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It’s been a good few months for the Literate Lushes, we’ve had some great book choices and I’ve really enjoyed reading them!

Picking up where we left off

eighty days

February: Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History Making Around the World, by Matthew Goodwin 

Well, the extended title kind of explains it all, haha.  This story is based on two real women who were some of the first female reporters in the United States.  They embarked on a trip around the world (Nellie Bly wasn’t aware it was a race until she touched ground again on the California coast after sailing from the East coast) in a time when travel was limited and challenged by how long it took to travel at sea, boat schedules, inclement weather, not to mention a nasty monkey!  The book was definitely interesting and caught my full attention at first, but then seemed to drag on a bit.  But overall I thought it was a great book–so many interesting tidbits of knowledge from all over the world that were great to read about (like the fact that before uniform time zones were instituted, each state could be on over a dozen different times, or that Nellie Bly was one of the first people to wear a “clock on a leather band” rather than a carry a pocket watch).  If you’re a history nerd, I think you’ll definitely enjoy this book.

this is wehre

March: This is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper

This might not have been everyone’s favorite book, but I really enjoyed it.  Basically the main character’s father dies, he has to sit shiva with his extremely dysfunctional family, all soon after he walks in on his wife cheating on him with his asshole boss.  Among other things.  Most of the time I’m not a fan of story lines where the main character gets shit on over and over and over again, but in this case, I enjoyed reading about his at-times-comical and at-times-tragic life events.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but other Literate Lushes seemed to enjoy that the most.  Although it was sometimes so outside of reality (as one Literate Lush pointed out–there’s no way that every single person in the family is that messed up), I really enjoyed reading it.  Plus is was a pretty quick read, which was a nice follow up to Eight Days ;)

the paris wife

April: The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

Another book based on reality (and I think a bestseller, so this one is probably well known), this book is based on Ernest Hemingway’s first wife.  This book was great, and heartbreaking.  It starts with the couple meeting and running to Paris so Hemingway could pursue his writing career, and follows them through their first years of marriage and the difficulties that faced them as Hemingway’s career began to take off, and the sacrifices his wife had to make in order to allow him to focus on his career.  I fell in love with Hemingway’s wife, and found myself getting super mad at Hemingway every time I read how he mistreated her (emotionally, not physically) or hurt her feelings.  Sometimes what bothered me more was that she wasn’t hurt by some of his actions: she put his career ahead of everything, including herself.  The failure of their marriage was something that stuck with me for a couple days after I finished reading it–it makes you realize how fragile human relationships can be, and that is scary!

queen of the south

May: Queen of the South, by Arturo Perez-Reverte

This was my month to choose.  And it’s so hard!  I always feel like I need to pick a book that brings attention to some world issue, or poverty, or problems in third world countries.  But I also want everyone to enjoy what they’re reading, rather than feel like they’re in high school again, forced to read The Old Man and The Sea. So this month I chose to compromise a little: I went with a novel, but one written by a Latin American author, and one that write about a very real problem faced in Mexico: the drug trade and the violence of the drug cartels.  Teresa, the main character, starts off as the girlfriend of a popular cartel Cessna pilot, and ends up fleeing to Spain in order to save her life.  I’m half way through the book, and I find myself at times unable to put it down, and at other times skimming through trying to get to the next interesting story line.  We’ll see how it ends!