The Stormchasers

Book: The Stormchasers

Author: Jenna Blum

Short Summary:
Flashing back to two decades ago and resuming in the present, Stormchasers is a story of twins pulled together and torn apart by mental illness. Karena and her brother Charles are as close as twins can be, but Charles’ bipolar disorder pulls them both into a tragic situation. After being apart for years, Karena goes on a stormchasing adventure, in the hopes of reuniting with her estranged brother who has always had a passion for chasing storms.

My Thoughts:
After really loving Blum’s first novel, Those Who Save Us, I was expecting a lot from this one. It turns out I like this one, but didn’t love it. The characters were engaging and interesting, but for some reason I didn’t connect with them as much as I had hoped I would. I’m having a hard time describing why that is though.

One thing that stood out to me as a strength in the story was how Blum used storms as a metaphor for Charles’ bipolar disorder. The chaos and unpredictability of the weather were nicely mirrored in Charles’ behavior.

When I read, I always enjoy learning something new. I felt this book gave me a great background on stormchasing, a topic I know absolutely nothing about other than seeing the film “Twister” back in the day. I also learned more about bipolar disorder. This book was extremely well researched and put vivid images of storms into the readers’ heads.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in reading  fiction about the complexities of mental illness or want to learn about something new. As a side note, this is one of the most gorgeous book covers I’ve seen in a long time!

Printer’s Row Lit Fest and Summer Reading

Last weekend I got to experience the Printer’s Row Lit Fest here in Chicago. It is the biggest book fair in the midwest. I signed up to volunteer, although I did more shopping than volunteering! It really was a great festival with more books than I could have imagined. There were all sorts of author events, readings, and music. I was just a “greeter” this year, which wasn’t a very demanding job, but next year maybe I’ll take on a more active role.

I bought a handful of used books while there including:

  • Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
  • A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
  • Personal Injuries by Scott Turow
  • Love Walked In by Maria de Santos
  • Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo

I’m really looking forward to diving into some of these this week. I’m going on a cruise with my entire family, 18 of us. It will be busy and we will be doing lots of the excursions, but hopefully there will also be some time for some quality reading, preferably by the pool! There is also a beautiful two story library on board that I’m looking forward to checking out!

I’ve been reading a decent amount since school ended, but I really want to make it a goal to read at least a book a week this summer, but hopefully more. I have so many books sitting on my shelf just waiting to be read. In addition to the ones listed above, I also have Old Filth by Jane Gardam, The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian, Innocent by Scott Turow, The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen, and Columbine by David Cullen. Not to mention I still have to buy and read The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson. There have just been too many good book sales lately!

Ah, so much reading to do, so little time. I probably won’t update for over a week since I’ll be cruising, but I hope to have many reviews to write when I return home!