When we were making plans for our move to Iowa, we knew Tim would be headed to South Carolina for six weeks while I was settling into our new home. The plan was to fill all of that time with keeping the kids alive and thriving and unpacking the house. I thought I would unpack a few boxes each night and be finished right before Tim came home. Unpacking would keep me busy and help the time fly by…at least that was the plan. It turns out living in a house filled with boxes is not practical when you have two young kids and have anxiety that is ramped up by disorganization and clutter. I unpacked the house in seven days. That left me with a lot of free time and frankly, I could only watch so much television and the internet just sucks right now.
So I turned to books to keep me occupied. I also committed to reading thirty books in 2017 in my Goodreads profile as well because if I didn’t over commit myself I wouldn’t be me. But five out of seven nights a week I sat down in bed with a cup of tea and read a book. Since January 1st, I’ve read seven books. Not too bad. Here’s what I’ve read so far:
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
I am an anglophile and I’m specifically obsessed / fascinated by the life of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. I realize this was a fictionalized version of history but I think I forgot that often while I was reading so when it got a bit dramatic (for Victorian times) I was like “meh”. I also read this in preparation of the BBC mini-series based on this book (Rufus Sewell may be my new odd celebrity crush) and was let down by the first episode as well. So my overall experience with this was a solid “meh”.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
I don’t know why I fight myself when it comes to reading Young Adult Fiction because a majority of the time I’m not disappointed but still every time I see the YA designation I’m like “ugh!”. But this novel slipped through the my arbitrary YA filter and thank God it did! It was so well written and relatable. I knew a few quirky guys like Theordore Finch in high school. I tore through this not just because the language was simple to understand but also because the story caught me immediately. I’d recommend this to adults and teenagers alike. There are some mature themes but I don’t think teenagers should be coddled and I think the author felt that way as well.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I can’t believe this wasn’t required reading in high school or college. Thanks a lot public education! I’ve heard this title thrown around and around for years but didn’t know the first thing about the plot. And as much as I’m ashamed to admit this, I heard Hulu made it into a miniseries starring Elisabeth Moss (one of my favorites!) and I could not allow myself to watch the mini series without reading the book first so I checked it out of the library. AND damn! Talk about timing! I don’t want to spoil it but just know it’s a dystopian society and women are subjugated, among may other crazy but not so far fetched things.
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood
I forget how I found this book…I think through a Buzzfeed list or maybe Pinterest. I don’t know, it doesn’t matter. I had high hopes for an interesting read and I was mildly disappointed. There were interesting parts to it but it wasn’t nearly as captivating as I was hoping it would be. I found myself nodding off most nights I sat down to read it.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
SPOILER ALERT: J.K. Rowling wrote this book. But Jenn, it has a man’s name attached to it. I know!! Apparently J.K. decided using a pen name would help set this book apart of the fame and themes of Harry Potter. And honestly, if I had known she had written this book I would have picked it up sooner but I’m glad I didn’t because there are two other books in the series and I didn’t have to wait for them to come out. I missed the mobs of people just like I did with Harry Potter mania in the early 2000’s. Anyway, back to the book…it was an enjoyable mystery. There were multiple times I thought I knew who did it, then convinced myself it was someone else, and really didn’t figure it out until almost the very end. I also liked the dynamic between Strike (the detective) and his assistant, Robin.
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
See I enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling so much I read the next in the series immediately following and in the grand tradition of J.K. Rowling I was flat on the main plot of the book. I felt this way for one of the Harry Potter books as well…I think it was The Goblet of Fire. I was more interested in the personal relationships and subplots than the actual action. This one was difficult to follow because there were so many secondary characters to grasp and keep a hold of. But I did enjoy it and definitely recommend you read the novels in order because there’s information and relationship histories that you need to know throughout the series.
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger
I’ve read a few memoir type books from service members who served in OIF and OEF because I think every one of them deserves to have their experience heard if they’re willing to share it. But this book is completely different than a recount of the war. It’s about coming home, a topic that as a military spouse speaks to my life. When I heard this book was being published last summer, Tim immediately ordered a copy for us. And it sat on our shelf for seven months. I wish I had read it sooner and I’m glad I waited all the same. I know it’s weird but the timing couldn’t have been better for when I did pick it up. It hit so many points that have been swirling around in my head for years on what the biggest obstacles are for service members who have to return to civilian life. Military or civilian it doesn’t matter…read this book. It’s a quick read and it gets to the heart of the issue immediately and clearly.
Have you read anything good lately?
Disclaimer: Links to each of the books listed are part of the Amazon Affiliate program. A portion of the sale is paid to me as a commission but doesn’t affect your price.