Besides the distraction of work this week,
Honestly, I am blaming the fact that I am now 60 years old for my inability to count!
Seriously, I thought I had only 10 books listed for this posting,
and not until I completed it and started counting again,
did I determine I had included 11 titles! EGAD!!
I particularly enjoy reading books set in other countries than the one in which
Speaking of wild and largely unsettled territory, Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend, was set in the Galapagos Islands located just off the coast of Ecuador, during World War II. This work is historical fiction, based upon Francis Conway's memoirs. I guess you could say that Francis' marriage to Ainslie was one of 'convenience,' though I am stretching the definition of that word in several ways. Suffice it to say that she is an untrained spy except for the few weeks of training she completes just prior to traveling to the Island to LIVE, where there are few people and no shelter, etc. Francis was one of the bravest people I've ever known of in history, in so very many ways, especially settling in a basically uninhabited/uninhabitable environment with a stranger to whom she is now legally married. Let the 'fun' begin! Because she has so very many new discoveries and knowledge to gain! I found this one to be poignant and yet inspiring.
Now that we're among islands and South America, we can move on to The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell, which is also set along the shores of South America. I found this to be a totally delightful read, especially since I love animals and human-animal relationships! The Borders Book Club read and discussed it and we all agreed it was wonderfully uplifting, though there was some sadness. Though not totally unexpected, it was nonetheless, sad. This is all about Tom's relationship with Juan Salvador...but Juan is not human. :) Ah, did you already guess Juan's identity? (You are good! No one's gonna fool you, huh? Ha! Ha!) This one is adorable!
More islands, but this time, in the Caribbean. The Cay by Theodore Taylor is set during World War II. Add one torpedoed vessel, then one boy, one older man, one missing-presumed-dead mother, and one cat on a never-before-seen-by-you raft, and what do you get? An amazing story of survival and love, that's what! Did I mention Phillip is white and Timothy is black? Yep! It is quite an adjustment for them both. I so admire the skills they develop to survive, much as I did Francis' same determination in Enchanted Islands. And the big question? Do they? Survive... I am anxious to read Timothy of the Cay which is a prequel. Time. Just need more time... :)
Still more water settings, and another vessel also torpedoed by the Germans during World War II. But, this disaster is presented through the eyes of various passengers and we learn much about these seemingly very different people, who really all yearn for the same thing in the end, safe passage to another land and a new life.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is technically classified as a YA book, though I take these classifications with a grain of salt. If I enjoy reading a book, I don't care about the supposed 'reading level' as determined by someone else. Hence I read and review children's literature, even picture books on occasion! I love them all! I do not necessarily state that a book is identified as 'YA' vs. 'adult.' I am thrilled because I just purchased a copy of her book, Out of the Easy, at Indy Reads Books which is a non-profit totally staffed by volunteers to support the Indy Reads adult literacy program in Indianapolis, Indiana. And...bonus! While there, I was able to donate the bag and box of books that have been riding in my back seat for months! Yay! :)
Last, but by no means least, we will travel back to Africa (after Circling the Sun listed above) and this time explore Apartheid in South Africa. My Son's Story by Nadine Gordimer was a revealing exposé about the damage that can result when a parent devotes their life to a social cause. Sonny is always 'pushing the limits' during this time. As a black man, he moves his family into a restricted white neighborhood. He also forms an intense romantic relationship with a white woman, also against the law at the time. However, he appears very self-centered and unable to devote the time, love, or energy to his family that he should. He would rather be gone, campaigning/fighting 'for the cause' against Apartheid. That is all well and good, but who truly suffers by his absence? His family, of course, those about whom he should care the most... Doesn't this seem to be the way of it? A social 'crusader' so many times cannot develop and maintain strong monogamous relationships. It is a conundrum... I initially felt I didn't resonate well with Gordimer's writing, though in the aftermath, I believe it might just have been the rather 'depressing' subject matter of this novel that made me feel that way. I intend to read The Conservationist to further explore her writing on a different subject matter. I rarely make a determination about an author based upon only one of their published works. I like to read at least two if the first one doesn't seem super-appealing to me. I like to be as certain as I can be about whether an author's writing style truly resonates for me or not. Though, to be sure, there are those (John Green, Laurie R. King, Erica Bauermeister, Garth Stein, etc., etc., etc.) whom I fell in love with immediately!