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The Week in Review: 03.30.2018

March 30, 2018


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

IF YOU COME SOFTLY by Jacqueline Woodson is a 20 year old story that’s still relevant today.  Ellie and Jeremiah meet on their first day at prep school in Manhattan.  She’s white, Jewish, and lives in Manhattan and he’s black and from Brooklyn.  That doesn’t matter to them, though – unfortunately, the rest of the world thinks differently.  The story alternates between Ellie’s and Jeremiah’s point of views and I fell in love with both characters and their voices.  Teens will love IF YOU COME SOFTLY because it will resonate with many of them.  This YA story is captivating and thought provoking and would be great for book clubs willing to discuss tough issues.  The audio version of this terrific book is narrated extremely well by Jorjeana Marie and Guy Lockard.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


There was a lot of hype surrounding THE GIRLS by Emma Cline when it first came out so I decided to sit on it for a while and let the buzz die down.  I was always interested, though, because I’d heard it was loosely based on the Manson family, something that has fascinated me for some odd reason.  The story is told by Evie, a 14 year old girl whose divorced parents seem more interested in their love lives than in her.  When she encounters some of the girls who are the followers of Russell, a young man with new ideas about family and love, Evie is fascinated with them, in particular Suzanne, and hovers around the periphery of the group.

Even though the book is beautifully written, I didn’t love it.  The action is slow and the fact that Evie straddled two worlds kept me from being fully invested in either one.  She tells the story as an adult, so readers know from the beginning that a horrific murder takes place but she wasn’t present so there’s not a lot of tension in the story.  In the end, this was just an okay read for me. (My friend Julie sent me this book.)


THE CHALK MAN by C. J. Tudor is the story of a group of friends as they are growing up.  When one of them is given colored chalk for his birthday, a teacher tells them how he and his friends left each other secret messages with chalk, so they decide to do the same.  One day they all find messages in front of their houses that lead them to the discovery of dead body and their friendship is changed forever.  Fast forward twenty years and Eddie, the narrator, thinks that’s all behind him when one of his old friends visits and then turns up dead.  Now Eddie must figure out the past in order to preserve his future.  I’ve heard a lot about this book and really looked forward to it and I liked it well enough but didn’t love it the way other people have.  I thought the story was pretty quiet until the ending, which was shocking and great.  Maybe it’s because I listened to the audio version – it’s narrated by Euan Morton who has a British accent and my track record with British accents isn’t great.   Give this one a try if it sounds interesting to you.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


BIRDING IS MY FAVORITE VIDEO GAME by Rosemary Mosco is a collection of comics about, you guessed it, birds.  Some are just for fun while others present scientific facts.  I enjoyed some of them while others left me scratching my head.  I could never figure out the target audience for the book – I thought it was geared towards kids until I came across one comic about wine pairing.  I think Mosco’s illustrations are fantastic but I thought the collection itself was pretty uneven.  (I won this book from Andrews McMeel.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I watched the Lady Hokies defeat the Lady Mountaineers in the WNIT semifinals, 64 to 61.  It was a nail biter to be sure.  The Lady Hokies face Indiana in the tournament finals on Saturday.


Off the blog

  • I’ve made some progress on my puzzle.  This one is tough so every piece that fits in feels like an accomplishment.
  • I’ve stayed busy this week but haven’t done anything particularly exciting.
  • Spring is here – for the time being, anyway.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged almost 17,000 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

28 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2018 5:12 am

    All your books are new to me so I loved the reviews.
    I have no idea of the sport you are talking about but I can feel the enthusiasm!

  2. Beth F permalink
    March 30, 2018 6:20 am

    I haven’t read that Woodson, but it looks like I should. I too have been on the fence about The Girls … I think I’ll pass for now. The Chalk Man is still on my list. I do better with British accents than you do, so I might listen.

  3. Diane permalink
    March 30, 2018 7:13 am

    Kathy, you had a great week for books. It’s funny as I also have difficulties with audio books that have British or Southern narrators. I just seem to lose my concentration easily.

    I hope you enjoy your weekend.

  4. Sarah's Book Shelves permalink
    March 30, 2018 7:18 am

    The Girls is definitely slower than you’d think about book about the Manson family would be. But, I liked it and thought the writing was gorgeous. More of a coming of age story for me.

  5. March 30, 2018 8:40 am

    I am well versed in British accents, but I also watch a lot of British crime shows. I think, like other aspects of audiobook listening, it probably just takes a lot of practice. Ha! I have a print copy of The Chalk Man and will get to it at some point. I’m still very interested in it. The Girls – not so much. Maybe at first and then I think I’ll give it a pass.

  6. March 30, 2018 8:44 am

    The Woodson book sounds great 🙂 I didn’t like The Girls either – I DNFed it. I really enjoyed The Chalk Man – such a good one 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend! Happy Easter!!

  7. March 30, 2018 8:55 am

    I haven’t felt compelled to read The Girls, but Jacqueline Woodson’s new book sounds great. Glad to know it’s good on audio, too. Happy Easter!

  8. March 30, 2018 10:38 am

    I enjoyed The Girls, but it was not as stunning as it could have been, given the subject matter. Maybe I’m just hooked on intensity.

    I’ve read and enjoyed one book from Woodson, so I’m intrigued by the look of If You Come Softly.

    I’m also curious about The Chalk Man.

    Enjoy! I am always impressed by your long walks.

  9. March 30, 2018 2:12 pm

    I so wanna do a puzzle again

  10. March 30, 2018 3:36 pm

    I think having lived through the Manson era has made me want to avoid reading about it.
    The puzzle looks challenging!

  11. Patty permalink
    March 30, 2018 3:53 pm

    I felt the same way you did about The Girls…in fact I probably disliked it much more than you did. Nothing much going on here either…just trying to deal with the weather…today it’s misty and chilly…

  12. March 30, 2018 4:45 pm

    I still haven’t started my puzzle. It took me a while to find a puzzle pad and by the time I did I was out of the mood. I do need to start one though, I have 3 (I think) new ones.

    Your books sound good.

  13. March 30, 2018 8:54 pm

    Woodson writes excellent books. My brother finished a puzzle.

  14. March 30, 2018 11:45 pm

    The Chalk man intrigues me even if you didn’t love it. I’ll try to remember to stick to the print version.

  15. March 31, 2018 11:03 am

    I’ve heard really good things about The Girls and The Chalk Man but I’ve been on the fence about both. Sounds like I should skip the first one and read the second!

  16. March 31, 2018 11:33 am

    I’ve enjoyed all the Jacqueline Woodson books that I’ve read, but I haven’t read this one yet.

  17. March 31, 2018 1:38 pm

    I loved BROWN GIRL DREAMING, so I’ll have to check this one out. I’m doing a difficult puzzle right now too that has many similar-colored pieces, so I know what you mean by each piece is an achievement.

  18. April 1, 2018 12:21 am

    I also want to read the Jacqueline Woodson book. I identify with her characters. Good going on that puzzle. So much brown! Happy Easter.

  19. April 1, 2018 12:54 am

    Chalk Man sounds interesting, but I’ll go for the print version.

  20. April 1, 2018 1:09 am

    The Boo-Boos That Changed the World sounds intriguing. I am in awe of your continued daily step count.

    Have a wonderful Easter, Kathy!

  21. April 1, 2018 8:44 am

    I’m glad to see your review of Cline’s book. It’s one of those that has gotten so much press that I was very curious about it. I think I can now leave it alone.

  22. April 1, 2018 12:25 pm

    If You Come Softly sounds like a book I would love. Your puzzle does look hard! But the challenge is half the fun, right?

  23. April 2, 2018 1:21 pm

    I added The Chalk Man to my list after the author did an interview with Michael Silverblatt. The author apparently adores Stephen King and King gave her quite the plug on Facebook not too long ago.

  24. April 2, 2018 4:45 pm

    I felt the same way about The Girls, even though I know I’m in the minority on that.

  25. April 2, 2018 9:48 pm

    I agree with you on The Chalk Man. I liked it but didn’t love it. I picked up The Girls, but couldn’t get into it and am not sure I will pick it up again.

  26. April 3, 2018 9:23 am

    Some of the scenes in The Girls gave me the creeps; I think it was effective to me in that regard. Too bad the Lady Hokies came up a bit short against IU but a great season and tourney for them!

  27. April 4, 2018 9:58 pm

    How I WISH spring were here! I am so weary of the cold, cloudy weather – I’m about ready to pick up and move to Florida 🙂 I hope you had a great Easter (and continue to enjoy that nice weather)

  28. April 10, 2018 6:50 am

    I’ve been debating about THE CHALK MAN. I wish you’d enjoyed it more but the ending has me tempted.

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