I haven’t actually read this book yet, but it was in the mailbox when we got back from vacation. I looked through it and the blocks are all so beautiful, I can’t wait to try it out! It is set up like a cookbook, with “ingredient” lists, instructions, and pictures of parts and finished blocks. I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one!
4. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler- I really wanted to like this book. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. A group of six people, five women and one man, read a Jane Austen book every month and then have book club meetings about it. Each person has a personal “journey” through their past, with certain themes brought out by that month’s book. Spoiler alert: they all end up happy and in functional relationships.
5. The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James- I read this book as part of my devotions over the last month and a half. It was an in-depth examination of the book of Ruth and tried to answer the question “Is God good for women?”. I was really excited about it in the first chapter because she was setting the stage for an interesting discussion. However, I feel like she got caught up in the story of Ruth and never really answered the big question. That being said, I did enjoy getting a deeper understanding of Ruth. It has always seemed like such a simple story, but this book really helped me to understand the story’s complexities and the graciousness of God.
6. Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel- I picked this book up at the library because of the title, but I really ended up enjoying it. It is not an instructional book in Italian, but a chick lit novel set in Rome. Cat, the main character, took a break from her safe life in NYC to take a spontaneous month-long vacation to Rome. After the guy she went to see turned out to be a dud, she decided to stay in Italy anyway. She made several friends, unlocked some secrets from her family’s past, and discovered a new calling for her life. The story was cute and engaging, but the writing was a little annoying. The author used words like “slipped” for walked and “jaw dropped” for surprised. There was also a fair amount of untranslated Italian that, while not important to the story, wasn’t always correct. Despite that, it was cute and I would recommend it if you’re looking for chick lit.
7. Quentins by Maeve Binchy- Of course I should read an Irish book while in Ireland! Maeve Binchy is one of Ireland’s most popular authors. In this book, Quentins is a successful restaurant in Dublin. It has always been Ella’s favorite and when she gets the opportunity to help make a documentary about the restaurant, she jumps at the chance. Her own personal life had taken a sudden turn for the worse, so burying herself in the stories of others is a good distraction. Binchy has the ability to create a book with numerous well-developed characters, more than you would normally be okay with for one book, but they are all delightful and all end up coming together in the end. This book was excellent and I highly recommend it.