Creative,  Reading

April & May 2017 Book Report

Appalachian Odyssey by Steve Sherman: This Appalachian Trail memoir was written in the 70s and I both loved it and thought it could have been developed much more. What was most fascinating about this book was how it showcased the changes in the trail from 40 years ago versus now—it wasn’t completely off roads then! Not only that it also routed through towns that it does not route through now. Some of the sentiment was similar—the hiker hunger, trying to avoid unscrupulous people, etc. It actually reminded me of hiking the Florida Trail to some extent in how few people were hiking the AT in the 70s and the trail development. The book was a great perspective into a different era in long distance backpacking!

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett: I. Loved. This. Book. I want Ann Patchett to be my friend. This book was a collection of new and old essays that cover all sorts of topics, from her days trying out for a police academy in the name of writing an article to writing about the dissolution of her first marriage and then later how she eventually remarried. There are so many great things about this book. I listened as an audio version, read by the author, and it will warrant a re-read at some point in the future.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: I re-read this for my podcast and I have mixed feelings about the book after analyzing it with a different thought process in mind as well as with some distance from childhood. I would not call this a children’s novel per se, more of a young adult novel because I did not realize how many adult themes were hidden in the book. I’m not talking about sex here, just how children were treated and talked down to, as well as some interesting cultural references from the early 1900s. I think I’ll need to re-read A Little Princess to see how it holds up.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A very short audio essay but you can also listen and watch here.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tova Bailey: I started reading this one last summer sometime but put it down and never picked it back up. What a shame because I wasn’t that far from finishing it and I ended up wrapping it up one evening awhile back. The author had an unknown illness which lead her being bedridden for years. While at a caretakers house she had a plant in her room and noticed a snail living on it. It became a companion of sorts and eventually was moved to a terrarium where it could live better. The author describes her life while bedridden as well as elaborating on the life of a snail. It is a quiet, sweet book and a good one to pick up!

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton: I think I’ve read Glennon’s Momastery blog a handful of times over the years, most of them before she became uber popular and an pal of Oprah’s. My familiarity with her has been mostly through other sites or magazines she’s written for and via social media. Therefore, I was not on any kind of bandwagon to read this book but after seeing enough people talking about it and it was available for download, I grabbed it. Glennon is a good writer and storyteller and as I was pretty much unfamiliar with most of her life story other than knowing she had addiction and eating disorder issues in the past, I knew not much else. I resonated with a lot of what she wrote in particular to women and feminism, the stay on the mat ethos, but by the end of the book I was left confused on how the book ended and by her post just prior to book release last August and now how she’s married to Abby Wambach. What happened in between the end of the book and last August? I mean, I did feel like her reconciliation with her husband was a little forced—she wasn’t 100% in it, you could tell—but he had betrayed her big time so what did you expect??? Anyway, very interesting and easy book, and if you need something to read this summer, pick it up.

Second Nature: A Gardeners Education by Michael Pollan:
Another book I started last summer but put down for unknown reasons. I actually finished reading it over a camping weekend earlier in May—hooray for being able to read in longer spurts again! While this book was published in 1991, written in the late 80s, it is really pretty much a timeless gardening narrative. I’ve not read any of Pollan’s other work though I’m familiar with him via the numerous articles and media stories he’s been on over the years, and this was a great introduction to his work. I was fascinated with the stories of the beginning of the organic movement as we now know it, the talk of seed companies that were just coming into existence that were seemed fringe but now are pretty mainstream. Fascinating book for gardeners!

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: After a bit of a slow start where I wondered where this book was heading, I ended the book wanting more and loving it! This YA novel—though, maybe high-school YA because of some very disturbing scenes re: Nazis and torture—is a fantastic novel for summer reading. There’s a second in the series with different characters and it looks like a prequel involving one of the characters from this novel and I plan on reading both. I’m also excited to see there there is maybe a movie in the works. Without giving away too much: basically the story is told from the points of view of two women in their early 20s living in the 1940s England during the war. One is an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot, the other is—without giving away much else, let’s just say also involved in the war effort. A plane crash in France and Nazis make this a fairly fast paced novel once you get into the book. Lots of holy crap moments sprinkled within.

Leave Me by Gayle Forman: I had a credit left on my loans for Hoopla Digital this month so I grabbed this last week in anticipation for the long weekend. It is an easy, beach-type read about a woman in her early 40s who has a heart attack and is trying to deal with the repercussions from the heart attack as well as some unresolved issues in her life with family. A fluffy book for the summer if you need something easy.

In the Middle Of
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer: This book! SO GOOD! I’m listening as an audiobook and it has taken me forever to ‘read’ it because I listen for an hour or two and then have to just ponder it. More about it when I finish.

The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd: A compendium of essays from the Coffee + Crumbs ladies. A slow read, an essay at a time.

The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon: This is a Lord John Grey novel in the Outlander universe but has to do with Jamie during the years that take place for the Voyager book. So if you’ve read through that book in the series you are totally ok to read this book. I’ve had it for awhile and hadn’t read it but wanted to prep myself for the next tv season of the show coming up in September. Definitely worth picking up for those Claire + Jamie fans out there!

On Hold
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: Had a really hard time with this audiobook despite everyone raving about it. Might have to try it on paper instead.

What are you reading?


  • Keely McGrew

    One of the groups I have joined recently has a book club, and this past month’s book was We Should All Be Feminists. We had a fun discussion of it. Our June book is the Handmaid’s Tale, so now I am reading that instead of the book I had been reading, H is for Hawk. I don’t get to do much reading, but probably should listen to more audio books and less talk/news radio.

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