Reading Roundup: January 2019

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

I spent the first half of this book being really irritated at one of the main characters and hoping she would change. It took most of the book for that to happen, and I still didn't really understand her motivations because they were not always very clear. Generally this book was funny and an enjoyable read, but I didn't love it.

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

This book took a really long time to read, but it was one of the best books I've read for a while. Solomon is thorough and compassionate in his writing, and this book both expanded my mind and made me a little terrified about being a parent. I highly recommend this book because it will help you see the world and humanity in a whole new way.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

I've been a fan of Moriarty's books for years and always look forward to a new one. I'd read mixed reviews of this one…

Reading Roundup: 2018

I read 107 books in 2018, which is only two less than the previous year (2017's post is here). I completed a book challenge from a local bookstore that got me reading things I might not have otherwise read. I also read some of the Whitney Award finalists this year, although I was not able to read everything that I would have liked since I simply ran out of time. 

I only read 20 nonfiction books and 87 fiction books. This has been a trend for the last few years; I tend to gravitate towards fiction, and reading Whitney finalists skews the ratio as well. It felt like I had read more nonfiction since I remember most of them. I enjoyed a much higher percentage of the nonfiction books I read and thought most were well-written. Each year I think I'm going to read more nonfiction and it doesn't happen, but I have a new reading challenge for 2019 and it should help.

I also usually like to see what my ratio of female to male authors is. This year, I read 78 books by women and 29 books…

Reading Roundup: December 2018

A Double Life by Flynn Berry

This was a quick read and I enjoyed it more than the last book I read by Berry, since it didn't suffer from the same problem of a last-minute reveal that mostly came from left field. The ending was still surprising to me since I didn't think it would go that far, but it was in keeping with what we knew about the character. While Berry is not my favorite thriller writer, she's better than most. 

The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu

I do not know a lot about physics and I have not spent a lot of time thinking about things like chaos theory. That made this book a bit hard to read, and it took me about halfway through the book to get a good sense of what was going on. I don't think that's the book's fault; in fact, I think that's a sign of a good translation that retained the foreignness of the setting and language of the original.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

The writing style of this book took some time to get used to--it's…

Reading Roundup: November 2018

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Writing a book from the point of view of a protagonist with dementia could be a brilliant idea, especially if you are creating a mystery or a thriller and want the reader to have trouble sorting out the clues. This conceit mostly works in this novel, but sometimes the opacity of the narrator's mind just made things frustrating.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I have a hard time figuring out how to review this book; it is certainly a great book, and one that everyone should read. It is not, however, a comfortable, fun, or easy book. In a way, I'm not the target audience. However, at the same time I am, because I know nothing about the experiences Coates describes, and it is vital that I learn. I'm grateful I read this so I can, hopefully, have a little more humility and understanding.

Dendo: One Year and One Half in Japan by Brittany Long Olsen 

I bought this book several years ago, but never sat and read it all the way through.…

Thanksgiving Break

This year I did not cook or eat any Thanksgiving food, and I find that I mostly haven't missed any of it. Well, except for pie. Many of my friends are posting about pie on social media and I would like to eat some. Other than that, I'm not a big fan of most Thanksgiving foods that I would only eat on the holiday (turkey, stuffing), or I eat those foods at other times already (rolls, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy). This year the kids were with Mr. Fob, so my parents and I decided to eat out at a fancy restaurant. They had a Thanksgiving special with turkey, but I chose a pork chop with blackberry coulis and sweet potato puree. It was delicious. So was the chocolate creme brulee I had for dessert. 

The kids came back Thursday night, so we hung out and watched a movie. Friday we met up with my brother at the Natural History Museum and spent the afternoon together, then went out for Indian food. On the way home, I convinced my parents to stop off at Ikea so they could h…

Seventeen Years

Seventeen years ago today, I got married. Some years I don't think about the date very much. This year it's also a Tuesday, which was the same day of the week our wedding was on. Even more weirdly, the weather pattern is the same--warm and sunny today, with snow predicted for Thursday. I've been thinking a lot about the wedding today. However, I haven't really been sad or angry. It just feels so far away and so long ago. I'm a very different person now, I have a different life, and the world is a different place. 

When I got home from work, I found a thank-you note from S-Boogie for me. I'll be honest and say that raising older kids is hard. Of course, being a teenager is hard too. I didn't realize how much I needed to hear some good feedback from my kids until I got it. They really are good kids and are mostly doing all right. I'm also grateful that Mr. Fob is still a good, involved dad and a reasonable co-parent. In fact, I often hate it when people as…

The Talk I Didn't Give Today

Last Sunday a member of the bishopric stopped by to ask me to give a talk today. I haven't given a talk for a few years, so I agreed, even though I only had a week to prepare. I also know I was going to be speaking last and wanted to prepare enough length to cover the time if needed.

It ended up being a very busy week, and although I had the talk in the back of my mind, I never got a chance to sit down and write anything out until last night. I planned to wake up early this morning in order to review it and make any adjustments I needed. I did wake up early, but unfortunately it was to the sound of S-Boogie throwing up in the bathroom. After helping clean things up, I got ready and headed to church with P.Bibby. Little Dude was being slow, so we left him to walk since I was anxious to get there early. A few minutes after we arrived, I got a text that Little Dude had gotten sick as well. It was not an auspicious start to the morning.

I decided to stick around since the older two kids…