My update for you is that I will be pregnant forever and will never have this baby. I'll just keep getting bigger and bigger and lay around my belly until the end of time. Still - the silver lining is that I'll get a lot of reading done!
Over the last couple of weeks, I have knocked out five books. You don't have forever to read this blog post, so I'll keep it concise with a two-sentence review for each. Plus, I just got a new book from the library and am eager to start it! Also, Vivian needs some kisses. So - win, win, win.
Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
This was a fun and unusual read we selected for our June book club meeting about memory competitions and chronicles the author's experience with fairly quickly becoming a national memory champion. I especially enjoyed all of the interesting folks Foer meets along the way, and have a wonderful new method for remembering a grocery list for the rest of my life (which features Claudia Schiffer in my kitchen, dripping with cottage cheese - wheee!)
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
I've already been recommending this amazing YA novel left and right. It's not predictable, it's not angsty, and the heroine weighs 300+ pounds (down from 600+) but we don't follow her on any sort of boring weight loss journey....the whole book is super refreshing and I drank it down like I wish I could drink down the bottle of Dark Horse Cabernet that Jeff left sitting on the counter.
The River by Peter Heller
Modern Mrs. Darcy said that this was the best book she's read all year and I therefore went in with pretty high expectations that were bound to be shattered. It was beautifully written and would be a great novel to pick apart with others, but nothing in it was so memorable to me that I will even probably remember it in six months.
The Pursuit of Other Interests by Jim Kokoris
This book about a corporate advertising bigwig who gets fired is an excellent example of a tired plot that is perfectly executed and I couldn't help but love every minute of it. It's so gratifying to watch a turd polished into a decent human being, and I found the whole book funny and insightful.
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
I just finished this book about the Los Angeles City Library fire (and really about libraries in general) a few minutes ago, though I've had my eye on it forever. I loved it - Orlean volleys all around between the fire, the suspect, the past, present, and future of libraries, libraries around the world, and back to the City Library and it really worked for me.
Next up: I've got what I believe will be a fairly heavy read for book club to start momentarily (after Vivian kisses) and to balance that out, I downloaded a fluffy but hopefully not TOO fluffy romance on my phone.
As a legit update, I do expect to be having a baby in the next week or so (July 10th at the latest). I will not be giving up my blog, but posting could be spotty for a month or two. Then I'll post pictures of us reading together and it'll be the cutest thing ever.
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and I'm approaching a six week vacation where I can sit on my deck and read all day with a frosty beverage while an infant sleeps peacefully on my shoulder.
This last week or so I've sped through two great books and slogged through one pretty alright book that is apparently the obsession of so many other booklovin' women in my demographic.
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath
I chose this book because it was a good deal on my Kindle and Ann Bogel (book blogger Modern Mrs. Darcy) listed this as one of her books she wishes she could download into her brain, along with other great choices including Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (an awesome book about negotiating).
So many great takeaways! For all big decisions, I really love the great advice provided within these pages to help open minds to all of the various possibilities. One great point that was made was that so many people select a field of study, spend however much money and time for schooling, and then get out into the working world and realize that this career “wasn’t for them.” How can we test drive a decision before we make it? In this case – job shadowing or internships?
I also like the theory of looking at decisions beyond just “Should I do this or not?” The example provided was a case study of should someone be fired or not? The authors urged the reader, as fictional boss, to look at all of the options (extra training, reassigning of duties, etc.) I really appreciate the idea of looking at how to make a situation better or alter it enough so that a scenario becomes better for the decision-maker as opposed to this person feeling locked into a life-altering decision no matter what.
Finally, and I could go on at length, a wonderful reminder was shimmied in to assume that people aren’t actually trying to be buttheads. This translates so well to the workplace, and is something I’m going to keep in mind every day. This book quotes a CEO who shared that the best advice she ever received came from her dad telling her to assume positive intent. When someone says or does something that really frosts you, try to determine if there is a possibility that maybe they really were just trying to help (or at the very least, they weren’t trying to make your life hell). What this has to do with decision-making, I’m not sure, although it may perhaps help me make decisions with my responses that won’t get me fired.
Read this one! It’s funny, thought-provoking, and a quick read.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Illinois Shakespeare Festival, of which I serve on the Society’s Board of Directors, will be featuring Pride and Prejudice as their non-Shakespeare show of the summer. Although my summer activities might be a little up in the air, I wanted to read the book and then try to see the show. So, last week I read the book.
All last week! It took me forever! Jeff even commented that it was taking me a long time to read what looked like a fairly short book. Two reasons: first, we were kid free ALL WEEK meaning that most of our time was spent painting the town red and closing down the bars and second, classic English literature is not my world.
My sister will probably disown me for saying so, as she’s the ultimate classic English literature buff, but this is just something that I have discovered about myself. While I enjoy the unfolding of a good story, I really like everything I read or hear – in every medium – to be clear on the first pass. Books. E-mails. Voicemails. Vinnie’s accounts of his dreams (it was a spider but actually a turtle and we were at grandma’s house but it wasn’t really grandma’s house it was like grandma’s house in space and there was a McDonald’s there…) When I have to reread sentences to “unpack” what has been said, I become grouchy. Plus, I feel stupid.
The writing style aside, I was down with P&P. I’m looking forward to seeing it performed. Love and misunderstandings and drama and people becoming vexed. Why my dear readers, I should expect to look extremely forward to seeing it in a fortnight’s time.
I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
I’m easily amused.
So maybe that’s why I gave this book an easy five stars. I just peeked on Goodreads to make sure I had the title right and took a look at the most recent reviews. Oh, okay, nobody else likes it. Well, what the heck? It’s hilarious.
I like funny essay books. My bar is set pretty low, though, I guess. If the book makes me laugh out loud and is fairly well-written, then I’m good. One reviewer mentioned this book being like your mom telling stories after a couple of glasses of wine. Which was apparently a negative thing? Sign me up for buzzed mom stories!
I guess Crosley’s essay collections will never be considered for a Pulitzer, but I think I’m going to read everything she’s written, because I like to laugh and sometimes I need a chaser after classic English literature.
I’ll leave you with this:
“Ladies:”. Ladies. Large masses of girls are often prone to this salutation. Once is fine, twice is acceptable, any more than that and I feel like I’m having high tea at Windsor. I hate being mollified with this unsolicited “ladies” business. I know we’re all women. I am conscious of my breasts. Do I have to be conscious of yours as well? Do men do this? Do they go “Men: Meet for ribs in the shed after the game. Keg beer, raw eggs, and death metal only.” I would imagine not.
I anticipate finding time for reading despite making tons of new best friends right now as people have been stopping me in the street to ask pointed questions and then tell me about how they also would've liked to have had four kids but they had to have their various baby-making parts removed due to various health conditions. Soon I'll be boring again, able to get in and out of Dollar General with my birthday card and package of batteries in under 5 minutes.
During those stolen reading moments, I plan to finish this month's book club pick about having an amazing memory (so far, so good!) and I've got another book in the queue that comes super highly recommended from people who are real good at book readin'.
I hope all six of you have the best week ever.
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.