Boone Plantation, SC

Boone Plantation, SC

It’s Labor Day weekend, the end of summer, so I’m sharing my two favorite reads of the past season.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. My mom recommended this book to me. However, since it is told from the perspective of the Angel of Death during the Holocaust, I thought it would be terribly depressing. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised by this gem of a book. This imaginative story is about a German girl who lives with her foster family, her love of books, and her unlikely friendship with the Jewish man hiding in her basement. Even in the midst of evil and human suffering, persistence, courage, and sacrifice shine brightly. I read this 576-page book in 1-2 days on my trip to St. Louis. (My husband was solving some computer/tech problems for his parents, so I had some time to myself!)

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. This novel was inspired by the real-life Sarah Grimke, a Charleston plantation owner’s daughter who was gifted with a slave, Hetty, on her eleventh birthday. Sarah Grimke later became an influential advocate for abolition and women’s rights. The author imagines what a complicated (fictional) friendship between the two girls would have been like as they grew up. I learned a lot about slavery from reading the book, and the plot kept me interested, especially since the story went back and forth between Sarah’s and Hetty’s perspectives. This was the perfect book to read before I visited Charleston, SC, in July. Although Boone Plantation, which I visited, is different from the city setting of the book, there are many similarities in the way of life and the inhumane treatment of slaves.

Have you read either of these books? What are your summer favorites?