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Bingo Update: The Reviews of the Rest of the Squares

Quite a few of you asked, and even if you hadn’t, I had every intention of updating you with reviews on the books I read for my finished Bingo card. In keeping with how I have shared these previously, here is the list of the books I read with the corresponding squares on my card and my ratings. There are a few stand outs in this list – enjoy!

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg
4 stars, Bingo Square: Originally published this year
Great advice, whether you are dealing with your own grief and loss or trying to help someone else navigate through their feelings.

Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin
5 stars, Bingo Square: Mystery
A slow paced coming of age novel centered around a young boy who has lost his mom and goes to live with his eccentric aunt on an island in South Carolina, this book is completely engaging and beautifully written. Highly recommended!

I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
4 stars, Bingo Square: Historical fiction
A really great and very accessible story about a woman fighting with her husband during the Civil War. It brought up things I’d never considered about what this must have been like (what happens if you are a woman and you get injured and taken to the hospital?) and stayed pretty historically accurate. Recommended for those who enjoy historic novels and have an interest in the Civil War.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
1 star, Bingo Square: Alternate history
I finished it although I’m pretty sure that was only so I’d get my Bingo square for Alternate History. I found this mostly confusing, choppy and boring. The concept had so much potential but it just never coalesced into any plot, the characters were difficult to keep track of, and the setting was bleak and unremarkable. Ultimately, I just didn’t care what happened.

Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz
3 stars, Bingo Square: Recommended by a family member
I enjoyed this book, particularly the stories and interviews with people Horwitz met while traveling throughout the south. I found the Wargasm section and the descriptions of battles and battlefields to be a bit tedious. Recommended for those who have an interest in Civil War history.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
5 stars, Bingo Square: Already own
Mind blowing, outstanding, and absolutely breathtakingly good. I can’t describe it accurately so I’ll just say: read it.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World by Kelly Jensen
3 stars, Bingo Square: Collection of essays
Maybe I’m too old or maybe my definition of feminism comes from the 70s but I couldn’t relate to most of the essays in this book. Still, it’s important to discuss feminism, to be inclusive of all ideas, and to keep the conversation going for the next generation of women.

Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
5 stars, Bingo Square: About food
Inspired by my friend Bonny’s all time favorite book, I checked this one out of the library. It’s just as wonderful as Bonny promised. Colwin’s voice is charming and confident (which is exactly what I want in a book about cooking). I took photos of a few pages so I could have the recipes to try later (potato salad, homemade curry powder and gingerbread with chocolate icing). I wish I had the whole book, though – this would be an excellent addition to anyone’s cookbook shelf.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
4 stars, Bingo Square: Originally published in the 19th century
Boy oh boy, those Russians are wordy. But still, this is a classic for a reason and I’m glad I finally read it.

If you’re still working on your Summer Book Bingo I wish you well – there’s plenty of time left to read another book or three!

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Excellent reading, Carole! (Except for that alternate history dud. Ugh. That’s the think I don’t particularly care for about this bingo thing — feeling compelled to read books you don’t like . . . to “get the square.”) I hope you have plenty of time for some fresh reading on the beach this week! XO

  2. You’ve read plenty of good books for Bingo! Laurie Colwin’s gingerbread recipe is the one I always make, and always with chocolate icing. I think I’ll make it to celebrate this week when I (hopefully) finish my last Bingo book and maybe start re-reading some of Laurie Colwin’s fiction.

  3. Except for The Man in the High Castle, it looks like you had a great summer of reading! Anna Karenina is one of my favorite books, but it didn’t start out that way. When I was 12 or 13 I pulled it off my grandfather’s shelf to read and threw it down in disgust when I got to the suicide. Next, I read it in college and thought it was a bore. Then I read it about 20 years ago and I loved it, especially the storyline about Levin.

  4. You were an intrepid reader. Thank you for reviewing each book. Your coverall is a great accomplishment. I read the books I wanted and ended up with 4 bingos. I feel accomplished enough and I’m done! Louise Penny’s new book will be published tonight and I’m ready!

  5. You had to do it…made me add new selections to the burgeoning list of “want to read.” The fun never stops.

  6. I loved Grief Cottage and Home Cooking. I have all of Colwin’s cooking books. I say “cooking” because they really aren’t cookbooks. I loved her voice. I wish I could get into Lincoln in the Bardo. I read about 100 pages and found it incredibly tedious. Maybe some other time I could get into it, so I will keep it on my maybe list. Thanks so much for these reviews, Carole. That was a lot of reading, and a lot of work to review them all!

  7. When I try to describe Lincoln in the Bardo, I can hear myself and it sounds bad. There’s really no way to describe it. But I really liked it, albeit not as much as Saunders’s short stories.

  8. Impressive!
    I tried to read Lincoln in the Bardo and could not get into it. I also tried the audio book and couldn’t finish it. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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