What I’m Reading June 2015


I felt ambitious at the library last month and took home five books (still working on the final two). With a holiday weekend and staycation in July, I figured I would have some free time. And I think that free time has been spent very wisely, making sure I avoid library fines.

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

I know very little about Niagara Falls. In fact, when I think of the Falls, I think of Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty and Pam and Jim in The Office.

This novel broadened my narrow horizon on the dawn of the hydroelectric power era in Niagara Falls starting in 1915. The author was born and raised in Niagara Falls and weaves the lore of William “Red” Hill, Niagara’s most famous riverman, in this work of historical fiction.

My task: Niagara Falls is quite a distance from me, so to experience the water, I plan to visit a local waterfall. Photo evidence to come soon, or it didn’t happen.

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

My sister-in-law’s sister-in-law picked this book for their book club and let me in on their secret (thanks, Emily!). I was a fan of Sullivan’s The Engagements, and was interested to see her other work.

All families have their drama, but nothing compares to the Kelleher family. The story is told through three generations, and more can be understood of their present day attitudes after learning of their past, but there’s so much dysfunction it’s hard to sympathize with anyone. It’s a fun beach read, or more like a vacation read because it’s a little on the long side. After wading through all the heartache and drama, I do have to say I was very pleased with its ending.

My task: To experience the New England food, I’m on the hunt for a lobster roll, Pacific Northwest style.

A Girl Like You by Maureen Lindley

I was looking for something a little light to read around some heavy historical fiction, and my eyes were attracted to this cover.

Of World War II, one of the topics I could never tire of learning more about are the Japanese internment camps set up under Executive Order 9066. It’s crazy to think my family would have been interned had we been here during that time. My grandmother lived through the war in Japan.

I was hoping for light read, but this was anything but. The story is centered around a half-Japanese teen, who suffers more loss before the age of 20 than most anyone suffers in a lifetime.

About 350 pages in, hope is finally introduced! And it certainly ends well.

My task: I’m planning to attend the Asian American Journalist Association’s national convention in San Francisco next month with my dad!


Have Book, Will Travel (sort of)

Standing next to a replica of the Husky Clipper.

I had a recent conversation with a fellow booklover, and ever since I have been thinking and re–thinking about how she described why she loves to read.

You can go anywhere without having to travel.

I favor the historical fiction genre because I love to learn about historical people and places through the author’s imagination. I can experience my favorite decades (1920s-50s) and favorite places (Europe and Asia) through interpretations, without having physically been there.

To better experience what I read, I’m stepping up my game. With every book I finish (non-fiction and fiction), I will take something from the story and create an experience, visit a new place, try something new, that I was introduced to in the story.

The UW Conibear Shellhouse.

For example, after reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, my husband and I visited the UW Conibear Shellhouse, to physically place what I loved reading about. I was able to picture the scene set in the 1930s.

Often times stories I read take place further out than driving distance. I recently finished Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan and will follow up with a lobster roll to experience New England in the Pacific Northwest.

Each story will introduce me to an experience that will get my nose out of the book and into our world in a more tangible way. A subject featured on the Humans of New York Facebook page said, If you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful always happens.

It’s time to go outside and see what happens.