Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What I Read

This is not a book blog, but I do enjoy reading, even more so now that I can read what I want when I want. Post-graduate school, that’s a pretty amazing feeling. Thanks to the influence of Abby and her boyfriend fiancé (!!!) John, I bought myself a Kindle to keep me company while Joe was gone. I had been using my brother’s first generation Kindle, but this one is SOOO much better – faster, lighter, smaller, and more awesome. I can tuck it in my purse and read anywhere, which, let’s face it, is far more productive than playing Bejeweled on my iPhone.

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I ended up making a tentative goal to read 20 books this year, and I’m almost a quarter of the way through that goal, much to my surprise. In addition to my CPE/pastoral care reads, this is what I’ve been reading.

the paris wife

The Paris Wife – Paula McLain

I’m a sucker for historical fiction and have a particular love for the Roaring 20s and the drama between various artists. McLain writes from the point of view of Hadley, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, detailing their introduction, courtship, and the course of their marriage as Hemingway rises to fame amidst the alcohol-infused Paris of the 1920s. Perhaps you should be a fan of Hemingway or the time period to enjoy this book, but it’s also about a relationship and what happens when both people change and grow apart. It’s about trying to live out one’s values in a culture that goes against those values. While I didn’t identify readily with Hadley’s conservatism, the heartbreak in the final pages of the book is palpable in McLain’s writing.


House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer’s Journey Home – Mark Richard

Southern Gothic memoir with a twist of religion and several stints in a rather frightening children’s hospital. A lot of reviews complain about the (somewhat odd) style of a memoir written in second person. It took me a couple of sections to find my stride with the style before it began to feel more natural, so I get that. But it is a hauntingly beautiful read and a very real story in both its spiritual and earthly components. It’s about writing and pain and growing up and dysfunctional families and relationships and the South and serendipity and wandering and God. It’s theological but not preachy. At just over 200 pages, I tore through this in just a few days, so it’s a very quick read but well worth the time and energy. It’s a book that I’ll be thinking about for quite a while.

Read anything good lately?