Friday, February 26, 2016

Things I Like - February

We're in the middle of a spending freeze right now so this is going to skew very strongly towards books.  Love the library!

1) Room
This book was completely fascinating; I'd recommend it to almost anyone I know.  I had heard about it before but avoided it because it sounded depressing - the story of a Mom and her 5 year-old son who are locked up in a tiny shed.  "Ma" has been held for....7 years maybe?  I forget exactly how long.  Her son was born while she's been in the shed.  Neither of them have left.  It's told completely through the perspective of Jack, the son which makes it a lot simpler and also eye-opening.  He only knows what his Ma has taught him and doesn't know what he's missing on the outside.  He thinks his Ma is the best in the world and that's that.  It was a SUPER quick read because I could barely put it down.  I picked it up after hearing so much about the movie and now I really want to see that too.  This book made me want to hug my little boy to tight to keep him safe but also so he knows how loved he is.  Jack in the story knew he was very loved by his Ma.  It's just really moving.  Go read it.

2) The Forgotten Room
Of all these authors, I had only previous read (and greatly enjoyed) books by Beatriz Williams (A Hundred Summers was a particular favorite, although I don't think I ever mentioned it here.)  I was reluctant to pick it up because it's a little long (close to 400 pages) but am so glad I did.  It's maybe my favorite novel I've read so far this year (of the 13).  It's the interwoven story of three women who all end up living or spending time in the same building, specifically the same room, in New York City in 1892, 1920, and 1944.  The room is somewhat forgotten by others which means they end up finding secrets of their predecessors.  The stories affect each other and there was a point towards the end where I honestly drew out a flow chart to try and keep all the connections straight.  It wasn't as confusing to follow as that might sound but it was mostly for how I suspected it would all end up.  These women all have very different experiences, from being a maid, to a secretary, to a doctors in very different times in history.  I certainly wouldn't mind reading it again and likely wouldn't need a flowchart the second time though, although some of the surprise would be gone for sure.  If you are interested in historical fiction then this would probably be worth your time.  I'm pretty sure this will end up on my "Favorite Reads of 2016" List.

3) All the Money in the World
I've read a few of Laura Vanderkam's other books (mentioned here and here) dealing with time management and enjoyed them both.  I might not agree with everything she says but it's nice to read another perspective on the subject.  This one was about money (obviously) and while I have pretty strong feelings about that and am pretty confident in my money management skills, I'm always up for a different side.  I could agree with most of what she wrote about here - living in a smaller house to give you more money for daily spending, driving an older car, etc.  If you've read any lists on how to save more/spend less the most mentioned items are usually things like buying daily coffees, eating out, cutting cable, etc.  And while those are all good things (and things we do), it's easier to say yes once to a smaller house (or a few times over your life) and enjoy the daily coffees, if that's what you want to do.  She talked about how it might be easier to make more money in a month than it is to cut and manage coupons and loves (in all her books) talking about the monetary value of your own time.  I am certainly not outsourcing my housework because I have enough time to do it, but for working parents or people with much more going on than us, your time is probably better spent with your family or working for money than on daily housework.  This book, like her others, gave me plenty to think about and was definitely worth the time spent reading it.  I didn't change any of my day-to-day spending but it may have changed my perspective on some things.

4) To All the Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You
I've probably read more YA fiction as an "adult" than I ever did as a teenager.  School, band/guard, working, volunteering, family, and friends kept me pretty busy in high school and reading for pleasure isn't something I had much time for.  And even though I'm probably a good decade over the target age for YA books now, I've enjoyed a decent number in the last few years.  I don't know what it is about high school that expands it's importance in retrospect but the memories that have stuck around in the 15 years since I graduated seem to be a much greater quantity than about any other 4 year period since or before (so much of parenting seems to just go by in a blur!).  Anyways, I think I partially enjoy these books because I like reading about and remembering those first feeling of falling in love as a teenager.  Matt & I started dating after high school but we were only 18 at the time, still really young.

I flew through the first book in less than a day and then immediately put the second on hold and waited not to patiently for it to arrive at my library.  And then read it in about a day too.  Lara Jean is a teenager who write letters to boys when she falls out of "love" with them and never meant for anyone else to read them but they accidentally get mailed out and she has to deal with the consequences.  It was light, easy reading but I really got drawn in almost instantly and certainly wouldn't mind reading these again, YA aimed or not. 

5) Age of Adaline

Not a book but it still came from the library (besides Star Wars, if we don't see it at the drive-in then we probably won't see it until it pops up at the library)!  This is the story of a woman born at the turn of the 20th Century who, after an accident (and a little suspending of disbelieve from the viewer), stops aging in her late 20s or early 30s.  This sounds pretty nice but when your kid grows older than you and you can't fall in love because you can't grow old...turns out to be a pretty lonely life.  Then things happen, she falls in love, etc.  The story was charming and clothes were fantastic.  Matt was intrigued that Harrison Ford (aka Han Solo) was in it, but not enough to watch it.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching this one and would recommend if you are up for some nice, not overly cheesy chick flicks.  

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