It’s Monday, March 30 — What Are You Reading?

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Cowboy boots are a must in Nashville.

After a whirlwind weekend in Nashville, I need some R and R — reading and recovery! I’d never been to a bachelorette party before, but I did know that I wouldn’t need to bring my usual quota of reading material. I managed to make it through People Style Watch on the plane before falling asleep. (I’m not falling for their suggestions on spring fashion — bellbottoms and overalls were not attractive when I wore them back in the 1970s, and they haven’t improved in the last 40 years.)

This week promises to be quiet and peaceful, with the schools on spring break and lots of people out of town. Last week was a flurry of activity in the bookstore as customers rushed in to pick up books to read on the beach and the plane.

Some readers are serial monogamists, sticking with one book and then moving on to the next. Others are polygamists, juggling several books at once. (I just Googled the term “book polygamist” to make sure I wasn’t inadvertently plagiarizing, and stumbled upon a list of “popular polygamy books”. Turns out I’ve read most of them — is that weird?) I am, and have always been, a polygamous reader. I like juggling several books — usually one novel, one or two nonfiction books, and an audiobook. I like at least one of the books to be an e-book so I can read it in bed after my husband falls asleep.

9780385538985This week’s e-book is The Folded Clock: A Diary, by Heidi Julavits. I started it last week and was immediately captivated. It’s a memoir based on the author’s discovery of her childhood diaries. The Folded Clock earned a rave review on the front page of yesterday’s New York Times Book Review. Here’s what the reviewer, Eula Bliss, has to say:

“She lost herself to me,” Julavits writes of her younger self. And so did I, with great pleasure. Losing one’s self is, after all, one of the rewards of reading. The opportunity to inhabit another self, to experience another consciousness, is perhaps the most profound trespass a work of literature can allow.

9780812993158In two weeks, beloved author Elizabeth Berg will be launching her first work of historical fiction at a couple of events hosted by Lake Forest Book Store.  I started reading The Dream Lover a couple of weeks ago and sadly had to put it aside so I could finish my book club books. Berg delves into the heart and mind of writer George Sand, born Aurore Dupin, who was the first female bestselling author in France. I’m planning on finishing the book this week, because I have an upcoming interview with Berg — stay tuned!

9781250063779I just finished Mimi Malloy, at Last!, by Julia McDonnell, and I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it. The title character is a sixty-something Irish-American divorcee with six daughters. Mimi has recently been forced into retirement, and is reluctantly exploring her sad family history. She’s a wonderful character, full of wit and humor, with plenty of sharp edges. (One of the blurbs aptly compares her to Olive Kitteridge.) The novel includes a sweet love subplot between Mimi and her apartment building’s superintendent, which is oddly juxtaposed with the disturbing story of Mimi’s horrific childhood. Readers looking for light “beach reading” will find that although the novel is a page-turner that reads quickly, it’s much darker than it initially appears. Even the title seems inappropriate — it sounds like the title of a children’s book about a plucky tomboy. It’s strange that the ARC I have has no exclamation point in the title, while the published book (both hardcover and paperback editions) includes an exclamation point.

9781605986883I just started The Listener, by Rachel Basch. I’ve mentioned before that I am a complete sucker for books set on campuses, so this book — about a psychologist who counsels students at a small liberal arts college in Maine — had my name all over it. I loved an earlier book of Basch’s, The Passion of Reverend Nash, which covers some of the same territory as The Listener: the complicated relationship between the healer and the patient.

9780767919418And finally, my current audiobook is One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson. Our couples’ book club is discussing this book in a few weeks, and I think it’s a great choice. Bill Bryson is one of my favorite nonfiction authors — he’s really mastered the art of writing books that simultaneously entertain and inform. However . . . I think maybe he should stick to writing and his publisher should hire a professional narrator for his audiobooks. His voice has a strange, prissy quality that is driving me crazy. I think I may have to switch to the print book and find another audiobook for my walks.

The sun is shining and the temperature in Chicago is heading toward 50 degrees, so I’m heading out to take a walk with Bill. I’ll let you know if I decide to end our relationship!

It’s Monday — What Are you Reading? is hosted by Book Journey.

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17 thoughts on “It’s Monday, March 30 — What Are You Reading?

  1. I’m a serial monogamist, which I think is odd for a book blogger (I feel like most bloggers have multiple things going at once). And – I loved Bryson’s In A Sunburned Country and have One Summer on my TBR – and I’ll make sure to read it (not listen to it)!

    • I’ve read every one of his books and loved them — I think my favorite might be A Walk in the Woods. Usually, “read by the author” is a red flag for me on audiobooks — so much better when there’s a professional narrator.

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  2. I got on to comment that I WANT THOSE BOOTS! The ones on the left, please. Lovely. And then: I’m reading The Listener too! I know Rachel – she lives locally – and is a lovely, warm person and such a wonderful writer – check out some of her essays published here and there. Rachel is one of the smartest writers around with such a finely honed craft delivered with heart. Don’t you find yourself re-reading her sentences? So glad to know you’ve picked it up too!

  3. Oh goodness, I saw flared pants on a style blog a few days ago and wanted to cry. Why on earth are they coming back?

    Reading more than one book at a time always stresses me out, but I admire people who are able to do it! The Dream Lover sounds really good, and I’m excited to read The Listener soon!

    • Leah, I just finished The Dream Lover and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it — got tired of it about 2/3 of the way through. But I really admire what Elizabeth Berg was trying to do, and I loved learning about George Sand. I adored The Listener!

  4. Ann, thank you for the great suggestions. I loved The Tusk that Caused the Damage. I also loved The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. And ,of course, One Summer.

    • Hi Carolyn! I need to reread One Summer because it’s been such a long time — my husband is reading it now. I loved your presentation at Coterie! So glad you liked Tusk and Robert Peace — such great books!

  5. I’m a serial monogamist – reader that is, and otherwise, too. I enjoyed A Walk in the Woods and will check out the movie in August. I will stay tuned for your interview with E.Berg. Cheers!

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