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Weekend reads, or summer, summer, summer!

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It's officially summer now, but Boston has been alternating between 80ish days and 40ish ones, so who knows. But I'm really looking forward to our summer plans: lots of day trips, some camping, catching up with friends, and lots of summer eats.

My weekend reads for this weekend is Christina Henry's Peter Pan retelling, Lost Boy. The cover is a leeeeeetle gory for my tastes, and I am using big stickies to keep Unabridged Toddler from seeing it, but otherwise, I'm very excited to dig in.

I've got a crazy book hangover from Kate Quinn's The Alice Network (review and giveaway next Mon!) so I'm glad I've got something else that should suck me in.

What are you reading this weekend?

Teaser Tuesday: The Alice Network

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My Teaser Tuesday for this week comes from Kate Quinn's marvelous The Alice Network. I'm only a fourth through but I am hardcore in love. There are a handful of badass women who dominate the book, and Quinn's trademark mix of rich detail and delightful one-liners. (Limiting myself to one teaser today was a challenge!)

This quote is from the start of the novel, when our World War I spy Eve gets her first job at a Lille-based restaurant..

Eve could see why the Germans came to dine here. It was a civilized place to relax after a long day of stamping on your conquered populace. (p103)

What are you reading right now? Any teasers to share?

Winner!

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A second whirlwind weekend, so my apologies for this late giveaway winner announcement!

The winner of my giveaway for Novel Destinations is ... Carrie of nomadreader!

Congrats, Carrie! I should have more giveaways coming up so don't despair -- be sure to keep reading!

Book Review: The Secret History of Jane Eyre by John Pfordresher

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First line: We begin with a mystery.

I grabbed this book because of the cover (gorgeous) and the fact that I'm not a huge Jane Eyre fan and I kind of want to be. (I mean, it seems like a book I should be all over.) I love books about books, stories that dive into the nitty-gritty and ineffable magic of writing a novel. And I'm always up to learn more about books and how, possibly, to read them.

But this one really disappointed me.

Pfordresher's argument -- his 'secret history' -- is that Brontë mined her own life for Jane Eyre. (No duh.) But he pushes a literal person-for-person sort of equivalency that really disappointed me; while arguing for Brontë's creative genius, I couldn't help but feel like he was minimizing it in this manner.

There are also some intense leaps that just seemed a stretch to me. For example, Rochester's agonizing sexual frustration reflects "...a sexual energy Charlotte Brontë knew, daily, at Haworth," (p82), from the a…

Book Review: Swing Time by Zadie Smith

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First line: It was the first day of my humiliation.

Unbelievably, this was my first Zadie Smith. How is that possible? I'm super embarrassed by this fact, but there it is.

The novel is narrated by a young biracial woman, recounting her childhood and early adulthood, and the things -- dance, music, education -- and people -- her mother, best friend, employer -- that shaped the direction of her life.

Passionate about dance, our narrator becomes friends with the only other biracial girl in her dance class, Tracey. Tracey is gifted at dance and her mother eagerly supports her while our narrator's mother is focused on educating herself and achieving personal happiness and success. Our narrator is shuttled to better schools and ends up becoming the assistant to a massive pop celebrity, an experience that changes her life in so many ways.

I liked this book, although I don't think its blurb does it justice -- I really expected a story about two friends -- the narrator and Tracey …

Book Review: Novel Destinations by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon

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First line: "I felt as if I'd got into a novel while going about in the places I'd read so much of," Louisa May Alcott wrote in her journal after seeing the sights of Dickensian London in 1865., from the Introduction

Book-inspired travel is a favorite of mine and my wife's. On my first trip with my in-laws, they cheerfully indulged my literary nerdiness by diverting a family road trip so that I could search for poet and novelist H.D.'s grave in Bethlehem, PA. Through multiple biographies and Jackson's own writing, my wife and I pieced together a route through North Bennington, Vermont, to explore Shirley Jackson's world. And for my babymoon, my wife took me to Yaddo, famed writing center, so I could walk the grounds so many favorite authors had.

All this is to say: a book that basically does all the work and offers me many, many ways to visit my favorite literary sites is pretty much catnip for me.

In its second edition, Novel Destinations offers a va…

Wordless Wednesday, May 24

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My Wordless Wednesday offering for today includes two of my current reads: Buffalo Soldier and The Secret History of Jane Eyre: How Charlotte Brontë Wrote Her Masterpiece.

Have a Wordless Wednesday image to share? Link to it in the comments!