Beth

Reading Challenge – Two Books Down

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Well, I may have had a slow start, but I’m finally able to cross two books off my 2016 Reading Challenge List.  I’m hoping to get nice and caught up to where I should be by the time I get back from my vacation in April, but we’ll see how things go.  Anyway, I thought I’d share the two books I’ve read so far and my thoughts.

A book you’ve been meaning to read: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

I had seen this book reviewed on a friend’s blog and was interested in reading it, but had kind of forgotten about it.  Then my mom borrowed it from my aunt and my aunt was willing to let me borrow it as well.  Orphan Train takes place in two different time periods – the 1930s and 2011.  In 2011, a teenage foster girl named Molly is assigned to a bit of a community service task of helping an older woman clean out her attic. Through this process, she learns about Vivian, the older woman’s life, finding out they have something in common, Vivian was also orphaned.  Vivian’s family immigrated to New York when she was a child, but she lost her family in a fire.  Vivian is then put on an orphan train that travels to the Midwest and she is placed with a family in Minnesota.  Her life is difficult and she is bounced around quite a bit before finding solace with a kind older couple who she lives with until she marries.  She marries one of the other orphans she reunites with that she had shared a special bond with back on the train. Sadly, their story does not end happily as he is sent off to World War II and does not return home.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story, so I won’t say much more about it, but I can tell you it does end on a positive, happier note.  The entire book goes back and forth between Vivian’s story and Molly’s story and they intersect nicely at the end. I took an extra special interest in this book and I know my mom did as well, because my grandfather came to Minnesota on one of the orphan trains. It was interesting to read more about it from a historical standpoint, the author did a fair amount of research and you can tell. Overall it was a quick read and I would definitely recommend it.

A book you own but have never read – Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (aka the Bloggess)

I may be cheating on this one a little bit, I just received this as a birthday present this last year, so I haven’t owned it for long, but it’s still one that I hadn’t read before and wanted to.  I didn’t read Jenny’s first book and I do intend to at some point, but I had heard more about this one, so I wanted to start here.  Basically the entire book is much like her blog is, funny stories from her life, but she also talks about what it’s like living with anxiety and depression.  While it has some darker moments, the overall book is quite hilarious. My favorite chapter is toward the beginning of the book when she talks about picking up a prescription at the pharmacy, I read it out loud to Nate and we were crying from laughing so hard. She is a likeable person because she is so honest and real – you want to be friends with her in real life.  Another worthwhile read.

So there you go!  The next book I’m attacking is the “recommended by your local librarian” – again, I kind of cheated a little because my mother-in-law is a librarian, but she recommended The Girl on the Train (which I’ve heard is very good and wanted to read anyway) so that will be my next read!

7 thoughts on “Reading Challenge – Two Books Down

  1. Orphan Train sounds really good! I might have to check that one out! I love reading so much – just wish I had more time to read!

  2. This is a good challenge! I’m glad you are having fun with it! I’m currently reading Jenny Lawson’s first book and love it 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed The Orphan Train and it must have meant so much to you with your grandfather’s own experience. I might have to check out Jenny Lawson’s book. Anything that makes someone laugh out loud is always a good book.

  4. Oh yay, I’m glad you liked Orphan Train! That is so interesting that you have family history with orphan trains too–I bet that made it especially fascinating. That was such a good one.
    I read Jenny Lawson’s other book (which I can’t think of the name right now) and thought it was hilarious. I haven’t read this one yet but I need to. I have to be in the right mood for funny–I’m much more into serious/drama type books. Same with movies. I don’t know why, I do like to laugh! 🙂

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