would send me there.  Unfortunately, I was distracted (and frankly annoyed) by many of the judgements that Tattlin made about her Cuban acquaintances and servants.  While she definitely provides an insider view into life of a foreigner in Cuba, she never seems to do so with a sense of compassion for the people that surround her. 

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