Monday, December 1, 2014

Books I Read in November

I know November is a month devoted to gratitude, but mostly I'm grateful that November is over. That month just about killed me. November was the month of the never-ending recurring cold (the combination of newborn sleep deprivation and breast-feeding seems to have shot my immune system and destroyed any ability my body has to fight off infection) and the infamous six-week peak in fussiness. If my sweet little Baby #2 doesn't have colic, than I don't know what colic is, because the crying! The hours and hours of inconsolable crying! November was just about the perfect storm of physical and mental torture, and I barely survived with my sanity (and marriage) in tact. It was a rough month.

But there were still a few quiet hours of nursing where a little bit of reading got done, so I'm back here to report.

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

I've developed an interest in food books recently, and this one? This one is a huge winner. This is my most recent favorite book of ever, and I want to own it. I've decided that if I ever write a book, this is the kind of book I want to write. It's a bit hard to describe, but this book is a collection of memoir-type essays focusing on the spiritual, communal, and nurturing aspects of food and meals in Niequist's life. I loved Niequist's perspective and voice (I'm pretty sure she's read Daring Greatly), and I found myself really inspired to throw some dinner parties and cook good food for my family. Bonus: there were recipes included at the end of almost every chapter, and I've already tried (and loved) about half of them. This was simply a lovely book, and I may have to give it a full review some time soon. (P.S. This would make a great gift for any foodie in your life, or anyone who just enjoys good, thoughtful writing).

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I know, I know, I'm way behind everyone else on getting around to this bestseller, but I knew it was going to be a depressing slog, and I just couldn't bring myself to put it on hold at the library until my virtual book club picked this one for November. And I was right, it was a completely depressing slog. Every time I thought my colicky baby was going to drive me insane this month, I would think, Well, at least I'm not in a Japanese POW camp. Way to put my small trials in perspective. And in the end, this story truly was inspiring and hopeful and really, really beautiful. I definitely see what all the fuss was about and I'm glad I read it (although I still can't decide if I want to see the movie).

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

This was my second Kate Morton book this year, and while I still found her ability to craft such an intricate plot to be incredible, this was the exact same formula as The Secret Keeper, and I found myself less impressed. Also, I listened to The Secret Keeper as an audiobook, so I didn't realize until reading this one how many unnecessary sentence fragments Morton uses. It pretty much drove me insane. Honestly, who was the editor here, and why didn't they fix this? Also, there were a few characters in this one that I felt were underdeveloped and their motivations weren't explained well. That being said, I still enjoyed this, and recommend to anyone who enjoys a good story.

And now for one in the inauspicious category of Did Not Finish:

Outlander  by Diana Gabaldon

Okay, I know people who love this series, and on the outset it sounded like just my sort of book. After all, I have a weak spot for good historical fiction. But this book reconfirmed why I mostly stick to YA historical fiction. I've actually become a lot less prudish about "adult content" in recent years, but when the main romantic relationship became aggressively violent, and Gabaldon tried to pass this violence off as passionate romance, I just couldn't read anymore. The feminist inside me was too disgusted, because I'm sorry, I don't care  if it is historically accurate that wives were whipped in the 18th Century, portraying that kind of abuse as "deserved" and romantic is not acceptable. Never. No. And that wasn't even the worst of it. I just couldn't read any more. I do NOT recommend this one.

And with that, good riddance to November! Bring on December, with it's Christmas music and twinkle lights and holly and joy! Hopefully December will bring with it less sickness, more sleep, and happier times all around. I'm predicting nothing but good things this month. Here's to December!

1 comment:

  1. Oh it sounds rough on your end! Those are some hard times. I'm impressed you still got around to reading so much!