Monday, June 6, 2016

What I'm reading this week (6/6/16)

Last week was a rough week. I've been dealing with anxiety/depression again, in the mornings and evenings, especially. Lots of bad dreams. Lots of feelings I don't know how to make peace with. Had to deal with some difficult step-mothering situations last week that still have me feeling tender and lonely. And this weekend, I dealt with the hardest of marriage conversations as well as revelations about myself as a wife. I'm feeling anxious and exposed to the world. The trouble with anxiety is that it's a voice pretending to be your own, so when you try to find what it is that is causing it, you're really just grasping at feathers in a windstorm. There is no cause. In fact, it is the cause of everything else feeling ugly. Have had to find the center of God to shelter me, have had to resist constantly trying to look out and seeing if it's okay now, now? how about now? I'm learning to trust like I've never trusted before.

So here's hoping this week will be easier on the head and heart.

This week I'll finish:

When I first heard about Clint Hill's new book, I was so excited; then when I found out it was 450 pages, I steeled myself. But now that I'm almost finished, I wish it was twice as long. I've loved every moment of it. It really is one of my favorite books of the year so far. If you're interested in presidents or mid-century politics, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Last week I began:

Easy Chinese Recipes has been on my bookshelf waiting for me for three full years. I love Chinese food, but of all the recipes I've ever tried (and I've tried a lot), I've only ever found one that was fool-proof and to my taste. This book appears to have normal, straightforward recipes for normal, straightforward Chinese dishes. I'm hoping to pick up some hints on technique that will save my Chinese stir-fries at home. Wish me luck.

This week I'll continue with:

I was really looking forward to indulging in some Sharon Olds poetry, and let me tell you, it's as good as I'd remembered. Last week I reached the poems from her collection, The Father, about her father's days, and they are as wonderful as I remember. My goodness. I've always thought we had similar writing styles, and I see again how much alike our poems are. I recommend Strike Sparks as a good intro to modern (ultra-modern) poetry. Some of the poems are difficult, and she writes quite a bit about sex so be forewarned, but for the most part, they are truly wonderful.

I'm chipping away at The 50 States, and I'm learning some interesting bits of trivia (or perhaps relearning things I learned in grade school). The organization of the pages, though, is enough to send this casually OCD gal into fits. There's so much information and so many pictures scattered about that it's hard to be systematic about reading it.

These High, Green Hills is just as good as the first two books in the Mitford series, but I'm not sure it was the right book for me right now. You would think this nice, soothing story where nothing much goes wrong would be the perfect thing to quiet the morning meanies in my head, but I haven't been able to relax into it. These books are very true to life, which is what I like about them, but maybe I need something more escapist at the present moment.

Next up (I think):

I've been reading an awful lot of books about presidents and the White House lately, so I hope I don't burn myself out by following two Clint Hill books by a book about first ladies, but I've been dying to crack open First Women for weeks. The reviews on Amazon have been kind of cranky, but most of this is due to the organization of the book. I admit, I thought The Residence was organized in a less-than-desirable way. I assume this one is organized the same way. But I can forgive that if it's well-written and properly researched.

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