DSC_0004Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff.

I am halfway through this one, and it’s hard to put down. I love Groff’s style of writing, the colorful way she lays the groundwork for a marriage: first focusing on the husband, Lotto, and his story through 20 years of their marriage (though so far I really don’t like his character or even feel any empathy toward him), then the focus shifts, during the second half of the novel, toward Mathilde, the wife (I haven’t reached that part yet, but I have some ideas of who she is, and it’s not so pretty). This book has been all over the place, and when I read the reviews, I knew I wanted to read it. So far, so good!

DSC_0002I also finally read Home Grown, by Ben Hewitt, while on vacation in Asheville. It was great, a quick, light read with many insights and challenges to the way we parent and school our children. If nothing else, it opens the mind to new ways of thinking of education, which I thoroughly appreciate!  It’s easy to read the whole thing in one sitting, too.

And on to two books I really didn’t like. I realized that I only ever post books that I like or love here, and that is deceiving, because there are many more books I read that I dislike or even give up on. DSC_0001The first, I was so excited about! The title alone promises such great things: Black Sheep: The Hidden Benefits of Being Bad, by Richard Stephens. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. Stephens basically spun certain things (like sex and moderate drinking) as being bad, which, last time I checked, couldn’t be further from the truth. I think we all know the benefits of sex (it feels good! it releases endorphins! it makes babies! it’s awesome!), and obviously, spoiler alert, drinking in moderation can be good for you. Nothing new here, and that was where the disappointment lies for me. I was really hoping for some insight into real “black sheep” types of things, like being on the fringes of society, or disagreeing with the status quo, or even how children testing the boundaries of naughtiness can be a good thing. And that’s why I had to laugh out loud when one of my boys accidentally tipped over a glass of water on the table next to this book and didn’t bother to clean it up. I found the book, sopping wet, hours later, and thought, how perfect. Oh, well.DSC_0111California, by Edan Lepucki, had so much promise. It was an instant New York Times bestseller, for goodness sake! Though I have no idea why… it is so poorly written it seems like a draft, or an idea, of a novel. I was hoping, from the description of the novel, that there would be some excitement or real post-apocolyptic issues, but absolutely nothing happens. The characters seem shallow and petty, and the worst part is that Lepucki built up certain events so much that the reader comes to expect a huge revelation, that, unfortunately, never comes. All in all, I was completely underwhelmed by this book.

What are you reading these days?

6 thoughts on “Reading…”
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  1. I just started $2 a Day, by our brilliant friend Luke. Before that, I read The Spellman Files, which was ok. Seems like the kind of book I’d like more but reading it wasn’t as fun as it should have been.

    I watched your show last night (we DVR’d it)! You guys were great! I got teary when you got emotional over killing the chicken and I laughed out loud when Andrew admitted he loved it, despite how hard it was. That looks like a tough life, especially with young children. You’re brave for trying it! Are you guys still looking at ways to be more self-sufficient/off-the-grid?

  2. I’m in the middle of The Little Paris Bookshop and have been for a month now. Its hard to get into, and the general story line seems trite but the romance of France and travel is compelling. I keep putting it down as about 5 pages in I’m bored again!

    I’m also reading/(read) How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. Because = I’m somewhat over talking to anyone these days! I blew through it in mostly one sitting but I found it awesome and helpful and insightful. Amazing how common certain slogs of life can be.

    I’ve got The Flying Circus waiting for me on my nightstand if I can ever get through Nina George! I’m somewhat desperate to find another Night Circus or likewise magical read.

  3. I am reading First Impressions (Charlie Lovett), which is a playful novel following one plot with Jane Austen and another with a contemporary young woman who is hunting for an old book and works in a antiquarian bookstore in London.

    I also read The Last September (Nina de Gramont). She weaves a story about her husband’s murder and her good friend’s onset of schizophrenia. It has a literary feel, but elements of mystery.

    I want to read A Man Called Ove. Keep hearing great things about it.

    Anyone getting into the Elena Ferrante books?

  4. Thank you for sharing about books you are not enjoying! Sometimes I feel like the only one who really doesn’t enjoy every book I pick up.

    Currently reading: An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler

  5. Ah, I’m 97% of the way through Fates and Furies! Very curious to hear your thoughts on the Mathilde section. My perceptions of her changed radically (and empathy increased dramatically) as I read “her” half of the book. This is a NPR book club choice – Richard Russo chose it, and they will invite Lauren Groff on the air to discuss it. I need to find out when. Should be fascinating.

  6. Tricia, so funny you wrote this, because I just finished it last week and I couldn’t agree more about Mathilde’s character… her half of the book gradually (but drastically) improved my empathy towards her, and actually, in the end, I found myself loving her dearly and feeling protective over her, all the darkness and depth and vulnerability of her. The book has really stuck with me, and so I must disagree with Maureen Corrigan’s review on NPR of the book, when she relayed that she could not connect with or even remember the characters’ names after she finished the book. I feel the complete opposite, that these characters have stuck with me and I think about the book daily. So sad when it ended… one of those! Thanks for commenting, Tricia!

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