Emily M. DeArdo


What I read on vacation (and a new book preview!)

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I always read a lot on vacation, especially beach vacations. This year was no exception! So for the bibliophiles among us, here's my reading round-up. Books I bought will be noted, and where I got them! 

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The Three Year Swim Club: bought at Duck's Cottage. This book tells the story of Maui's sugar ditch kids--kids whose parents worked on the large sugar plantations and who learned to swim in, yes, ditches. Thanks to the work of an incredibly motivated teacher, these kids formed the Three Year Swim Club, with the goal of qualifying for the 1940 Olympics. A well-written, well-paced and engrossing story for anyone who likes nonfiction/sportswriting. 

Gift from the Sea: I read this years and years ago, and then forgot about it. When I was packing I thought it would make a good devotional, so I tossed it in. I was so right. If you haven't read this little book, please pick it up. It's easy to read, the chapters are incredibly relevant, and it's great devotional reading. So many ideas were sparked by reading Anne Lindberg's words. 

Pride and Prejudice: The more I read this, the more I realize what a true masterpiece it is. It is tightly plotted--nothing is wasted--the story moves so quickly, but the development is true. Jane knew what she was about when she wrote this one. 

Mediterranean Summer: This was one of the first books I bought during my first ever Duck's Cottage trip in 2008, and I love it. I read it twice on this trip! It tells the story of a traveling American chef's summer as the chef of a private Italian yacht. There's food stories, storms at sea, a crazy boat party or two, and the difference between pate and foie gras is explained. (Or not.) And there are recipes! 

The Whole World Over: This and I See You Everywhere are a my favorite Julia Glass novels. This one was one of the first 9/11 novels, but it doesn't feel contrived. It's just great writing, with characters that you think about long after the book is over. 

The Lake House: The second book I bought at Duck's Cottage. This is Kate Morton's newest, fresh in paperback. If you've read her others (like The Forgotten Garden) you know there's usually a strong mystery component. Well, this book kicks it up by actually making it a detective story--as in, detectives are involved! I was completely engrossed, and this is up there with Garden in my estimation. A great vacation read. 

The Cloister WalkOne of my old Kathleen Norrises. Good for devotional reading and quick dipping in and out--the chapters are various essays, some one page, some multiple, but almost all of them are good reading. 

If The Creek Don't Rise: Third from Duck's Cottage. This was....Ok. It had potential that wasn't reached. It's supposed to be the story of Sadie Blue, an Appalachia girl who is stuck in an abusive marriage who wants to learn to read and befriends various people in her community. But it ends up being almost a compilation of short stories and character sketches that add up to few concrete endings and lots of loose ends. Meh. 

The Beach House Cookbook: I picked this up at the Island Bookstore in Corolla. I love a good cookbook, and this one is all about beachy recipes--fun, beach house inspired, but simple, from author Mary Kay Andrews. I'm trying out several of the recipes this week! 

Faithful: Also from the Island Bookstore, except the Duck location. I've been wanting to read this new Alice Hoffman novel for awhile, but was determined to wait for the paperback. Glad I did, but also sad because this was a good book! It's about Shelby, a girl who was in a car accident with her best friend--Shelby survives without a scratch, but her friend is in a coma for the rest of her life. The novel deals with grief, creating a different life for yourself than you imagined, and family relationships. It's a winner. 

War and Peace: Also Island Bookstore, Duck. I know, I know. Beach read? Hardly! But I've been wanting to give it another go in a different translation, and this one seems palatable. 

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Louisa Adams: Duck's Cottage. I've been wanting to know more about our first ladies, and this biography jumped out at me. Started this one yesterday.

Eat Pretty Every Day: 365 tips for better health. Sounds good to me! In Duck's Cottage there was a display that said "September is the new January", and this book was one of the displayed titles. So, go display creator, you got me to buy it. :) 

And now....a new book preview!

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I'm on the launch team for Anne Bogel's (Modern Mrs. Darcy) new book, Reading People. It's right up my alley--all about personality types, tools for figuring out your personality type, and how to live with others, based on their personality type. If you liked Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before, I think you'll really like this book. I'll be talking more about it next week, so stay tuned! If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, pre-order and get bonus stuff!  Yay free!  You have to pre-order before September 19th, so move it! 

What good books have you read lately?