Summer Reading

Hello reading friends– When it’s a hot summer day, I’m really just looking for a glass of cold fizzy water and a good story.  These two books fill the bill– an unbelievable tale of a 100 year old man gone awry and the story of a young girl from a different world rural China.  Here they are:


The title of this book, The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared, is an indication of the wacky flavor of this Swedish book.   To avoid his 100th birthday party at the old folks home, Allan Karlsson climbs out his window and seemingly disappears.  In actuality, he steals a suitcase stuffed with money, meets up with some colorful accomplices including at elephant,  and is pursued by bumbling criminals.  Alternating chapters go into Allans long life–as an explosives expert who eventually meets up with the likes of Stalin, Chairman Mao, Harry Truman and Winston Churchill, not to mention his trek across the Himalayas on a camel, his stint in an Iranian prison or his participation in the Manhattan Project!!  The whole book is so far-fetched as to be crazily entertaining.  Jonas Jonasson gives us a rollicking tale of sympathetic characters just right for a read on a hot summer’s day.


One of Lisa See’s book, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, is one of her best.  Li-yan grows up in a rural village of Yumman, China, harvesting tea with her family.  The village is ruled by prescribed mores and customs and when unwed Li-tan has a baby, the tradition is for that baby to be killed.  Instead, she takes it away to an orphanage and her daughter Haley is adopted by an American couple and grows up in a happy California home.  Li-yan goes on to an education and a vocation in the tea trade, but always longs for her daughter, while Haley hopes and searches for the mother of her homeland.  Fascinating look at a culture so far removed from our own and the two parallel lives that are connected by birth.


P.S. Illustration by Helen Oxenbury–love her children’s books.




22 thoughts on “Summer Reading

    • Thanks Suzanne– what does your weekend look like?? We’re having friends in for dinner (chicken skewers) tonight and then mostly doing laundry and packing to go to Wisconsin early Monday morning for our daughter’s wedding. Hope you’re staying cooking and getting in those early morning walks with Percy! xox friend!

      • Sounds like you will be really busy, have a great trip to Wisconsin! I’m not planning much, have guests coming on Sunday so will be cleaning, pretty boring stuff here. It’s really hot here and tomorrow is going to be bad weather thunderstorms and heavy rain they say so no trip to the farmers market most likely! Have an awesome time!!

  1. I enjoyed the ‘Hundred Year Old Man Who Jumped from the Window and Disappeared’.
    It was my book club choice and I had a birthday luncheon to celebrate Allan’s adventure. FUN!

  2. Hi Rhonda – I am adding both to my summer reading list, the Lisa See novel looks especially good. Right now I am reading “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things” by Amy Dickinson who is writes the Ask Amy column in the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers. A very fun and light read. Next up is The Round House by Louise Erdrich, reading this for book club. -Kat

    • Hey Kat– Writing this one down on my library list. thanks. What else is your book club reading?? How often do you meet? Do you do dinner? Go to someone’s house?? I saw this list on facebook “300 books everyone should have read” so I clicked through it and it made me thankful for our book club that gets me to read lots of books I might not have picked up. OK well, Happy Reading Kat! xox

  3. Nice reviews of both of these books. As you might remember, I listened to Tea Girl… on an audio book and found it fascinating. I haven’t read the 100-yr-old man… but I saw a preview of the movie and that looked interesting, too! You must be in WI as I type this, enjoy!

    • 100 Year Old Man will be a movie??! I’ll have to track that down Marcia! Would be quirky fun. I especially liked the Tea Girl book– my sis lived in southern China and we visited her there a couple years ago– landing at the Jingshou (sp??) airport mentioned in the book. So I’m just picturing the places and the people from the things we saw driving through the mountains there… Take care friend. xox

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