Monday, March 20, 2017

Well Behaved Women Seldom Make... Great Protagonists

Heroines, interesting girls, YA lit, Children's lit, strong female protagonists

I finished a middle grade/YA book at the beginning of this month, Wolf Hollow, that's been getting some buzz lately (I think it got a Newberry Honor award). The number one thing I'd read about this book before starting it was some variation of: It's being touted as a new To Kill a Mockingbird, but it's no To Kill A Mockingbird! And after reading it, I understood both sides of those sentiments. I can see the comparisons to TKAM. It's about children getting wrapped up in some very serious adult politics, and the choices one girl makes to fight for justice. It has some heavy stuff to it that is handled in a very compelling way. Things don't necessarily end happy. But the material and themes of that book is a post for another day.

What I've mostly been thinking about since finishing that book is the second half of the popular sentiment I kept reading about: this book is no TKAM. I agree. Despite the heavy material and seemingly similar set-up, Wolf Hollow simply does not live up to To Kill A Mockingbird. I've been trying to pinpoint just exactly why that is, and for me it boils down to this: Annabelle is not Scout.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Book Review: The Course of Love

The Course of Love by Alain De Botton

I've been trying to write this book review since I read it at the beginning of January. Partly, I blame the delay on the new baby. But partly, I've just had a hard time figuring out exactly how I feel about this book.

I picked up this book because Modern Mrs. Darcy raved about it last summer. I knew nothing about De Botton before reading this book (and still know relatively little, other than that he's a philosopher who usually writes nonfiction philosophy), but I found it to be a book that inspired pretty polarizing emotions in me. There were parts I LOVED with all the emotions those capital letters can convey. And there were parts that, while hate may be too strong a word, I completely disagreed with and found flawed and frustrating. At points this book resonated so deeply with me I felt like De Botton had been a fly on the wall of my marriage, and at other times I felt so completely different from the couple in this book that I was sure we must be a separate species. I wanted to recommend this book to everyone, and at the same time recommend it to no one because I felt I would have to explain the flaws that I did not agree with. I really wanted to bring this book up in our Book Blab on romance, but my thoughts on this book could more than fill an entire episode alone, so I felt it best not to mention it at all.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Books I Read in February

Wow, posting around here has been few and far between lately. I blame it on the baby, who has proven to be a champion napper during the day when her brothers are awake, and a champion fuss-bucket in the evenings when they are asleep. Meaning that for the past month or so, I have had approximately 0 minutes awake without a needy child demanding my attention (and far too few minutes asleep before being woken by needy children). This has put a serious cramp on all those things I like to do while children are asleep, like blogging, because it is just so hard to focus with whining and interruptions and colicky crying and whatnot.

There is hope for the future, though, as the Little Miss chose to mark the eve of her two month anniversary by sleeping from 9 PM to 3 AM! Progress!

While I'm not getting around to writing much, I'm still very much enjoying my ample reading time in the nursing chair, and blew through another eight books this month. Let's review!

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

This was Amy's book recommend from our November Book Blab, and since I've been in the mood (or sleep deprived state) for lighter reading fare, I was happy to pick this one up. It was very engaging, I enjoyed learning about this fairy-tale I was otherwise unfamiliar with. But there were a few holes in the plot that bothered me, or things that felt like they were going to be more significant early on and then didn't really end up being as important as I thought (like the whole thing with her name...). Anyway, still a recommend for anyone who enjoys fun middle-grade fairy-tale retellings.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Book Blab: Episode 11 "All You Need is Love"

Woohoo! After my little maternity leave break, Amy and I are finally back this month with a new episode of The Book Blab! And since tomorrow is the Day of Love, that made for a natural topic for this month's episode. This was a super fun topic. We talk all about our favorite relationships and romances in a wide variety of genres, and there was so much to talk about I think we may need to revisit this topic in the future.

Hope you enjoy!

(And Happy Valentine's to you and yours!)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Books I Read In January

You guys, I read NINE books in January. Basically, I'm blowing my book-a-week goal out of the water. I was able to accomplish this feat because I use nursing as an excuse to ignore my other children, hide away in my room, and read for about eight hours a day. I'm getting NOTHING else done in my life, but by golly I'm burning through these books. I am hoping that at some point Little Sister gets a wee bit more efficient at this nursing thing and I don't have to devote 1/3 of the hours of my day to keeping her nourished, but until then, let the reading continue!

Also note, I started out with some heavier/more literary titles, but as the month wore on, and I got deeper and deeper into the newborn-sleep-deprivation-stage, my reading choices became quite a bit fluffier. My brain isn't working well these days.

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

This was a fascinating read for me, and I'm definitely going to have to talk more about this one (maybe a good old Valentine's post on it, as it is all about relationships). There were things I absolutely loved about this book, and other things I strongly disagreed with. It's a recommend, with caveats.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 Goals

pink flowers, resolutions, goals

It's still January, so I can still talk goals and resolutions, right?

Usually I like to do two posts, one as a review and wrap-up of my previous year, and one about my new goals for the year, but we're running into the end of January here, so let's just combine things.

Monday, January 16, 2017

10 Favorite Reads from 2016

Well, here we are half-way through January. It's past time for me wrap up 2016 and give my final reading report. 2016 was actually, surprisingly, my best reading year since I started tracking. My reading goal for the year was to read 50 books, and in the end I actually hit 56 books (maybe 57, but I didn't record any of my December books until January, and I feel like I'm forgetting one. I know I did a lot of reading, but everything from the month of December is kind of lost in a hazy fog of general miserableness.)

I never quite know how to go about assessing my favorite reads from a whole year. I thought it would be easier this year, with so many books to choose from, but it was harder. So, like with all of my book rating decisions, this is just a gut check list of what struck me as my top 10 today. (If I wrote this list two weeks ago, or next week, or next year, it would probably come out different.) Anyway, in the order I read them, here were ten of my favorite reads in 2016.