March Books

Posted a wee bit late, as on the last day of March I was running 18 miles and then napping!

7. Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
This was an intense and fast-paced read. Evolution has stopped and strange things are happening in the world. Babies rarely survive pregnancy and birth, so pregnant women begin to be rounded up and forcibly held by the government. In some ways this book is reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale, but it’s definitely its own work. I particularly loved that the US postal service went rogue and was part of the resistance. There’s also an exploration of race, specifically, the main character is a Native American woman who was adopted by a white couple when she was born. She searches for her birth mother and there is a lot of interesting interaction between her adoptive and birth families. Definitely a good choice for getting sucked into a fascinating book for a weekend or a long plane trip.
8. The Deepest Well : Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Dr.Nadine Burke Harris
I have been slowly chipping away at this book for several months in my rare free moments at work and finally finished it in mid-March. Overall, I enjoyed the book and learned a lot. I was unimpressed with Dr.Burke Harris’s focus on obesity and weight, as in my opinion there’s a lot more to health than body size. Her very cool program has some great protocols to help young children get more physically active, which is awesome! Measuring the success of that via weight seems pretty small-minded, though. That said, I really enjoyed the case studies that demonstrated connections between trauma and physical health. Some of the stories were absolutely stunning in terms of the severity of physical symptoms stemming from childhood adversity. I would love to someday visit the Center for Youth Wellness, where they are practicing really cool medicine, therapy, and research. 
9. Karamo : My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown
If you enjoy the show Queer Eye (as I do), you will find this a fun read! It wasn’t particularly deep, but it was a good book to read while on the stationary bike on my cross-training days. I really enjoy Karamo on the show and know that he is a social worker (I’m a counselor, which is a different master’s degree and license, but similar), so I was interested to learn more of his history. 
10. Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel Speak got me through high school. I read that book to death. Shout is her new memoir, written in poems, that tells her story. It came out at the beginning of March and David had a copy ready for me when I got home from work on the publication day. I read the book slowly, over the course of the month and I loved this book. I cried, laughed, and read many poems aloud for David. It is a book I will keep and treasure and re-read. I am so grateful for Laurie Halse Anderson. If you haven’t read Speak, I’d recommend you read that first, as Shout talks a lot about her experiences that mirror that of the main character’s, and also the reception of Speak, etc. Do be aware that both Speak and Shout deal with themes of sexual assault.
I’m currently working through some theology memoir/prayer type books as it is Lent, and also re-reading my beloved Young Wizards series by Diane Duane. I don’t have any particular reading plans for spring, but we’ll be taking a couple of weekend trips so I’ll probably be focusing on the stuff on my Kindle. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy spring reading, all!

January books

I really do mean to update this more regularly. I finished three books in January. ๐Ÿ™‚

booksjan2019
I read The Winter of the Witch on eBook but the cover is stunning!

1. The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher

This is one of my mother-in-law’s most beloved books and she lent me her treasured copy in the fall. I waited until it was good and cold and began it on January 1st. What a pleasure it was to read! We trace a family through several generations in England. The descriptions are delicious, and although I made a wee bit of fun of the author for all the wooden scrubbed tables she mentions (do you all have any other kind of table over in England? seems unlikely), I also totally want a wooden scrubbed table and to be the kind of person who has half a roast chicken in the fridge at all times. I will be seeking more of her books in future when I want a good cozy novel to sink into, for sure.

2. The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

This was the third and final book in a fantasy series that I began in 2017. It was just released and I was SO excited. These books trace Vasya, a magically talented girl in medieval Russia. The books deal a lot with the meeting of folk traditions/pagan beliefs and Christianity — a topic I love to explore. They are also completely engrossing. I laughed with David about “fantasy book food,” a concept all of us who read fantasy are familiar with. Would I actually enjoy a stew of wild mushrooms, scented grasses, and pond fish cooked over a fire? Almost definitely not, but when I read about it in a fantasy novel I get mighty hungry. I definitely recommend these books to anyone who enjoys fantasy books, empowered girls, and the meeting place of magic and religion.

3. The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl

My brother gave me this book for Christmas, in our great tradition of unwrapped books as gifts to each other. It is a psychological thriller (I think this is the right term, it’s hard to say) set in Norway. I could almost literally not put it down. David even snapped a photo of me reading it while drying my hair.* It’s hard to tell much about the book without risking giving it away, but it begins with a wealthy mother and interior designer who takes in a little boy from her daughter’s swim class. The book switches perspectives from Cecilia (the mother & interior designer) to Tobias (the little boy) and journal entries from Anni (who we learn more about as the book goes on). It is creepy and fascinating. (A note : there are some scenes with sexual violence, so it might not be the best choice if you’re looking to avoid those.)

I’m part-way through several books at work, including The Deepest Well by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris. So far I am really impressed with her work. She is a pediatrician who began incorporating her understanding of ACEs into her practice. I’ll write up a full review when I finish it!

Happy February reading, everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚

* This isn’t the first time I’ve done this though. I hate drying my hair and often try to read while doing so. I’ve also been known to read while getting dressed, while cooking, and while walking (while readingย The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis I walked straight into a huge cement block next to a construction site and went flying over it, getting identical scrapes in both shins and a bonus scrape on my chin! And no, I wasn’t a child at the time…or a teenager…or drunk. I was a graduate student and it was the middle of the day.