Weekend Festivities {Book Review!}

by jenna on June 30, 2012


This weekend we are packing up the kayaks, summer reading books and plenty of snacks and are heading to Lake Tahoe with some of Adam’s family!

Every time I visit Tahoe I want to pack up and move. It’s just so gorgeous and tranquil. Last year we went for 4th of July but this year we decided to go a few days earlier to avoid all the crazy crowds. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we were last there! We are blessed to live only a couple hours away so it’s definitely a doable trip distance-wise when we feel the need to get away.

Man, I love that place.

Ahhhhhhhh peace and bliss.

I brought some books with me to read in the hammock. One of the ones I just finished was Next to Love by Ellen Feldman. To be perfectly honest here, I find it funny that the cover (top photo) says “impossible to put down”…because I totally started reading it and only about twenty pages in, put it down. Put it down for a long time, in fact! I think I put it down for four months. I don’t know. The beginning just didn’t grip me as I had hoped for it to. HOWEVER, last week I decided to give it another go and stayed up very late for a few nights reading. I ended up really enjoying this book and am so glad I gave it a second chance.

Next to Love is a sweet story about three best friends during the 40’s and 50’s—-I’d say this book was a cross between The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, if that tells you anything. Basically, it’s a great vacation read if you’re looking to pick something up for a long flight or to lay by the pool with.

Here’s one of the books I am planning on finishing this weekend (in the hammock):

Okay, this is another book that I felt picked up after a somewhat slow beginning. I stuck with it though and am glad I did! The Shoemaker’s Wife is an epically long historical novel spanning from the Italian Alps to New York during the World War One era. I’m a sucker for long books like this….the kind I can really sink my teeth into and visualize a certain place and time I never knew. Plus, if Kathryn Stockett (the author of The Help) says it’s splendid, it’s splendid. Enough said. I will report back!

This book is up next! I can’t wait. And yes, I like Oprah’s Book Club books. I know some may not agree, but I’ve really enjoyed every one I’ve read…my absolute favorites being Drowning Ruth and The Deep End of the Ocean (stayed up till 3am finishing that one even though I’ve seen the movie ten years ago…if you haven’t read it go get it NOW. you’re welcome. trust.)

P.S. I just learned that Goodreads (love them!) is giving away 20 advance reading copies of my book, White Jacket Required! The giveaway is open now until July 6th. You can enter the giveaway here!


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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen @ notsodomesticated June 30, 2012 at 4:24 am

Have a GREAT time this weekend! :) Take lots of pictures!


Jordan @ Bake Write Sleep June 30, 2012 at 5:11 am

I was that way with the Stieg Larsson triology. I wanted to badly to love it, but it was SO hard to get through the first half of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But I finally did and I was glad.


Karen June 30, 2012 at 5:14 am

Wild is awesome…I read it a few months ago, and raved to everyone and now I hear Oprah agreed (surprisingly – I gravitate toward memoirs, whereas her taste is generally quite different.) Anyway, I think the close mother-daughter bonding theme will resonate for you, as it did me,given your super close relationship with your own mama!

Enjoy your book reading, hammock swinging get away to Tahoe, Jenna! Oh, and I’m going over to Goodreads right now for my chance at snagging one of those complimentary books!


Jenn June 30, 2012 at 5:34 am

What time do you get up when you stay up till 3! I’m up till 12:30 and find it hard to drag out of bed the next morning. Those photos are so beautiful!


Sara June 30, 2012 at 5:55 am

I’ve just finished Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and am about 2/3 through her March. Highly recommend these, especially if you like historical fiction.


Elisabeth June 30, 2012 at 6:01 am

I love Goodreads & am totally psyched about the giveaway! Can’t wait to read your book :)


Ali @ Gimme Some Oven June 30, 2012 at 6:35 am

Those pictures look incredible!!! Have a wonderful time!

And another one to add to your summer reading list just in case you haven’t read it yet is “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson. Definitely up there in my all-time favorites. It won the Pulitzer back in the day, but is the story of a retired minister writing a letter/memoir to his young son. The prose is absolutely beautiful, and the story is touching, hilarious and full of wisdom. A great one! :)


Liz @ Blog is the New Black June 30, 2012 at 6:44 am

Always love your book rec’s!


Liz@The Intrepid French Learner June 30, 2012 at 7:36 am

Have a great weekend! Sounds like fun… and I remember at least one of those kayaking photos… I remember thinking it was very striking.

Would you say you have a specific type of book you prefer to read? Your choices tend to be about women, often with a historical element (as far as I can see.) Unfortunately, not really my preference, but I appreciate your suggestions!

I agree with Jordan, above, about the Millennium trilogy. I put down the first book just a shorts ways in, but then after I finally picked it up again, I was obsessed, and had to order the next books from the UK since at the time they weren’t out in the US yet! (I still think the last book would have benefited from substantial editing, though, and considering the US version was much shorter than the UK version, I wonder if it got that editing by the time it hit the US shelves.


Liz@The Intrepid French Learner June 30, 2012 at 7:40 am

Speaking of Wild….

I haven’t read it yet although I love hiking memoirs and selected it for my library (I’m a librarian.)

But, I just read something interesting about Oprah’s old book club (which tended to pick heavier reads.) While Oprah’s book club was undeniably good for the sales of the selected books, whenever she made a pick, aggregate sales of fiction went DOWN… suggesting that she wasn’t actually bringing new readers to the market, but rather that there is a relatively fixed market of readers and she was just moving them around. They’d be so busy with her selection that they weren’t buying lighter fiction books.


Julien July 1, 2012 at 8:56 am

Liz- how interesting!


Margarita June 30, 2012 at 7:55 am

Jenna, just wanted to let you know that I love your book recommendations and book reviews. I bought The Lost Wife and How To Love an American Man and can’t wait to read it.

Have you read The Dirty Life by Kirstin Kimball? I am reading it now and loving it.


Mel June 30, 2012 at 8:15 am

Hi Jenna! I noticed you read a lot of contemporary novels (which is great, since I’ve loved soo many of your recommendations), but I was wondering what, if any, are your favorite ‘classics?’ I just finished Jane Eyre, and loved it!


Meghan @ After the Ivy League June 30, 2012 at 8:18 am

I’m in the market for a good summer read (actually plan to head to the book store later today) and I think I’ll pick up The Shoemaker’s Wife. Seriously, if the author of The Help says it’s splendid, that’s really all I need to know!


Stacie @ Snaps and Bits June 30, 2012 at 8:42 am

Have fun, I LOVE Tahoe! Would be nice if the water were a bit warmer though :)

I like reading historical fiction on vacation since I often need a chunk of time to get started!


Megan @laughlovefood June 30, 2012 at 8:42 am

My mom introduced me to Adriana Trigiani and I really enjoy all of her books!


Gabby (Quest for Delicious) June 30, 2012 at 8:43 am

That first picture of you in the water is just beautiful!


Caroline L. June 30, 2012 at 8:54 am

Have so much fun in Tahoe! I love that place :) Looks like you’ve got some great reads to keep you company!


Molly @ RDexposed June 30, 2012 at 9:25 am

That’s it. I need to visit Tahoe in an upcoming trip to CA!


Anne Weber-Falk June 30, 2012 at 9:59 am

I started at the beginning reading with Oprah’s book club but finally had to stop. Yes, the books were very good but I had a problem with them. They were all very engaging and enjoyable and then BAM! Something vile, or tragic, or horrible would happen. All very disturbing things and I couldn’t read them anymore. Every.single.one. Why must they all have death, or rape, or incest, and more in all of the stories? I couldn’t read them anymore.


Liz @ Tip Top Shape June 30, 2012 at 10:59 am

The Shoemaker’s Wife looks so good!!!!


Sharon June 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I just finished Wild. I liked it. I’m a hopeless Oprah follower as well. Going to check out the Shoemakers wife! Enjoy your holiday!!


The Blissful Baker June 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm

These pictures are gorgeous! Thanks for posting!

Check out my latest recipe @ bakingblissful.blogspot.com


Christine June 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Gorgeous photos! And YAY Wild! It’s one of my all-time favorite books. I’ve read it at least twice. Cheryl Strayed is one of my all-time favorite authors. I also am very intrigued by The Shoemaker’s Wife…I’ll have to try that soon! Enjoy your reading and vacation!


Emily @ Life on Food June 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm

You photos are gorgeous and such fun. Have a great time on vacation. I just finished Drowning Ruth and loved it. I will have to check out one of these for my next pick.


Alysa July 1, 2012 at 5:34 am

Wild is great, I couldn’t put it down!


domonique @ abowlfullofsimple July 1, 2012 at 7:39 am

You had me at Tahoe! We are here now and will spend much of the summer soaking up every minute of Tahoe time we can!. Amazing day on the lake yesterday boating with the kids. Love the book recommendations. Trying to get ‘into’ a return to the classics, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, for my book club’s current pic. Enjoy Tahoe!


Julia H. @ Going Gulia July 1, 2012 at 7:44 am

Ooooh I LOVE Lake Tahoe. I live all the way in New York, but most of my family lives in Sonoma County, so I’ve gone to Tahoe many times while visiting them. My aunt even got married there–gorgeous place for a wedding!!!


Julien July 1, 2012 at 9:04 am

Hey Jenna! I’m hoping you’ll consider linking to books in goodreads instead of amazon in the future and here’s why: the amazon link helps you to buy the book but the goodreads link gives you a lot more information about the story and reviews. It’s also easier to save the book as a “to read” if I don’t want to buy it today but also don’t want to forget about it. You could even create a list on goodreads with all of your ELR books so readers could find past books easily.


Elisabeth July 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I can’t say anything to how she links her books, but Jenna does have a Goodreads account & lists her books! :)



Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) July 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

My oldest sister is getting married in Lake Tahoe in two weeks! I’ve never been there before, but I can’t wait. It sounds so nice!


Jan July 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I love Goodreads, too! In fact, I just added three that you mentioned to my “to-read” pile. Thanks for the recommendations!


luv what you do July 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Your kayaking pictures are absolutely incredible!!!


Jenny July 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm

The reason you keep finding books easy to put down: if you look at classics- Huckleberry Finn, Brave New World, etc.- they’re mostly all under 300 pages. It really shouldn’t take any longer to tell any story. But authors nowadays are unable to get their books published unless they’re a certain amount of pages, so that they can be made into hardcovers and look pretty in book store windows. And so, they’re pumped with useless descriptions that drag on and on. Sad, really. Gorgeous pics.


April July 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm

“Wild” is my next read too!! How cool. :)
Right now I’m reading “The Man Who Quit Money”…really enjoying it.
Hope you had a GREAT time at Lake Tahoe!!
I’m going to Yosemite next month and have been incessantly asking my parents if we can take a side trip there…we’ll see! :)


Kelly @ My Love Affair With Running July 2, 2012 at 12:56 am

Thanks for the book reviews! just finished my book last night and after a new one.. I think I’m going to give the Ellen Feldman one a try :)


Sonal July 2, 2012 at 2:01 am

Jenna those pictures of Tahoe look Incredible!! Going on holiday next week and will try to find some of these books on kindle edition! :)


Anne July 2, 2012 at 5:48 am

Oh my gosh I absolutely adore Goodreads! I simply couldn’t walk into a library without my lists!


Corrie Anne July 2, 2012 at 7:51 am

It looks so beautiful there. The Shoemaker’s Wife sounds good. I love a big book too!!


bethany July 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

You should add The Girl Who Fell From The Sky to your summer reading list. FABULOUS!


Kim @ The Family Practice July 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Happy reading! Can’t wait to hear how you like it


Alex July 12, 2012 at 8:30 am

Read the Chaperone! Its GREAT!


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