Last month solidified a decision I’d made but wavered many times. If I don’t like a book, I’m not going to make myself finish it.
I’ve long held the belief that once you start a book YOU MUST SEE IT THROUGH TO THE END. That’s stupid. Why should I waste my time reading a book I hate when I could simply put it down and pick up one I might enjoy?
So, spoiler alert: I didn’t finish some of these books. I probably never will.
Second spoiler alert: I really really loved some of these books. Like, a lot. Turns out with this lot I was either bored out of my gourd or completely engrossed. No middle ground. I’m…totally fine with that.
Third spoiler alert: affiliate links abound. Clicks = ¢. Not many, but some. Consider yourselves disclosed.
You saw A Great Aridness in this post. Shortly after those photos were taken, I put it down and didn’t pick it up again. It was fascinating but slow. I think I’m going to need to revisit it when I get into the serious research part of my book writing, but until then? I’d rather read something else.
Like The Buddha In the Attic. Which was incredible. It tells the collective story of the Japanese women who immigrated to the United States in the early 1900’s: the boat ride over, meeting their new husbands, how the lived as maids/migrant workers/laundresses/etc, up until the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. It’s incredible and heart-wrenching, and a really quick read. Highly recommend if you need a strong dose of history + empathy.
I’m not very good at making a Big Deal out of, well, anything. Holidays and birthdays and stuff have never been my forte. I’m trying to change that, though, which is why I picked up How To Celebrate Everything. I enjoyed Jenny Rosenstrach’s first book and this one was even better, in my opinion. Yes, a lot of it is upper-middle-class privilege-laden sentimental fluff (so many vacations!) but I love her suggestions about cherishing family rituals and embracing your heritage. It’s given me some ideas for the Danish-inspired Christmas I’ve been fantasizing about for a few years. After I returned this to the library, I bought myself a copy because there were so many recipes I wanted to try. It’s always nice to find someone else who uses food to show love and build connections the way I do!
And speaking of Denmark, I just finished The Year of Living Danishly a few days ago. It was…interesting. The author and her husband move to a tiny town in Denmark when he gets a job with LEGO. Shenanigans ensue. There were a few laugh-out-loud parts (the “adults only” swimming night had me howling) and plenty of British sarcasm, which I love. I got some good ideas: eat more pastries, value family + tradition, get hygge whenever possible. Mostly, though, I realized that my definition of happiness is not the same as the Danes, generally speaking.
Now that I think about it, the three books above were all really good at reminding me what a great life I’m living. Perfect? Eh, there’s always room for improvement. But guys, I’ve got it pretty dang good.
Insert overwhelming gratitude here.
I tried reading The One World Schoolhouse. I really did. Education is my background and my passion, so anything about how to be a better teacher or supplement my kids’ schooling is a hot topic for me. After the longest introduction ever and a redundant first chapter, though, I was not feeling this book. I read through chapter 3, I think, before deciding to be done. I’m intrigued by the Khan Academy and will probably look them up online. That said, there wasn’t much in what I read that was new information to me. Plus it felt like an advertisement. No thanks.
And then I discovered that MaddAddam is book three in a trilogy. WHY DON’T THEY PUT THAT ON THE FRONT COVER? Argh. I love Margaret Atwood and I’d hoped this could double as more book-writing research. Looks like I have to start with Oryx and Crake instead.
But first? I have to read the sequel to Six of Crows! If you’re into fantasy at all, I cannot recommend this book enough. Even if you’re not a fantasy nerd like I am, it’s a great read. Kind of like Ocean’s Eleven meets Neil Gaiman, with some of the best characters I’ve met in a long time. It is so so good. I ordered the duology AND the Grisha Trilogy, which I haven’t read yet, because I loved the world Leigh Bardugo created that much. Even better? It’s clean! Realistic and raw, but on par with Harry Potter. Like, I would be fine reading these out loud with my kids. When they’re older, obviously, as it’s definitely YA, but still. It’s refreshing.
I’ve also been on a poetry kick lately, drinking in this collection and this one in quiet evenings before bed. I’d forgotten what good poetry does for my soul. And it’s been a good reminder to edit, edit, edit. I err on the side of too many words when few will usually suffice.
And that’s my cue to shut up and listen. What are you reading these days?