Monday, August 22, 2016

What I'm reading this week (8/22/16)

I started and finished three books last week. That never happens. Turns out, the books I chose for my August book list are all super quick reads. I will fit in another book or two I hadn't expected to. And I didn't even take off my usual August "read-cation."

Last week I finished:

I was looking forward to the new Amy Krouse Rosenthal book, Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, for months--and it did not disappoint. I didn't know what to expect as Amy's books--even her picture books--are just a little bit different. I enjoy the way she sees the world, with wonder, awe, and just refreshingly, but enjoyably, odd. It seems coincidences seek her out. And she celebrates things in refreshing ways (like freezing an ice cube of the tea her daughter drank before she left for college). And she tries little experiments that are just delightful. Frankly, she just might be the most creative person I "know." So I loved this book to the moon and back. It's a fast read--there's a lot of white space (i.e. blank pages). I didn't quite understand why it was a "textbook" other than it was divided into traditional school subjects (Science, Social Studies, Math, Art, Language Arts, etc.) Oh, and for those of you into this sort of thing, it's also interactive. At several places throughout the book, she asks for the reader's texts on a certain subject. My rating: 5 stars.

I'd been meaning to read something by Kate DiCamillo for awhile now, so I decided when her newest book, Raymie Nightingale, came out early this year, I'd read it. And frankly, I'm not sure what I think of it. It had one of the most satisfyingly unsatisfying endings I've run on in a long time. It was one of those books that has an undercurrent of sadness that all of the characters own to about the same degree. Everyone is just a little bit broken, which was real-to-life but also depressing. I'm not sure if this is a feeling DiCamillo's other books have or not, but I'm a little reluctant to read them to find out. Still, I thought the book was well-written and the plot was well-paced. The characters were surprisingly fleshed-out for how quickly DiCamillo had to bring them to life (the least fleshed, oddly enough, though, was Raymie). All-in-all, I'd say it was a worthwhile read, but I'm not sure I'd ever re-read it. My rating: 3.5 stars.   

Sometimes books come to you when you most need them, and that was the case with Shauna Niequist's newest book, Present over Perfect. I've enjoyed most of her other books, Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and to a lesser degree the one everyone else seems to love, Bread and Wine. But Niequist is terribly emotional, and if you're not along for the all-the-feels ride, her books can grate on your nerves a little. This one, though, felt like a lifesaver. Though I don't suffer from the rush-rush, too busy to breathe, lifestyle--the theme of the book--I do suffer from the secondary and underlying theme of not feeling good enough. For Niequist this not-good-enough feeling manifested itself in busyness. For me, it manifests itself in not even trying lots of things for fear of failure and in being a pleasure to the point of losing myself completely. She deals with this feeling in ways that helped me, too. Her books are like talking to your best friend, and they're very universal for women. That's why this one rocketed to #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list last week. Also, I believe this one is less Christian-y than her others, which will make it more appealing to a wide range of women but still appeal to her reader base. I loved this book. It might be my favorite of hers. My rating: 4.5 stars. 

Last week I began:

I'd been a little apprehensive about reading Kim Addonizio's newest book of poems, Mortal Trash. She can be much edgier than I'm comfortable with. So far I've found nothing terribly objectionable or icky, but I've found nothing I adore, either. I've followed Addonizio since the beginning of her poetry career. I loved, loved, loved her The Poet's Companion, written with Dorianne Laux. And I've loved many of her poems individually. I'm hoping here for one great poem, and I doubt she'll let me down.

This week I'll continue with:

I'm still loving Grover Cleveland, Again!

I've an internal monologue in which I'm continually griping about Ingredienti. The zucchini is the most versatile vegetable? But never boil a carrot? It seems her prejudices aren't based on anything concrete.

And I'm wishing Anne Shirley (Anne of Avonlea) would grow up. She's grating on my nerves just a teensy bit. Though I do love the various scrapes she gets into, she's exactly the same at 16 as she was at 10. It occurred to me last week that the Anne books might be telling us more about L.M. Montgomery than about Anne.

I'm still deciding what to pick up next. It will be something from my September reading list, but I'm not sure which one. Stay tuned.



  1. I've definitely heard mixed reviews about Kate DiCamillo's latest. You should try The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. That's my favorite. I'm glad to hear your thoughts on the newest Neiquist book. She's been on my TBR list for a looooooong time, and this one sounds like exactly what I need.

    1. I've heard "The Miraculous Journey..." is very good--but requires a box of Kleenex! I think you'll like Niequist's latest.

      Wanted to let you know that even though I've been terrible about commenting, I read every one of your blog posts (and Instagram posts) with relish. I've really enjoyed your European travel posts and loved the pics of Aaron that you took for his baptism. So know that even if I'm not commenting intelligently, I'm reading! :)

    2. Oh Carrie, I'm so glad to hear it! I've missed your comments, and it's nice to know that you're still reading my posts. I know commenting can be time consuming and a hassle sometimes (hence, my sporadic comments on your blog as well!), so don't feel bad at all! Take care!