Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January Book Report

My son and oldest daughter went back to school last week and while they were here, I hung out wherever they were.  As a result, I spent a lot of time in the family room playing games and watching sports, mostly football and golf.  I like sports, I really do, but I don't care to watch hours and hours of it on the TV.  Still, I love being with my children and rather than take myself away to my attic studio, I stayed with them and read, looking up whenever there was an exciting or controversial play/shot/whatever.  Here are two books I read of note:

1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  This book is on most Best Books of 2015 lists.  I admit to being hesitant about reading it.  I'm a huge fan of All the Light We Cannot See and I wasn't certain I wanted to read another WWII book told from the perspective of two primary protagonists.  I'm glad that I "had" to read this book for my book group because I would have missed a very good read.  The Nightingale is all about the courage of ordinary folk who do extraordinary things in the midst of tremendous peril because they feel compelled to do what is right despite of the risks.  It helps to put a lot of things in perspective.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  This Young Adult book was recommended by a friend.  Like many good YA books, there's a great deal more to this than might appear at first glance.  Yes, this is about two teenagers who fall in love for the first time and yes, this book captures the glee and euphoria that come along with discovering that the person you like actually likes you too, and at the same time.  But this book has more meat on its bones than just the love story.  It's about perception, hard knocks, the wisdom of children, and charity when it's least expected. This is a good book when you want something of substance but don't want to be overwhelmed.

Though I'm not finished with this one yet, The Geography of Genius by Eric Weiner has me completely engaged.  Why do pockets of exceptional creative output arise in certain places at certain times?  This is what the author is exploring and trying to (somewhat) quantify through an examination of various time periods and locales.  I'm at the start of the book and Weiner's trying to "recreate" Athens from millennia - ago to discover / uncover the unique circumstances that gave rise to philosophers, orators, historians and poets whose work we still read.  I'll keep you posted.

Next week I'll be happily ensconcing myself in the studio with two projects that have mid-February deadlines.  But the reading won't end.  What are you reading?  Any suggestions?


Maria Shell said...

Thank you for the reading advice. I am going to read these books!

Cindy Green said...

I also loved All the Light we Cannot See - will have to read The Nightengale. I just finished "Still Life With Bread Crumbs" by Anna Quindlen - loved it! Also, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd - very good. Thanks for the suggestions!

Robin said...

I used to read... a lot, but seems like these days I'm good for a good magazine. I did however enjoy listening to all of Malcolm Gladwall's books! He's so cerebral and interesting! Just finished Elizabeth Gilbert's "Big Magic," which is a good read on the creative process.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for a book on the westward expansion in the U.S. In the 1800s. I just saw The Revenant last week with my son and I must meet my annual New Years resolution to read at least one non-fiction book during the year. Living just west of Kansas City, there are signs all over town saying Oregon/California/Santa Fe/ Fort Riley/Fort Leavenworth Trail crossed here. (Through my property too it would seem!). Any suggestions? Ging