It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (7/4/16)

Hosted by The Book Date.

Happy 4th of July, everyone! We just returned from vacation visiting family in a couple locations around the Chesapeake Bay area. There was lots of sun, beach time, swimming, kayaking, paddle-boarding, a bit of boating, and a ton of of U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials watching! Ya’ll, you have no idea what I went through to make sure I watched every night of the trials! I poached some Internet access, insisted on dinner table viewing, ran multiple devices at one time, and texted with Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books during most all of it. Our very professional analysis included these highlights:

On Ryan Lochte:

Is it bad that I think he’s hot, but stupid?
No, it’s accurate. He should never speak.

On the 400 IM:

No one over 30 should be allowed to swim this race. It never ends well.

On 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2016 Olympic Qualifier Dana Vollmer:

She had a baby?! Insane.
Yep. Dude – her hubby is hot.
Yeah, who is he?!
Ex Stanford swimmer.
Oh, not a popular association these days.

During the women’s 400 IM:

Beisel is making me nervous. She’s dying.
Yes. Are your shoulders that big?
HA! Not now, but they used to be.
Beisel 3 seconds behind…I love that look.
Really?! Ugh – I hated having them. I love seeing the reactions of the first time Olympians.
Right?! Also great nail color on her!

More on female swimmers’ shoulders/backs:

How do these women buy a bra?
Ha! It’d be size like 46AA.

But, the highlight of the trials was watching my husband’s cousin (Callie Dickinson) drop 1.5 seconds from her best time to qualify for the semi-finals in the women’s 200 backstroke…and getting to swim in Missy Franklin’s heat that night! 

And, yes, I did read a little over vacation…

I finished reading…

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty, Mudbound

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty
 by Ramona Ausubel (June 14, 2016)
Stellar first half with brilliant writing, but took a bit of a nosedive in the second half. I’m still deciding whether I’ll review it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (March 4, 2008)
Wow! Just a fantastic, gritty, Southern novel…which turned unputdownable by the end. Some sort of thoughts to come.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Dinner with Edward, Isabel Vincent

Dinner with Edward
 by Isabel Vincent (May 24, 2016)
This is memoir was my “something that sounds comforting” option from my vacation reading and, following Mudbound, it’s just what I need. 

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

I felt similarly about these two novels…they were fine, but I was just kind of bored.

Here Comes the Sun, Salvage the Bones

Here Comes the Sun
 by Nicole Dennis-Benn (July 5, 2016)
DNF’d at 36%

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (August 30, 2010)
DNF’d at 43%

Upcoming reading plans…

The Heavenly Table, All Is Not Forgotten

The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock (July 12, 2016)
My first foray into Pollock, who I’ve heard writes amazing gritty fiction.

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker (July 12, 2016)
The film rights to this novel about a high school girl who is unconventionally treated following a rape have been acquired by Reese Witherspoon’s production company.

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  1. Beth F wrote:

    I plan to start Dinner with Edward today!

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I’m really enjoying it so far!

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  2. Love the texts! I’m thrilled that Ryan Lochte is back because I lovvvve making fun of how ridiculous he is.

    I had a copy of All is Not Forgotten pop up in my mailbox last week – I’m intrigued, but it’s not really my wheelhouse and I’m a little nervous about how the subject may be handled. I’m going to let you vet that one for me 😉

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      JEAHHHH!!! Did you watch any episodes of his reality show after the 2012 Olympics? It was mercifully short-lived 🙂 But, I do have to give him credit b/c he’s apparently an incredibly hard worker.

      Well..I picked All is Not Forgotten up and put it down 3 times over vacation. I’m planning to give it one more shot after Heavenly Table.

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  3. Lindsey wrote:

    That sounds like a great weekend!

    I’m bummed to hear you didn’t love Sons and Daughters. I really adored her first book so I’m looking forward to reading it soon!

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Well, I LOVED the first half…like 4.5 stars loved. The second half just fell off a bit…I’d still recommend the book overall, just not the 4.5 stars I’d thought initially.

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  4. Kathy Martin wrote:

    I am eager for the Olympics. That’s when I’ll be glued to the TV. I’m not familiar with your books but understand the DNFs. I’m being picky this summer too. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Vacation always makes me super picky with my reading 🙂

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  5. I’m thrilled that you read and loved Mudbound! It has been one of my favorite southern novels since I read it back in ’08.

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      It was so amazing! I’d been meaning to read it for awhile and so glad I finally made time for it. Glad you loved it too 🙂

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  6. I love to see what you’re reading. You push things up (and down) my list! You just did it with Mudbound!

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Haha – thank you…glad to hear that! Catherine at Gilmore Guide pushed me to read Mudbound and I’m so glad she did! So, you can credit her too!

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  7. Shaina wrote:

    Ah, I’m heartbroken that you DNFed Here Comes the Sun! It’s slow and moody, for sure, but I’m going to make a hearty recommendation that you give it another try when you find yourself in that kind of mood.

    I would very much like you and Catherine to text me snarky things from now on.

    Happy Fourth!

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I know, I know..I remember you loved it. And there were times when I kept thinking I would, but then I kept zoning out again. Could have been timing as we were getting ready to leave town and that’s always hectic. So, can’t say never!

      Haha – we come off as totally shallow and snarky! We had some real commentary mixed in too, but that was way less interesting and not really worth sharing. You want in for the Olympics version in August?!

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  8. Stacey wrote:

    All is Not Forgotten looks like a good one. Hope you enjoy your books this week. Happy 4th.

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Hope so – I peeked at the beginning and wasn’t sold immediately, but we’ll see!

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  9. Gabby wrote:

    We have been all about Olympics trial coverage in lots of sports…men’s synchronized diving is surprisingly interesting!

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Trials are so fun to watch b/c the pressure is so high! And I do love Synchro Diving..relatively new addition to the Olympic line-up, but fun to watch!

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  10. Catherine wrote:

    So glad our texts are out there and everyone now knows for sure how superficial I am!

    So, I’m batting 50%- Sons and Daughters not so much but Mudbound lots of love. I can live with that!

    I’d say pass on All is Not Forgotten. It reads like a movie so might as well wait for it. I was not impressed.

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      How snarky WE are…not just you!!

      And – you’re not batting 50%…I still liked Sons & Daughters, just didn’t end up being the 4.5 star read I’d thought it would be in the first. Probably 3.5 or 4. Things started meandering for me once they departed on their respective “trips”.

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  11. Kathryn wrote:

    Nice that you enjoyed your summer trip and the swimming! Exciting times. Looks like a mixed week of reading but you got through quite a bit – Mudbound sounds like the one to go for.

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Mudbound is definitely the one! And it was a bit mixed, but I’ll take a 5 star read any day!

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  12. Hahahaha you two are a hoot!!

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Ha! I promise there were some less shallow texts in there too…just not interesting enough to share!

      Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  13. diane wrote:

    I was hoping to read Sons and Daughters of Ease soon. I do hate when books start out strong and then flop though:(

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
  14. I’m cracking up at your text-gossip. haha Mudbound looks right up my alley. I’m going fishing for that one! I didn’t realize All is Not Forgotten has been optioned for film rights, but I can definitely see that one on the screen.

    Posted 7.4.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I think you’d LOVE Mudbound! Someone else mentioned All Is Not Forgotten read sort of like a screenplay.

      Posted 7.5.16 Reply
  15. Heather wrote:

    I sure didn’t just spend more time than necessary looking at pictures of Ryan Lochte – I’d forgotten how good looking he is. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him speak, which is a blessing I guess.

    Your reading looks super interesting. I see just about everyone who’s commented has been enthusiastic about Mudbound, so that looks like one to add to the TBR. I’ll be interested to see how you go with The Heavenly Table; I’ve not heard of it before, but the cover looks creepy and intriguing – it looks like it’ll be good.

    Posted 7.5.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I’ve heard such high praise for Pollock that I’m actually a little nervous to start Heavenly Table!

      Posted 7.5.16 Reply
  16. Fiza wrote:

    I’m not familiar with these reads but I like the look and sound of Dinner with Edward 😀

    Oh my god, it’s Monday!

    Posted 7.5.16 Reply
  17. Anne wrote:

    Really love your blog – get so many ideas for future reading. Just finished Sweet Bitter and really liked it. Now reading Before the Fall and loving so far. Thanks for all of the good tips!

    Posted 7.5.16 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Hope the recommendations keep working for you 🙂

      Posted 7.7.16 Reply

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