Last week I finished the last books to fulfill my 2016 reading goals. From here on out, it's gravy. Good gravy.
I finished Love Warrior early last week, and I've been puzzling my way through my thoughts of it for days now. First, I need to say that I'm a Glennon Melton fan from way back. I read every post on her blog for years, loved her first book, listened to her speak, met her at a book signing. I adore the woman. Her mix of humor, faith, and radical truth-telling really spoke to me. In this book, however, the truth-telling was so radical, I winced through the entire book. Last week, I listened to Glennon on Liz Gilbert's podcast, and Liz called Love Warrior the most honest book about marriage that's ever been written (or something like that). I'd have to agree. She also said something else that I whole-heartedly agree with: she wasn't expecting this book. I wasn't either. I was expecting more of the Glennon's patented delivery, and I was blindsided by the absolute and unrelenting pain in this book. I'm not saying at all that people should avoid the book; I think it's likely good therapy for those who need it. I'm glad I read it. But I do want people with sensitivities to content to know the book deals with big issues in tough ways. Glennon writes about bulimia, alcoholism, abortion, infidelity, sex, and more in a very frank way. (There is "language," too.) It is not a pleasant book, but it's a book about healing. I was hoping for a more hopeful approach than I got. It pains me to write a somewhat negative review of anything by this author, but I'm not hearing anyone talking about the content of this bestseller, and I think it's important to. My rating: 4 stars.
I finally finished The 50 States. I enjoyed the book overall, but it's likely not a good book to read cover to cover, if my experience is any indication. The book is loaded with information, but my only gripe is that sometimes that information isn't well-chosen for its audience. I laughed out loud, for instance, when on one page (I forget the state) noted the famous resident Lawrence Welk! What ten-year-old kid knows who Lawrence Welk is?! I think the authors thought they were doing a good job bridging the gap between Beyoncé and famous folks of long ago, but Lawrence Welk is an indication of just how tricky the job was. So other than that quibble, I think it was pretty well done. My rating: 4 stars.
How to Build a Plane is a book in a series of "How to Build..." books that mix fiction and nonfiction for children. The drawings are superb, but the explanations might be a little hard to follow. It's like the author didn't have a clear idea of what the audience could handle and what was too technical. This is the second in the series I've read (I also read How to Build a Car), and I've had the same complaint for both. Labeling the parts of an engine is not enough to learn how an engine works. My rating: 3 stars.
Last week I began:
Patient H. M. has not been exactly what I was expecting, but I'm finding it one of the more fascinating books of the year. It's a multi-layered book about the brain and the nature of human memory, but also much more. I only have 100 pages left (it reads very quickly for such a thick book), and I'm waiting for all the threads the author has created to be brought together. It's a fascinating subject and a fascinating writing style. Look for my review next week.
I also just barely started Jane Kenyon's Otherwise, and book of poetry I've been wanting to read for years.
This week I continue with:
And talk about fascinating books, I'm loving working my way through the cakes of the American centuries with American Cake. This book is full of information not just about cake, though. I'm learning so much about ingredients and technique. Loving this one.
Look for a special interview with the author of American Cake in a few weeks!
Although I'm enjoying Firefly Hollow, I'm having trouble truly getting engaged in the story. I enjoy it while reading it, but I seldom want to pick it up to read it. I think it would be a great read-a-loud for kids, though.
I'm really enjoying my current audiobook, Girl Waits with Gun. The story is very engaging and really pulls me along. The plotting is quick, and there are definitely surprises.