Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What I've been reading - December 2015

Hello, readers!  It's time to check out what I've been reading again, and as always, I am linking up to Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit linkup.  Be sure to check out all the other readers to get more short and sweet book reviews.

Ida Elisabeth by Sigrid Undset was the Well Read Mom selection of the month.  I would never have picked up this book without WRM (I probably would've tried Kristin Lavransdatter first), and I am mostly glad I read it. Set in 1930s Norway, protagonist Ida Elisabeth slugs through a difficult family life with the seeming toughness of a bull.  The gal doesn't give up. She hangs on, experiences tremendous growing pains, and learns the meaning of self-sacrifice.  One fellow WRM remarked at our meeting that Ida Elisabeth's life was like purgatory on earth.  I concurred.  I can appreciate where the book went, how it ended, and what I took from it, but I can't say I actually recommend it.  At least, not in the way I recommend last month's Well Read Mom selection, Shadows on the Rock. Maybe something was lost in translation.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert was a fun, jaunty read from a warm, encouraging author.  I read a large print edition so it was a particularly big experience!  Ha!  But, no, I really appreciated this book from its surprising account of where a book idea went when Gilbert didn't follow through on the inspiration to her insider look at what people tell themselves when they want to create but feel all the feels of fear.  I'll probably read this again, and I'll probably want my own copy someday.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt was my next (quick) read, and it was a departure from the beloved style of The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now.  The core of this book was handled more seriously, whereas Wednesday and Okay used humor to work through their heavy subjects. So, it was a quieter book, more simple, but it still had some of that Schmidt wisdom slid in there for us to take in.  Evocative.  Don't miss it if you're a Schmidt fan, but it's not my favorite of his so far because I didn't completely buy into the ending.  (I'm still so inspired by you, Mr. Schmidt!)

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle was my last read of the month.  I saw it suggested on Goodreads, and I loved the whole Broadway fan aspect of the novel.  Nate's super-ultra-mega awareness and energy levels as he sneaks to NYC for an audition about wore me out within the first few chapters (and read a little forced), but there were times I laughed out loud, too.  I mean, I cackled near the end of the book when Nate is asked if he likes waffles and Federle writes the following to express the obviousness of Nate's answer: "I want to say, "Is Christine Daae's high note pre-recorded in Phantom?", but it seems too early in the day for that kind of insider stuff."  And I loved Nate's actual audition.  So, for anyone who lives and breathes musical theater, I imagine you would have affection for this book.  Some parents will want to preview.

I have very nearly abandoned The Expats by Chris Pavone.  Should I give it a few more pages?  I sense it could be getting more exciting soon, but I would just like it to go ahead and get more exciting.

What have you been reading lately?