21 July 2010

Some summer reading

I've been enjoying just a ton of easy reading lately, now that school is out and I'm officially in vacation mode. I mean, I'm still writing papers, but I have way more time for fun reading.  Some of these make great accompaniment for knitting, while others are totally gripping and require more concentration.  Here are a few of my thoughts on the latest stack from the public library/discount shelves at the bookstore.
--All links are to Amazon, which is where I found the images--

The Mysterious Benedict Society, and The Mysterious Benedict Society & the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart

These are great adventure reads, intended for kids, but definitely still enjoyable if you're an adult. They provide readers with a chance to solve mini puzzles, crack riddles and codes, and figure out mysteries, all while you accompany four fearless adventurers with their own unique skills and endearing foibles. I especially enjoy the descriptions of the dastardly villains.  I recommend these two for train, bus, car, or other travel reading (though not for knitting), since the short chapters allow you to read in small gulps.

Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series

I have made it through three of these delightful books, and I'm truly looking forward to the next one.  These are perfect to read while knitting, settled into a comfy chair in an air-conditioned apartment or cafe! Written as a newspaper serial, each novel is really more a collection of vignettes, chronicling the lives of several, interconnected Edinburgh residents.  Every 2-3 page episode is packed with cringe- or giggle-worthy material.  Bruce, a ridiculously narcissistic young man, Pat, a lovable heroine trying to figure out her next step, and Cyril, the beer-drinking dog with a golden tooth, will make you smile. My favorite character is undoubtedly the precocious and overbooked 5-year-old Bertie, whose overbearing mother is the bane of his existence; his misadventures are related quite seriously with the perfect amount of insight into his reasoning and emotions.

(Saving the best for last...) Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story by Leonie Swann

Okay. First there is a flip book going on in the bottom right hand corner of this book. If that isn't enough to get you to read it right now, I guess I can tell you some more. The sheep are incredibly lovable characters. Their lives are suddenly thrown into disarray when their shepherd is found dead in the field with a spade sticking out of his body. The sheep and rams take it upon themselves to solve the crime and bring its perpetrator(s) to justice, all while dealing with the challenges of grazing, rock climbing, and avoiding wolves and dogs.  Viewing a human community through the eyes of these simple but astute creatures was a fun experience, and I laughed out loud many times. I cannot recommend this book enough if you like wool or animals or Ireland or mysteries.

And can I also recommend that you enjoy your summer reading with a tall glass of what Knitterboi and I are calling "fancy water"? Water, ice cubes, mint leaves, and a squirt of lemon juice. Delish!


Julie said...

aww, I love book recommendations!! I'll have to check these out.

Allison said...

I love recommendations, too, so please feel free to let me know about your favorites :)

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