February has been a month of good reading, if I have had a little trouble settling down into a book from time to time. I started out the month with Unbroken, and I read it every chance I got–reading it in the cracks and crevices of time that I find in my days. I couldn’t stop talking about it, and I don’t feel I did it justice at all in the review of it I wrote. After reading it (and talking about it to almost everyone I met), I just couldn’t set my mind to read anything. I tried finishing Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, but between its convolusions and my penchant for fiction, I just couldn’t do it then. I ordered and read a couple of chapters of Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well-Educated Mind, thinking that I need some discipline in my reading life. I do need that, for sure, and I will finish both Voskamp’s and Bauer’s books, eventually. I might even put what they recommend, the habitual giving of thanks and the thoughtful reading of important books, a try. I picked up Jean Fleming’s A Mother’s Heart (which I have read before) and dipped into it, seeking comfort and instruction after a few hairy days on the mothering and homeschooling front. (Yes, we have those, too. You’d better believe it!) I even tried to read The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley (I was inspired by Dawn’s review), but I couldn’t navigate the confusion of Ptolemy Grey’s mind (and hence the story) at the time. I might try this one again laster, when I’m in the mood for something a little more challenging. I even tried The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (inspired by Sarah’s review), but I wasn’t willing at the time to wade through a bunch of adolescent cursing and s**ual references. I’m not saying it’s not a good story, and in fact, I might very well go back and read it sometime. I’m just not in the mood for any of that business now.
What I like most of all, what I seek, is a good story, and I found it in a trio of books (so far) this month:
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
- One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
- Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg
Unbroken is the only one of these I’ve reviewed yet; reviews of the others are forthcoming.
Bloggy-wise, I’ve finally published reviews of all the books I read in the month of January that I am going to review. I intended to review every one of them, but I just got too far behind and finally gave up on reviewing Behind the Mountains by Edwidge Danticat. I first read about Danticat on Janet’s blog (here’s her review of a different book by Danticat), and when I saw Behind the Mountains in the juvenile fiction section at the library, I picked it up. I like stories about immigrants, and that’s what this one is. It’s a story based on the author’s life–a very solid story, well told, but it didn’t just grab me. Still, something about it somehow reminded me just a tad bit of Cry, the Beloved Country. (I think it’s really the voice of the narrator, not the story, that is similar.)
Well. I went off on a tangent, didn’t I? (I also said I wasn’t going to review that book, but I did anyway, just a little, didn’t I?) These are the books I’ve reviewed since last month’s Nightstand post, linked to my reviews:
- Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery
- The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame
- Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Betti on the High Wire by Lisa Railsback
- Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
Of course, I’ve also read a small mountain of books to my girls, several of which I’ve reviewed for Read Aloud Thursday posts. Our current shared chapter book is Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field; I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a kid’s book as much as I’ve enjoyed this one. A review for it is forthcoming, too, of course.
My Bible reading has been a little disinterested and undisciplined this month. One of my problems is that I have such a hard time finding truly alone time to read, and this is something I really need, preferably first thing in the morning. A large part of this is due to a lack of discipline on my part (to get up early enough; to not do other things instead of reading my Bible), but to be fair to myself, I have to say that it also has to to with the unpredictability of a nursing baby. 🙂 I have also been sort of ho-hum about reading Exodus again. I don’t really know why–I just crave something else. I have lately begun to try to satisfy that craving by doing topical studies on verses and then simply meditating on the verses, but I also want to continue to make progress in the narrative of the Bible. I plod on. I’ve been picking up a devotional book, A Shelter in the Time of Storm by Paul David Tripp (inspired by Lisa Notes), from time to time, as well as the beloved My Utmost for His Highest. I have to say that My Utmost has provided just what I’ve needed to hear on several consecutive days this month. Good stuff.
As for next month, who knows? I’ve begun Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, and it’s showing promise. I’m on the list at the library for Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. I also have a novel or two by Jane Austen on my radar, for the Jane Austen challenge I’m supposed to be participating in. We’ll see what strikes my fancy.
For more Nightstand posts, head over to 5 Minutes for Books.