August 9, 2016

Summer Vacation Reading Contest

Eight years ago, I started our annual summer reading contest while on vacation. I won handily that year, but only because my daughters were just 10 and 13 at the time. However, this year, I won again for only the second time! It took me seven years, 3,306 pages, and 10 books to do it, but I did. Again, in all fairness, those 3000+ pages weren't even the most read in the history of our contest. Amanda holds that honor. She read 4,222 pages four years ago. So I take my victory in stride, knowing full well that it will be a long time before it happens again.

So what did we read? 

The picture above belongs to Kate and is a sampling of what she devoured in July. She loves fantasy and dystopian novels, and she highly recommends The Dead House from this year's picks. "It's not your usual novel.", she told me, and then proceeded to show me all of the graphics the book included. I won't spoil it for you, just check it out. Her all-time favorites are the Gemma Doyle trilogy, Delirium trilogy, and Before I Fall.

I took along a mix of fiction and non-fiction, but ended up only starting Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. I'm about half way through, and I've found some of the essays inspiring. A scant 221 pages long, Anne Rivers Siddon's The Girls of August was a quick, delightful read. I had zero expectations, but enjoyed it thoroughly. I only read three books from this list, and I was disappointed in all three. I usually don't read popular books right awaythe hype is usually too muchbut I waited for one to come out in paperback, and it didn't wow me (or scare me) like I thought it would. I'll leave it at that.

Amanda recommends The Unexpected Everything. She enjoys realistic fiction and cites Jodi Picoult as one of her favorite authors. She fell in love with The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy years ago, and has read it more times than she cares to admit. The last book is her all-time favorite. I finally read it last summer and I agree. 

While we were away, we visited several local bookstores, which are really the hidden jewels of the book industry. It's interesting to learn which books are selling better locally, and most of the recommendations you receive from the staff is spot on. To be read: A Man Called Ove and The Last Summer of the Camperdowns.  

Both Kate and Michael have copies of The Cursed Child, but neither has read it yet. I'm waiting to hear their reviews before I decide whether or not I'll read it. For me, Harry Potter ended with book 7. We ALL list HP as some of our all-time favorite books. 

It's amazing how much you can read when you don't watch television. Yup, no TV on our 4-week vacation. And very little technology all the way around. I snuck off to write on my laptop a few times, and with the release of Pokemon Go, well... the girls did use their phones. But in all fairness, the phones were mostly silent and pocketed away.

I highly recommend taking a technology break and use that time to read!

P.S. You may also like Delicious Reads and Children's Books.

A shout out to our favorite local bookstores while on vacation: Yellow Umbrella Books, The Brewster Bookstore, and Edgartown Books.