Thursday, February 15, 2018

Quick Lit - February

So I've been reading a lot.  Part of our winter hibernating.  I try to leave the house as little as possible and that results in a lot of reading time.  Which is a pretty good trade-off for dealing with winter.  I'm here on Goodreads and I use it a lot.  Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy, welcome if you came from there!

Other book posts in the past month:

 Other reads!

Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast
A love letter to New York perfectly sums this up.  It's based on a guide the author made for her kids, when she realized they didn't know New York like she did, since they moved to the suburbs when the kids were little.  It had a lot of basic NYC info, like uptown/downtown, how to hail a taxi, the street grid system, etc.  Some I knew, some I didn't.  All graphic novel form.  I think I read this whole book while supervising one bath time.  But it made me (even more) excited for our trip later this year! 3.5 Stars

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Lauren Willig, and Beatriz Williams
A reread and one of my favorites of 2016.  Primarily about three different women who all occupy the same largely forgotten room, at different times, in a house/boarding house/hospital in New York City.  I will always remember this book as the one I had to draw a flowchart for to try and keep straight all the relationships and connections.  I really enjoyed it even the second time through and mostly knowing how things turn out.  Perfect cozy weekend read. 4.25 Stars

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
I've read more sci-fi in the past year, in search of more books for my husband to read (discussing books together = happy wife).   But I don't think I'll be recommending this one to him.  Something happens to humankind on Earth and most everyone seems to have disappeared/died/be out of communication. Except for an older man up in the Arctic and the crew of a mission to Saturn's moons, who are headed back to Earth.  Neither have been in contact with anyone else on Earth for many days/months/years and neither group knows what happened.  AND you never find out, I think I needed to know, at least a little bit more.  Similar to Station Eleven, but with less answers.  3.25 Stars

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
I love reading books like this, especially at the start of the year.  Figuring out what is essential, especially in January?  YES.  I am all in for that.  This isn't about physical clutter but mental/schedule clutter and how to get your life down to what matters most.  A lesson we could all probably use.  4 Stars

 The Little Book by Lykke: The Danish Search for the World's Happiest People by Meik Wiking
More about Danish happiness.  I really enjoyed The Little Book of Hygge but this mostly felt like more of the same, except less enjoyable.  Or maybe just not as novel.  Of the two I'd recommend Hygge.   2.75 Stars

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I waited a LONG time for this library hold.  I was surprised how little actual fire had to do with the story, besides the first chapter, when it opens with a house burning down, and then the ending, when it finally comes full circle back to that fire.   It's about complicated families, the value/harm in planning and living by the rules, adoption, and a whole bunch of things.  It was hard to put down because I wanted to know what happened.  I'm not sure I get all the hype but I'm glad I read it. 3.25 Stars 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
A reread, a favorite read of 2016, and the first solo book review I did on the blog.   It's a little "woo-woo" but also pretty inspring, something I should probably reread every year or two!  4 Stars

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
A reread, a favorite read of 2015.  This is about Kate, whose husband, Patrick died suddenly years earlier.  She's trying to move on with a man named Dan but it just doesn't feel right. (She also has a sister named Susan which is only noteworthy because Matt has siblings with all FOUR of those names.).  Kate starts having very vivid dreams of what her life with Patrick may have been like if he hadn't died and she starts to see that the life she's actually living might not be the life she wants.  It's very moving and I enjoyed it as much the second time through.  3.75 Stars

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Oh man, this was a tough read.  Tough as in "how much crap can these kids endure??"  And also "These parents are crazy.  And destructive."  Memoir of the author about her "adventurous" childhood which bordered more on dangerous.  Made me really appreciate, even more, the very stable upbringing I had!  It was tough to read but also very compelling.  I'd recommend, with caution, there is language and some difficult situations.  4 Stars


The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Perfectly acceptable YA about a boy and girl who meet by chance in New York City during a blackout.  Their lives only briefly intersect as they go on to live their lives across different countries over the next year.  I enjoyed reading it, it was fun to pick up but it was mostly forgettable after.  3 Stars 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
I picked this up after enjoying Young Jane Young last year and I would not have guessed they were by the same author, if I didn't already know.  This was the story of a widower who owns a bookstore on a small island (off the coast of Maine?  Somewhere on the East Coast).  He is a bit grouchy and set in his ways, ends up with a surprise family of sorts and he's telling his story through books he's loved.  I may have liked this better if I had read ANY of the books he's mentioned.  I still liked it.  Didn't love it.  3 Stars

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
As far as "immigrant in New York about to possibly get deported" stories go, I liked The Sun is Also a Star better.  BUT, this was a different circumstance and much different (older) characters.  I don't really know what the point was setting it during the economic collapse in 2008.  I liked it, I appreciated the different viewpoint it showed, but I would recommend The Sun is Also a Star first, also I don't think you could consider them read alikes.  3 Stars

If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free by Jamie Ivey
I've been listening to Jamie's podcast, The Happy Hour, for over a year and really enjoy her interviews and how her love for Jesus shines through.  I was, obviously, going to read her book.  It's her story of God's redemptive love, how He never gave up on her, and how He kept pursuing her.  We all sin, we all have secrets.  This book was encouragement that God is always going to forgive and that we need to stop acting like we are all perfect.   3.75 Stars

Hello Mornings: How to Build a Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine by Kat Lee 
Mornings have long been a struggle for me and I am constantly wanting to improve them, especially with earlier mornings looming (my sense of accomplishment of being worked out and showered by 8am will not work in the fall when we have to be out of the house by ~7:30).  This wasn't so much about time management but how to start your morning in the right mental state to keep the rest of the day going smoothly (or at least, smoother).  I got some real, practical ideas from it and also loved the encouragement to incorporate prayer and worship throughout the day.  A great read.  3.75 Stars

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
This book was about complicated families (don't we all have those?), racism, growing old, the south, comic books, being a nerd, family secrets...a whole bunch of things.  It was interesting and compelling even though it took me a bit to get drawn in.  I'd give this author another shot though, I liked it enough.  3 Stars

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams
Another reread (and favorite read of 2016).  I remembered liking this book 2 years ago but didn't remember much about the plot so it was really pleasant reading, knowing I liked it but still being surprised at some of the twists.   Escape from Germany during World War II, secret loves, lost loves, lost cars, living on a yacht in the Mediterranean.  Long, sweeping story.  I loved it all over again.  4 Stars

What have YOU been reading?  I'm always open to suggestions, even if my TBR is already pretty full!

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