Books Bought: (oh boy.. here it comes.)
* The Empathy Exams – Leslie Jamison
* Spook – Mary Roach
* Alexander Hamilton – Ron Chernow
* The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
* Columbine – Dave Cullen
* Being Mortal – Atul Gawande
* Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
* Adulting – Kelly Williams Brown
* Just Mercy -Bryan Stevenson
* Final Harvest – Emily Dickinson
* The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
* My Age of Anxiety -Scott Stossel
* Open Heart, Open Mind – Clara Hughes
* Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling (Pre-Order!)
* A Mother’s Reckoning – Sue Klebold
* Modern Lovers – Emma Straub
March is over (and I’m totally okay with that!) My last post was pretty personal and an admission of a lot of the stresses in my life right now. The comments I received were so lovely and kind and it felt so good to chat with my usual internet friends once again. But, I did mention that my monthly review was going to be pitiful and alas, it is.
That being said, I did read one book I really loved this month and that was Sue Klebold’s A Mother’s Reckoning. Like so many others, I know the general story of the Columbine shooting, but I knew nothing of the details. For instance, I had no idea that the shooter’s original plan was to blow up the entire school. I also knew nothing of the boys themselves, or their dynamic together, or how such a catastrophe came to exist because of them. A colleague recommended this to me, and I took it home, fully intending to read a few chapters and probably decide it wasn’t for me. But I did, and it was. In fact, I found it incredible.
Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Sue Klebold is very much the embodiment of this. Before getting too far into the book, I watched a clip of her interview with Diane Sawyer which had just aired a few weeks before. I wanted to see her, and hear her speak, which helped me to understand her even more as I read about the tragic years that followed the shooting.
What shocked me the most, was the amount of compassion this harrowing story made me feel. During the read, and for weeks after, I couldn’t stop thinking or talking about the book. It is by no means perfect, and I understand that, but I felt so much. And feeling is my favourite thing about reading. I truly believe empathy and compassion grow when we read and that is such an undeniably powerful thing. I urge you to pick it up and see for yourself.
Next, I read a book I wasn’t too fond of. Perhaps it was just the timing, but with the amount of emotion I felt reading Klebold’s book, accompanied by the layers of stress I felt in my own life, I just couldn’t bring myself to care for the characters of Emma Straub’s new novel, Modern Lovers. That being said, I really doubt this will be the average opinion as so many of my friends and coworkers love Straub. This is my first of her books, and I will definitely give another of her books (most likely The Vacationers) a shot sometime in the future. She’s a great writer, and seems like such a sweet person (her Instagram is great). Modern Lovers is the story of three college friends, Zoe, Elizabeth and Andrew, who formed a band with another friend, Lydia. Over the years, Lydia broke off and become famous while the other members settled down and had children. Years later, Lydia overdoses and dies. As the remaining three friends approach their 50th birthdays, a filmmaker contacts them for the rights of Lydia’s most popular song; one that Elizabeth wrote and the band performed long before Lydia was famous. The novel is filled with nostalgia as the friends work to reconcile their past selves with who they have become. I still encourage you to check it out if the plot sounds like your type of thing, I just didn’t connect with it the way I had hoped.
Now, let’s address the complete disregard of my wallet this month. During times of stress, some people work out, some people do yoga or meditate, some turn to retail therapy and some, like me, find themselves at bookstores. I’m a very conscientious book buyer. I research the crap out of books before I buy them, and make sure I really do want them. I used to be reckless with it before I realized just how much money it all added up to and I’d been so impressed with myself up until now. Then I went a bit nuts, and I’m giving myself a pass. So, onto the books!
Another one of the bookstores I went to frequently closed a few weeks ago, so I went to say one last goodbye. I picked up Spook and The Empathy Exams because they’d been on my radar for a while and .. they were there! (I’m getting very close to owning Mary Roach’s entire backlist without ever having read one. This could be bad.) As soon as I finished A Mother’s Reckoning, I wanted to know more and bought Columbine; a journalistic and investigative view of the event. On that same trip, I picked up Alexander Hamilton. I should add that that week, I was on this “I’m a grown ass woman and I do what I want” kick. I don’t read 700-page biographies. Definitely not about men I thought were presidents (spoiler to my Canadian friends, he wasn’t. And I felt like a bit of a dud realizing that). But, a friend of mine showed interest and I thought, hey, I’m going to have a lot of spare time coming up, why not?! Now, as the gigantic book sits beside my bed, I wonder .. what on earth was I thinking? Along with some coworkers, we are going to read 100 pages a month. Good thing I have some support (and someone to make me feel reliable) because this is going to be nuts. The nice thing is that at the end, I can listen to the Hamilton soundtrack and understand more!
Next I bought Being Mortal because Rincey over at Rincey Reads spoke so passionately about it and needed another book to complete my online order, so I picked The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian because I’ve heard amazing things for years now. On a gloomy feeling day, I picked up David Sedaris in hopes of having a few laughs (though I think I’ve since discovered that we have pretty different senses of humour). Then I went to a big discount store close to my parent’s place, aiming to just pick up Adulting because it looked funny, and left with Emily Dickinson poetry, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Just Mercy (recommended so whole-heartedly by Jenny at Adultish Books that I couldn’t walk past it). Then I got the absolute honour of meeting Clara Hughes and had to pick up her biography after. On that same trip I grabbed The Age of Anxiety as I’ve heard it is one of the best books to read these days about anxiety. Finally, I pre-ordered the new Harry Potter because.. one must.
Phew. I’m tired just listing all of those. Did they make me feel better? Not exactly (lesson learned) but do I really want to read them all? Mostly! Think I learned my lesson that yoga is probably a more productive way to relieve stress, and one that takes up less space in my already cramped apartment, but hey, I needed to learn, right? Now, onward! I couldn’t be more happy that April is here, and even though Jay is heading off on his big adventure in a week, I feel much more at ease with everything. Expect lots of posts coming in the future weeks, as I’m hoping to keep this therapeutic blogging going! Next up, a spring TBR!
Hope you all have wonderful Aprils!