Book #68 of 2017 was written by one of my husband's teachers from childhood, Frank Stanley Placzek. I read I Surrendered All aloud to my husband, and we both enjoyed the unmistakable missionary flavor, down to the details of how much family vacations cost. I appreciated the way Placzek was honest about struggles and difficulties. Of hurt feelings decades ago he writes sadly about how an apology never came. But on the other hand, he tells about unexpected positive outcomes of struggles that he could see more clearly years later. Reading this book together reminded my husband and me that our difficult times may look very different when we are publishing our memoirs in our eighties. That's a hopeful way to think.
Book #69 was Luncheon of the Boating Party, by Susan Vreeland. This is the story of the creation of the famous Renoir painting. We learn about who is posing for the painting, how they got their clothes, how Renoir bought the paint - all the details. At one point I got a little bogged down in all those details, but I persevered with the book and was glad I had.
Book #70 was Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng. The first line of the book is "Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet." We spend the rest of the book learning all the things that people never tell each other.
Book #71 was Coming Clean: A Story of Faith, by Seth Haines, and book #72 was his wife Amber C. Haines' book Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home. I enjoyed both of these memoirs.
Book #73 was Two If by Sea, by Jacquelyn Mitchard, a story about survivors of the Christmas Eve tsunami in 2004. While there's some weird magical realism in the story, what interested me was the exploration of the way people recover from grief.
Book #74 was My Cousin Rachel, by Daphne du Maurier. I'm pretty sure I've read this before, but it had been a long time. I downloaded it from the library to read at the beach, and it was the right combination of light and creepy.
Book #75 was The Jane Austen Project: A Novel, by Kathleen A. Flynn. This combination of Jane Austen and time travel was surprisingly good. I'll never give up on reading these Jane Austen spinoffs, and this is why: occasionally I find one that I really enjoy.
It's interesting how often I find while writing these reading update posts that there's a theme to my recent reading. This time it's this: "Just wait. You don't know how all this is going to turn out. You don't know what everyone is thinking and you may not be correctly interpreting what everyone's doing, not entirely. Be patient. Give it time. Some day it may look very different from the way it looks now." Whether or not that's the message of these books, that's the message I need to hear in my life right now, so I'll take it.
3 hours ago