Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What I've Been Reading Lately

I absolutely love having a good book to read, and I look forward to that time after the kids go to bed when I can sit down and read a bit before I too hit the sack.  It doesn't always happen, but when it does, it always feels like a treat.  It's practically the only time during the day when I am not responsible to or for another human being.

The books that I read during this time are usually fiction or memoir.  I save other books-- like those that speak to my interest in sociology or ones I'm reading in order to learn something related to my work or parenting--for when I am on the bike at the Y.  Two of the ones that have fit that bill lately that I highly recommend are All Joy No Fun by Jennifer Senior and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  They are both incredibly interesting and well-written.

As for the books that help me unwind at the other day and that have been hard to put down, I learn a lot from them too, but it is a more introspective and reflective sort of learning-- learning that comes from listening to people's stories and learning from their experiences (even if the characters are fictional, there is usually some truth to be found).  These are a few of the most recent books that have been a delight to read and that have tempted me to stay up past my bedtime:

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd- This is an incredibly well-written story of a slave girl during the Civil War era and the girl she who "owned" her.  Sue Monk Kidd does a masterful job of weaving the story back and forth between these two characters and what results is a tale that speaks of hope, daring, freedom, and the desire for one's voice to be heard.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion- Simsion does such a great job bringing the main character, Don, to life that you can't help but cheer for him in his search to find true love.  Don is a quirky genetics professor who made me laugh, and his own process of self-discovery he reminds the reader that though there are some things that might be worth changing for the person you love, in the process, you have to be true to yourself.

The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes- I think I've written before about what an amazing author JoJo Moyes is.  Everything I have read by her has been incredible-- thought-provoking, moving, and of depth.  She has a gift for developing characters.  One of the most profound insights from this book is how easy it is to look at someone's life and cast judgments on their choicesBut as the characters in this story realize, there is always more to the story than what appears on the surface and things are rarely black and white.

Until I Say Good-bye by Susan Spencer-Wendel- This book is the author's memoir of her year of living with joy after she was diagnosed with ALS.  Early after her diagnosis, she made an intentional decision about the kind of memories and legacy she wanted to leave behind for her children.  Having to do that is a pretty hard thing to imagine having to do, but Susan pretty much lays everything on the table through her writing, and I think it's that reality that drew me in.

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