Harry Potter was our book club pick for August so it will be fun to discuss it with everyone next week. It really was a great ending to the series. And I can't wait to let a little time pass and then reread the whole series back to back. And Allison, I'm glad Matt has finally agreed to read #7. Did Rowling redeem herself for how she ended #6? Or did #7 not live up for Matt?
Since I actually read HP7 in July, I decided to read our September book club pick because I couldn't decide on any of my 900 books I have here. The book was The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner. While the author seems to generally write novels, this book was a collection of short stories. I admit, I sort of groaned when this was revealed as the September book because I am not a big fan of short story collections. I hate that I'm just getting into the characters and wondering about where the story goes and then it just ends. I always seem to be left with wanting more from a short story. HOWEVER, this one was slightly different. I enjoyed most of the stories in this book. There was one I pretty much skipped because I just couldn't get into it or the characters. Something about a group of guys dognapping a yippy yap dog on their bachelor party night (Hmm...whatever). I think Weiner set the book up well for people like me that shy away from short stories. The first three stories in the book actually have the same characters in them just at three different points in their lives, so even though they were completely different stories, you could see where they were going. The other thing I noticed about the short stories is that they progressed well and flowed one into the next. There was a general theme involving water/swimming, another was writing. It seems that although the characters and their lives were all different, there were threads though each story that connected with the next making it flow well. Again, I think there are much more intriguing books out there but I didn't feel this was a total waste of my time. Not one I would have read if it weren't for book club though.
I just finished Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult last night. I have not read any of her books before. I always see them at the bookstore and think about it, but never got on the bandwagon. I have several friends who love her books and have told me how good they are, so I borrowed some and have them sitting on my shelf. I really liked this book and will probably read some of her other novels now. The novel is set in New Hampshire and is a modern day retelling of the Crucible. But this time the witches are the ones doing the condemning. The main character Jack was wrongfully accused of having sex with one of his teenage students, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, did his time and now struggles to make a new life for himself. He shows up in the town of Salem Falls hoping to blend in and not make any trouble, but instead finds himself "outed" to the town as a sexual offender and endures what comes with that label. One of the town's teenagers again accuses him of rape and a trial proceeds. Underlying all of the main story is information on the Wiccan religion. Several of the town's girls including the teenage accuser practice Wicca. I found the book very engaging and the characters well developed. I thought the whole premise of the book was interesting and I enjoyed reading about the Wiccan religion. I would recommend this one. And I know people who would recommend any Jodi Picoult book.
Lastly, I have been reading a few parenting books of late, and while I don't want to turn this blog into a Mommy site, there is one particular book I want to recommend: Raising a Sensory Smart Child by Lindsey Biel and Nancy Peske. While the book focuses on kids with larger sensory processing issues, I think any parent could glean some very helpful information from this book about how children perceive the environment around them and react to it. It has great information on the senses, processing your environment, and how to deal with behavior and discipline in a positive productive way.