Monday, June 06, 2011

Books I read April and May: 2011

In March I finished several books I didn't like. In April I quit reading several books that I liked. I'm very moody. I didn't finish The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion because it was too sad, but it's very good and I recommend it. I also didn't finish Great House by Nicole Krauss even though I liked it. I found myself dreading it. Don't know why. I'll try again to read it. But I probably won't read Magical Thinking until my husband dies and then only to sink further into my depression, which is the opposite of what he would do if I died, which is to remarry--which I don't approve of. These Mormon men--they think polygamy is OK. But it's not! They're so hung up on their eternal increase to which I say, "SPARE ME," and "GOOD LUCK."

I only finished three books in April. I actually spent a lot of time writing my book proposal in April. (My time might have been better-spent.)

My kids were really offended when I read Maria Ricks' parenting book:

Darn that Maria Ricks. She tells it like it is. You kind of have to be a good person if you want good kids. Discipline (as in "disciplining" your kids) is the same as discipline (as in having "discipline"). You want your kids to make their beds? You have to make your bed. Don't want them to be petty? You can't be petty either. When people say that parenting is hard, this is what they mean. I love Maria Ricks. This is a good book with lots of practical tips.

This is a fun book. It's kind of a lifestyle and manners book based on Jackie O. She's pretty interesting. Did you know her feet were size 10? Boats!

This was a good, quick read. I don't even remember what it's about. But the lists are easy to read and remind you not to be a jerk to your kids. It's helpful.

Things got exciting in May!

This is a great book. It kind of depressed me because it's a lot like the book I want to write--right down to walking into plate glass windows and dog rescue. So basically my book has already been published by a child star. I have no chance.

I decided to self-soothe.

I watched the show growing up, but I never read the books. I should have. They are so great. I talk about them all the time now. There is so much interesting information in them. The highlight of the Big Woods is maple syrup season. Could you make maple syrup if you had to? I could.

At this point you start to wonder if Pa is some kind of squatting, radical, libertarian. Is Ma angelic or passive aggressive? It's hard to say. But it doesn't matter. Because on the prairie they build a house with glass windows made of real glass! The Ingalls are informed that they got malaria from eating water melon grown by the river. Stupid country doctors. Everyone knows you get malaria from chilly night air.

Almanzo is hot.

They move from the glass-windowed prairie house to a cricket-infested dug out. Pa's wanderlust is starting to get old. Bless his heart.

I think they may stay here for a while. They are really excited about living by a new town. It still sounds pretty bleak to me. Maybe it's the snow inside their house. These books are the comfort food of reading.


I liked this book a lot. It's quirky and interesting. It's about a girl and her friend growing up in the 70s. Sleepovers, babysitting, detention, boys--They remind me of myself and my weird little friends more than any characters I've ever read about. For example, they realize you can't say "fudge" with a British accent.

This book seemed SO awesome:

It's about an Irish detective who looks exactly like a murder victim so she pretends like the murder victim didn't die and lives her life in order to catch the murderer. Cool, no? It's OK. There's no amazing twist or anything. I wouldn't bother reading it if I were you.

That's April and May for you. You will all be happy to know I downloaded Jane Eyre to read on my Nook. It will be the second Nook book I've read. I should probably read more on it. I started to get carpal tunnel in my wrists from holding up The Likeness--it's a 450 page hard-back and my wrists are terribly dainty, like Jane Eyre's (presumably).


  1. Just finished "The History of Love" (4 stars) and am currently working on "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" (long title, I know!)Next up is Moon over Manifest. I tell you all this because really, I just want to be first to post a comment on your blog and don't have much else to say.

  2. I loved the Little House books very much. I started reading them to the boys last year and even they liked them.

    My dad must have read them to us half a dozen times. That's why when I tried to watch the TV show as a kid I was really confused. Why does their dad not have a beard? Why do they live there? Everything is wrong! Kind of shattered my world.

  3. I loved Farmer Boy, too! Do you like the Nook? I've wondered if I'd want a Nook or a Kindle. What do you think?

    Are you watching The Bachelorette? I'm not, but I was hoping you were filling your mind with all that crap so I could read your funny recaps.

  4. Let me know when you find a parenting book that says I can be lazy and selfish and raise great kids. I would pay good money for that!

    I love Flannery O'Connor's short stories, but I just read one of her two novels, "The Violent Bear it Away," and it wasn't very fun. In case that was next on your reading list.

    It looks like I need to order the whole set of Little House books. We only have one from the middle of the series.

  5. I can't believe I forgot the original thing I was going to comment about. I used to have (and therefore, I suppose, still have) an agreement with Dean that if one of us dies the other is allowed to remarry, as long as he doesn't marry the nanny. But now I don't want to remarry and I'm positive that there's no one else who could even come close to loving my kids like I do, so I really just want him to grow old alone if it comes to that. I guess I need to let him know of this change of plans.

    (Men always do remarry, yaknow? Except for Elder Scott. Bless him.)

  6. I will be surprised if you don't love Jane Eyre - be sure to let us know!!

  7. joann beard was my friend's thesis advisor at sarah lawrence this past year and he says her books are great. now that two people have recommended "in zanesville" maybe i'll read it now.

    also, right now at the national archives they have pa ingalls' homestead application on display. kind of neat.

  8. Oh bless you. Book recommendations are the best.

  9. Size 10- boats? Ha Ha. I wear size 9 1/2 and my sister is an 11. You have no idea. Shopping for cheap shoes or finding shoes at a yardsale is almost impossible. ;)
    Love your blog!

  10. In google reader this post is very suspenseful because none of the titles show.

  11. I am using google chrome and non of the title show up that way either (are there pictues? I don't see any.)

    Anyways. Love the little house books. My kids have said don't read Farmer boy on fast sunday. So much good food in that one.

    I think Pa was a squatter.

    Won't comment on the other books, since I am not sure what they are. I am interested in finding out what book has Jackie O's shoe size.

  12. I liked The Year of Magical Thinking. It's sad but I don't think it ends depressingly or anything. Of course it has been a while.

    Little House were some of my favorite books as a kid. I was never interested in the show, though. I always especially loved On the Banks of Plum Creek. And I always wanted to cry when those stupid crickets got their crops and they couldn't pay for their new house anymore. (Or maybe that was a different one.)

    I just finished Crossing to Safety and am starting on Cold Mountain. CTS was good although I had to pay attention or I got lost in the allusions. That Wally Stegner sure was smart.

    By the way I also read The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child on your recommendation. I totally got some good ideas both for my own life and my parenting. And I realized yet again how alike my son and I are. So thanks for that!

  13. Last thing. I always like to meet other people who don't mind not finishing books. If I book doesn't have me in the first 50 pages or so (or even the first chapter sometimes) I don't mind abandoning it. Maybe I miss out on some good literature that way but I like to think that I have also saved myself hours and hours of wasted life.

    One exception I can think of was Mockingjay, which I plowed through on principle, and I actually kind of wish I hadn't spent those hours of wasted life. Could have just read a plot spoiler online somewhere.

  14. You should try The Wilder Life. Written by a woman obsessed with Little House books--really funny! Love your blog! You crack me up!

  15. I loved the Little House books growing up. I read them 1 million times.

    I love my kindle, but have you seen that newest nook? It is pretty snazzy....

  16. I used to wrap summer sausage and cheese in a cloth napkin and carry it around with me to pretend I was Laura. That was when I was a child, not like last year. Really all I had to do was sit in my room with my napkin and think about being her and I was happy.
    But what I really am writing for is to ask if the "The Children You Want..." book is helpful for teenagers? Because what worked for my 18 year old is not working for the 16 year old and I need help! Am going to ed week in hopes of gaining some insight.

  17. Boats? Perhaps. But my size 10 AAs are really more like skis.

    Recently read The Paris Wife, which made me so agitated with the liberties I thought the author was taking with Hemingway's life that I immediately read A Moveable Feast. So it turns out Paris Wife was fairly accurate and Hemingway was a real piece of work.

  18. So glad you are discovering love for the Little House books. I gladly reread them as an adult. I second Azucar's confusion over the TV show.

  19. Harry gave me The Wilder Life for my b-day - I just read the first few pages but it didn't grab me a lot - I will keep at it if it's going to be funny!

  20. The fact that someone has already written something like your book and it was a success is a good sign. you can't confess that to publishers, and they certainly aren't going to confess it to you, but they are frequently deciding whether to publish you book based on whether there's already one out there like it. I suppose the assumption is that people read more than one similar book. I assume they know what they are doing.

  21. I love the Little House Books and the Anne of Green Gables Books. I would re read them every summer of my childhood and youth. Sort of a book pilgrimage if you will. One of my favorite reads of the last year or so have been "The Hare with the Amber Eyes", Bill Bryson's "At Home" and "The Children's Book" by AS Byatt. Recommend them all. Keep up the book reviews!

  22. I save all these recommendations and take them to the library with me, so thanks. I have been waiting for The Wilder Life to come in. Christian chose the Nook over the Kindle for whatever reasons. So I'm sure it's better.

    I've watched a little of the Bachelorette but Tivo keeps missing it in favor of House.

    Just kiddin' about the boats.

  23. I second the recommendation for The Wilder Years. It was really cute and funny.

    Did they email you about our show finally being on Tv on June 16th?

  24. So many great book suggestions ... thank you! I think I'll have to keep this window open till I can make a list of them.s

  25. I read to my boys every night - ages 8, 5, and 2 (he listens really well, as you can imagine). Since they are Harry Potter nuts we started off with the Sorcerer's Stone. Then I told them that Harry Potter isn't the only worthy reading out there and said we have to switch off with other books. I chose Little House in the Big Woods. My five year old ate it up. He even admitted he likes it better than Harry Potter (I think there are parts in HP that go over his head.) He loves the bears and panthers. After that we read Chamber of Secrets and now we are on Little House on the Prairie. I read them as a kid and I get such a different perspective as an adult. Like, how can Ma indulge Pa's wanderlust? Do they kids really follow the whole, "kids should be seen, not heard" thing? It's nuts. This is already a really long comment, but it's so fascinating! What really strikes me is how important their family unit is. It is their whole world! You are in a real treat with The Long Winter. Read it in the summer so you can bear it.

  26. I just read this post this very second, and shut up. I JUST took "The Year of Magical Thinking" back to the library after trying to make myself finish it for a month! I have never not finished a book before, but I took courage from your previous posts about not finishing books, and declared it much too depressing. For some reason I thought it would be a book about magic. Nope.


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