Monday, October 10, 2011

Books I Read in September: 2011

If you are going to keep up on your TV shows AND your reading you are going to have to get a day planner or something. It's worth it though. 

This Life is In Your Hands by Melissa Coleman. 

This is a memoir of a woman who was raised by health-nut hippie-types on a rustic organic farm. It is very, very interesting. Her parents weren't exactly the greatest, though they have some admirable qualities. The dad fools around with a commune-member. (They always do.)  The mom was weak and basically anemic from their diet. The little sister drowns. I don't like the self-congratulatory nature of her parents and neither, I think, does Melissa Coleman. This must have been tricky to write. It's pretty good, but kind of sad to see their lives fall apart.

Growing Up by Brad Wilcox

This book explained a LOT.

Brad is my bud. You probably know and love him. I grew up across the street from his chicken coop, which he lived in with his wife. He was my hometeacher and baptized my sister. I have almost had more full-body contact with him than my husband--because Brad is herr commodore of hugging.

Is it tacky to name-drop  like this? Yes. But basically what I want to do here is debunk the myth of the existence of an an elite Provo royalty--but not the myth of the existence of snobs. (That myth is, unfortunately, true.) Then I want to REBUNK the myth of the existence of an elite Provo royalty and claim Brad Wilcox as the king and sole member. He sang about his Turn on Earth. He changed your life at EFY. He taught your kids' maturation program. Worship him. He has earned it.

At some point you'll want your kids to read this book. It's more detailed than a young child needs, but just right for teens and tweens.  My 14-year-old son begrudgingly read it. He didn't want to, but I told him he could just read it or we could talk about it. I was all, "There's a time you gotta go and show and grow and now you know about the facts of life! The facts of life!" And he was all, "Gimme the book."  My 11-year-old daughter was also embarrassed by the notion but read it. It's good. My friend Julie recommended it to me but since she has no blog it's like this shout-out never even happened.

Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt

This book is really interesting and good. It's about this horrible and opressive but sort of charming, stinky, big black dog. This dog really bothers the characters in the book. One of the characters is Winston Churchill. I guess Winston Churchill (IRL) often referenced his own depression and called it his "black dog." Whether you read this book or not, it really must be said that Winston Churchill is awesome, and depression is hard.

Among Others by Jo Walton

This is a fanciful little novel. I thought I knew some Sci-Fi stuff but Jo Walton put me to shame. It's a really cool story about an out-casty girl making her way at boarding school. She loves and reads and makes references to a million Sci Fi and Fantasy books. Of course, she can do magic. Is your meta detector going off?

I only post books here that I finish. But I always "read" a lot of books I don't finish. Sometimes I don't finish them because I don't like them. But there are other reasons. I might not be in the mood, or I might give up on a book because I'm really excited to start a different book. I used to make myself finish every book I started--but then I would only read one book a year. In order to keep my reading momentum I quit anything I'm not excited about. I have found  that I finish a lot more books, cumulatively. Anyway, that's boring. But I want to give an honorable mention to a book here that I didn't finish but that I actually really liked and was into:

The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier

I love this book. It's beautiful and well-written and has an interesting premise. What happens is one day all pain starts to give off light in all people. So if you have a headache people can see a glow where it hurts. People can't hide their pain. Doctors start diagnosing by the light effect. The novel follows a group of characters who come into possession of the sweet journal of a woman who  transcribed all of her husband's daily love notes: "I love the blue veins in your wrist." "I love the way you throw spaghetti against the wall to see if it's done." It's very good. I don't know why I didn't finish it. I think it was just inconvenient to renew it.

Anything else I should read?

If you want some cozy fall reading, check out my slideshow.


  1. I could have avoided the most awkward conversation of 2010 if I had read Brad Wilcox's book. OR had my son read it first. Lesson learned. The hard way.

  2. Hey, I didn't know you were that tight with Brad Wilcox. Cool. He is our go to guy for lots of family questions. Our oldest two read that book too and then we would talk about each chapter. I liked that a whole lot better than having to come up with the info on my own. Go Brad.

  3. Have you read "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand? I just finished and am so sad to be done. It's the very inspiring true story of an Olympic runner who serves in WWII.

  4. Herr Commodore of hugging is RIGHT... he's the only person who can hug my mom without her punching them in the face.

  5. i'm glad I get to know at least one Provo celebrity. I did see Lisa at the library last week and briefly considered saying HI and pointing out our connection through YOU. something like- you guys might be tight now, but Kacy and I were best friends in third grade... How you like me now?

    Luckily I was too shy. Shyness saves me from all kinds of humiliation.

  6. I shamelessly name-drop Brad Wilcox, but at least I don't drive by his house and leave homemade oreos on his door step. I love the slideshow and can't wait to look into these September books.

  7. Waldo took a Hot Japanese Bath with Brad Wilcox when he was a teenager. Defining moment of his life, pretty much.

  8. brad wilcox DID change my life at efy!

  9. Those sound like fabulous suggestion - I'm definitely going to check at least a few of them out!

  10. Brad was my 6th grade teacher. No lie. Still have the signed copy of Superbaraba he gave me.

  11. Brad Wilcox's book is awesome.

  12. Thanks for mentioning the little sister drowning in This life is in your hands, now I know I shouldn't read it. And I'm not being sarcastic here, you really helped me out. Am supposed to read Nicole Krauss' Great House right now, but can't seem to start. Am stuck in Born To Run, which I like but don't love. Ok, sorry, will try to come up with some real recommendations next time.

  13. Anonymous7:26 AM

    Hi! I wanted to say thanks for all the mini book reviews you do. I've read so many books because of you! I live overseas so it's hard to keep up but now I have a kindle and a library card (!), so I'm checking out all the books you say you like. Thanks!Candice
    I liked the slideshow list too- Jane Eyre is high on my list of spooky fall reading.


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