Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

"Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps" by Kelly Williams Brown

Just finished reading another acquisition from my recent foray into the book section at Target. I initially picked this one up for Bookworm Child, who--though several years away from Required Adulting--is definitely wanting to add to her adult-like responsibilities while maybe not having all the necessary knowledge and maturity. (I can't do much about the maturity, but I figured this book could be a start for the knowledge.)

But I secretly harbor an intense inner fear that I'm completely overlooking some very, very important aspect of passing as an adult (I'm not sure "adulting" comes naturally to me, and I am sure that I was raised by parents who could be mistaken for cyborgs, which makes it likely that I am unaware of some things that are instinctive for humans). Plus, I read a little bit of it, and it was funny. So I read the whole thing before passing it on.

I am now relieved and reassured to know that I am not missing any essential ingredients. I enjoyed the book (which continued to be funny all the way through) and must admit that I didn't find any impressive takeaways, but if I'd read this a few decades ago I'm SURE I would have. So now, I am not only passing this book along to Bookworm Child, but I am also sending another copy directly to her older brother, who just paid his first month's rent on his very first apartment TODAY.

(And if Sam were not an angel in the form of a home chef, I would be buying a few of the cookbooks recommended in Chapter 3, Cooking. I made a list of them on my phone just in case. I also took pictures of the recipes for roasted chicken and homemade soup for future reference!) 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

"Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul" by Nikita Gill

I took a leisurely stroll through the book section at Target this past weekend and was quite surprised at the amount of poetry I saw for sale there. I don't naturally gravitate towards poetry, but neither do I automatically scorn it, and anyone who knows me probably knows why this book caught my eye; it often doesn't take much more than a mention of fairytales and nicely-designed cover art.

Taking a cue from Gregory Maguire, Gill tells fairy tales from new perspectives. Maybe princesses don't always need saving. Maybe they like the dragon who guards them from the handsome prince. Maybe they are the dragon.

This book is full of empowerment and strong women and the keen observation that there is often a little villain in the hero, and a hero in the villain. I enjoyed reading it, but I think it's more suited to my twelve-year-old who would appreciate the solidarity and understanding it represents. She needs a book that celebrates her strength instead of denying its existence.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

"Transit" by Rachel Cusk

I was just as impressed by Transit as I was by Outline, if slightly less surprised (because this time I knew to expect excellence). The two books are really similar but somehow also very different . . . kind of like two peas in a pod but one pea is valuable and the other is a pearl.

Transit, like Outline, is mostly told in conversation (though these conversations are somewhat more monologue-like than I remember those in Outline). I had the exact same feeling about some of these conversations, too: do people really open themselves up like this to just anyone? And are people really so well-spoken and intelligent that they can just spew all these deep thoughts in such a cohesive and fluent manner? Where are these people?

One thing I noticed and appreciated (and didn't remember from Outline) was the detailed character studies. I'm not sure whether to admire Cusk's imaginative and astute character development, or whether to assume she didn't actually make anything up and is a keen observer (and possibly a pariah for writing so honestly about her friends and acquaintances).

I found it funny, after how much I loved the book and after reading all the glowing reviews printed on its first few pages, to turn to the inside of the back cover of my used copy to find this:

I obviously was not bored by this book and find it hard to imagine how any reader could have been. However . . . there is an unsatisfying element in the way that nothing seems to be resolved. It's a true slice of life, and every interaction is cut off--not in a glaring or inelegant way, but in retrospect it's obvious that the rest of the story is still in the cake this book was cut from.

I want more! I know I won't find resolution for these conversations, but lucky for me there's another pea in the pod. I have Kudos waiting in the wings.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

"Normal People" by Sally Rooney

I'm just . . . so annoyed by these people.

I really wanted that line to be my full blog post but I'm going to have to say more. Sam really liked this book and has been eagerly waiting for me to finish reading so we can discuss it. Maybe I should have waited to post until after we've talked about the book? Or maybe I'll come back later and edit to add more? But right now I'm almost angry about how both Connell and Marianne could so passively destroy their relationship and their happiness, time after time.