Friday, September 9, 2016

Recent Reads

So...I plowed through The Woman in Cabin 10 super quick.  It wasn't high Literature, but for what it was, a fun summer mystery in the vein of And Then There Were None, it was great.  

spooky cover

Lo is a reporter who is planning to write a story on this fancy new luxury cruiser that only has 10 cabins and is super posh.  She struggles to make it to the ship, and when she does, a chance encounter messes with her head and seems to make her the target of someone looking to shut her up.  It was fast paced and fun.  The mystery kept me going up until the last pages.  

I had two issues with this book, though:  1.  The was easily confused with The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.  and, 2.  The unreliable narrator is getting old for me.  I just don't know if I can deal with another drunk girl second guessing her every thought and move.  Maybe it's relatable, maybe it's popular with our current culture, but I miss the Miss Marples, the Sherlock Holmeses, and any other classic sleuth who is not stumbling drunk at any given hour of the day.  I recently read No One Knows and this was a device that annoyed the hell out of me with that one too.  Ugh.

Looking for a fast paced thriller to keep you guessing late at night?  Give The Woman in Cabin 10 a chance, and most likely you will forgive the title and the drunk narrator by the end.  

Next, I listened to Circling the Sun on audible.  

I read McLain's The Paris Wife years ago and enjoyed it reasonably enough to be curious about her new work.  She is thorough but not stuffy in her research.  The character she studied, Beryl Markham, sounded really intriguing.  

Half way through I abandoned this audio book.  I was just getting tired of hearing her sexual exploits.  While that may have been true enough, I was really curious about her record breaking flight across the Atlantic Ocean which only surfaced at the very end as almost an afterthought.  

I wanted to like it more.  It just never clicked for me.  I finished listening to it--maybe the worst form of self torture is folding laundry for hours while listening to a book you can't stand, but I stuck with it.  And, listening to it was tricky because it vacillated between dull and sexy and the kids would always come find me during a sexy scene.  Lovely.

Most recently, I listened to Born Standing Up on audible.  I am a HUGE Steve Martin fan.  HUGE.  I heard found out about this book and immediately looked it up.  When I saw it was actually read by Steve Martin himself on audible I knew I had to listen to it.  I've enjoyed his fiction but this was his best work by far.  

It wasn't hysterical but I did laugh out loud a few times.  He goes through some of his stand-up material and it really enhances the book listening to him deliver the lines.  Martin covers his early days, as a child through the end of his stand-up career.  You could tell some of the memories were painful, the writing was moving.  He looks back with both realism and candor and the reader is allowed an inside view of Martin's life, what forces propel him and what held him back.  

I loved learning about my favorite actor and would definitely recommend this to any fans.  It was also a close look at a creative life and that makes it a good read for anyone pursuing a big dream.  

*Stops fan-girling*

I'm currently reading A Prayer for Owen Meany which is completely blowing me away.  The prose is beautiful and I'm already in love with the characters.  Audible's got me with Rules of Civility.  So good, so far.  I'm listening to another one I'm trudging slowly through: The Queen of the Night (similar to Circling the Sun I keep starting and stopping and then forcing myself to listen while I fold laundry).  

I got my book of the month box the other day with Behold the Dreamers, The Couple Next Door, and Siracusa.  Read any of them?  

I need another tween read, too, but can't decide...just finished The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place for mother-daughter book club.  

When I don't have my kids around, my reading (and blogging) really does increase!  Look at that silver lining!

What are you reading?  

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Back to School and DEAR

My kids went back to school last week.  This is remarkable for us because my baby got on the bus too.  For 12 years I've welcomed back to school time with a little one in tow.  My routines stayed (mostly) the same year round.  This year, my world has turned on it's ear. 

It started in the summer.  "What are you going to do?" is maybe the worst question you can ask someone who is sending all of their kids to school for the first time.  First of all, they may not know how to respond exactly.  

I went through a period of awkward responses:  When my kids get on the bus?  Cry...or not.  Maybe do a little dance.  With all the extra kid-free time?  Get a job?  Get another degree?  Do my laundry?  Sit in a room and stare at a wall?  No, really, I'm asking you, because I don't know.  

I fielded the questions as best as I could and found myself unprepared for the first day.  One friend suggested I just let it be.  Feel what I feel and do whatever I find myself doing that day without questions or guilt or a big schedule.  This seemed right to me.  

The bus pulled up and I was certain there would be no tears.  And then, he looked up at me and said, "Mom, quick, I need one more kiss."  I looked into his beautiful brown eyes and felt my own fill to the brim with tears.  "Ok buddy."  I kissed him.  In my ear, "I love you, mom."  I squeezed him, he pulled away, and jumped up the stairs on the bus.  

I went home and cried for a bit.  Pulled myself together.  Posted first day pictures for all of social media to see.  

Post after post from my friends detailed their celebratory measures.  "Getting a massage and a rainforest shower.  Treat yourselves moms!"  "Off to the spa, see you at bus time!"  "We made it!  Time to get my nails done."  

While a pedicure sounded nice (and also a bit cliche), what I really wanted to do was clean my kitchen.  Perhaps the most boring thing of all.  But I did it and felt happy.  

The last two weeks have been a bipolar existence.  With so much quiet during the day and four loud, emotional kids vying for my attention after 3.  The silence that fills my house when the kids leave can be overwhelming.  And then, by 8, I'm ready for them to go to bed and be quiet for a bit because they have all just talked at me for 5 hours.  When the morning comes again, I'm not sure how to fill the hours of solitude so I can be productive, fulfilled, and efficient.  I don't think I'm meant to figure it out so soon and thankfully my husband and friends are encouraging me to take it slow.  This is a temporary limbo.

So, as I'm navigating this new transition (which I suck at) I have found much more time for reading.  I use the Beverly Cleary prototype for DEAR (drop everything and read) and whenever I can, I pick up a book or stream audible on my phone.  

Books are my version of "me time."  I know I couldn't maintain a schedule filled with massages and pedicures (no matter how much I would love that) but I know that next month, when I will be tackling house projects, developing a regular cleaning schedule, and volunteering at school I will still have my books.