Books: June Edition


The Last Town by Blake Crouch

I blazed through this third and final installment of the Wayward Pines trilogy in less than two days and was sad to see this series come to an end! Themes included standing up for truth, the freedom of choice, banding together as a community, overcoming mistakes, and clinging to loved ones. I am left with questions and ideas about what would happen if the stories were to continue, which is always comforting; you don’t have to say goodbye – you can continue to carry characters with you in your heart.


Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

In late May I heard about this historical fiction novel for the first time via the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide. Thankfully, from this list, our public library had a smattering of the books in which I was most interested, including this one. Before I read this, if you would have asked me to tell you any details about the final flight of the Hindenburg other than its demise, I would have looked at you with a blank stare. I now know just a little bit more, thanks to Ms. Lawhon’s creativity in imagining the Hindenburg’s flight from Germany to the United States.

The story is told from and revolves around the perspective of five crew members and passengers on board. There are several additional supporting characters and when I am faced with a lot of character detail like this, I often resort to the sticky note method. I employed this again to keep people and details straight in my mind.

As Hitler gains more power in Germany, the 1939 flight of the Nazi funded Hindenburg includes both German and American passengers who possess secrets and agendas. Yet, over the course of the three-day flight these slowly begin to come to light as they confide in and/or betray each other.


Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

This was another selection from the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide, although I didn’t care for it as much as I did Flight of Dreams. The title comes from how it takes eight hundred grapes to make a bottle of wine and while there were juicy descriptions of fruit, flavors, and California scenery, the characters were fraught with drama and interconnected mishaps, making it hard for me to connect with them as a reader. While resolution, forgiveness, growth, and understanding were redeeming qualities of the book, I felt the plot was rather one-note and the ending fairly predictable.


Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

This wonderful collection of essays about “celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life” was a book I picked out for my birthday. I had heard such wonderful things about Niequist’s writing and it did not disappoint at all. This slim paperback accompanied me as I took a little overnight trip to southern Oklahoma with The Optometrist and came into my life at the perfect time; reminding me of the precious gift of living life everyday to the fullest (John 10:10).*


City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

I have this pesky habit of asking strangers in public places what they’re reading. It happened again this spring while I was getting a pedicure. The woman beside me and I had a lovely chat about books, authors, and reading – she recommended her current read, City of Dark Magic, and I recommended mine, The Marvels by Brian Selznick.

It piqued my curiosity, so I ordered and picked up my own copy at Left Bank Books in St. Louis during our Spring Break trip. My pedicure acquaintance likened this to Dan Brown (and someone else I don’t remember), but now that I’ve finished it, I felt it wasn’t nearly as exciting as my memories of reading The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons. However, as a musician, I enjoyed the historically fictitious, modern day mystery of discovering secrets between Beethoven, Joseph Franz Maximilian, the 7th Prince Lobkowitz, and Tycho Brahe in Prague.


Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

My last book read in June was also discovered from the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide. Additionally, Anne Bogel promoted a 50% off deal for a 3 month membership with Book of the Month club. I’ve never been a part of a book-buying club before, but the price was a bargain so I decided to give it a go. Coincidentally, Before the Fall, was one of the five June selections and the one I thought I would enjoy the most.

The broad plot is about a plane crash into the Atlantic, with only two survivors: a grown man and a little boy, which occurs within the first 34 pages (thus, no spoiler alert). The rest of the story reveals the histories and backgrounds of the other passengers and crew aboard the plane, allowing the reader to keep wondering “what really happened to cause the plane crash?” (The ending was a little anticlimactic, in my opinion.)

*With the exception of Cold Tangerines, my favorite book read this month, the rest included a lot of human relationship drama (and two aircraft disasters), which has worn me out, so I’m ready for a change of pace that will include more non-fiction and YA in the coming month.


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