I haven’t written about the books I’ve read for, like, years now. Ok, months. But still. This always happens when I want to write a long review of a book I’ve read, and then I don’t, and then I read approximately 10 more books before I accept that I’m never going to write the long review and end up barely touching on the 10 books. Ah well, at least I know myself.
Pandora in the Congo by Albert Sanchez Pinol: This was the book that started the whole cycle. It was quite excellent, engrossing and vivid and exciting. It’s about a man who comes out of the Congo in the 1920′s telling a horrific tale of his adventures accompanying feuding brothers on a search deep into the jungle for diamonds, and who is arrested for the murders of those brothers. The main character is the man who is hired to write his story, in an attempt to bring the truth to light. It made me want to delve into books about Africa and colonial history, and even colonization literary theory, which I hated passionately in college, so that’s really saying something.
The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry: This book was pure magic. Pulpy and slightly off kilter, it was a sheer joy to read. A man working for a secret agency (his job is to keep files for their best, most famous agent) ends up working as an agent, although he has no idea what he’s doing. It’s reminiscent of The Avengers but slightly more odd, and absolutely fantastic.
The Voyage Out (Oxford World’s Classics) by Virginia Woolf: Virginia Woolf is one of my favorite writers, and none of her previous work prepared me for this one. Each character is so vivid and clear, and her depictions of love so raw and honest. So, so good.
The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories (Scribner Classics) by Ernest Hemingway: Ol’ Papa Hemingway is another of my favorites, and I picked this collection of stories up because of the Africa connection. His writing blows me away, I love it.
Lectures on Faith by Joseph Smith: This is the first time I’ve read these, and they were quite interesting. I feel like I probably missed a lot, but I did get a lot out of them.
Suffering Is Optional: Three Keys to Freedom and Joy by Cheri Huber: Cheri Huber is a Zen teacher, and I really enjoy her books. This was kind of a workshop in book form, and I went through it doing one exercise a day and discussing it with Brandy via e-mail. It was good to slow down and do each of the exercises, and I feel like I learned a lot from it.
The 25 Best Time Management Tools & Techniques: How to Get More Done Without Driving Yourself Crazy by Pamela Dodd and Doug Sundheim: The authors of this book took the 25 highest rated time management books from Amazon, read them, compiled all of the information, and put it together in this book. It was an interesting read, but to tell you the truth, none of it really sticks out now that I’m thinking about it, and I don’t know that I really changed any of my behavior due to it. Ah well.
The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections by Amanda Soule: This book is fantastic and inspiring. I almost (almost) wish I lived in Maine. But the life this woman leads is the kind of life I want for my family. Just, you know, in California.
The Salvage Studio: Sustainable Home Comforts to Organize, Entertain, and Inspire by Amy Duncan and a bunch of other people: This was written by the women who run The Selvage Studio, a studio that sells items made out of salvaged and recycled materials. They lay out their philosophy as well as presenting projects that the reader could complete. Their style isn’t exactly in line with mine, but their passion and creativity are completely inspiring. And the pictures in the book are just stunning.
In Praise of Slowness : Challenging the Cult of Speed (Plus) by Carl Honore: This book examines the “Slow Movement” – the attempt by a widening population to slow down and stop living such hectic, crazy busy lives. He describes different facets of the movement- slow eating, slow cities, slow… other things that I can’t recall at the moment. The one thing that did completely stick out to me was the importance of slowing down while driving and driving the speed limit- he presented the figures on how little time it actually saves you to speed, and the statistics on stopping distance and accident fatalities at higher speeds– since I’ve read it, I’v stayed right at the speed limit every time I drive. No more speeding for me. Over all it was an interesting read, if a little heavy on the anecdotal evidence.
What the Scriptures Teach Us about Raising a Child by S. Michael Wilcox: This book is fantastic. Drawing on examples of parenting from the scriptures, Wilcox presents principles with clarity and insight. It’s a quick read, but has a lot of deep, ponderable ideas.
I’m currently in the middle of My Life in France by Julia Child, The Promise of Enough: Seven Principles of True Abundance by Emily Freeman, and Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery. (I’d link to that one, but the only copies they have on Amazon are a presale for an expensive hardcover. So I won’t link. But it’s really good.) Then I have To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Ghost Stories of Muriel Spark, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, and at least one other that I’m forgetting, in the wings.
What are you reading?