Life has been hectic lately, and I'm ready to downshift and enjoy cozy reading weather! Luckily I will have some opportunities in the coming weeks, including CABIN WEEKEND with Mom, Vicky, and Veronica that revolves around reading books (and being together!) (and eating!) (and drinking!). So hopefully I will begin knocking out some books and reviews at a steady clip. I have so many great books to read!
But, I do have four for you, so I'll keep the reviews short!
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I loved this book so much more than I thought I would. It was LONG, but contained a solid gold storyline as well as illuminating commentary on what it means to be black in America, as well as the cultural differences between America and Nigeria. I'd knock a point or two off for how the love story wraps in the end, but in the grand scheme of this sweeping book, it didn't matter much. Recommend!
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
I guess I'm just not a big Shirley Jackson fan. I never feel like I super know what's going on, although I think maybe that's the point. Anyway, this was actually pretty decent off and on and in some parts laugh out loud funny, but also felt to me like a cheesy murder mystery play that we used to do in high school. "Oh, we're all thrown together in this super creepy mansion!" Chaos ensues. Except in this case, it really doesn't. I was waiting for the chaos, which mostly failed to ensue.
Your Dad Stole My Rake by Tom Papa
This was actually recommended to me in the comments section of this blog. I love comedy, so much, but have never seen any of Tom Papa's stand up. I might have to check him out, because this book had me to the point where I would have to set it down for a while just to laugh. I read it on my phone, and last night Jeff said, "Are you watching something? What are you doing over there? What do you keep laughing at?" Can't explain! Too hilarious!
I'd say that there was one chapter that was a little lame and pandering (I'd request that white guys writing a comedy book just be funny and not feel like they have to write at least a chapter about how great women are but that's probably just me) and another chapter that was out-of-left-field sad, but otherwise it was just a super funny book about family members. Recommend! (Don't remember reading anything about dad stealing a rake, though. Minus one point!)
Dust of the Streets by Thomas Clement
So I attended the gift announcement and celebration at my alma mater, Illinois State a few months ago where artist Wonsook Kim gifted 12 million to the College of Fine Arts. It was amazing! This gift is really from she and her husband, Thomas Clement, who has invented a number of medical tools and supplies. Each attendee received some of her artwork and his book about finding success despite being an orphan from Korea. This was a surprise, and I was delighted.
The first half of his book was incredible. His early life was devastating, and it's amazing that he lived through it. He was adopted by an American family and overcame various obstacles such as language barriers to become a successful adult (the kind who gifts $12 million to universities). The second half, though, felt more like a list of all of the cool things he had done. I mastered Tae Kwon Do! I saved a life! I organized a winning sports team! I invented a bunch of stuff! I met world leaders! I learned how to be a trapeze artist! I became an awesome diver! And then what almost literally felt like a PS, he mentioned that he met his wife and they had some kids or whatever.
So, as you can deduce, I would've liked to hear a little more about how his early life impacted his later life in terms of relationship-building, self-esteem, etc. He tried to connect the dots from time to time, but it didn't flow.
Still - a relatively quick read and if you have any ties to ISU, I'd definitely recommend!
So much for short reviews! Next up: I just started a book about Jeff's favorite show and I'm really loving it. What are YOU reading?
People seem to be pretty concerned with how much sleep I’m getting.
I get it, that’s the deal with parents of a baby – once they sleep through the night again, it’s like they’re real life people again rather than zapped out zombies sleepwalking through their lives.
But next time you meet up with someone who just recently had a baby, here are some additional questions you can ask:
Dishes and laundry and kid bellies are bottomless.
This has really impacted all the reading and blogging and shopping and baby-holding and whatever else I'd like to be doing. Usually I figure out how to make the time to fit it all in, but here lately that's been a little tougher.
However!! Today I'm going to knock out a quick blog, so you all know that I'm still among the living (and reading) and then I'll feel super accomplished. But I mean a QUICK blog. But you're busy too, so I'm saving you - my six readers - some time as well!
Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan
Short, predictable, beautifully written, and good for a slightly eerie but not scary Halloween read.
The Ensemble by Aja Gabel
Another well-written, if forgettable, book – this time about the career of a quartet and their relationships both within and outside of their tight-knit group.
Vincent and Alice and Alice by Shane Jones
Initially begins as a fun workplace story that promises to explore a science fiction alternate reality where we keep doing our jobs while also living our best life. Vincent’s best life is apparently to simply be with his ex, but that means that the universe now holds alternate-reality Alice and real Alice. Chaos ensues, but not really. Kinda felt like the author was on deadline and just pounded it out at the end.
Next up: I'm working my way through a large but fascinating book about Nigerians in America. I'm also working my way through a weird book that is interesting but disjointed and I'm like wait, are these just short stories or is this all coming together at some point? What are YOU reading?
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.