2019 First Quarter Reading

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The first three months of 2019 have been unusual for me for a couple reasons. I was asked to join a national committee that selects new plays to receive $40,000 in award money. As part of my role of the committee I read 26 plays, way more than I would normally read in a few months. 

The other thing that affected my reading is pregnancy. I'm pregnant with my second kiddo and a few preterm labor scares have led to partial bedrest, which has led to more reading. Fatigue, because of said pregnancy, has led me to reread old favorites instead of new books for most of the past month. Sometimes you just need comfort reads, so Jane Austen's Persuasion, The Night Circus, and the Harry Potter series have all made their way into my hands recently. 

I also managed to reorganize and streamline my home library (see above) before getting too far into this pregnancy. That was a huge goal of mine since the room also doubles as a play room. We got rid of a big bookcase (and lots of books!) and I'm continuing to prioritize reading and getting rid of my own books this year. 

Total Read: 62
Fiction: 27
Nonfiction: 9
Plays: 23
Graphic Novels: 3

My Favorites So Far: 
Where the Crawdads Sing: Loved this one. Set in the marshland of North Carolina, the story is part coming-of-age, part murder mystery, and part romance. From the age of 6, Kya raises herself almost completely alone in the marshes. Her love of nature and fear of the often cruel towns people isolated her. The writing is beautiful and characters like Jumpin’ and Tate give an added richness. The book is less about plot and more about Kya's journey. It reminded me of The Girl of the Limberlost.

Once Upon a River: An English pub, a bedraggled man, a storyteller, a photographer, a village nurse, a parson’s housekeeper, a couple whose toddler was kidnapped, a farmer with clever pigs, and a river; layer upon layer is added as the story unfolds. Though there seemed like a lot of disconnected threads at first, the author brings them together in the end. The characters are so well drawn. Armstrong the farmer and the nurse Rita were two of my favorites. I’d highly recommend taking time to sink in and enjoy this one. Its beautifully crafted and a wonderful yarn.

“The day had stretched her thin, to the point where she felt the boundary of herself dissolving into the atmosphere.”

Educated: This memoir has been so hyped over the past year, but it lived up to everything I heard. It reminded me of The Glass Castle, but the author's story is a unique one. She was raised by Mormon survivalists on a mountain in Idaho. I was so impressed with the way she tells her story. Despite shocking details and abuse, she's able to unfold a story that felt so visceral and real. It's easy to lose the humanity of the oppressors in a telling like that, but as a reader, I always felt that she didn't hate and resent her family in a way that would have been understandable. It's a heartbreaking story, but one that is beautifully written and so compelling.

“My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.”

“Everything I had worked for, all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege: to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind."

I'd Rather Be Reading: I adored this! It was just like chatting with a good friend about our mutual love of books. Almost everything she said reminded me of my own bookish habits and struggles. She talks about falling in love with the library, rereading old favorites, and not pushing books on others just because you think they SHOULD read them. So many of the books she cites are my favorites as well. It was short and sweet and I know I’ll read it again.

“If my real life reminds me of something I’ve read in a book, I’m reading well and I’m probably living well.”

Kid Gloves: I’ve loved following Knisley’s career in her wonderful graphic memoirs. Since I’m currently pregnant, this one was particularly perfect timing. She blends historical facts about pregnancy and childbirth with her own difficult experience. She’s honest and open about her pain and doubt. Her birth experience might have been extreme, but her pregnancy and miscarriages are all too relatable. I loved it.

“I don’t feel good. Can I have some nachos, please?”

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I've also had a few really good books that haven't quite been "favorites" but were excellent. Those include: The Word is Murder, The Dreamers, Belles on Their Toes, The Sun Is Also a Star and The Golden Tresses of the Dead (Flavia de Luce forever!)

I'm guessing the rest of the year will have a big dip in reading. That tends to happen when you have a newborn and are sleep deprived. So I'm pretty happy that this first quarter contained so many great books! 

Photos by me. 

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