Favourite Books of June

My favourite books this month include two non-fiction books and another young adult apocalypse novel.

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography
Edited by Pamela Smith Hill

As a child I loved watching the TV series, Little House on the Prairie, and I enjoyed reading the Little House series of books. This new book, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, includes Laura Ingalls Wilder’s never-before-published autobiography, Pioneer Girl, which she completed in 1930 at the age of 63. Her story, with much help from her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, was later rewritten as the Little House series of books for children.

This is a beautiful, large format, hardcover book that contains not only the manuscript for Pioneer Girl, but lots of information and insights into Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life. It also includes many maps, photographs and records from the period, and is a book that I’m sure all Laura Ingalls Wilder fans will love.

The Pioneer Girl Project blog, which I began following in the months leading up to the publication of the book, has lots of extra photographs, interviews and interesting information about Laura Ingalls Wilder, her family and friends, and the communities in which they lived.

The Secret Language of Flowers by Samantha Gray

I know there are many books on the language of flowers, but this one is a particularly lovely one with beautiful illustrations. It discusses the hidden meanings of over 50 flowers and includes a lot of interesting flower folklore and myth. A small, hardcover book, it is perfect for browsing through on a rainy day, or reading while sitting in the garden, drinking tea, surrounded by flowers.

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

What would you do if you knew the world was going to end in two months? An asteroid is hurtling towards Earth and there is a sixty-six percent chance that it will collide with the planet and destroy life as we know it. This is the story of four teenagers and the choices they make with the knowledge that they may have only two months left to live. The chapters alternate between the characters – the athlete, the outcast, the slacker, and the overachiever – who each have very different personalities, backgrounds, dreams and ambitions. Through the impending disaster, their lives intertwine in ways they could never have imagined. This is one of those books that I couldn’t put down, anxious to see how it would end and whether or not our planet would survive.

Tommy Wallach is a singer-songwriter as well as an author, and he has written and recorded an album to go along with the book. It is available on iTunes, and you can listen to one of the songs on his website tommywallach.com.

The Language of Flowers

Now and again I read a book I enjoy so much that I want to share it with everyone. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is one of those books. It had me hooked right from the title. I love anything to do with plants—flowers, herbs, vegetables—and have always enjoyed reading about the meanings of flowers and their medicinal and magical properties.

The Language of Flowers tells the story of Victoria Jones who spent an unhappy childhood growing up in foster homes until she was sent to live with a woman who truly cared for her and taught her the language of flowers.  Peppermint Blossom – warmth of feeling, Holly – foresight,  Heliotrope – devoted affection, Lavender – mistrust. The chapters alternate between Victoria’s childhood and as a young woman after she has left the foster care system, damaged and distrusting of everyone around her. Finding solace in her beloved flowers, she gains a job in a florist shop, but when she meets a mysterious young man at the flower market and they begin to communicate through the language of flowers, Victoria is forced to confront a secret from her past, a secret that may ultimately destroy everything she has come to love.

I love Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s writing style, her imagery of the flowers that dominate Victoria’s life, the seamless way she writes about the past effecting the future. The Language of Flowers is a beautiful novel of secrets, love, trust and family. This is Vanessa’s first novel. I can’t wait to read her next!

The Language of Flowers