Reading update, August 2014

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Wow, only six months since my last post! …. I have been reading in the meantime, really! I am happy, though, to finally be doing a monthly reading update. These days I’m working full-time, so my blogging and reading time has been somewhat reduced. My pace is somewhat slow but I always look forward to the time I have before bed when I can read uninterrupted.

I actually haven’t finished a book this month, but I’m in the middle of a few – 

The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park, by Sinclair McKay

This is the book I’ve made the most progress with lately, but I have to admit it’s falling a little flat of my expectations. I think a book on the actual history of the code breaking work at the Park would be a bit more interesting and engaging. That said, it does give interesting snapshots of life in Britain during the war, which we Americans don’t always hear much about in school. 

The Happiest Toddler on the Block, by Harvey Karp

This is the first book I’ve read on dealing with a toddler and though some of the book is rather cheesy, I think it would be helpful for anyone who needs some encouragement and simple advice during toddlerhood. I like that he recommends being empathetic first; it’s a concept that has helped me many times with my own sweet, temperamental toddler.

A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson

I simultaneously love and dislike this book. I love it because I really enjoy Bill Bryson’s style and I think he’s very good at making innocuous subjects engaging. But the fact is that I don’t love science all that much, and that is what this book is really all about. So, while I enjoy the book when I read it, I really have to be in the right mood for it, and it’s a long book. Hopefully I’ll get inspired to finish soon!

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection, by Robert Farrar Capon

I love books such as this one – they bring you back to the basics of preparing, cooking, and eating food, which is a subject that easily becomes overwhelming and complicated if you let it. Capon’s ability to combine food and spirituality as the subject of the book is unique and very special. 

 

What’s the best thing you’ve read lately?

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Twitterature February 2014

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Well, my month has completely gotten away from me, and blogging has slipped to the wayside. I still wanted to do a Twitterature post, though – sharing my most recent reads and my progress towards my 2014 reading goals. Here we go!

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

I became familiar with David Sedaris through the NPR program This American Life. I love Sedaris’ storytelling and sense of humor and this book made me love him even more. I especially enjoyed the chapters about living as an expat since I could relate to it. I’m so glad I finally read this after having it on my list for a really long time!

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Willy and I watched the film adaptation of this book about a year ago, so I was familiar with the story, but reading the book has helped me understand the film so much better. I find myself very engrossed in this book whenever I read it, and I think having seen the film, I have a very clear mental imagery of everything that happens in the book. It’s a great piece of fiction that leaves you with a lot to think about.

Why Have Kids? A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness by Jessica Valenti

I grabbed this from the New Nonfiction section at the library and was intrigued by the title. The author provides a critique of how we view motherhood in the US and what we can do to create happier parents, mothers and relationships. I appreciated hearing the parenting perspective of someone who has the rights of women in mind, and reading the book has helped me to think through and articulate some of my own thoughts on the subject.

And that’s all for this month! Currently I have read only 7 books towards my 50 book goal this year, but I’m not too worried. There were a few books that I started and had to get back to the library before I could finish them, but I wasn’t making much progress with them, anyway. I just brought home a new library stack today and am excited to start reading!

What have you been reading this month?

Twitterature, January 2014

my current to-read pile from the library

my current to-read pile from the library

Lately I feel like I’m in a stage of “my eyes are bigger than my plate,” but with books instead of food. I spent most of the last two years unable to get English books for free or cheap, so now that I’m in a town where I have a library card, I’m going a bit wild. I’m also thrilled to have discovered that there is a very good e-book borrowing system called Overdrive that is now available both in my parents’ city and my husband’s parents’ town. I will be using that more once we move and I can’t borrow paper copies anymore, but for now, I’m really enjoying perusing the library stacks and feeling an actual book in my hands when I read.

Here are some of my most recent reads. If you’d like to share what you’ve been reading this month, feel free to link up, as I’m doing, at Modern Mrs. Darcy, where Anne hosts a Twitter-style (short, concise descriptions) book-sharing event. I’ve totally been stealing reading ideas from this link-up, but this is my first time to participate!

My January reads:

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book – Wendy Welch.
If you’re a used bookstore lover and an Anglophile, you’ll probably enjoy this book. Thick with Scottish references, anecdotes of small town life, and some very quaint writing. So far I’m loving it.

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien.
A classic that I had to read again after seeing the most recent film by Peter Jackson. I really enjoy reading it when I’m in the mood for fantasy, but sometimes it’s a bit hard to get into. Some of my favorite scenes from the movie are really enjoyable in the book as well – mainly the journey through the Forest of Mirkwood and the escape downriver from the Kingdom of the Elves (but as I thought, some of the film’s content was lifted from other books besides the Hobbit!).

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed.
I love real-life travel and adventure books and heard great things about this one. In my opinion, this book is as much personal memoir as it is the story of hiking the PCT, some of which I didn’t really enjoy reading about. The writing was crafted well but I wanted more on the actual travel experience. I recently read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods about his journey on the Appalachian Trail and found that book more to my liking.

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace – Tamar Adler.
If you’re interested in learning to use and re-use ingredients, cooking simply and deliciously, and you can overlook the prose that sometimes drags on too long, you really should read this one. Ms. Adler has a lot of interesting things to say about food and cooking, but the instructive bits of the book spoke to me the most. I’ve totally been inspired to create new meals from old ones, and to cook things ahead of time to use later (though I haven’t done that too much yet).

Someday, Someday Maybe – Lauren Graham.
I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan, so I wanted to read this novel by the actress Lauren Graham. The story is about an actress in NYC who’s struggling to make it in show business while trying to stay attached to her roots and who she’s always been. It’s not the kind of book I’d read normally and in some ways it reminded me of The Devil Wears Prada. Still, it was fun to read. I usually gravitate towards nonfiction these days so I enjoyed zoning out while reading this book.

Have you read anything great lately?