Sunday, August 13, 2017

July Reads- is it really important?

Sometimes writing about what I've read this past month seems pretty silly in comparison to the big things occurring in this world.  I'm very troubled by a lot of the events that occur daily in our world.    The Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally has me just sick to my stomach.  People have died- innocent bystanders, pilots of Virginia State Patrol helicopter, and many injured.  The light in the darkness for me was the post on FB with the picture of white children reaching out a window to shake former President Obama's hand and with that picture Obama's quote from Nelson Mendela, "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.  For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

So how is reading related to this mess of a world we have made.  Well reading for me is some of the best therapy around.  I think of it as an education on how to love by reading stories of love.  I think of it as an education to history I'm unaware of and ignorant of and therefore the books show me history, ugly truth, and sometimes how to resolve these issues.  Finally, reading is an escape.  It is a way to step away for a few minutes to an hour(s) to find some deep breathing, and rhythm of the reading that helps my anxiety, anger and sadness feel less so.  I found these quotes on reading and feel they are very in line with how I too feel when I read or what I think reading can accomplish. 

“I mean, most people want to escape. Get out of their heads. Out of their lives. Stories are the easiest way to do that.”
Victoria Schwab, This Savage Song

“I spent the rest of the day in someone else's story. The rare moments that I put the book down, my own pain returned in burning stabs.”
Amy Plum, Die for Me

“You're trying to escape from your difficulties, and there never is any escape from difficulties, never. They have to be faced and fought.”
Enid Blyton, Six Cousins At Mistletoe Farm   

Now some may say I'm selfish and escaping through a book is not how we deal with things, but sometimes escaping via reading gives me just enough time to blow off steam and reenter the world in a better frame of mind.  Maybe reading will give me some answers to problems I face or help those I love. Wouldn't it be an amazing feet to conquer some of our current state of affairs , which is depressing if you follow any major news station or media mogul, by opening a book and reading.  So today I'm cutting my commentary short on the books I read this past month, because I'm just sad, angry, scared and confused on what is happening in our country and throughout the world.  I'm hoping to sit down with a book this afternoon and take a break from the Charlottesville sadness, and other too numerous things wrong with this world.  I'll take some deep breaths, and start reading and hopefully I'll be able to do what the last quote above states "... and there never is any escape from difficulties, never. They have to be faced and fought".  I'll hope to be a better fighting woman after an afternoon of reading. 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Four out of 5 stars.  I found this a great story, but not my favorite of the series.  I thought it was too packed with multiple stories within the story and could've been easily made into two books.  I did love the end, even though it was sad.  I also struggled with at the end of book skipping forward 10 years- felt kind of disjointed for me.  What a great series though.  What would the reading world have done without this young man and his brilliant author?  Thanks Harry and J.K. Rowling!

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
4 out of 5 stars.  Listened to this on audio and the author read it which made this memoir even more powerful.  A book everyone should read/listen to.  Obesity, body image, rape, redemption, depression, are just a few of the topics covered in this book.  Made me look at my own thoughts on obesity in a different light.  Well written and despite the heavy topics covered read very quickly.

The Summer Before the War
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
4 out of 5 stars.  Another audiobook for the month.  Loved listening to it for the accent of the reader.  A book that starts in 1914 East Sussex, England.  Beatrice Nash is the main character and I really love her "gumption".  Great leading lady.  This book mainly occurs prior to WWI, but the lead up and brief discussion of events during the start of WWI again make me aware of how little of history I really know.  Great Read/Listen

How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living
How to Be Here: A Guide To Creating a Life Worth Living by Rob Bell
5 out of 5 stars.  I previewed this book earlier- the last post on my blog before this one.  It was jam packed with so many great quotes/ideas/answers I had to share.  Look into this post if interested in seeing what I found so great about this read.

Since We Fell
Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
3 out of 5 stars.  Rachel Childs, main character, is so interesting and I loved her character development.  There are a couple different stories within the main story which revolves around her husband and their marriage.  I can't say a lot or else I'll give too much away, but the reason I didn't rate this book higher was I was disappointed with the ending.  I wanted something different and based on the character development of Rachel throughout the book I thought something different should've happened.  I'm not sure that is a fair way to "star"/rate a book, but that is how I role.  I will be picking up Mystic River soon as I found Denns Lehane's writing style intriguing and read very well.  It has been on my "to read" list for quite awhile and when I picked this book up I had no idea he was the same author of Mystic River. 

Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession
Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession by Julie Powell
3 out of 5 stars.  I was disappointed in this story.  I listened to this one on audio also this month.  Julie Powell read it so that was a plus, but the story was very "me, me, me" and I just got tired of it and frustrated and angry with what I was listening too.  Not giving anything away here.  She and her husband are having major marital problems, due to her infidelity and then he joins in on the infidelity game.  She decides she needs time away so she becomes an apprentice in a butcher shop and tries to figure out her life by cutting meat and then traveling abroad to learn further about meat and butcher profession.    Again probably not the best way to judge a book, but I just really didn't like Julie Powell much after listening to this book.  Her first book Julie and Julia I loved, so unfortunately I was going in with high expectations.  Note to self- no expectations is best in life- even in my reading life.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
4 out of 5 stars.  This was our Book Club read for the month.  This book was recommended to me by another friend whose book club in Texas read it and found it very interesting.  I'm so glad she recommended this book.  It was filled with rich characters.  It was filled with historical fiction which again taught me more about slavery,African and African American oppression.  It is a story many should read.  It is unbelievable what people will face and how they will persevere.  The book spans generations of two half-sisters' and yet it, like many books/stories, circles back around.  Great author and writing!

So friends/bookies/strangers out there that might be reading this I wish you peace and rest in your reading. 

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