What (And How) I’ve Read Lately

What (And How) I’ve Read Lately

At one time, I swore I’d never jump on the e-reader train, but then came a lot of sitting in car lines, at gymnastics classes and soccer practices, and suddenly I was converted. I bought a Kindle Paperwhite (and a cute pouch to carry in my purse), which has also made reading in bed at night a nicer experience. (No impatient sighs from a certain someone waiting for me to turn off the light…)

If there’s a downside, it’s only that I’ve become a little addicted to the Kindle daily deals on Amazon. It’s way too easy to buy a $1.99 book for “later”. I guess I’ll never run out of things to read. . .

 

So, here’s most of what I’ve read lately:

 

Hope Heals by Katherine & Jay Wolf—I’m listing this one first because it was my favorite of the books I’ve read in the last few months. I would never have thought that a (true) story about a 26-year-old stroke victim would leave me feeling more excited about life, but it did. The book details a young married couple’s life after the tragedy and how their faith got them though. It really makes you think about the way you view small everyday tasks and what blessings the things we often grumble about actually are.

image via Hope Heals blog

PS—This would make for excellent discussion if you’re looking for a book club read. In fact, I’m hosting some neighbors next month to talk about this one.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan—I read Atonement by the same author and thought it was a little weird. I read this one and thought the same thing, but it was short and strangely compelling. It’s written from the point of view of an unborn baby and details the very dysfunctional relationship between his parents. I thought it was quirky, sometimes funny, and I would actually recommend it for a quick read.

 

The Children by Ann Leary—I love a good dysfunctional family book, as I’ve mentioned before. This one was about the fallout between the adult children once the father dies. There’s one character I liked in particular—the 29-year-old single, childless sister who has a hugely successful “mommy blog” (complete with big-brand sponsors!), featuring her entirely made up family…. (Makes you wonder. Ha!)

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner—This book came highly recommended by one of my favorite podcasters (and several of her guests) so I could not wait to read it. In fact, I saved it for our trip to Jamaica back in November. And, I hate to say this, but I was so disappointed. I’m okay with there being no huge plot line (spoiler alert: there’s not; it follows the friendship of two couples over several decades), but I kept waiting for this go to somewhere, and it just didn’t for me. I’m curious to hear how you felt about it if you’ve read this. . .

 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith—Wait, why have I not read this before now?? The story follows the life of Francie as she grows up in Brooklyn and deals with the struggles of being poor and family relationships . It takes you through her childhood and into early adulthood and I rooted for her all the way. No huge plot here, either, but I loved this one.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp—I read this one for a book club dinner during the Christmas season. I should start by saying that this is the first Ann Voskamp book I’ve read, and it did take me a little bit to get going with her writing style. She is very descriptive and deep, and I’m more of a cut-to-the-chase kind of girl which is probably why I didn’t connect right away. I did think the message was excellent. God’s little gifts are all around us—but we have to look. (She started a journal in which she wrote down 1000 things she was grateful for; love the idea!) I’m sure many of you have already read this—what did you think?

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams—I like this author but will admit I liked the other book I read by her better (A Certain Age). In both of the books, there was a mystery to figure out but in this one, it bounced back and forth between the lives of two women (one in 1964 and one in 1912). The younger woman receives a mysterious suitcase and the rest of the book is spent detailing how the present is connects to the past.

You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein—This is a memoir by a comedy writer, each chapter tackling a different subject pertaining to womanhood. There were some laugh-out-loud parts in this book (specifically the chapter on undergarments and poodles vs. wolves), but there was some not so great stuff that I could’ve lived without…. (In other words, “I wouldn’t gift this book to my mom.” Isn’t that always the true test??)

 

Lazaretto by Diane McKinney-Whetstone—I thought this was such an interesting story. It takes place in post-Civil War Philadelphia and deals a lot with the racial dynamics of that time. It has some pretty intense details that take place at the country’s first quarantine hospital. (I won’t tell you more than that.) I really enjoyed this book but for the life of me, can’t figure out what happened at the end. If you’ve read it, somebody please explain it. . .

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi—I’d put off reading this true story because I figured it would be a downer, and well, it kind of was. You’ve probably heard about this very popular book about a 36-year-old neurosurgeon who develops lung cancer and dies before he completed his manuscript. It’s an interesting look at how someone chooses to spend his last days, when you know for certain your time is very limited here on earth. The epilogue, written by his wife, was my favorite part and made me tear up. I also found the details about his medical school days and years as a young doctor especially interesting.

 

So, what’s good that you’ve read lately?

 

 

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