I’ve started like 17 different posts this week, which is pretty much how my life feels right now. A little here, a little there, and not much actually accomplished. We’ve all been sick around here for what feels like my entire life, but, knowing I can be a tad dramatic, is probably more like a month. Either way I’ve been lying low, taking lots of naps, and trying to conserve my energy for our afternoon Elmo-athons (the kid has Elmos coming out her ears, which is perhaps not a sentence I ever thought I would write…).
What I really want to do, though, is crawl under the covers and read the week away. Did you guys used to do that when you were home sick? It was heaven. I’d watch “The Love Boat” (a huge treat since we didn’t watch TV) and then get my stack of books and tuck in. (Yes, I was also the kid who had friends over for “reading dates” where we literally wouldn’t talk for hours while reading side-by-side. We may have also checked out books to each other and implemented a modified version of the Dewey Decimal System. I never said I was cool.)
Unless I miraculously get a call from the Babysitting Fairy, I’m probably going to have to keep sneaking in reading time while microwaving or brushing my teeth, but, just in case, I’d like us all to be prepared. So, here are my fave books from the past couple of months.
1. The Expats by Chris Pavone: I may have waxed poetic earlier about what a huge fan I am of the thriller, but there is nothing better than stumbling upon a page-turner where you’re willing to risk an exhausted day with a toddler in order to find out how the damn thing ends. This one is worth the caffeine necessary to get through the next day…
2. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe: I’ve gotta admit the title of this one kept me at bay for a couple of months because it sounded so…intense (hey, I’m pregnant and, my husband might say, a teensy bit hormonal). And it is, but it is also a poignant love letter to the power of books and motherhood. I found myself scribbling down Mary Ann’s words of wisdom as guideposts for my own parenting and how to live my life (everything from the importance of thank you notes to managing family and work to buying art from young artists at a point in their lives where it will make a real difference). I first borrowed it from the library, but ended up ordering a copy so I can refer back to it.
3. The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes: Okay, so I screamed when I saw a copy of this over Christmas in a UK bookstore. It doesn’t come out here until April, she’s one of my favorite authors, and I could lord the copy over my entire family? I think that deserved a (potentially unsettling) scream of joy, although the lady next to me in the queue may not have agreed.
Marian never fails to deliver. Her books are frothy and fast-moving, but deal with characters who are working their way through what feels like very real pain. And, they are invariably hilarious! Maybe it’s because of all my sisters, but I have a soft spot for the Walsh sisters and I am happy to report Helen is as quirky and charming in a totally messed up way as the rest of her brood.
4. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick: I knew things were bad in North Korea, but reading this book gave me an entirely new level of chills. Told from the perspective of six ex-pats now living in South Korea, it’s full of harrowing tales of starvation, propaganda and fear (way to sell it, Kara). But, it’s also full of humanity and stories of ingenuity and survival. To me, it hits that sweet spot in non-fiction where Demick drops you so completely into her subjects’ lives that you’re left thinking about their stories months afterwards.
Now, please, share! Are you reading anything that you love? I need some new books!
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