Saturday, August 16, 2008

Watervale Reads 2008

A large part of Watervale for me is reading. Without the distractions of home and work, I almost read more in 7 days than I do the entire rest of the year. I always bring a huge stack of books – usually 7-10. And I read them all cover to cover. Mostly political, historical, and current events books. I don’t really do the “beach read” type books. They just aren’t my style. I prefer something more along the lines of House of Bush, House of Saud (a book I read at Watervale 4 summers ago). I spend most of the summer carefully selecting my Watervale Reads and eagerly anticipate that moment when I can crack open the spine of the first book.

This year was different, however. Despite having my books pre-selected as always, I left home with only two of them - the third and fourth books from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Knowing I would run out of books by Tuesday, I went to the tiny bookstore in Frankfort, conveniently called The Book Store, (there is no Borders or Barnes and Nobles anywhere around), where I had a difficult time finding just the right political tomes for my Watervale Reads. In fact, I could only find one I hadn’t read, Dreams From My Father, which is how I ended up with American House. The good news is I’ve already got my Watervale Books 2009 picked out and ready to go.

This is the final list of Watervale Reads 2008.

Girls in Pants – The Third Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
American House by Deryl D. Holmes
Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

The Sisterhood books are part of a charming series of books written for today's young women. They focus on the lifelong friendships of 4 girls during their high school and early college years. The girls think of themselves as sisters and face the challenge of their first summer apart, in the first novel. Despite the 20 year difference between me and the main characters, I found myself reminiscing about my own friendships and the friends I have thought of as my sisters. Now I'm ready to see the movie.

American House is the first effort by Deryl D. Holmes and tells the fictional story of American House Hotel in South Frankfort, Michigan. Part of what I thoroughly enjoyed about this book was how much the author incorporated the real history of the Frankfort, Michigan area. Today, South Frankfort is known as Elberta, Michigan. Unfortunately, this book can't be found on Amazon or anywhere on the web.

Dreams From My Father was originally published in 1995, shortly after Barack Obama graduated from Harvard Law School. During his years at Harvard, he was elected the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review, which garnered him a great deal of press interest and a publisher asked him to write a book. Dreams From My Father is that book. Although I drank the Barack Obama Kool-Aid long before there was any to drink, I had never read Dreams From My Father and I am surprised at how much new insight I have gained into our next President.

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