8.06.2015

reading rainbow

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!

11 comments:

  1. Every time you do a book review post, I think, "I need to do one of these!" and I never do. You're a better woman than me!

    I'm so glad you read The Glass Castle- parts of it are just so unbelievable and it breaks my heart knowing that they really happened.

    I'm re-reading Paper Towns. Hates can (and I'm sure, will) hate, but I love John Green. I'm also reading a 179 page document for work, SO SHOOT ME <33

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  2. I have been so bad at reading lately. Not in the sense like, I forgot how to read, but I've just been choosing TV or my phone over reading at night. I'm mad at myself for it. ANYWAY, you have just inspired me to get my Kindle out and get back on the horse during my lunch break this afternoon, because In Cold Blood is CALLING to me right now. Thank you for this!! So many great suggestions.

    Can I just say... seeing your blog in my reader so much lately makes me so happy?! That's all.

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    1. NO QUESTION MARK AT THE END THERE. That was not a query, just an excited statement. BYE.

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  3. When I saw your first CS Lewis mention my first thought was "tell me she's read Screwtape Letters?!"! That book changed me! The way I think day to day, etc. that man is such a talented author!!!!! I'm so glad you've enjoyed reading so much lately :)

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  4. I'm in the midst of reading In Cold Blood right now. You're right - WORDY. Holy moly. I keep having to put it down and come back to it because my eyes glaze over and I realize I've "read" several paragraphs without paying any attention to what's happening. I'm determined to get through it though because stories and documentaries about murderers intrigue me to no end.

    I'm so glad you finally read the Diary of Anne Frank - one of my all-time favorite books, plus she has the same birthday as me, so there's that.

    I read the synopsis of Station Eleven and...nope. Skipping.

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  5. I LOVE memoirs- they are my all-time favorite. Have you read "A Piece of Cake" ?! Craziest life story, rags-to-riches kinda story too. I still think about it all the time. I'm going to add The Glass Castle onto my reading list. We read Screwtape Letters in college and it rocked my world too. Jared is a HUGE C.S. Lewis fan and has everything he's ever written!!

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  6. Great. Add like 10 more books to my to-read list! Haha. I loved The Great Divorce- I loved how Lewis showed how the glory of heaven could be right in front of a person's face, but they rationalize their way in to hell. I still need to read The Screwtape Letters. I really think you would like Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle. She is basically the woman equivalent of C.S. Lewis. Some of the things she says makes me question some of her theology (she is so intelligent that I have to stop and by like What?). BUT she has some great things to say about being a Christian artist in this book.
    I am also reading Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae. I saw her at a Christian woman conference this past year, I really like what she has to say :)
    I read In Cold Blood in high school- but like most books I read in high school, I skimmed it fast and sometimes didn't know what was going on lol. There are a lot of classics that I in read in my English classes that I want to go back and have a do-over!
    Also, we still need to have our Words and Needles club ( and for anyone else reading this we mean knitting/sewing needles! Ha)

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    1. That's such a good way to sum up The Great Divorce! I loved it. I can't wait to read that book...I've heard she can be a little off theologically, but if you recommend it I know I'll like it too. I hated everything I read in high school, so I'm doing the same thing and rereading classics or reading some I never got a chance to read. It's crazy how much more I appreciate them now.

      YES! Let's do it asap!

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  7. Did you know there's a movie based on The Prize Winner? I think it's on the 'flix.

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  8. It's cool to see a few Lewis books on this list--I've read just about everything he's ever wrote--even his sci-fi series, even though I don't like sci-fi and it's a really weird series. He thinks in such an interesting way, but beyond that, I simply love the way he works with words. The 10 Kids on 25 Words or less really intrigues me.
    I've been reading a lot more here, but I'm mostly just trying to get through all the books on my parents bookshelves. Books are my mom's favorite thing to buy so I'm not sure I'll ever finish.

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  9. Ummm...are we the same person? 1) Screwtape Letters is one of my all-time favorite books. I also call it a life-changer. I have read it several times, and will be reading it over and over for the rest of my life 2) I also recently read Anne Frank for the first time 3) The Great Divorce was a difficult read, I thought. I read it really quickly, though, and I think that might be why I feel like I didn't fully "get" it. I'll try it again, because I have yet to be disappointed by Lewis (HA! Like that could ever happen). 4) I LOOOVED The Glass Castle 5) Obviously, I can 100% trust your book taste, so I put two books on hold at the library before even finishing your post (The Prize Winner of Defiance, and Between You and Me. I'll let you know if you've let me down!

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