Well, with the virus and Jeffy still recovering from his surgery, I thought for sure I would have a lot more books read this month. We ended up getting a little guy at the beginning of the month and he is staying with us for a while! Thankfully we are still able to get school done in a timely manner, and actually I can get a little bit of reading in for myself too! Here is what I read in April!
The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction by Donald A. Ritchie – Many scholars believe that the framers of the Constitution intended Congress to be the preeminent branch of government. Indeed, no other legislature in the world approaches its power. Yet most Americans have only a murky idea of how it works.
In The U.S. Congress, Donald A. Ritchie, a congressional historian for more than thirty years, takes readers on a fascinating, behind-the-scenes tour of Capitol Hill–pointing out the key players, explaining their behavior, and translating parliamentary language into plain English. No mere civics lesson, this eye-opening book provides an insider’s perspective on Congress, matched with a professional historian’s analytical insight. After a swift survey of the creation of Congress by the constitutional convention, he begins to unscrew the nuts and pull out the bolts. What is it like to campaign for congress? To attract large donors? To enter either house with no seniority? He answers these questions and more, explaining committee assignments (and committee work), the role of staffers and lobbyists, floor proceedings, parliamentary rules, and coalition building. Ritchie explores the great effort put into constituent service–as representatives and senators respond to requests from groups and individuals–as well as media relations and news coverage. He also explores how the grand concepts we all know from civics class–checks and balances, advise and consent, congressional oversight–work in practice, in an age of strong presidents and a muscular Senate minority (no matter which party is in that position).
In this sparkling addition to Oxford’s Very Short Introduction series, Donald Ritchie moves beyond the cynicism and the platitudes to provide a gem of a portrait of how Congress really works.
What I thought: Well, it was for school….so for that reason, it is quite helpful. It wasn’t totally exciting, but it wasn’t totally boring either.
The Witch of Blackbird Pone by Elizabeth George Speare – Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.
What I thought: I really enjoyed this book. I admit I thought it would be a little cheesy by just reading the snippet about it, but it was well done. The characters were my favorite.
Remembrance by Rita Woods – Remembrance…It’s a rumor, a whisper passed in the fields and veiled behind sheets of laundry. A hidden stop on the underground road to freedom, a safe haven protected by more than secrecy…if you can make it there.
Ohio, present day. An elderly woman who is more than she seems warns against rising racism as a young woman grapples with her life.
Haiti, 1791, on the brink of revolution. When the slave Abigail is forced from her children to take her mistress to safety, she discovers New Orleans has its own powers.
1857 New Orleans—a city of unrest: Following tragedy, house girl Margot is sold just before her 18th birthday and her promised freedom. Desperate, she escapes and chases a whisper…. Remembrance.
What I thought: When a story is broken up in different time periods, sometimes that is just hard for me. I was able to keep them straight after a couple chapters. The end was just…meh for me and I didn’t understand some of the point of the book….but it was still an enjoyable read.
Wildland by Rebecca Hodge – When Kat Jamison retreats to the Blue Ridge Mountains, she’s counting on peace and solitude to help her make a difficult decision. Her breast cancer has returned, but after the death of her husband, her will to fight is dampened. Now she has a choice to make: face yet another round of chemotherapy or surrender gracefully.
Self-reflection quickly proves impossible as her getaway is complicated by a pair of abandoned dogs and two friendly children staying nearby, Lily and Nirav. In no time at all, Kat’s quiet seclusion is invaded by the happy confusion of children and pets.
But when lightning ignites a deadly wildfire, Kat’s cabin is cut off from the rest of the camp, separating Lily and Nirav from their parents. Left with no choice, Kat, the children, and the dogs must flee on foot through the drought-stricken forest, away from the ravenous flames. As a frantic rescue mission is launched below the fire line, Kat drives the party deeper into the mountains, determined to save four innocent lives. But when the moment comes to save her own, Kat will have to decide just how hard she’s willing to fight to survive–and what’s worth living for.
A heart-pounding novel of bravery, sacrifice, and self-discovery, Wildland will keep you on the edge of your seat to the very last page.
What I thought: I was expecting a little cheese with this book, but it was definitely one that I didn’t want to put down. A little of it had to do with the fact that it was based pretty close to where I live! The writing made it all so exciting like you were there..
That is what I read in April! If you have a favorite book that you have read lately, let me know!