I have been on a major reading bender this summer. I watched so much TV the first few months of Gracie's life that my brain started to turn to mush, which I think is why I've been devouring books like candy during nap time, after the baby's in bed, and when she's occupied and I can spare a few minutes. Reading has kept me sane the past few months with a little baby. These are honestly just a sample of what I've read lately.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls-4 stars: Whooaaaa buddy. This one was a doozy. It was sad, it was crazy, it was tragic, it was mind-boggling. It's a memoir about growing up with an alcoholic father and a completely crazy mother and how the kids essentially raised themselves. I am stunned they turned out the way they did. This book haunted me for days after I finished it and it's a story I'll never forget.
For fans of: memoirs, tragedies, rags-to-riches stories
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan-5 stars: This book was similar to The Glass Castle in many ways, in that the family fought poverty and an alcoholic father. Evelyn Ryan wrote poems and rhymes and submitted them during the contesting era of the 1950s. She was hilarious and witty and used her language and wordplay skills to feed her 10 children while her husband squandered away his earnings on booze. Her daughter wrote the book, and even though their life wasn't easy, it's a charming and heartwarming story. I loved it, and I recommend it to anyone, especially lovers of words. This woman was brilliant. I also love that it was set in Ohio.
For fans of: wordplay, writing, puns, memoirs, the 1950s
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh-3 stars: There were parts of this book I loved, and parts of it I hated. This books flashes back from the main character's time in foster care to present day when she's working as a florist. I loved learning about the meaning of each flower and the way that was woven into the story, but there were parts that were really hard to read. If you have a baby, maybe don't read it for awhile. There's a part where a newborn isn't treated well, and it had me sobbing and running into Gracie's room late at night to lie on the floor next to her crib while she slept. Judge me.
For fans of: flowers, feeling a lot of feelings, reading about foster care
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis-4 stars: This book is about a busload of people from hell visiting heaven and their experience. It was a bit hard to grasp at times and kind of ethereal almost, but it was really good. A little bit sci-fi. There were some sections I read several times in a row because they were just so good and some that I had a hard time understanding. It's a quick read and took me only 2 or 3 days to get through it.
For fans of: theology, science fiction, thought-provoking books
I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree by Laura Hillman-5 stars: Yes, yes, and YES. I loved and adored this book. Laura (Hannelore) was in the concentration camps but was rescued due to Schindler's List. Her story is absolutely amazing and so heartwarming. I blew through this book and then renewed it at the library so I could force my mom to read it. She loved as much as I did. Laura witnessed and experienced unspeakable things, but part of her story is heartwarming at the same time. Read it!
For fans of: memoirs, history, WWII, the Holocaust, love stories
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis-5 gigantic stars: I'm truly not exaggerating when I say this book changed my life. It is seriously powerful and eye-opening. It completely changed the way I think about spiritual matters and view the world. The book is comprised of letters from Screwtape, an experienced demon, to his nephew Wormwood, who is learning how to tempt. Screwtape teaches Wormwood how to distract humans from God and the church, and I will never look at my life the same way again. There were so many good quotes that I could've highlighted the entire book. It's a serious topic, but C.S. Lewis is so hilariously witty that I laughed out loud a few times. The man is a genius! This book is tied with The Hiding Place for my all-time favorite book, and I think I'm going to reread it again in the next few weeks. I'll be reading this over and over for the rest of my life.
For fans of: theology, thought-provoking books, Christianity, WWII
Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris-4 stars: This book made my heart sing. It's written by a copy editor at The New Yorker and is part memoir, part grammar textbook, but the entire thing is hilarious. Mary is hysterically witty and has the best sense of humor. I cackled reading about the proper usage of semi-colons. Making grammar funny is a true gift, and she has it. I'll admit, you have to really love grammar and the English language to fully appreciate this book. Reading the rules of commas is relaxing to me, so I'm clearly not the average person, but any lover of words needs to read this book. There are a few chapters here and there that don't seem to fit/are incredibly wordy and boring, but I still wholeheartedly loved it.
For fans of: grammar, English, writing, literature, all things witty
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote-4 stars: I'm officially a Truman Capote fan. I read and loved Breakfast at Tiffany's in high school, so my English teacher told me to read this book. 10 years later, I finally read it. And it was SO GOOD. It's long and wordy, took forever to read, and could easily be condensed to half the size, but I couldn't put it down. Capote travelled to a tiny town in Kansas, where a family of 4 was brutally murdered for no apparent reason, to research and interview the townspeople. The book starts before the murder and goes through the sentencing and death of the killers. As soon as I finished it, I went on a google spree to see pictures of the murderers and accidentally saw pictures of the crime scene. It was horrifying. Do yourself a favor and be careful googling. But read it! Just not before bed. Trust me.
For fans of: murder mysteries, true stories, Dateline, horror stories
I didn't mention it since I'm probably the only person who hadn't read it yet, but I finally read The Diary of Anne Frank, and IT WAS SO GOOD. Loved it. Devoured it. I want to read it again. I'm in the middle of Station Eleven right now, and all I think is "meh." I had high expectations after hearing rave reviews, but I can't get into it.
Also, I just requested a book from the library on economics, because hashtag nerd.
What have you been reading? Tell me everything!