One advantage of not going to work and in fact hardly venturing beyond one's front gate is having extra time to read. Please send me suggestions of low-stress books to read. Funny books? Cheerful books? Absorbing books that will make me forget what's going on around me? Particularly books that I can download for free from the public library in the US that I frequent from afar? Leave them in the comments, please and thank you.
Book #80 of 2019 was Winter Morning Walks, by Ted Kooser. These are poems Kooser wrote and sent his friend Jim Harrison on a postcard. They are lovely and evocative and made me want to go on walks. (Here's a Poetry Friday post I wrote including a poem from this book.)
Book #81 was The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro. I didn't get this book at all, and had to force myself to finish it (because we're going to discuss it in my book group). The fault probably lies with me, because many other people have liked it a lot.
Book #82 was a re-read, Invitation to Tears: A Guide to Grieving Well, by Jonalyn Fincher and Aubrie Hills. I wrote a little bit about it here.
Book #83 was another re-read, Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver. I read it aloud to my husband, and we both liked it. I am a big Kingsolver fan, but reading this aloud made the didactic elements of the story stand out to me more than they did when I read it silently. I wrote about this book here back in 2013.
Book #84 was an old favorite, Persuasion, by Jane Austen. In spite of the troubles, two friends came over and we drank tea and talked about this book, and that was just what I needed. Incidentally, this time of reading it, this novel seems much more about dealing with difficulties than I had realized in the past. Anne's inability to have agency in so many of her life choices felt more stifling to me than I remember.
Book #85 was Aerie, by Maria Dahvana Headley. This was a sequel to Magonia, reviewed here. I really liked it, but I thought it was quite talky and I couldn't picture my students having the patience for it.
Book #86 was Educated, by Tara Westover. I had this book on hold at the library for months and months, and finally it came through. I enjoyed reading it but found the descriptions of abuse difficult. It's an amazing look at how you can live in a subculture and be completely unaware of the outside world and the way others see things. I also appreciated Westover's reflections on how memory works and how she gradually became able to look at her past with more and more courage and honesty. Recommended.
Book #87 was The Last Anniversary, by Liane Moriarty. I liked this pretty well; it kept me reading.
Book #88 was The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall. This was a recommendation from a friend for a comforting read (kind of like what I asked for in the first paragraph of this post). I enjoyed it, and the only thing that would have improved it for the purpose would have been if I had already read it when I was a tween.
Book #89 was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C. S. Lewis. This is the ultimate comfort read, tried and true. It's the first book I read after the earthquake. When I decided I needed to read it, though, I couldn't find it. My son informed me, after hunting in my daughter's room, that all of C.S. Lewis' other books were in there, but not that one. I put out a lament on Facebook, and the next day a friend delivered a copy. It was just the ticket.
Book #90 was another re-read, Night of Cake and Puppets, by Laini Taylor.
Book #91 was a re-read, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming, by Henri Nouwen. I really liked this the first time I read it, but this time it just depressed me. I'm sure the fault is with me and not the book.
Book #92 was another read-aloud to my husband. It was written by a schoolmate of his from Japan and it's called Growing Up Gaijin: An American Kid in 1960s Japan, by Ladd McDaniel. My husband and I enjoyed this very much; it was enough removed from our current surroundings to be relaxing and fun to read, and there was a lot in it that he could relate to, having also grown up as an American kid in Japan in the 1960s.
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