On My Bookshelf for July:
Dept. of Speculation | A young couple writes love letters to each other postmarked The Dept. of Speculation, for the beautiful uncertainty that lies ahead. Then they get married, have a baby, and experience all of those things that we are all too familiar with. Difficulties with the baby, difficulties in their marriage, disappointments and stalled career aspirations. This is a short book, easy to read in just one sitting, and so beautifully written it will leave you thinking about it long after you finish. | “If you are tired of everything you possess, imagine that you have lost all these things.”
Everything I Never Told You | From the very first line in this book, “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet” to the last, I was absorbed with this story of the seemingly normal family from small-town Ohio in the 1970’s, who completely fell apart in the face of tragedy. | “Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.”
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl | Anne Frank Remembered | Annexed | In the weeks leading up to my trip to Amsterdam, I read everything I could find about Anne Frank. Although I had read her diary when I was younger, it was just as powerful as ever. Plus, I think that re-reading it made visiting the Anne Frank house even that much more meaningful. | “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” | Anne Frank Remembered is written by Miep Gies, who helped hide the Frank family from the Nazis, and is a wonderful look at what was going on outside the annex, while Anne was writing about the daily life within the annex. | “I am not a hero. I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did or more—much more—during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the hearts of those of us who bear witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened then. More than twenty thousand Dutch people helped to hide Jews and others in need of hiding during those years. I willingly did what I could to help. My husband did as well. It was not enough.” | Annexed explores what life was like from the point of view of Peter, the boy Anne Frank was in love with. These 3 books should definitely be read together to get the full story of Anne Frank, and all the Jewish people who went into hiding in Holland during WWII.
My Sunshine Away | In the summer of 1989, in a privileged neighborhood in Baton Rouge, a beautiful 15 year old girl is raped. This book is a coming of age tale of her 14 year old neighbor who is infatuated with her, and how this event and those following it shape him into the man that he is. | “But for every adult person you look up to in life there is trailing behind them an invisible chain gang of ghosts, all of which, as a child, you are generously spared from meeting.”