Saturday, December 29, 2018

Reading Recap: November Edition

Life is interesting.  One minute you think, "Gosh, I'm so busy and stressed," and the next minute you realize that the minute before you were in an idyllic place of peace and you would give anything to go back.  This happened in my life a few weeks ago.  I thought I was overwhelmed with life (hosting Thanksgiving, concerts for all of the kids, having colds and sinus infections circle our family) and then--boom--my dad got a terrible diagnosis and we are still trying to understand it.  

I didn't feel like writing for quite some time, but I'm ready to get back to it.  Maybe it's because of the imminent New Year, maybe it's because "la, la, la, la life goes on" but whatever the reason, I'm here.  

Ummmmmm, yas.

And, I realize my reading recap for November is coming at the eleventh hour.  I almost scrapped it, but November was full of good books that I want to talk about.  

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I had misconceptions about what this book was about for yearzzzz.  Which is a real shame as I was an English major.  I gifted this book to my niece who always raved about it and thanked me profusely.  Still, it took me a long time to get to it.  But now that I've read it, I wish I had read it sooner.  If you love books or writing, Francie Nolan's story will speak to you.  Joy and sorrow played equally on the pages and Smith's writing was dreamy, while still conveying the most mundane aspects of life in Brooklyn during the early 1900s.  

My husband and I visited Brooklyn when we were in NYC this summer.  We even walked across the Williamsburg Bridge (and I am terrified of bridges).   This definitely added to the experience of reading the book and helped propel me through some of the slower passages.  


The Ministry of Ordinary Places

Wowza.  This book hit me hard.  

Martin talks about loving your neighbor practically.  She writes about embracing the place you live and doing a good job caring for your neighborhood and the people in it.  I have been an avid follower of her blog and her Instagram so I was excited when this came out.  But at the time I read it I was feeling frustrated with my neighborhood.  I wanted to move and just hole myself up in my house until we could leave.  Martin's stories and insights challenged me to walk around my hood appreciating it and being open to talking to people.  

I can remember a specific episode when I felt annoyed to see a neighbor while I was out walking the dog.  Instead, I stretched out of my comfort zone and approached her.  We talked for a bit and exchanged numbers after finding out our kids were accepted into the same band.  Now I have a carpool and a new friend.  #winwin

The Unmade World

The book club book of the month.  I loved it so much at first but then the author lost me.  He expanded the scope of the novel so much that it was ridiculous.  By the end, I was marveling at each unlikely plot twist and hoping for the end to come mercifully.  To make matters worse, I was laid up with a terrible migraine caused by a nasty sinus infection and missed book club.  Ugh.


The Grave's a Fine and Private Place

I found the Flavia DeLuce series long ago and have loved these books so much.  I was preparing to host Thanksgiving and was using this novel as both a coping mechanism and a tool for procrastination.  It worked for both like a charm.  

A new book is coming out in January and I'm totally excited.  

Almost Everything

Reading this book was serendipitous.  I needed to read this just before hearing about my dad.  I remember reading it and crying, as I do with most Anne Lamott books.  She deals with life and death and grief, writing and loving and hating, and through it all there is a thread of hope that sparkles.  It made me take heart.  It made me rethink some long-held beliefs and helped me feel the freedom to be messy and make mistakes and try again.  I underlined a ton and I think I need to review those passages now...

Stay tuned.  The December Reading Recap will be up soon.  Happy New Year y'all! May 2019 bring you good health, happiness, and lots and lots of reading!