Books I read this week: July weeks 3-4 and other rambling

This month has been pretty abysmal for finishing books. I only finished 2 all month. That’s ridiculous.


I already posted about In Our Time by Hemingway. The other book I finished was A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oe. To say that it wasn’t what I was expecting would be a major understatement. What I knew going in was that it was about a man whose son is born with a deformity, and the book is about how he deals with that. I expected an inspirational, uplifting story of love in the midst of hardship. Anyone who has read this book will be laughing hysterically at this point in time, because the book is about the polar opposite of that. When the son is born, he has what is diagnosed as a brain hernia, and he is immediately taken and put in a NICU before the mother even has a chance to see him. The mother is led to believe (by her mother) that the baby has a heart problem so that when he inevitably dies, she will never know about the deformity.  The father knows about the brain hernia, and finds himself repulsed physically and overwhelmed emotionally by the upheaval in his life. He’s terrified that the baby will die, and perhaps more terrified that he might live. It’s an extremely raw and realistic look at the emotions that could arise in such a situation, and as such it is really uncomfortable to read at times. The main character is highly unlikable for a lot of the book, while at the same time being disturbingly understandable. It’s not one that I’d recommend necessarily, and not one that I will reread, but it was well done.

I started reading If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino about half a month ago and it killed my reading mojo. It’s a fascinating idea – a book that keeps restarting and reinventing itself, but none of the books within the book were books that I was in the mood to read.

I’m currently reading two books, From Grouchy To Great: Finding Joy In The Journey Of Motherhood by Ruth Swenk, and Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray. They’re both by Christian authors and have to do with the idea of “finding rest” in God. I will write more about them when I finish them, but I’m enjoying them.

Other things that have been on my mind lately:

So You Think You Can Dance has been really off this season. The kids they cast are mostly annoying, and I’ve really only been sad to see two of them go. (Stanley, because he was a gorgeous dancer, and Serge because I think he was growing by leaps and bounds.)  The choreographers for the group numbers have apparently just learned about competitive cheerleading with the abundance of throws and lifts that they’re incorporating into the routines- it’s the new cool thing to do. In general, none of the routines has really hit the sweet spot until this one on Weds.

Per.fection. I love Ricky so much I can’t stand it. I’m a sucker for long legs and amazing extension.

We only have a few more weeks here in CA and we’re hitting the point where we have to make sure we see everyone we want to see. It’s tricky, because I want to spend all my time with everyone. I have such amazing friends, I want to hang out with all of them constantly. And I want to be with my sister and her family and my brother and his family and my parents the whole time too.

At the same time, I will be glad to be back in Tokyo too. I miss it, though I don’t miss the heat and mosquitoes. And of course, I miss B most of all. We skype with him every day, but it’s not the same as being together.

I’ve been trying to figure out what we need to get to bring back with us. The girls have a bunch of new clothes because Z grew an inch since we’ve gotten here and all of the dresses that she picked out right before we left are now all too small, as are her jeans. And Tiny has new clothes because there are cute clothes here and I’m a sucker. We also have all of Tiny’s birthday presents that have to come back with us, as well as all of the new shoes that have accrued because summertime is apparently the time when feet grow. I’m bringing back hiking stuff because we’re hiking Mt. Fuji when we get back (I KNOW!) and we have some school stuff that is coming too. I think all that’s really left to get is the medicines to restock our medicine cabinet. There are medicines like Tylenol that are cheaper and easier to get here, so we load up and bring a load back with us. So that has to happen.

Right before we left for vacation I got asked to be the Primary President at church- which means that I’m in charge of the organization for 18 month -12 year old kids. Every Sunday the kids have a Sunday school type class split by age group for an hour and then a combined class with singing and an interactive lesson for an hour. It’s my job (along with my counselors) to make sure that all of that goes smoothly, as well as some other things. So when I get back I have a whole bunch of stuff to work on and figure out. (My counselors are taking care of things while I’m gone, which is amazing.)

That’s it for now. If you have any book recommendations to get me out of my reading funk, let me know!


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