Creative,  Reading

August 2017 Book Report

I read five books in August! That’s what happens when I have an hour to read each night when I’m getting Forest to bed.


  • Deep Summer by Gwen Bristow: I was searching for historical fiction on Hoopla Digital and this sounded great. It wasn’t until I was a few chapters in that I had to stop and look up the book a bit because I was a little confused by the blatant use of the n-word and some other racial issues, as well as some awkward language/wording at the beginning. This book was written in the late 1930s and book covers have been updated which is why I didn’t catch it to begin with. As much as I had trouble with the slurs and racial issues at the beginning, the book got better and I realized it was all there for a reason. However, I still had a lot of uncomfortable feelings towards the main character in regards to how she treated a slave that was the son of her husband and her former personal slave. Yes, there was all sorts of moments in the book that had me upset but I had to step back and realize that #*$# actually happened. Anyway, the premise of the story is a family is coming down the Mississippi River pre-Revolutionary war, just a few years before, and they meet up with a man who is transporting slaves and other items as he’s part pirate, part trying to become a legit businessman. They are all headed for Louisiana territory/West Florida. It took me a few chapters as the author/characters explained where they were going for me to figure out where they were located because as I said, this is 1700s Louisiana and the area is switching between French and Spanish jurisdiction and this is before it becomes part of the US. The girl, Judith, who is all of like 15 or 16 at the time falls for the guy and they end up eloping once they all settle onto their land grants. I thought the most fascinating part of the discussion was the talk about how the forests were turned into plantations (lots of logging using slave labor) and their houses were built with moss—I had to look that last bit up because I was really confused, it is bousillage, a clay and Spanish moss mixture. There were a ton of tidbits like that throughout the novel of some historical and regional references I didn’t know. Anyway, the book takes you through the Judith’s life up until her 50s or so. The next two novels continue dealing with their lineage, one set in the Civil War era and another around WWI. I will probably read them eventually.
  • The Humane Gardener by Nancy Lawson: The author also has a blog. I read this one after I spent the summer getting upset about one sided thinking when it comes to pollinators and insects in the garden. This was an easy read and one to check out if you are interested in branching out in creating habitats for a variety of wildlife. The book also made me think a little bit more on garden cleanup in the spring in regards to native ground nesting bees. I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it for any gardener on any level.
  • Bringing Nature Home by Dr. Doug Tallamy: This has been on my to-read list for years and after reading Humane Gardener I knew I had to read this one. I’ve listened to Tallamy on several podcasts and he’s always great to hear speak. This book is the next level to the The Humane Gardener in that he gets more specific about the insects in the garden and what plants they use. He’s much more about talking about insects in reference to how they utilize plants for reproduction and feeding as well as how they play a role in the food web, particularly as fodder for birds. Tallamy is also a proponent of creating better habitat for wildlife as a gardener in order to create larger scale wildlife areas instead of the checkerboard habitats we have now with parks on varying scales. This is a must read for all gardeners!
  • Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend: This was a surprising little book and I’m glad I found it. Another historical fiction, the book begins in the late 1800s and is loosely based on the life of Frances Conway. A good chunk of the book takes place on the Galapagos Islands, which as someone who got to spend a week there in 1998 this really piqued my interest in reading the book. I definitely recommend reading this one! A few uncomfortable parts dealing with the exploitation of a young girl as well as some murder, otherwise an interesting read.
  • Unlatched: The Evolution of Breastfeeding and the Making of a Controversy by Jennifer Grayson: I had been reading this one on and off for awhile but finally finished it up last week during our hurricane days at home. My friend Lisa had sent me her Advanced Reader Copy to read late last year and I was glad to wrap up reading the book. Because it was an ARC I was annoyed a bit with the amount of parentheticals. I love a good parenthesis but there were far too many and I hope they got cut or just added as a sentence. Overall this was a great book talking about breastfeeding on a wide range of topics, from how the Industrial Revolution jacked with women being able to appropriately nurse their babies—can’t take a baby to a mill floor!—and how formula and other concoctions came from that, to how the French in the 1700s sent their children to the country to be nursed by families there. It was a great book from my perspective but I can see how it would upset someone who chose to bottle feed. I don’t feel like the author tried to guilt anyone other than perhaps culture itself but I doubt some people would see it that way. Add this book as a to-read if you are having a baby soon.

    Currently Reading

  • Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich: I’ve heard Lee on a few podcasts before but he’s been on a couple of others more recently so I’m finally checking this book out. He also says it is also pronounced more like Weed Less Gardening. I’m not far into it and based on what I’ve heard him say and what I’ve read the big gist is: Stop tilling and turning your soil all the time. Lee’s website
  • The Orphan Mother by Robert Hicks: I read Hicks’ The Widow of the South about 8 or 9 years ago and this is a sort of followup novel to it. I had thought I remembered a lot about TWOTS but there are some things that are mentioned that make me realize I need to re-read it sometime.

What are you reading?


  • Lisa Valinsky

    I’ve been reading lots of mysteries and thrillers lately. Love the high intensity, fast pace, and that that keep my attention. But next up from the library I have Hillbilly Elegy, so I’m curious to see what I think of that.

    How do you fit in an hour of reading during bedtime? I would love to fit more reading and books into my days! 🙂

  • Sarah Kopper

    Such a variety of books! I love it. I am intrigued by Unlatched bit feel like I might be better off reading that with a little more distance from my breastfeeding days.

    Right now I am reading Hum If You Don’t Know the Words, a novel set in South Africa during and immediately following the Soweto Uprising. And The Pearl Theif is on deck per your recommendation!

    I will hopefully have my August book reviews up later this week, but I have to say three out of the four were just okay. Hoping for a better September reading-wise.

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