The Best of July

July was a good reading month: #24in48 was a great jumpstart to my review deadlines this month and everything's been pretty damn great since. A few of my favorites:

Seven Bookish & Bookloving Characters from Literature

I've long loved books about books--bookstores, book collections, and especially fellow bookish types. Seven of my favorite bookish and bookloving characters from literature:

Week in Reading: July 27

I'm writing this on the front porch of my aunt's beach house, catching the ocean breeze from a few blocks away and devouring some truly wonderful Jersey-shore bagels (I love Maryland, but we are not known for our bagel supply). Despite a few days of beach weather, I didn't get all that much reading done, so this week's reading stack looks shockingly similar to last week's:

Note: The exact same stack of books I was reading last week.

I did finish Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg last week, which left me breathless--seriously, put this on your list for September. It's excellent. As I wind down on SuperBetter and Americanah this week--both fairly lengthy books--I'm looking forward to picking up the forthcoming Sarah Vowell book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States.

Anyone else having a lazy week of summer reading*? What's on your stack this week?

*The lovely ladies at the Socratic Salon are talking today about summer slumps.

A Tiny Plum Cobbler Full of Tiny Plums

small cobbler recipe for plum cobbler
Better pictures not available because I ate it all already.

Last weekend, we got a boatload of tiny plums at the farmers market in town. About the size of cherries, they were deliciously juicy and sweet on the inside with super-tart skins. But a girl (and her husband) can only eat so many plums in one sitting, and so the remainder went into a tiny plum cobbler. If, like me, you like cobblers with rising crusts (not biscuit tops), and want a cobbler that serves a normal number of people (think 2-4 instead of 6-12), here's the recipe for you:

Book Pairing: On the Desegregation of Virginia Public Schools

Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County is part history, part memoir. Written by Kristen Green, who was raised in Prince Edward County, Virginia, and attended Prince Edward Academy (a private school that did not accept black students until the 1980s--yes, you read that right, 80s). Green started poking around her town's local history and was startled to learn not only that her county protested desegregation by closing schools to all children (and using state funds for education to support the founding of Prince Edward Academy), but that her family was intimately involved in the fight against desegregation. It's an eye-opening read, to say the least.

Book Review: Little Black Lies, by Sharon Bolton

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

little black lies sharon bolton

When one child goes missing on the Falkland Islands, both police and locals chalk it up to the dangerous environment and many island cliffs. When a second--and then a third--disappear, it's impossible for the locals not to suspect that something more dangerous than cliffs and rocks is afoot. But how does a town as small and remote as Stanley cope with such a terrible possibility? And what other secrets lie hidden across the islands?

Writing Elsewhere: Classics (and Classics-in-the-Making) for Summer Reading (on

I'm over on talking about classics (and classics-in-the-making!) to add to your summer reading list

What would you add?