Thursday, October 15, 2015

What I've been reading (September/October 2015)

You guys, I missed two months of Quick Lit!  I was in the middle of back-to-homeschool and house selling action, and I let posting go.  It's the first time I have missed the linkup.  That makes this month a little longer, which is fun.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo had some wisdom in it.  I like her idea of being surrounded by things that spark joy.  I mean, I certainly believe that form and function can harmonize.  Your dish drainer and laundry hamper don't have to be the cheapest and ugliest things you can find.  I'm with her on the idea of keeping what you love, not seeing what you can discard.  I asked myself that very question a year ago, here on the blog, about my childhood possessions.  Otherwise, this book didn't change my life, though if you go through your possessions and recognize in your being whether you really truly love something or you're just keeping it around out of fear/guilt/indecision AND you do this within a matter of days, you will change your life.

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt made me want to write a novel for younger people.  That's how good he is at writing.  He makes you think you can do it, too.  I knew Doug Swieteck from The Wednesday Wars, and this book confirms the story one might have guessed about his background, which Schmidt illustrates deftly.  I thought the ending wrapped up a little too neatly, but Doug's growth through birds, drawing, working, and good friends shines throughout the book.  I'll definitely reread this one.

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson was a little scary.  I'm already cautious about what I post on the Internet, and this made me think I wasn't crazy for doing so.  Ronson looked up all these people who have made very public mistakes, gone through the wringer, and lived to tell about it.  He asked over and over: What was it like?  How did you recover?  Why did you come out on the other side of this strong while others are in hiding?  I also thought the whole topic spoke volumes about our propensity for sin, confession, and atonement.  The writing was witty and engaging, his eye so observant. Writing this reminds me to look up Ronson's other books and put them on my To Be Read list.

Girl at the End of the World: My Escape From Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future by Elizabeth Esther was a heartbreaking, yet very readable, memoir about the pain of growing up in a fundamentalist cult and how she made her way out of it.  As a person with a newly developed devotion to the Virgin Mary, I was very moved by her role in Esther's reception into the Catholic Church:  "What if God is pursuing me through the gentle love of His Son's mother? What if, knowing that all masculine roads to God are blocked for me, Jesus has sent His mother to lead me back to Him?"  I'll surely read this one again someday and look forward to anything else Esther publishes.  (I read this book as part of my Spiritual Reading Plan.)  Kudos to her.

Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West with Mary Lynn Kotz was a respectful and affectionate account of West's long career as Chief Usher of the White House.  He was present from FDR and Eleanor to Richard and Pat Nixon and shares everything from how the First Ladies preferred to address the duties of the day to how they liked to decorate their private rooms.  Something interesting of note: the White House staff doesn't get to go to Inauguration Day.  They are too busy coordinating the moving out of the last president to the moving in of the next!

Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide by Gabrielle Stanley Blair was a lovely idea book for families.  Books like this are meant to be flipped through, but I read it page-by-page.  My heart was warmed by the acknowledgement of bedsharing, and I liked her assertion that your house is your house, and it is okay to refuse Buzz Lightyear bedsheets for aesthetic purposes.  (And, hey, those kind of sheets are usually so scratchy!)  Fun and beautiful, though I couldn't help thinking there were often still too many breakables in many of the photos.

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel was just lovely.  It was on my radar (as so many books are) because of Modern Mrs. Darcy's mentions, but the deal was sealed when I found it available to download through my library alliance.  The book was explained in more than one place as the movies Sliding Doors and P.S. I Love You combined.  That is an apt description. However, if you are concerned it could be schmaltzy or overwrought, I am here to tell you it is neither of those things.  It was easy to read but not poorly written; it flowed so nicely.  It's also a really interesting look into the world of music therapy and being deaf/hard of hearing.  Loved it.


Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center (I am sad this is on the abandoned list. I liked The Lost Husband and was hoping for another winner.)
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown  (Abandoning this one felt ironic.)

What have YOU been reading?  Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy!


  1. I think I'll have to add So You've Been Publicly Shamed to my to-read list!

    1. It was very good! Thanks for dropping by!

  2. I read an article by Ronson a few months ago on this topic; it might have been an excerpt from the book. It WAS scary to think what the consequences of a flippant post or remark can be, and how condemning our society has become.

    The Hannah book looks like one I'd like. I know she's popular but I've never read anything of hers. I always enjoy your book choices!

    1. Thank you, Jeannie! I always enjoy yours, too. :)

  3. Okay for Now is just beautiful. Gary Schmidt has such a deep, sensitive understanding of young people. I want to be him when I grow up.

    1. Me, too! Thank you for commenting, Caroline! :)