Friday, March 13, 2015

Books I Read in February

After pulling an un-intentional almost all-nighter, I turned in my less-than-stellar ten page midterm essay yesterday, and bam! I'm on spring break! One whole week of no class!

I wish I could tell you that I'm doing something super fun, like camping and surfing in Costa Rica where my younger sister is for her spring break. But alas, I'm an old married mother of two, and must be more responsible than that. So, we're keeping the nanny for her regular schedule and I'll be hitting the library hard next week. Super exciting.

But hopefully I'll have a moment or two to pop back over here with a few thoughts, because I'm bursting with books and things and ideas that I want to talk about.

Despite the fact that the past five or so weeks have hit pretty hard (major project for my church calling, grad school deciding to be super intense, potty-training. . .), February managed to be a pretty awesome reading month for me. Relatively speaking.

My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme

I read this one for my virtual book club, and I must say I enjoyed it immensely. Julia's life is completely fascinating, and while I don't think I ever would've been friends with her in real life (she's a bit intense), I loved reading about her passion for food. I love food too. In fact many of the blog post ideas I have floating around in my head are about food. I love books, so I write about books. I love food (especially now that I'm not pregnant), so I'm feeling an itch to write about food. . .

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Read this one for class. Look, I can freely admit that Hemingway had style. The man knew how to turn a phrase beautifully. But ugh. Beyond that I really don't care for him. Maybe I'm too much of a feminist? If you like Hemingway, that's fine, but if you haven't read him, my advice is don't waste your time.

I'd read about this book in a few places recently, so when I saw it at my library early in February I decided to check it out. Honestly, I thought the title was a bit over-dramatic at first, but YOU GUYS! IT'S NOT A LIE! THIS BOOK HAS COMPLETELY CHANGED MY LIFE! Sorry for all the caps and exclamation points, but you should hear me talk about this book in real life. I've become a total disciple, and I tell everyone I meet about this book and how it will change their lives too. Obviously, this book is going to get it's own, full-length post someday real soon (and maybe even a series of posts). Do I sound a little crazy? Maybe. But I'm not kidding when I say reading this book was life-changing.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

You can't take a course on the Modern American Novel and not read The Great Gatsby. I've written before about my opinion of this book, and I was hoping that this time around I'd be able to appreciate it a little bit more, see why everyone else seems to think this is the best book ever. But nope. I still find it just as depressing, just as soul-sucking, and just as demoralizing as ever. Seriously, not a single likable character. Like Hemingway, I'll give Fitzgerald his due as an artist. The man knows how to write. But I'm sorry, I just don't love story.

You know, with Valentine's Day being in February and all, I decided it was a good month to work on improving my marriage. If you haven't heard of Dr. Gottman before, he's basically the country's leading academic expert on relationships. I'd only read a few of his shorter articles before, but this book had been on my to-read list for a while, so when I found it available for audio book download, I jumped on it. So, I don't actually recommend this one as an audio book (there are a lot of check lists and quizzes that would have been far easier to process if I had seen them on paper instead of listening to them meticulously read aloud), but I do completely recommend this book for anyone in a relationship. This stuff is just absolutely brilliant. According to his assessment quizzes, my marriage is doing quite well, but there was still tons of stuff I took away to think about and work on. I actually made a list of questions and topics from this book to talk about with my husband for our Valentine's date, and we had such a great discussion that it turned into one of our best dates ever. Or at least in a very long time. Now I really want to read his book on raising emotionally intelligent children.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Ah, finally, a book for my class that I could really enjoy! Despite the fact that she is critical and pessimistic along with the rest of her Modern compatriots, Wharton still has hints of hope that totally redeem her. And this book is just beautiful. Sure, the ending isn't all roses and flowers, but nobody wants that from their high-brow literature anyway (except for maybe me). Honestly, I think Wharton might be the best female author this country has ever produced (maybe even the best author period, but it's been a while since I've read any Henry James, and I remember liking him quite a bit too). Obviously, this is the book I chose to write my paper on, and even if my paper wasn't that good, the book still is.

Wow, six books in one short month. That's the most I've done in a while (yay for audio books and a long commute!). March isn't likely to be as good. (I've stopped finishing the books for my novels class. This always happens about mid-semester. Once they start assigning papers, I kind of stop doing the assigned reading. It's all about survival and priorities in grad school.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm just about done with The Life-Changing Magic, and I don't think I've had the same experience with it as you. I'm excited to read your longer review or series. There are definitely some things I'm going to try, but there are so many things about her method that just seem absolutely ridiculous to me. On more than one occasion, I've closed the book and said to my husband, "This woman obviously does not have children." But now you're saying you love it, and you DO have kids, so maybe you can show me how you're implementing it. I think whittling down our possessions to the things we really love will definitely help, so I'm all for that part of her method, but I seriously think she doesn't want a home to look lived in (drying her dishes and sponge on her veranda just so her kitchen sink can be clear seems extreme to me). Also, I'm all for taking care of my possessions, but I am not going to be talking to my socks anytime soon. :-) Anyway, I'm definitely excited to read your thoughts on it!