Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What I've been reading (May 2015)

Real-life dresser stack waiting to fall over

It's the fun time of the month again: time to share what I've been reading with the Modern Mrs. Darcy Quick Lit linkup!  

I had brought home a big stack from the library a while ago, and I just couldn't gain traction with some of the titles.  I'll share what I abandoned farther below, but here's what got shaken out of the stack:

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago.  I've been on a memoir kick since my college days when my sociology professor had us write our autobiographies.  She introduced some of us to titles that would help us realize our projects more vividly and illuminate lives different from our own.  This book made me think of her and our projects.  I appreciated the candid look into big family life in rural Puerto Rico.  Santiago's mother continues to stand out to me as quite the figure: just busting tail to support her family, keep her kids safe, and encourage them to make better lives for themselves.  The book's summary in various places online made references to her journey to Harvard; so, I kept waiting for the narrative to speed up.  Eventually, I realized this is a series of memoirs, and this first book in the series only takes you to her high school years.

Dear Pen Pal, the next book in The Mother-Daughter Book Club Series by Heather Vogel Frederick, affectionately imitates Jean Webster books, especially Daddy Long-Legs.  I needed something easy and breezy, and this book-themed book provided a nice break.  That being said, I couldn't shake an adolescent lit professor's comments about Daddy Long Legs being kind of creepy from my mind because of who Judy's benefactor turns out to be and what that means for the story.  I should read Daddy Long Legs again with a critical eye for I can't remember much about it except its epistolary format and that I liked it well enough.  A bonus about the Mother-Daughter series?  The Concord setting is fun and pleasant.  I've been to Boston a couple of times but never Concord.  I'd love to visit!

Besides these two books, I've also been moving through the last Well-Read Mom selection for the year at a respectable pace, but you probably won't hear about that until July.  Reading an electronic version of that book is undoubtedly helping me not be overwhelmed by its heft, though I don't enjoy staring at the smartphone that long.  I also thumbed through Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey for some interesting factoids about the various schedules and routines of famous creatives.

This month, I abandoned:

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead because the storyline just wasn't grabbing me after a chapter or so, as well as

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert despite its killer description and title, and finally,

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  I read it in high school but wanted to read it again.  I had to let it go after a while.  I needed a lighter read that the book couldn't provide.  I will return to it eventually.

What have you been reading?

P.S.  Read more bookish posts!


  1. Hi Anne! That picture cracked me up because it just kept going, and going... :) that's a lot of books! So have you started Gilead yet? Talk about not being able to gain traction - it's not grabbing me, but I will press on (it's my next book club pick). I really liked Astonish Me!

    1. Hi, Dawn! You know, there are even more books below the last one you can see. Ha! I need some bookcases. I have not started Gilead yet. My Well-Read Mom book is taking up a lot of my time....but I am sad to hear that about Gilead! It sounds so....Peace Like a River/Hannah Coulter-ish. Maybe I'll try Astonish Me again.

    2. Well, I didn't enjoy Peace Like a River (I'm in the minority on that one, I know), and I never read Hannah Coulter. Maybe Gilead improves the further I get into it. :)

    3. It's hard to get traction with Gilead, but I think it's worth it. More worth the effort than Astonish Me . . . IMHO . . . fwiw . . . lol :-) Anymore acronyms I can throw in here?

    4. IKWYM! ;-) I'm going to try Gilead soon!

  2. I love your stack of books! I read almost all of my books on kindle and my kindle stack is eerily similar to your hard copies. I haven't posted my 'What I Have Abandoned' books but that's a great idea.

    1. Thank you! I really need a bookshelf! Haha! Thanks for stopping by!