Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

Teaching from RestTeaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie

I wasn’t sure how I’d like this book – I kept hearing good things about it, but I’ve read Mackenzie’s blog before and have never cared for it that much (it’s beautiful, but I always end up wanting more from her posts). However, I am so glad that I gave the book a chance anyway – it was *so* encouraging and inspiring.

I don’t actually buy that many books for myself, instead relying on the library for the majority of my reading. This is a book that I borrowed but now want to own my own copy, so I can reread it regularly. It’s that encouraging.

It’s not a homeschooling treatise, or guide to curriculum. I actually disagree with her educational philosophy in some ways (I am not a Charlotte Mason devotee, and am nowhere near as laid-back about things as Mackenzie seems to be), but her focus on rest was very helpful.

The book is heavily faith-based, and includes numerous quotes from Catholic saints. If that’s an issue for you you likely would not appreciate the book.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Those who have made the decision to homeschool their children have done so out of great love for their children and a desire to provide them an excellent education in the context of a warm, enriching home. Yet so many parents (mainly mothers) who have taken up this challenge find the enterprise often full of stress, worry, and anxiety. In this practical, faith-based, and inspirational book, Sarah Mackenzie addresses these questions directly, appealing to her own study of restful learning (scholé) and her struggle to bring restful learning to her children.

Book Details

Title: Teaching from Rest
Author: Sarah Mackenzie
Category: Nonfiction / Education
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Saving CeeCee HoneycuttSaving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel by Beth Hoffman

Charming and sweet story that was an ideal vacation read. It’s light enough that it fit well with my mood at the beach, but it has just barely enough depth to still be satisfying.

I can’t give it more than 3.5 Stars, no matter how perfect it was as a beach book, because of how it skirts around more meaty issues. Racism, child neglect, insanity, poverty, and death are all briefly addressed, but in a very superficial way. The wrap-it-all-up in a bow ending was enjoyable from an emotional standpoint, but intellectually I can acknowledge how unrealistic it all was.

Highly recommended, or not at all recommended, depending on what sort of book you’re looking for. The writing is lovely, and the occasional bits of humor had me chuckling. I’ll happily try another by Hoffman.

We’ll be reading this for my in-person book club in August, and I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say about it, and finding out how well the feel-good novel works as a discussion vehicle.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Steel Magnolias meets The Help in Beth Hoffman’s New York Times bestselling Southern debut novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her mother, Camille, the town’s tiara-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock, a woman who is trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen of Georgia. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, CeeCee’s long-lost great-aunt, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. There, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity—one that appears to be run entirely by strong, wacky women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons; to Tootie’s all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones; to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

A timeless coming of age novel set in the 1960s, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship, and charts the journey of an unforgettable girl who loses one mother, but finds many others in the storybook city of Savannah. As Kristin Hannah, author of Fly Away, says, Beth Hoffman’s sparkling debut is “packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart.”

Book Details

Title: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel
Author: Beth Hoffman
Category: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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Seven Quick Takes: Summer Edition!

— 1 —

Today is the end of the second week of summer, and next week begins a stretch of busy weeks. VBS, taekwondo camp, more VBS – it’s either going to be the best stretch ever or I’m going to get to the end of it and be ready to collapse from all the driving around town trying to be places at specific times. 😉

— 2 —

The first day of summer break was not so good (kids arguing endlessly over everything) – apparently we need a little more structure to our days. So I stole an idea I found on Facebook that was aimed at teens, and adapted it for my older two.

It’s the daily screen time checklist, listing all the things they need to do before they can have screens. While they haven’t even been doing it for a full two weeks, so far I would say it’s an astonishing success. They do not nag at me for screens, because they know the answer already: if their checklists aren’t done, then they do not get screens.

I haven’t even had to enforce time limits once they get their checklists done, because they take long enough that combining them with late afternoon / evening activities, there isn’t that much time for them to use screens (granted, I’m more lenient than the 15-minutes a day people I seem to run across regularly online.)

— 3 —

I haven’t been doing much with Usborne stuff lately, just because I’ve been so busy with other things. And I have to say that from a totally selfish standpoint, I wish I’d been pushing to make some sales in June because the sales incentive that they’re offering is a mug that has this awesome reading quote.

— 4 —

The idea of a summer reading program is super appealing to me (no surprise, considering how much I love the library), but in practice I find it to be a real pain in the neck. Books that get counted for reading points have to be turned in to a separate location, and I have to note which kid(s) get credit for which books(s) and it ends up being such a hassle. Part of me wants to just say all kids get credit for all the books, but invariably there’s at least some books that one or more didn’t read or listen to and honesty compels me to acknowledge that.

— 5 —

The cooking lessons for the kids continue. They love them, and I keep telling myself that it will pay off eventually. I will keep you posted on what we use for it, but I want to give it a real trial before reporting back. So far I’ve tried two different books and one online program. Updates to come.

— 6 —

M’s vocabulary continues to increase exponentially, and she has this hilarious way of walk/running that cracks me up every time she does it. It’s like she’s in such a rush to get where she’s going that she throws her whole body into it.

— 7 —

The best book I’ve finished recently was Big Little Lies – loved the characters (most of them anyway), loved the twists, loved how I didn’t figure it all out. And, I’m really looking forward to diving into it in the discussion – this week has been introductory/overview questions, but we’ll be getting into more substantive questions next week.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Seven Quick Takes

Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links, but none of the others are. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Katie Chandler Series Review (Enchanted, Inc)

Shanna Swendson's Katie Chandler seriesWhile Shanna Swendson’s Enchanted, Inc series actually includes seven titles, I only read the first five. So, the series review is admittedly incomplete as far as how the series ultimately resolves.

However, glancing at reviews of the final two titles doesn’t indicate that there is anything drastically different between them and the others, so I feel pretty confident with my overall comments.

A strength of the series is in the imaginative twist to often standard fantasy elements. There’s magic, fairies, spells, ogres, wizards, and (perhaps most fun of all) – gargoyles are real, and they don’t always stay in place. They’re all in what is otherwise a standard contemporary setting. Chick lit/light romance swirled together with fantasy – how fun!

I appreciated that the romance aspects never took over the entire story, and things are very tame. If you like more romance in your stories (or at least things to go beyond a few kisses), this may not be the series for you.

These aren’t great literature, but for amusing, nonchallenging reading I liked them enough to burn through five in a month or so. I only quit because I couldn’t get the sixth book quickly, and then was never motivated enough to try again for it.

Do I recommend it? Sure, if it sounds like something you’ll like, it’s entertaining. It’s not something I’d ever reread, or recommend you putting a lot of effort into obtaining. They’re great library books for when you want something really light – think beach reading!

Publisher’s Description of Book 1: Enchanted, Inc:
DON’T MESS WITH HEXES

Katie Chandler had always heard that New York is a weird and wonderful place, but this small-town Texas gal had no idea how weird until she moved there. Everywhere she goes, she sees something worth gawking at and Katie is afraid she’s a little too normal to make a splash in the big city. Working for an ogre of a boss doesn’t help.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, Katie gets a job offer from Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., a company that tricks of the trade to the magic community. For MSI, Katie’s ordinariness is an asset. Lacking any bit of magic, she can easily spot a fake spell, catch hidden clauses in competitor’s contracts, and detect magically disguised intruders. Suddenly, average Katie is very special indeed.

She quickly learns that office politics are even more complicated when your new boss is a real ogre, and you have a crush on the sexy, shy, ultra powerful head of the R&D department, who is so busy fighting an evil competitor threatening to sell black magic on the street that he seems barely to notice Katie. Now it’s up to Katie to pull off the impossible: save the world and–hopefully–live happily ever after.

Series Details

Series Title: Katie Chandler
Author: Shanna Swendson
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
Individual Titles:

  1. Enchanted, Inc.Enchanted, Inc. (Katie Chandler, Book 1) by Shanna Swendson
  2. Once Upon StilettosOnce Upon Stilettos (Katie Chandler, Book 2) by Shanna Swendson
  3. Damsel Under StressDamsel Under Stress (Katie Chandler, Book 3) by Shanna Swendson
  4. Don’t Hex with TexasDon't Hex with Texas (Katie Chandler, Book 4) by Shanna Swendson
  5. Much Ado About MagicMuch Ado About Magic (Enchanted, Inc. Book 5) by Shanna Swendson
  6. No Quest for the WickedNo Quest for the Wicked (Enchanted, Inc. Book 6) by Shanna Swendson
  7. Kiss and SpellKiss and Spell (Enchanted, Inc. Book 7) by Shanna Swendson
  8. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Introducing June’s Book Club Selection: Big Little Lies

Big Little LiesJune’s book for the Facebook book club is Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty by Liane Moriarty.

What It’s About

Description from Goodreads:

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Why Was This Title Selected

Moriarty writes compelling fiction that’s easy to read, but still deep enough to promote a great discussion. I wanted a couple of easier reads for the year to balance out some of the other choices (like last month’s history book).

Anything Else to Know About It?

It was a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction in 2014, and it debuted at number one on the New York Times Bestseller List.

A miniseries based on the book is currently in production by HBO.

Discussion about the book is starting today, but if you’d like to join in the first few questions will be very general, and you’ll have time to catch up by the time we get into anything substantive. It’s a long book but really quick to read, and it’s available in print, for Kindle, or on Audible.

While I read a Kindle version, I’ve heard great things about the Audible version – the Australian accents really add to the story apparnetly. So, if you’re still debating which format to try, you may want to give it a try.

What’s Coming Up in July?

Cuckoo's CallingThe Cuckoo’s CallingThe Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike) by Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J. K. Rowling by Robert Galbraith

Robert Galbraith is J. K. Rowling’s pseudonym, and I’m really excited to read the first in this series. A heads-up that I’ve heard there is a fair amount of language in it, so keep that in mind if you’re opposed to that (or if you were considering listening to it while little ones were around). If you are wanting to listen to it, it’s curently part of the Audible member sale, and is available for $4.95.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2016 here.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

May 2016 Recap

May RecapApparently my blogging slump included forgetting to write a recap post about April. So this’ll include highlights from both April & May. I’m not entirely sure why I was struggling so much to get anything posted but {fingers crossed} I’m out of it.

The disadvantage of not updating monthly is that I know I’ve forgotten some of the books I reread. Goodreads is helpful for tracking new books, but it doesn’t easily let me track rereads. So, I’ve forgotten a few that I know I reread.

April & May 2016 in Stats

Books Read These Month: 10
Books Read For The Year: 29

Things That Happened
  • Baseball started for G, and it’s been really fun seeing how the boys have improved from last year.
  • My mother-in-law came for a brief visit, and it was so nice having her out for a bit. The kids were thrilled to see her.
  • We went to Florida on vacation and it was *wonderful*.
  • G finished his first grade year, and I did just a tiny bit of speeding up in order to finish with the Ancient Egypt portion of his curriculum before the break. I didn’t really want to stop for two months, and then come back to it in August for only a couple of weeks.
  • In the Facebook book club we had an excellent discussion on Station Eleven in April (thanks to a wonderful guest facilitator), and then in May I led the discussion on Empire of the Summer Moon.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Baseball – love watching G play.
  • We finally – finally – got updated wills. We still need to get some additional life insurance on both of us to be really set if the worst should happen, but at last now the kids won’t be in limbo.
  • The beach. I’m not even really a beach person but I loved it.
What’s Cooking
  • I’ve been using one of those meal delivery services semi-regularly, and it is saving my sanity. Love it so much. I’d use it every week if I could manage it.
  • My kids have been asking to learn to cook, so I found a book (of course I did) and we’re starting to work through it. And when I say I found a book, I mean I checked out a half dozen and settled on the one I thought was best for what I wanted to accomplish. :)
What I’m Anticipating in June
  • Book club – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe in my in-person book club and Big Little Lies in the Facebook group.
  • Baseball ends, and at the moment it’s possible G’s team will make the playoffs. I think they’re right on the bubble as the top four teams make it.
  • Belt testing (again). This time if G passes he’ll be moving up to the advanced classes – that seems crazy to me!
  • The kids birthday season is here. H turns 5 later this month, G turns 7 in July, and M turns 2 in August.
  • VBS time! Yes, I have the kids signed up for more than one. One at their old Awana church, and one at their new Awana church.
Books I Read
  1. Station Eleven
  2. The Mystery of the Blue Train
  3. The Complete Persepolis
  4. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
  5. Looking for Alibrandi
  6. As Chimney Seekers Come to Dust
  7. Big Little Lies
  8. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
  9. The Circus Fire
  10. An Uncertain Choice

New on the Stack in May 2016

Welcome to New on the Stack, where you can share the latest books you’ve added to your reading pile. I’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own post or instagram picture sharing your books! It’s a fun way to see what others will soon be reading, and get even more ideas of books to add to my “I want to read that!” list.New on the Stack button

I realize this is an utterly RIDICULOUS library haul. Completely absurd that I would borrow this many books at once. Let me explain though: I went on vacation in May! And that means extra reading time, so I needed extra books. Plus I never know what sort of books I’ll be in the mood to read, so I need lots of options.

And that’s how I end up with this many books borrowed in one month. :)

Let’s not talk about how next month’s is already shaping up to be just as ridiculous, thanks to some ill-timed library holds. I shared the picture of my library haul on Instagram, but since I got those in June they won’t be listed until next time. :)

Nonfiction

What IfWhat If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

How did I get it: Bought it during an Audible sale
Why did I get it: A friend loved it.

The Drunken BotanistThe Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks by Amy Stewart

How did I get it: Bought it during an Audible sale
Why did I get it: It sounded interesting.

Only in NaplesOnly in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law by Katherine Wilson

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: I love food memoirs

Napoleon's ButtonsNapoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: I thought about getting it during the Audible sale, but decided to try it from the library first.

Forks Over Knives PlanThe Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet by Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: I don’t remember why it was on my list.

PresencePresence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: Have heard many great things about it.

The Art of Eating InThe Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove by Cathy Erway

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: Sounds like my kind of nonfiction – part food memoir, part do-something-for-so-long.

You Are Not So SmartYou Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourselfby David McRaney

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: It’s been on my TBR list for ages

FreakonomicsFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: It’s been on my TBR list for even longer than You Are Not So Smart

Walking the AmazonWalking the Amazon: 860 Days. One Step at a Time. by Ed Stafford

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: I read his follow-up memoir, Naked and Marooned, which referenced this one quite regularly. Plus I am fascinated by this idea of walking the Amazon – in no universe does it sound appealing to me, but I’d like to read about it.

The Real Doctor Will See You ShortlyThe Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician’s First Year by Matt McCarthy

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: I love doctor-training memoirs.

The Dog Who Wouldn't BeThe Dog Who Wouldn’t Be by Farley Mowat

How did I get it: Borrowed it from the library
Why did I get it: I enjoyed his other book, Owls in the Family, so much I wanted to try another title of his.

Better Than BeforeBetter Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: It’s my book club’s pick for July and I want to reread it before then.

Fiction

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

How did I get it: Used an Audible credit.
Why did I get it: My book club is reading all of the Harry Potter books for our book club retreat. Instead of rereading them I’m planning (hoping?) to relisten to them. Plus, the Harry Potter Readathon is happening this summer!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

How did I get it: Used an Audible credit.
Why did I get it: Reading the series!

Among the MadAmong the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: Next in the Maisie Dobbs series.

Walk on Earth a StrangerWalk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: Jessica raved about it, so I’ll give the author another try.

Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: It’s my book club’s June selection.

Saving CeeCee HoneycuttSaving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: Upcoming book for my in-person book club.

Grace at Bender SpringsGrace at Bender Springs by Vinita Hampton Wright

How did I get it: A friend loaned it to me.
Why did I get it: I loved her book Velma Still Cooks in Leeway.

An Uncertain ChoiceAn Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: Her books are comfort reads, and this one has such a pretty cover.

The Tattooed Potato and Other CluesThe Tattooed Potato and Other Clues by Ellen Raskin

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: The cover. I fell for it. Plus it’s by the author of The Westing Game.

PathfinderPathfinder by Orson Scott Card

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: Trying to read another book of his, after not being crazy about Enders Game.

AirbornAirborn by Kenneth Oppel

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: It sounded intriguing.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to DustAs Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: It was the next in the Flavia series.


“New on the Stack” Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share your posts or instagram pictures about the new-to-you books you added to your reading stack last month. They can be purchases, library books, ebooks, whatever it is you’ll be reading! Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to this post – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open until the end of the month.

4. Please visit the person’s blog or Instagram who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs from your linked post or Instagram. (Because on social media or in next month’s post, I hope to feature some of the books that catch my attention from this month.)

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May 2016 New on the Stack

A Harry Potter Readathon Summer

harrypotterthonI’d planned on rereading all of the Harry Potter series this year – my in-person book club selected the series instead of a book flight for our annual retreat, so a perfect excuse to reread it.

Then Jessica suggested having a readathon of the series this summer – so let’s speed up my reading plans just a bit and do that as well!

If you’re interested in reading along with us, join us in the YA Book Club Hangout and/or follow the hashtag ‪#‎harrypotterthon16‬ on twitter or instagram. It’s gonna be great!

I’ve already finished listening to book one, and have just started book two. They are *so* good on audio, so if you’ve got any Audible credits looking to be used I’d highly recommend them. :)

And a final heads-up: Jessica has a give-away going on over at her blog for people participating in the readathon. Read her post for details.

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

A Town Like AliceA Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

The sum of this book is greater than its parts: it shouldn’t be a 4-star read for me, considering several weaknesses that would normally drop it to a 3-star rating at best. But my overall feelings for the book remain higher, so 4 stars it is.

The framework is clunky at times – the attorney narrating the story, with more details and insight than seems likely. The second half of the book should have been tedious, with the specifics of starting businesses and developing the town. It could have been a sappy, unbelievable romance. Instead it’s a sweet story of survival, resilience, hard work, devotion, and love.

A heads-up that the language reflects when it was written, and there are some racist and sexist terms used (and attitudes shown). It’s jarring at times, but assuming you can overlook that, I’d recommend the book anyway.

If you do read it, be sure and read the end pages – Shute based Jean’s trek around Malaysia on actual events, although he changed the country. I’m glad he gave those amazing women some attention by using their story as part of his novel.

It’s been available on Kindle for $2.99 for months now, so I’m guessing that’s the regular price. I bought it for myself and think it’s definitely worth grabbing for that great deal.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Nevil Shute’s most beloved novel, a tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from the Malayan jungle during World War II to the rugged Australian outback.

Jean Paget, a young Englishwoman living in Malaya, is captured by the invading Japanese and forced on a brutal seven-month death march with dozens of other women and children. A few years after the war, Jean is back in England, the nightmare behind her. However, an unexpected inheritance inspires her to return to Malaya to give something back to the villagers who saved her life. Jean’s travels leads her to a desolate Australian outpost called Willstown, where she finds a challenge that will draw on all the resourcefulness and spirit that carried her through her war-time ordeals.

Book Details

Title: A Town Like Alice
Author: Nevil Shute
Category: Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Empire of the Summer Moon (and a linkup)

Empire of the Summer MoonEmpire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American HistoryEmpire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne by S. C. Gwynne

I love learning about the past – it’s why I wanted one of the book club’s picks for the year to be a history book. However, it’s challenging to find a general-interest history book that isn’t too long and seems mostly doable in a month.

I’m not entirely sure I succeeded with this pick, although I enjoyed the book, in a way. It’s hard to use the word “enjoyed” with a book that has so many gruesome moments as this one does. But the way Gwynne brings the time period to life was excellent, and I learned a lot – that typically makes a book a winner for me.

I wouldn’t recommend it to non-history fans, or or anyone who is squeamish about what they read. It’s hard to get past some of the details. It also jumps around in time a bit, so anyone who wants a straight chronological retelling of events will likely be frustrated.

Overall, I’m glad I read it, and I wouldn’t have it if hadn’t been for the book club. Hopefully everyone else who read it feels the same way, and they don’t regret the reading time invested in it!


Looking ahead at next month, we’ll start our discussion of Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty on June 6th. There will be a linkup for posts relating to the book on June 29th.

If you’re debating about reading Big Little Lies, it’s a long one, but it’s *very* quick to read. I read almost all of it in one day, and could have finished it completely if I hadn’t been dividing my reading time between two different books that day. Just because it’s quick though, doesn’t mean it’s completely easy — it tackles some tough issues and should give a lot to discuss. I’m looking forward to it!


If you’ve written a post about Empire of the Summer Moon, you’re welcome to add it to the linkup below.

Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share a post about the book. Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to The Deliberate Reader – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open for two weeks.

4. Please visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs or comments from your linked post.

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