Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Off The Shelf Challenge: July Recommendations and Progress Report

I fizzled out a bit this month in The Off The Shelf Challenge. Part of the problem was I bought a couple of books that I'd been wanting to read (see The Age of Miracles and One Breath Away below) and then, of course, I just couldn't wait to read them. Plus, books I requested from the library - ones I thought would take a while to get to me - came in all at once and, since I have to return those...

I hope you enjoy my recommendations below and please share in the comments if you've read them or tell us about what you're reading and loving (or even not loving so much.)

July -
Challenge Books Read:  3
Non-Challenge Books Read:  4

Year to Date -
Challenge Books Read:  20
Non-Challenge Books Read:  20
Total Books Read:  40


Standouts in July include:

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker - you know how people say "I wish there were more hours in the day" or "What I wouldn't give for one more hour in my day to get things done" etc.? Well, please stop that! Read this book and you'll see why I am pleading for us all to just be happy and grateful with our lovely 24 hour days. One of the best ways to describe this novel is a coming-of-age meets impending apocalypse. But (and this will be a surprise to those of you who know how much I love "The Walking Dead") there are no zombies. Instead, we have "the slowing." But - and this might be one of my favorite lines in the whole book - " force on earth could slow the forward march of sixth grade. And so, in spite of everything, that year was also the year of the dance party."

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf - I couldn't catch my breath until I finished this book. But don't let the breathless suspense and the short chapters with their cliff-hanger endings make you think it's all flash with no substance. The reader experiences the story - a gunman goes into a school and takes a class hostage - through five different points of view, all of whom are complex characters with their own troubles and regrets and fears. If you pick this up, clear your day or else plan on nothing else getting done until you've finished.

Gold by Chis Cleave - you don't have to be an Olympic athlete to appreciate the strength and the stamina - physical, mental, emotional - of the two women bicyclists at the center of Cleave's newest book. Anyone who has ever had a dream, has been consumed by a passion and has struggled with life-defining and life-destroying decisions related to that dream, that goal, will recognize themselves in the pages of this novel. Don't miss this one.


  1. Seven books in July? Wow, I did good to get through one.

  2. One Breath Away sounds great. I'm going to have to check it out!

  3. Alex - I read when I probably "should" do other things, like cleaning. :)

    Angela - definitely! It'll grab you and won't let go.