Books Read This Summer

by Rachel Baker on September 2, 2014

This is the first installment of books I’ve read this summer. The second will come as soon as I finish putting it together. I’m a little stunned by the eclectic nature of my reading this summer; and wonder if I will continue mixing it up or will I settle down into a genre this winter.

Terry Brooks: The High Druid’s Blade
Terry Brooks fans rejoice! If you are like me and grew up reading Terry Brooks’ Shannara books, then you will be pleasantly surprised with The High Druid’s Blade.

The new book is set about a hundred years after the last book and in the typical Brooks way, is a coming of age story and an adequate continuation of the Shannara story of Druids and Elves.

If you haven’t read Terry Brooks before, you may want to start with something like The Sword of Shannara and work your way through to this one. If you haven’t read much Terry Brooks, this book may fall flat for you.

Carl F. Neal: Incense
This was a very interesting book about the history of incense, how to make it and some of the ways to use if for rituals and spiritual meditations.

I learned a lot and would recommend this book for anyone who uses incense on a regular basis. The basics of making the different types are taught, but the author also discusses which incense not to buy and where you can buy supplies.

This is an excellent place for beginners to get their feet wet.

Christine Rudsel and Bob Blaisdell: Slave Narratives of the Underground Railroad
This book is a great resource if you are interested in the narratives of those fortunate enough to have escaped through the Underground Railroad. Now, this book is a compilation and nothing that can’t be found in other places. That said, its incredibly inexpensive and for the prices, has a great number of important selections.

This would be a really great book for later high school students or college students who are interested in learning more about American history.

Margaret Atwood: Stone Mattress
This book is due to come out September 16, 2014 and I can happily say, if you are an Atwood fan, you will love this. Stone Mattress is a collection of nine tales; and some of these tales are parts of a larger story (the first three stories are basically a trilogy). Atwood’s dark humor is stellar and often times one can’t help but wonder if some of the characters are a reflection on aspects of her own character as a writer, or if she’s just making fun of writers in general. Regardless, this is a truly satisfying book of short stories.

I think if you are a fan of either Margaret Atwood or short stories, then you probably enjoy this book very much.

Walt Whitman: November Boughs
I loved this book. Its an inexpensive collection of Walt Whitman poems, letters, and essays is well worth your time. While poetry may not be something that appeals to all, this book is worth purchasing and prusing due to its historical value of ruminations on American life.

This book would be great for later high school students or college students who are interested in learning more about the American experience.

Deborah Harkness: The Book of Life
IF you’ve read the other two books in the All Souls Trilogy, then you will most likely enjoy this last book in the series. After a two-year wait, I am completely torn on my thoughts about this last book. I really wanted to love this book; and mostly, I liked the story as the ending to the rest of the trilogy. However, the book was in desperate need of an editor who knew the details and intricacies of the characters in the first two books.

A good two-thirds of the book was a rehashing of the first two books – granted it was cleverly done by catching up re-introduced characters – but it was too much. And some of the characters acted “out of character” and in ways that made no sense.

Truly, it seemed like the author was just doing her very best to get the trilogy done and didn’t worry too much about the details. The idea for wrapping up the story in The Book of Life was good, the execution…not so much

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