August was NOT a reading month, y’all. Among other things (and aren’t there always other things?), Lorelei started her Senior year of high school, William started his fifth semester of college, and we moved my father across town. Lorelei now has a 7 a.m. class (AP Art) which means she gets out of school early, which is great for avoiding traffic but is also right in the middle of my former reading time. By the time I get home and help William get started on homework, I am so tired from my new 6 a.m. wake up time that I often fall asleep in my chair before I read much.

But I did manage to finish four books!

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson was this month’s book club read. Maybe you have seen the movie? I had not, but the book is amazing. It’s the eye-opening tale of a young man who sets out to do pro-bono legal work for the condemned and the non-profit he built over the years. It centers around the story of Walter, who was wrongly accused and condemned to die, but every other chapter tells the story of another of Mr. Stevenson’s clients. I wish everyone would read this book, especially those “tough on crime” folks.

Book Cover reading Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield is an absolutely delightful book from my childhood. My old copy actually belonged to my mother as a child (the book was published in 1916 so it may even originally have been my grandmother’s) so of course I lost it in our house fire eleven years ago. It used to be a regular re-read for me and I have missed it. So I was delighted to come across a copy while thrifting recently. The copy I found was 105 years old! It’s the story of a shy and sheltered little girl who is transformed when she moves to Vermont to live on the farm of her no-nonsense cousins.  I loved the book even more now as I read it with a view toward parenting techniques–and I just learned that the author was responsible for bringing the Montessori method to this country!

Blue Book Cover of Understood Betsy with picture of little girl in a sailor suit and her cat

The Potter’s Field by Ellis Peters is another Brother Cadfael book. Y’all, this is the 17th book and that means I am getting near the end of them, which makes me very sad.  The author continues to weave tales of mystery with theology, history, and great characterization in a way that I find very pleasing. And I did not see the answer to this particular mystery coming at all.

Book Cover of The Potter's Field, the 17th Chronicle of Brother Cadfael

Tolkien: A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings by Lin Carter is another book I picked up at the awesome used book store in Wildwood, New Jersey. I remember the title from years back when it was one of the few books out there on Tolkien. Reading it now I sometimes feel like I know more than the author does as The Silmarillion was not yet published when this was written. The exploration of Tolkien’s source material and the way his books fit into the evolution of mythology/fantasy/epic tales is also interesting.

Cover of Tolkien: A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings, with a picture of a red dragon

So that’s it for this month! I am linking up with An Open Book and encourage you to visit for more great reading ideas.

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