What I Read On Vacation: 3 Little Book Reviews

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

When reading time during your everyday life can be so hard to find (can I get an amen?!), vacation takes on a secondary role as being The Once Annual Reading Retreat. At least, in my mind it does. ;)
reading the other book I started on the trip - John Adams by David McCullough, which I have yet to finish - on the train from Philly to New York.

While we were on vacation, a lot of time was spent in the car. Some people would rather travel by plane and get there faster, but while I love the thrill of seeing the world from so high up, there's a beautifully uninterrupted time-block that you give up when you don't drive the distance, which is why road trips will still always have a special place in my heart. So as a way to share that love, combined with my life-long love of good literature:

Here's what I read, between two 12-hour car rides, two 3-hour train rides and a few 1-hour stints between locations on a given day (we take our road tripping seriously in this family! XD).

I started this before we went out of town, so this is a bit of a cheat, but I finished it on vacation so there ya go. ;) I love biographies, and learning more about Flannery O'Connor's life definitely gave me a much richer appreciation for her fiction - which, admittedly, is not usually my preferred genre (southern gothic short stories). There were definitely moments where I felt Gooch's personal bias stuck in and made things...unnecessarily dark. But for the most part it was a good read, and for me, inspiring, to see a southern female authoress with both self-respect and ability; I've written more since finishing that book than I have in a long time.

Also: I feel like I ought to re-read A Good Man Is Hard To Find now.

I normally find this type of book too easily falls in the tacky category: too much self-help advice, too many rags-to-riches stories, too many believe-in-yourself type mantras that have become so hackneyed over the years. I was so glad to be wrong! Chip and Jo share there story in a simple, down-to-earth way, without ever coming across as arrogant or awkward. They wrote comfortably, and unlike a lot of non-authors who publish books, actually wrote well. Their voice was unaffected, which, as a girl who's read a lot of fake-sounding words from bloggers/actors/celebrities (I'm sure you have too), they were so refreshingly real. I resonated a lot more with Joanna than I realized I would!

Also: I learned some things about interior design I never intended to, like how much actually goes in to flipping homes!

Possibly my favorite book of the three, this one I finished the day after we came home and wow. You guys were so right when you said I would love this one! The writing style that at first seemed stilted to me, makes so much sense having read the whole book. Death's economy of words is perfect. Rudy Steinem is perfect. Max Vandenburg is. perfect. I won't say too much because I don't want to spoil the ending, but I've always felt that timing plays a huge role in what impact a book has on your life. Had I read The Book Thief a couple years ago when I initially picked it up, I would not have enjoyed it with the same depth of understanding that I could now.

Also: You know it's a good book if it makes you cry for a good half hour after finishing it. XD

Have you read any good books lately? What are your thoughts on them?


  1. I'm definitely all for reading on vacation! I've recently restarted the Anne of Green Gables series, and I'm back in love with it. :)

    1. Oh, I love Anne of Green Gables! I need to re-read those...it's been years! Enjoy. <3

  2. oh. OH. the Book Thief. I need to read that one again; I think I read it when I was too young to really get it and ended up preferring the movie. whoops.

  3. "Death's economy of words is perfect. Rudy Steinem is perfect. Max Vandenburg is. perfect."

    Yes yes yes! I am so glad you loved it!!!


Design by Bethany. All images and text displayed here (C) Carmel Elizabeth 2010-16, unless otherwise stated. Please do not steal.