I am on track towards my 2019 Reading Goals - at the very least my no.3 reading goal - Read 120 books. In the first third of the year, I've read 40 books. Thus, if I maintain my current reading pace I should have no problem reaching my goal of 120 books. Speaking of goals, my no. 2 reading goal - Read 3 books a-loud to my husband is just about 2/3 completed, and will more than likely surpass this goal. Of course, the no.5 reading goal - documenting what I'm reading - is moving along swimmingly. I love the traveler's notebook size. I did, however, abandon the idea of printing my pages at home because they just weren't printing clean and I wasn't happy with the results. I do have all my pages, thus far, prepped, and ready to have printed at Persnickety Prints, my usual printing company. In fact, there is a sale this weekend!
This month has been an - unusual - selection mixing some amazing books with some not-so good. I have a huge stack of library reading material to plow through in May that I am eager to get to. Until then,
Educated, a Memoir by Tara Westover. Westover is my daughters' age. It is difficult to comprehend that a child growing up in the United States would have had to contend such a harrowing, excruciatingly painful and heart-wrenching life and yet, somehow, with grit, come out alive, educated and - thriving. The most difficult readings were of the abuse Tara was subjected to both by her father and her brother, Shawn. Horrendous abuse - disgusting, gut-clenching. At one point I almost puked, and while it was for what Tara had endured, it was also because of what I had endured at the hands of my ex-husband. And, now, because I cannot, will not, reflect on those memories, I'll end my review. Suffice to say, Educated is a compulsory read, brilliantly written and unbelievable. Unbelievable in the way one says 'unbelievable' not that they don't believe it happened but 'unbelievable' in the way one says they can't believe it happened. If I haven't already said it, Tara Westover is brilliant. Her brilliance is echoed through her words. 30/120 Bibliophile, an Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount. Without a doubt the highlight and star of Bibliophile are Mount's own drawings on each and every page as it is an 'illustrated' miscellany. Mount is a renowned illustrator of books, drawings of book spines and covers, and many of ideal bookshelves. It's a clever, catchy niche, perfect for any bibliophile. Amidst her drawings are brief summary's about authors, books, genres, bookish people, types of writing, etc., a veritable litany of everything books. While I garnered several books for my holds list at the library, there was not enough intriguing tidbits of Mount's chosen pieces she highlights to solicit more for my to be read lists. I am not disappointed, per se, but I have read other compulsory bibliophile-type books in which my TBR grew exponentially (ie. The Book Girl, The Read-a-loud Family, and I'd Rather Be Reading). I did, however, learn several interesting facts about authors, book titles, and book stores, even. I loved the Little Free Libraries pages and the guest appearance by Ann Bogel, herself. 31/120
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. "First published in 1970, brings together twenty years of correspondence between Helene Hanff, at the time, a freelance writer living in New York City, and a used-book dealer in London at 84, Charing Cross Road. Through the years, though never meeting and separated both geographically and culturally, they share a winsome, sentimental friendship based on their common love for books. Their relationship, captured so acutely in these letters, is one that has touched the hearts of thousands of readers around the world. I adored this delightful epistolary non-fiction." - Amazon. I adore this epistolary, compulsory, witty, and clever little book. Even though one can read through in a little over an hour it is an hour or so well-spent. 32/120
What Now? by Ann Patchett. Before I dig into her greater - and longer works of fiction, I wanted to see if, possibly, I might like her writing. What Now? is a most enjoyable, however short it is - essay, of her acclaimed commencement address to her Alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College. Not a typical speech, Patchett addresses the graduates with candor and wit, but even more importantly, real hope for their future. She uses her own story, her own life of roads not taken, roads bypassed, U-turns, all contributing to what, and where, life has brought her. There are several take-away life lessons, What Now? is thought-provoking and astute. Not just for every graduate, but for everyone. P.S. Ignore the senseless photo inserts. 33/120
Deep Work, Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted Word by Cal Newport. While I am most certainly not the intended audience, I did, however, come away from Deep Work, with a solid understanding of the differences between the deep work necessary for focused work that will lead to success and the shallow work that, unless, we are intentional, will do nothing toward, or for, those life-changing, spectacular, and extraordinary works. That said - "I'm not the intended audience" - I did ask myself these question, "I have been wanting to write a Bible study for years. What if I applied the lessons I learned from Deep Work toward writing a study I've longed to write? What if I began managing my technology? What if I implemented focused, uninterrupted hours? What if I focused on progress?" Not surprisingly, I even landed on what I wanted to study and write about. 34/120
Cherish by Gary Thomas. We're finished! Cherish by Gary Thomas is our fourth book we have read aloud together since September 2018. Cherish is absolutely fabulous! It just might be the best book on marriage I have ever read. Remembering our marriage vows, which is the reason in this season we haven't given up on our marriage - because of the vows and covenant we made with God - to love and to cherish, this book is solely on cherishing your spouse. Loving and cherishing are different and Thomas explains how they are different and how we can and why we should be cherishing our spouses. I would recommend this book to everyone who is single considering marriage, engaged couples, and most definitely married couples. 35/120
Virgil Wander by Leif Enger. Saved from death out of the icy Lake Superior, Virgil Wander, movie theater owner and city clerk (because no one in town has just one job) of a dying upper Midwestern town, is not the same after the accident that affects his memory and language, and he just doesn't navigate life as he once did. He sees the world in a new way and this concept of seeing permeates the book. As Wander adjusts to life after the accident he also grows his language throughout the book, truly an interesting way to disperse adjectives into writing. Virgil is supported by a quirky ensemble of intriguing and endearing characters. The end: I did not see coming. Favorite quote: Why am I still surprised when it turns out there is more to the story...A person never knows what is next - I don't, anyway. The surface of everything is thinner than we know. A person can fall right through without any warning at all." 36/120
Rooted: The Hidden Places Where God Develops You by Banning Liebscher. 37/120
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. A novella one can read in one sitting - if you want to. I found it a bore and simply - MEH! Literally, The Uncommon Reader's only redeeming quality is the subject matter, or concept: the draw of reading and books once someone gets their hands on a perfectly perfect book, the giddiness one feels for a mobile library, and how books can drastically change one's life. 38/120
Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. "Shape habits mindfully so that when we fall back on them at times of stress, we're following activities that make our situation better." Rubin makes good points, has noteworthy ideas regarding habits that resonate. Unfortunately, whenever she uses herself in her examples she always comes across condescending. It even seemed that every category she placed people in she 'just happens' to be in the category that has the fewest issues or negative tendencies or downfalls. I remember reading one of her other books and hearing the same condescending and arrogant tone, as well. That said, I tried to put aside her tone and hear what she said. I was interested in her thoughts on monitoring our habits. I was surprised to read that it really doesn't take 21 days to make a habit, as we have often heard, but research has found that it takes 66 days to truly form a habit. All in all, it was a worthy read setting aside Rubin's - haughty, superior tone. 39/120
The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie. I literally chose this Agatha Christie mystery solely for the bookish title and clever cover. While that may be the reason I chose the book I knew without a doubt it would also be an easy - yet mysterious - and utterly genius read. A body is found in the library...and so the mystery begins. It is amazing to me how Christie is able to pack a punch in only 160 pages. Such a gifted storyteller. 40/120
My digital travelers notebook-size album documenting what I've been reading lately:
The Travelers Notebook: The printed pages (seen above) are 4 x 8 inserts I attach directly on to the TN insert pages. I create my pages digitally, only. I use a large selection of products from Ali Edwards, In a Creative Bubble, Kellie Stamps, Kerri Bradford, Paislee Press, Studio Calico, and One Little Bird, all designers in the scrapbooking community who create physical and digital product to use in scrapbooking memories and projects, such as documenting what I've been reading lately.