Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan

Here is a book that falls under the "book you chose because of its cover" for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge.

In May, Boomer and I spent a weekend in a little town in northern California to attend my cousin's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding with little jars of homemade jam as favors. :) I got persimmon jam, and Boomer got spicy grape jam. Fun! My aunt was walking around trying to poach the persimmon jam from other tables. I slipped mine into my purse once I figured out what she was up to.

The Sunday after the wedding, we wandered around the little downtown area and browsed in a bookstore where this book caught my eye. I wrote down the title and checked it out from the library. By the way, this is how well Boomer knows me. Once we walked out of the bookstore, he asked, "Do you need to write down any titles in your notebook?" He knows that when I go into bookstores, I find titles that I want to check out of the library. I used to write down the titles while in the bookstore, but I got the stink-eye one too many times from bookstore employees, so now I remember them in my brain until I can write them down.

The author of this book, Marina Keegan, was a writer and very recent graduate of Yale when she died in a car accident. This book is a collection of some of her writings, both fiction and non-fiction. This was a heartbreaking book to read because Keegan's writing is SO good and it is so sad to think that her life was cut so short, and how many stories did she have in her that we will never know?

I really enjoyed her short stories although one of them (The Ingenue) left me feeling grumpy because of the ending. But isn't that a sign of a successful story? That we are emotionally engaged and touched. I usually don't enjoy short stories, but I really enjoyed Keegan's.

I am trying to figure out who I can buy this book for....:)

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter's Notebook by Ellen McCarthy

McCarthy works as the wedding reporter for the Washington Post, and this is a collection of her thoughts on Dating, Commitment, Breakups, and Making It Last. Short little chapters make this a very easy read, plus her observations are really interesting and spot on.

Recommended if you're dating, married, wanting to date, or just curious about how relationships work. My only complaint is that I wish that the couples she profiled were a bit more diverse (in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation).

Recommended by Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2015 Summer Reading Guide. Thanks, Anne! :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Still Life: An Armand Gamache Mystery by Louise Penny

 Here is a book that falls under the category of "a book in a genre you don't typically read" in Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2015 Reading Challenge. I hardly ever read Mysteries and I was surprised to find myself really enjoying this one!

In a rural Canadian village, Ms. Jane Neal is found shot dead by an arrow. Was this a hunting accident? Or a murder? And why??? We are introduced to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team, and all of the village people.

I thought Still Life was well-written with a nice cast of characters. And it is the first book in a series! I am considering checking out the second one. So, thanks for encouraging us to read outside of the box, Modern Mrs. Darcy! :)

By the way, Still Life was also listed on Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading Guide. So, double thanks!

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica N. Turner

I probably didn't need to read this book because I am quite intentional about having time to myself. I know that I need to spend at least one day by myself every week (a day that Boomer is at work!), and thankfully, I can arrange my work schedule to accommodate that.

The message of this book is that you matter and it's vital to take care of yourself. I appreciated that this book offers many practical tips and suggestions about how you can do this while also being a mother, wife, sister, friend, etc. I especially liked the list of different ways to say No. Wonderful!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This one falls under "a book in a genre that I don't typically read" under Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2015 Reading Challenge. I hardly ever read science fiction.

It's 2044 and Wade Watts is in a competition in the online world of OASIS. The winner of the competition is promised wealth and power.

This isn't Ender's Game, but it's still a fun read even though I am not a fan of video games and didn't get many of the references. Boomer read Ready Player One right after I finished it, and he could not stop reading it.

Recommended by Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2015 Summer Reading Guide. Thanks, Anne! :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids edited by Meghan Daum

"The decision process itself has influenced me both personally and professionally in ways I couldn't have imagined, in ways beyond the issue of whether or not to become a mother. It led me to a stance I call the "Affirmative No." I define this stance as the refusal to pursue a course of action that, on serious reflection, you discover is not right for you." --Jeanne Safer in Beyond Beyond Motherhood
There are so many books on parenting out there (you probably know that I LOVE Bringing Up Bebe), but there are not so many books about the decision to not have children. In this collection, we hear from sixteen different writers on the decision to not have kids, their experience of not having children, and the cultural pressures of having kids. Overall, one of the themes that comes out is that there are many ways of being a productive, responsible, and happy adult and sometimes that includes raising kids and sometimes it doesn't.

Recommended to anyone in the process of deciding whether or not to have kids, and also to parents out there (who I doubt will read this, but please let me know if you do!) who would like to know what it's like on the other side of the fence.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

In general, I enjoy Anne Tyler's books. They are about real everyday humans who love and falter at loving those around them. She is able to accurately capture the poignancy of a moment, sometimes so well that it hurts.

I was looking forward to reading Tyler's newest novel, A Spool of Blue Thread. It tells the story of four generations of the Whitshank family and their secrets and fears. I loved the first half, but was disappointed with the second half. I did not come to love these characters as I have in other Tyler novels, and the story did not seem to come together for me.

I would rank this book as so-so, or, as we say in Chinese, mamahuhu. :)