Summer adventures, both literary and not

Posted by on Aug 22, 2011 in All, Writing

This summer has been a whirlwind. We moved to Vermont in early June, and are still getting our bearings. The pilot local news project I have been working with, NewsTrust Baltimore, has been diligently publishing reports on our findings, so I’ve been writing up a storm. And then, there is the fact that I am pregnant (surprise!). I’m in the second trimester now, and all is well, but I was super sick for the first 16 weeks or so, and in many ways am still catching up on everything.

But it has been a lovely summer. We have been blessed with lots of visitors, and used them as motivation to learn how to get around and experience local flora and fauna. The picture above is an example of that — our trip to the Vermont Wildflower Farm. It was pretty in July, but I’m really looking forward to returning next spring!

Another thing I have been doing a lot of is reading – first to quell the morning-sickness, then to fill the time once we got unpacked, but still didn’t know anyone. My summer reading has been somewhat diverse, as you will see:

  • Dreadnought by Cherie Priest. Really, you need to read Boneshaker first, to learn about the world and be introduced to some of the characters, but this was my favorite read of the two. It was so engrossing that I became a passenger on the train barreling across an alternative America, where the Civil War goes on for decades, and something is definitely not right with the cowboys stumbling on the range.
  • The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains by Nicolas Carr. A truly timely read about how the tools we create to make our lives better, also change how we think, learn, and live.
  • The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte. I was all in on this suspenseful story of shady book deals, the Three Musketeers, and a mysterious young girl, but was a bit disappointed in the final denouement – the ambiguity was frustrating after all that commitment to the story. I’d love someone else’s opinon!
  • Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by the Mayo Clinic. I really have been reading this book, over and over! It was recommended to me several times as a less frightening alternative to that other pregnancy book (that we expect to read, get it?). Sensible, thorough information about all stages of being with child, and beyond.
  • Among Others by Jo Walton. While the ambiguity of Club Dumas annoyed me in the end, I found it delightful in Among Others. A girl who sees fairies wonders how powerful a role magic is playing in her life. Teen angst and doubt are seen through a lens of fantasy that also maintains the gritty reality of difficult families and social heirarchies.
  • Feed by M.T. Anderson. Wow. Every teen should read this book (adults, too). This dystopic view of a future where everyone has their own 24-hour feed of information directly into their brain is funny, dark, and ultimately heartbreaking.

Fall is coming, and I’d love to get some suggestions for new reading. Please tell me what books you have enjoyed this summer!


  1. Mary
    August 22, 2011

    I recently loved “Unbroken,” a nonfiction-but-unbelievable account of a POW in WWII and his amazing life, and “Blood, Bones and Butter,” a memoir by a chef with an MFA. Also recommended from the past year or so: “Nothing to Envy,” about North Korea, and “Peace Like a River,” a beautifully written novel.

  2. Gin
    August 22, 2011

    Thanks, Mary! I had not heard of any of those books, and they all sound really interesting.

  3. Sara
    August 23, 2011

    Hello Gin, and many, many congratulations to you on your wonderful news! Sorry you have been suffering with sickness but hopefully that is done with now.
    A good idea to get all the reading in that you can before the baby arrives! I recently enjoyed ‘The Lovers’ by Vendela Vida, about grief, adventure, travel, family relationships; ‘The Tiny Wife’ out soon by Andrew Kaufman, a magical novella kind of about love; and I just finished ‘The Bean Trees’ by Barbara Kingsolver – an old one of hers that I hadn’t read. Now re-reading Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales – ace!
    Best wishes to you,
    Sara x

  4. Gin
    August 23, 2011

    Thanks, Sara! It’s nice to be back. All of those books sounds great – I remember reading “The Bean Trees” years ago and loving it!