Another month gone by, another little stack of books read. Feel free to follow me on Goodreads if you’d like to keep up with what I’m reading (and planning to read!).
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood (Jennifer Senior) I’m not a huge reader of nonfiction (I wish I was, but I always find myself getting bored, even while reading about an interesting subject, and turning back to fluffy fiction instead), but I loved this book that turned the standard parenting books upside-down: what effect do kids have on their parents? What does raising children do to your marriage, your career, your sense of self, your life? I’ve rarely been so totally fascinated by a book before (especially nonfiction!) and I think I probably ended up reading half of it aloud to Jeff because it was impossible to keep all the riveting information to myself. I rated it 4/5 stars only because I lost interest toward the end, as it moved from looking at parents of younger kids to parents of older kids—I found the look at people in my stage of life more applicable and interesting. Absolutely fascinating, and a must-read if you have ever felt like you were losing your mind as a parent of a young child (so, that covers just about everybody, I assume?).
I Shall Be Near to You (Erin Lindsay McCabe) Strong-willed Rosetta is opposed to her new husband Jeremiah enlisting to fight in the Civil War, so she disguises herself as a man to fight alongside him. While the premise was incredibly interesting (and, remarkably, inspired by letters of an actual female Civil War soldier), this novel fell flat for me. I found it boring and predictable, and none of the characters felt vibrant or realistic or alive to me. But despite my apathy towards this book (I rated it 2/5 stars), it made me want to learn more about female soldiers in the Civil War—did you know an estimated 400-750 women fought? I had no idea. Incredible.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Gabrielle Zevin) I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with books that target book-lovers. On the one hand, it can be so fun to see titles you recognize and authors you love being mentioned and discussed and loved by the characters. But on the other hand, I feel that these ‘books for book-lovers’ sometimes lack great writing and great characters and great content, relying instead on the mere fact that you, as a book-lover, will love this book-lovers’ book, no questions asked. This novel about the owner of a small bookshop whose connection to books seems to be all he has left in life falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum for me. Did I enjoy the story? Yes. Did I enjoy seeing books I love referenced in the story? Absolutely. Was it a great novel? No. It was cute and fun and enjoyable and I certainly don’t feel like I wasted my time on it, but I never really fell hard for it. I’d give it 3/5 stars.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Roald Dahl) Mr. Fox has been stealing from 3 nasty farmers, and now they are determined to catch him and put a stop to his shenanigans. I loved Roald Dahl as a kid, but this one somehow flew under my radar until now. I needed to listen to something while cleaning earlier this month, and this fit the bill perfectly. It’s far from my favorite Roald Dahl, but it was cute and enjoyable and very quick to listen to, and the narrator was absolutely fantastic. A solid 3/5 stars.
Garden Spells (Sarah Addison Allen) Claire Waverley lives in relative isolation, reclusing herself from her small Southern town and building a catering business that utilizes the plants and flowers she grows herself in her garden, rumored to have magical properties. When her sister, who disappeared from her life 10 years before, returns to town with a daughter in tow, she struggles to reframe her life around their reappearance. I loved this book. Loved it. It was enchanting and magical and engrossing, and I sped through it in 2 evenings. It wasn’t perfect—the characters left a little to be desired, the romances were so cheesy it was embarrassing, and there was more than a little sex (just a heads up if that bugs you—it wasn’t graphic or inappropriate, but it was there). But I loved the garden and Claire’s relationship with it, the mystical town, and the lovely writing. 4/5 stars. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some of her other books!
What did you read this month? Any new recommendations for me?
I’m linking this post up to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Twitterature post—check it out for lots of quick book reviews!