May 2013 Books

I’m finding as I read fewer books I think about the ones I do a lot more after I’m finished. I don’t necessarily put more thought into making higher-quality reading choices, but I guess since I don’t have the need to add a lot of filler to my to-read list they end up higher quality anyway.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

I feel like I’ve already talked about 7 too much, but oh well.

The fasts at the beginning of the book were, at least to me, much more interesting. Eating only 7 foods for a month would be terribly hard and it also makes for good writing material. As the book went along, though, there was less to write about. Fasting from waste? (She planted a garden to reduce food packaging and recycled.) Fasting from stress? (She paused for prayer seven times a day.) Those are fine, but I was bored. It also felt like she lost the voice of the book – it wasn’t as funny or conversational in the last third or so.

Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder

This was an incredible story about a man who lived through genocide and started from scratch in America. It defies my understanding or imagination (thankfully). But – I realize I’m in the minority in this – I found the actual writing to be clunky and lacking flow.

You know how at some point you usually get into a story and it doesn’t really feel like reading words anymore, but actually seeing the action play out in your imagination/mind? I had a few times where that happened during this book, but mostly I was very much just reading words – and having to force my way through them at that. It was more than just because the subject matter was something you sometimes had to force yourself through and/or didn’t want to imagine – the writing itself kept pulling me out of the narrative.

It was also jarring when he switched from third person (focusing on the subject of the book, Deo) to first person (focusing on himself as the author meeting Deo and traveling with him).

In the end, I would recommend the book because of the amazing story within, but I’d warn you it’s a slog. Maybe I’m just not a good nonfiction reader, though. Clearly the author knows how to write since he has a Pulitzer.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

I love statistical books like this. (I know a lot of you do, too, and I think I’m the last in the world to FINALLY read this.) I’m still thinking about the first chapter and whether I was quite successful in school because of innate ability or because I was nearly the oldest child in my class.

Interesting to think about, but not keeping me up at night, since it’s all said and done so what does it matter? Except. Both of my kids will be nearly the youngest in their classes and I don’t want that to stack the odds against them. GAH.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

I requested a bunch of books from Clueless but Hopeful Mama’s fall 2012 reading list. By the time it was finally my turn for this one on the library e-book system I no longer had any idea what it was about. I forced myself to start it because I didn’t want to get back on the hold list…then read the whole thing in a couple days because I couldn’t stop.

It’s been a long time since a book hooked me from the very first page and never let go. I was mesmerized both by the story and the writing. I think it’s the first book I’ve given 5 stars this year and I’d easily say it was the best.

Comments

  1. I waited for The Age of Miracles FOREVER, and finally got it last month, only to have it disappear from my kindle when I didn’t have time to read it. I’m back on the list, and the list is looong.

    • Ugh, I hate it when that happens! The lending period always seems so short and the waiting list is SO long.

  2. I haven’t read Outliers yet, so you’re not quite the last person on Earth. It’s been on my library wish list for ages, though. I’ve been thinking about the school year vs. age thing lately, too… Our middle kid (the boy we’re adopting) has a summer birthday, and I’m really hoping the right choice will be obvious when he’s 5. But my birthday is at the end of August, so I was always the very youngest but did really well academically. I still wonder if I would have been less of a social mess if I’d been held back, though. You’ll always second guess, whatever you do, right? Arrgh.

    • YES! I wish it could be black and white. I’m sure my kids will be fine, but it drives me nuts there’s no way to know if they other choice would have been better.

  3. I just ready Age of Miracles for my book club. I thought it was good, it really pulled me in and I couldn’t put it down!