It’s that time again, friends! Here’s what I’ve been reading in 2016: some nonfiction, a bunch of memoirs, some novels, a few plays, and a bit of Young Adult. Not too shabby, me thinks.
*Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett. (Actually read this at the end of 2015 but forgot to record it.) Slow and beautiful, hauntingly sad.
*Black Chalk, by Christopher J. Yates. Can’t remember it—Oh, wait! Yes, I can! A dark thriller that I thought so-so.
*Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, by Sally Mann. I’m fascinated by her perspective on life, and her work: raw and evocative.
*Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff. I don’t remember it, but my notes say: Not credible but interesting.
*All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. Good, but I wasn’t head over heels like everyone else.
*The Birchbark House, by Louise Erdich. Young adult (for book club). An okay, easy read.
*When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi. I appreciated the healthy perspective towards death, but I enjoyed his wife’s writing better than his.
*A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back, by Keven Hazzard. A fast, entertaining read. Informative, too, for a mother of an EMT.
*Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee. I read this play in two sittings. It left me gasping for air.
*Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson. (For book club.) Absolutely abhorred it, which is funny because so many respected friends loved it.
*A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams. My first time reading the play; I enjoyed it.
*Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Carlo Rovelli. I didn’t understand most of it…but I read it!
*Small Blessings, by Martha Woodroof. (Name drop: the author is in one of my writing groups!) Likeable characters and enjoyable read. The book was set in a town not far from here, and I got a kick out of reading about familiar places within a novel.
*Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Challenging and paradigm shifting, I wish I could’ve read this one with my book club because it requires processing. I chewed over the ideas for months.
*Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor. Required reading for my kids, so I read it, too. So, so good.
*The Silver Star, by Jeannette Walls. Can’t remember it.
*Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren. Excellent (though I skimmed some of the science parts). Gained new insight into bi-polar disease. Also, it made me want to plant an oak tree.
*Hungry Heart, by Jennifer Weiner. The beginning was interesting, but after a bit it felt long-winded and whiny. By the end I was skimming whole pages.
*The Babylon Line, by Richard Greenberg. A play. Okay, but just that.
*Accelerando, by Lisa Loomer. A play. Complicated and slightly bizarre.
*Jesus Land: A Memoir, by Julia Scheeres. Powerful, dark, incredible. I felt like I was reading a nightmare; had to hurry through so I could end it and get on with my life. Highly recommend (but only if you’re emotionally stable, and even then, proceed with caution).
Up next: In the Sanctuary of Outcasts, by Neil White and then I’m open to (desperate for) recommendations. Fire away!
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PPS. Books I’ve read to the kids for our bedtime read-alouds include Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien, A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, More Stories from Grandma’s Attic, by Arleta Richardson, and we’re right now finishing up A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith. Have you discovered any new read-alouds this year (for ages 10-15)?
This same time, years previous: toasty oatmeal muffins.