My reading pace has slowed dramatically. Other than when I’m at work, I’ve basically put myself on bed rest thanks to blood pressure readings that are slowly creeping upward and just generally feeling like I’m 14 months pregnant. Bed rest *should* be great for reading but most of the time I feel pretty off and all I’m getting accomplished is alternating staring blankly at the TV and staring blankly at my phone. Sometimes I stare blankly at my kids and husband.
However, this is my BOOK BLOG, where I’m not asked to discuss my pregnancy! I want to talk about books! So although I don’t have much in the way of reviews, here we go!
Mind's Eye by Douglas E. Richards
So my friend Adam recommended this science fiction thriller, and I used this as my “phone” book a couple of weeks ago. I really appreciate recommendations from friends, especially for material that’s at least a little bit out of my norm.
Mind’s Eye was, weirdly, a lot of fun. It was a science fiction adventure mystery romantic psychological thriller. The characters were funny and nerdy and relatively relatable and the action was fast-moving. The writing wasn’t stellar, but it was good enough for what it was. I may continue on in the series when I’ve finished a heavy book and need something lighter but not necessarily brain candy.
Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan is one of the strangest authors on my “must always read his new book” list, because he can be AMAZING and he can be MEH. But even the meh is worth reading, simply because he’s just a beautiful writer. On Chesil Beach, for example, was so dumb and yet so good.
Machines Like Me was a trippy story set in alternate 1970’s London where technology was advanced enough to have created computerized humans with programmable personalities. Unlikeable protagonist and his equally unlikeable girlfriend each program part of “Adam” and then must live with the consequences of what they’ve created. It’s a little bit of a nutty premise and the execution isn’t as poetic as McEwan tends to be, but there are some interesting and thought-provoking moments within.
I finished this two nights ago and I’m still not sure if I actually liked it. Lately I’ve been more inclined to not rate books on Goodreads, because I just think, “Ugh, I can’t even rate this book right now.” I’ll have to go back to all of those books at the end of the year and decide where they stand.
I didn’t love it, primarily because the main characters were boring. Adam, the machine, had a lot more personality than they did. Maybe that was on purpose! Brilliant!
Upcoming reading plans:
I still need to crack Pride and Prejudice, which I will do maybe tonight! I’m also working my way through a fun nonfiction book about making decisions, which sounds lame but it’s awesome.
Hello out there to my six readers! I've missed our chats.
I've had a fairly busy couple of weeks, so I haven't been reading quite as much. Plus, Jeff has started turning HGTV on after the Cardinal's game (or after we've given up on the Cardinal's game) and we take turns making fun of everyone on the various house hunting and renovation shows, which is endless enjoyment. Remember when we used to call them "rooms"? Now it's a "space"! I'm looking forward to making this nightly ritual a drinking game once I'm all done being pregnant (which is now, come to think of it).
Take a shot every time someone knocks down a wall! Take a shot every time someone mentions having space to entertain! Take a shot every time a quip is made about the closets only being large enough for the wife's clothes! Take a double shot every time carpet is pulled back to reveal BEAUTIFUL hardwood floors! "Why on Earth did they put carpet over this? This will *really* save us money on our renovations!" Price point. Built-ins. Crown molding. I'm drunk.
Still, I've managed to get some reading done! Recently I finished.....
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Usually I go into a book mostly blind. I have some vague idea of what it’s going to be about. In this case, I knew it was going to follow a 70’s band called Daisy Jones & The Six. However, for the first half of the book, I couldn’t decide whether or not this was a real band. Finally I actually looked closely at the information on the book jacket and discovered that it is indeed a fictional band. This decreased my overall enjoyment of the book, but only somewhat.
Presented as a compiled set of interviews with band members and others close to the band, the pages turned quickly. While there was no lack of drugs, drinking, rock ‘n’ roll, and more drugs, there were a few sections that were a little too introspective/philosophical/kinda cheesy. This made it a perfect parallel to a subplot within the book where a band member or two felt that they were a little more of a “soft rock” band than they were hoping to be due to the lyrics and sound of many of their songs.
Daisy Jones & the Six: Solid soft rock, but with enough cocaine and intrigue to harden the edges and keep it interesting.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
The reason most people I know are involved with a book club is to expand their horizons. Book clubs help us pick up books that we may not otherwise have picked up. Sure, they don’t always get finished, but at least we tried.
I never in a million years would’ve picked up Endurance. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I’m an honest blogger. Normally the thought of a story about exploration of Antarctica in the early-ish 1900’s would not blow my skirt up. But since it was a book club book…
It was good! There was a LOT of ice. Lots of ocean. Lots of wet boots and gross food and oozing infection and lack of sleep. The author *really* took me there. I thought it was well done and way more interesting than I expected (with some small stretches that were maybe a little less exciting – ice ice water snow ice ice ice). My only gripe is that the end could’ve done a better job of providing closure and spelling out for the readers why these men endured and what lessons can be learned from that experience. Sometimes I like people to spell things out for me. But in general, a good read, and it helped me sleep like a little baby in my warm dry bed every night and thank God that I live in 2019 and don’t partake in activities like expeditions to Antarctica.
I'm ALMOST finished with a science fiction trip that my friend Adam recommended and I'm soon to start on the latest Ian McEwan. I'm starting to need to relax and put my feet up more, so I'm expecting to start reading at a decent clip for the next month or so! I'd better fit it in while I can!
Just a heads up: This blog post is me sharing what everyone is saying to me now that I look like I should've given birth three months ago. It may come close to having similarities to a MommyBlog (the horror!) and so, my dear 6 readers, please feel free to just keep moving along in search of more interesting reading material. I won't blame you.
But perhaps you're the kind of person who doesn't give two craps what books I am reading but you want to hear some of my non-book-related snarkiness today! You're in luck!
Here's what I hear every single day - at my job, in the elevator, at the grocery store, and all of the other places I frequent (the bars, the clubs, the penthouses, the cigar rooms, the back alleys):
"Oh my gosh, you're STILL wearing heels?"
My response: Yes, and I will wear heels up until the last day and to be honest, I might wear heels to the hospital. I like high heels!
"What's baby craving today?"
My response: Baby is craving an iced white chocolate mocha and a glass of Jack Daniels, neat.
"Is he moving a lot?"
My response: There's a three ring circus going on in my belly at all times and I have to act like it's not actually happening during meetings. But hey, if I have you come try to feel him kick, he'll stiffen up like a 6th grader at his first dance. So he's already kind of in trouble.
"Oh my God, you STILL haven't had that baby!?!?! You look REALLY pregnant! Are you sure it's not twins?"
My response: I apparently still have a couple more months of this so perhaps I'll be birthing an elephant? Twin elephants? <or> No, I had him the other day, just having a lot of trouble getting rid of this baby weight. SO BLOATED.
"You're only taking six weeks off of work? That's IT?"
My response: Oh, that'll be plenty.
"Would you like one scoop of Flavor of the Day or two?"
My response: Two!
Also: One quick thought that I've been having that's, in truth, not fully formed yet but I'm just going to put it out there. Lately I've had some nice conversations with some friends who have opted not to do the kid thing. It's funny how easily I can relate to that, despite having my fourth on the way. I can easily envision an alternate universe where my life went in a different direction more like my friends' lives (all of them superstars at work at heavily involved in other projects and community efforts). Yet it's *definitely* tough to envision a life without my Veronica, Vinnie, and Vivian.
Some folks - and this is 100% a-ok - are very comfortable and committed to their role as a mom. They follow mom social media pages, post quotes about mom-life, join mom groups, attend mom conferences, and sometimes start sentences with "As a mom, I..."
When someone says, "I'm sure, as a mom, you-" I usually have that moment where I remember that I'm a parent and panic a little bit. (Almost) four kids in, and I'm still not sure I'm ready for that title, despite driving what is often mistaken as a mini-van.
But to be Veronica's mom? Oh yeah, that's me. Vinnie's mom? Own it. And of course to be Vivian's mom - well, that's a privilege above all else.
I guess the bottom line in my mind is that however you approach parenthood- whether you embrace it universally, specifically, or opt out - it's all good and nobody - not co-workers or snarky bloggers or especially anyone on social media - gets to have any input on how you life your life, OKAY?!?!
(With that, I exit, spinning my 14 months pregnant body on a very <fabulous> high heel.)
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.