I was going to wait till January, but we all know that 1 – patience isn’t one of my virtues, and 2 – given that much of my reading has been while nursing Sprout, it made more sense to me to keep track of what I read over the course of my leave… which started before January! So here we have it. My mostly-2017 (I presume!) books read, reverse chronologically:
The Rosie Project
By Graeme Simsion
An excellent follow-on to the disappointing Brooklyn. This book was equally feel-good fluff, but interesting because of its narrator. Mostly it reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, except that I found it way more enjoyable. Partly because of the feel-good romance, mostly because the main character isn’t an asshole. Definitely recommended as a fun, light read, and whenever it hits Netflix, I’ll probably check out the film they’re making too.
By Colm Toibin
Another fluff read, chosen entirely because it was featured in my library’s “available now!” listing of e-books, and I remembered seeing previews for the movie. I was disappointed. I don’t have a problem with the whole “girl has two guys; can’t make up her mind” premise. After all, The Notebook is one of my top 5 chick flicks. I do, however, have a problem with sitting through an entire novel, as narrated by said girl, where I never learn why exactly her suitors find her so intriguing. It’s a little like Twilight, except that along with the self-deprecating side-comments, this heroine also peppers the narrative with emotionless analyses that all add up to me wondering what it is about this neurotic robot the guys are so crazy about.
By Nicholas Sparks
- Honestly, I debated not listing this one because 1 – it was a fluff read (see also: Nicholas Sparks), and 2 – fear of judgment. I’m not going to lie. However! I did want to document it because despite being a predictable, sappy (but feel-good) love story, it also had a surprisingly creepy stalker angle to it that caught me sufficiently off-guard as to keep me interested.
Of note: this was the first eBook I read entirely on my phone (while nursing) and… it won’t be the last! Definitely worked better for me than the audiobooks did.
Daughter of the Blood (Book 1 of the Black Jewels Trilogy)
By Anne Bishop
This was a book club book that I was slightly delinquent in finishing on time. I am glad that I got around to finishing it though. The story is fantastic, the characters are likeable. Some really great true magic fantasy, playing around the polarity and balance of male vs. female energy. (A little like the Wheel of Time does, but way more.) I like that Bishop left a tonne of conflict and resentment in her matriarchal world, allowing the men (or males, really) anything between complete acceptance, resignation and blatant rebellion. It was a nice way to shake up how I look at our society.
- One thing I really did not like, however, was the extremely graphic violence in the story. I get that she was trying to portray a terrible corruption but I found it unnecessary and unsettling to the point where I don’t actually want to pick up book two. (Though I’ll probably skim Wikipedia to see how the story turns out.) Still, if you’re less of a delicate flower than me, and you like fantasy, you should probably pick this up.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
By Brene Brown; audiobook read by Karen White
- If you’ve seen Brene’s TED talks about shame and vulnerability, you pretty much know what this is about. The book delves into more detail, illustrated with examples from Brown’s life, in the arenas of family life, the workplace, and a bit about society as a whole. It was good but I question my ability to absorb non-fiction when I’m hearing it instead of reading it.
- For me, specifically, I found her stories about parenting, about walking the fence between protecting your children and allowing them to be vulnerable — meaning open-hearted and consequently hurt, courageous, and therefore sometimes attacked — to resonate most with me. She sums most of that section up with her manifesto here.
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
Edited by Jocelyn Glei
- Reading this felt kind of like watching the previews when you’re out to see a movie: I kept wondering when I would get to the “Featured Content”. There are a lot of essay snippets from a lot of big names (as well as a lot of people I’ve never heard of; guess I’m out of the loop) but everything summed up in the book is something I’ve either read in much more detail from the essay authors (e.g. Gretchen Rubin and Cal Newport), or something I’ve heard about (again, in more detail) in an interview, most likely on Tim Ferriss’ podcast*. So I guess this is an okay read if you’ve never read up on productivity, creativity or getting more out of your day. But does that description really apply to anyone these days?
* If you haven’t given it a listen, I do strongly recommend it. I have yet to skip through a single episode mid-way, even when the interview was about something I have no particular interest in.