It's hard to believe that the first week of July has already cruised by. The four-day holiday weekend was such a treat, and pretty low-key for us. I was nursing a bruised Achilles tendon for much of it, but it allowed me to loll about and finish up a couple of good books.
On Sunday, the kids were all here -- with Luke and Miranda and their two, on Facetime -- for a barbecue. We grilled hamburgers, I made macaroni salad and opened a can of beans. Nothing fancy. The best part was roasting marshmallows over the fire pit and having s'mores. Sam brought his guitar, and it was one of those perfect summer evenings.
On the fourth, Dan and his brother Mike went to help their mom with a big project involving the garage, so I holed up and finished one of my books.
I'm trying to be more intentional about choosing books and getting in some reading time each day. Wow, have I found some good books this summer. Here is a sampling:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It was especially poignant to read this book on a weekend when our country was celebrating independence and freedom. The story is set during World War II, and the main characters are a German boy (Werner), and a blind French girl (Marie-Laure), whose paths collide in occupied France, in the ancient walled city of Saint Malo. Werner is an orphan who teaches himself about radios, and becomes an expert in the German army. Marie-Laure and her father -- the head locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris -- have fled the city, where they hole up in the home of an uncle. Through her father's position at the museum, Marie-Laure is given access to a lab where she learns a lot about shells, snails and mollusks. Her fascination and knowledge becomes an integral part of the story line. One of the characteristics of a good book is one that teaches me something. Through this book, I learned more about World War II, and a lot about radio technology and snails! It was so beautifully written. Perhaps because one of the main characters was blind, the author awakened my senses in hearing and feeling much of the story line.
The Last Chapter by Gene Amole. This is a collection of newspaper columns written by Rocky Mountain News columnist Gene Amole, when he learned that he was dying. He chose to continue writing his column to share thes journey through his final days. The collection spans the period of six months before Amole passed away in 2002. I saw this book at a used book store a couple of months ago, and picked it up because I loved reading Gene's columns in the Rocky. There are some other books of his columns, and I'll look for those now, too. I love the writing style of skilled newspaper journalists. Years ago, I worked for a man who was a former sports journalist, and I learned more about writing from him than I did in my four years of college. I'm impressed by writers who can pump out columns day after day, express themselves so concisely, and come up with something worthwhile to share.
There's a list on my sidebar of other books I've been reading. I only list the titles I would recommend. The series on the American Revolution by Laurie Halse Anderson is for readers ages 10 and up, but it had me on the edge of my seat!