Book update

Summer is over! We went on a trip to Hearst Castle, and I took a billion pictures. I’ll post some of them soon. We’ve started up school again, which is going well. I haven’t crafted/sewn much- I made a giraffe for my favorite little 1 year  old girlie and a blanket for a new baby, which is still sitting here waiting to get washed so I can give it. Other than that, I’ve been reading up a storm. I’ve surpassed my 50 books for the year goal, and am well on my way to the 100 I’ve done in previous years. In the past 2 months I’ve read 24 books- apparently I’m in a groove. A lot of the books I’ve been reading lately have been memoirs, and sad ones, about going through deaths of family members and such. Not sure what that’s all about.  But this is what I’ve been reading:

Vida by Delacorta: This is a reread of a slightly trashy French novel. I love this whole series so much- a 13 year old girl and a 30 something con-man/ concert pianist/artist running around causing trouble. This one is set at the intersection of the architecture and jazz worlds.

Back to Homeschool by Misty Krasawski: This is a great little e-book about getting your mind and house ready to start homeschooling again after the summer.

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston: This book was a lot of fun, it’s in the format of the scrapbook of the main character, a plucky young thing in the 1920’s.

At Home in Tokyo by Gwen G. Robinson: This is the memoir of a woman who accompanied her husband to Tokyo for 2 years in the early 1990’s. Informative and fun.

Steampunk Holmes: Legacy of the Nautilus by P.C. Martin : Sherlock Holmes takes a case to find the missing plans to Captain Nemo’s Nautilus. So much fun.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle: I hadn’t read this since I was about nine. It made a lot more sense this time, and is really pretty wonderful. There’s a graphic novel adaptation coming out soon by Hope Larson (who is so amazing), and I can’t wait to get it for Zoe.

Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore: This book was such a great read. Moore is hilarious, and this book, set in the world of whale researchers, was delightful.

Confessions of a Memory Eater by Pagan Kennedy: What if there was a drug that allowed you to go back into your memory and relive moments from your past? What if you got addicted? What if those memories weren’t precisely accurate?

Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel by Morris, Ballantine: This is a deliciously fun steampunk novel. A secret ministry, big robots, codes, underground tunnels, dynamite; there’s really nothing here not to like.

No Sweat Home Schooling – The Low Stress Way To Teach Your Kids by  Kelly Wallace: This was short, but good.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway: There aren’t words for how much I love Hemingway. His writing is just so precise. This is the barely fictionalized account of a trip to Spain with friends of his, and the mayhem that results.

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman: This is probably the third (or fourth?) time I’ve read this book, and I will probably read it numerous times more. As the title suggests, it’s 40 short stories about what happens after we die. Completely compelling, thought provoking- so so good.

The Times We Had : Life with William Randolph Hearst by Marion Davies: As I mentioned above, we went to Hearst Castle, and it made me want to reread Marion’s memoir. She and W.R. Hearst were fascinating people.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel : I think this book should be required reading for anyone who interacts with children on a regular basis. It’s chock full of activities and ways to help kids integrate not only their left and right hemispheres of their brains, but also their upper and lower brains. Seriously, so incredibly good.

Raising a Thinking Child: Help Your Young Child to Resolve Everyday Conflicts and Get Along with Others by Myrna B Shure : This one should also be required. It’s all about teaching kids how to problem solve, giving them a vocabulary with which to do so. SO good.

New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran: This book took me weeks and weeks to get through because I could only read a couple stories at a time, they weirded me out so much. But when you’re talking Cthulhu stories, that’s a good thing. Most of them were excellent, all of them were creepy.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed: This is one of the best books I’ve read all year. The wisdom and compassion contained in this book is staggering. There is a lot of swearing in it, which is unfortunate, because I’d recommend it to everyone I know- BUT, if it makes a difference, the swearing is artfully done, rather than gratuitous. That makes a difference to me. But really, this book is someone’s soul laid bare; raw, honest, gorgeous.

Then Again by Diane Keaton: This is Diane Keaton’s memoir, and a kind of memoir of her mother’s- because her mother kept copious journals and diaries. So there’s a passage from Diane at a certain age, and then one from her mother at the same age. The thing that I found really interesting is that I felt like I came away with a stronger sense of her mother than of Diane- that there was still a bit of distance that she maintained. But I really like her.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: After I read Tiny Beautiful Things I knew I had to read this one too. It’s the story of Cheryl’s trek up the Pacific Crest Trail, from southern California up into Oregon. It’s also the story of her mental trek through the loss of her mother and the loss of her marriage. It’s really, really good.

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare: I love Shakespeare. I love just slipping into his words and letting them wash over me like a warm bath. Not to criticize the master, but I wished there was more character depth in this one, but it was funny and lovely.

State of Wonder: A Novel (P.S.) by Ann Patchett: I’d heard a lot about this book, and it was on sale and I was in need of a book, so I snagged it. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but was enthralling nonetheless. A researcher for a drug company is sent to the Amazon to find a rogue scientist who has supposedly found a cure for the loss of fertility, while also investigating the death of her colleague who was sent out before her. I was expecting Heart of Darkness , and while there were markers there, it never got to that point. But what is there is fascinating.

Your Voice in My Head: A Memoir by Emma Forrest: I loved Emma Forrest’s first book Namedropper so much that I read it four times in a row. I’d been meaning to pick this up for a while, and I’m glad I did. It’s her memoir of her struggle with a mental illness, her (healthy, platonic) relationship with her psychiatrist, her (very non-platonic) relationship with a movie star (Colin Farrell), and her struggle dealing with the loss of both of them when her psychiatrist dies unexpectedly, and her boyfriend breaks up with her. It’s fascinating watching it all play out- she’s unflinching in her portrayal of her life and her illness. It’s raw and heartbreaking, and ultimately healing.

The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert: This book is so weird and wonderful. It’s the story of a little town where the newest volumes of a series very much like A Series of Unfortunate Events are covertly printed, and where a woman who lives in a house on the outskirts of town claims that her daughter has been abducted. The thing is, no one has ever seen her daughter, and half the town thinks that she never existed. Add into that a grandma who has been writing obituaries since she was a child, a granddaughter abandoned by her mother and left with her magic performing uncle who runs the printing press, and a possible leaked copy of the last volume of the series, and it’s a big beautiful gorgeous story.

Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway: Again, what is there to say but that I love Hemingway? He so exactly sets down the bliss of love and the complete and utter wreckage of a marriage. Each word is perfection.

And that’s the end. Goodness sakes alive. Luckily I have a big stack of library books downstairs to read next.
What are you reading?

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