And halfway through August, here we go!
* Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog (etc) – Delia Ephron
* Apple of My Eye – Helene Hanff
* Love Letters of Great Men and Women – Ursula Doyle
* Living With a Dead Language – Ann Patty
* Stet – Diana Athill
* Blue Nights – Joan Didion
* Mortality – Christopher Hitchens
* Commonwealth – Ann Patchett
* Where Am I Now? – Mara Wilson
* Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog (etc) – Delia Ephron
In all fairness, July could be called “the wedding is close, the job is new, I bought books when I felt stressed and didn’t read much at all but my loved ones are the best”. That honestly sums it up! As the wedding gets closer, my head is full of all the things I still have left to do. I never once imagined just how many decisions one has to make in these types of situations. I have needed to take a step back multiple times to remind my hectic brain that I’m getting married because I want to spend my whole life loving a wonderful man, and that whether my shoes are open-toed or not really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Thank goodness for the patience and help of my friends and family. Nearing the end of July, my best friend, bridesmaid and mom through me the most beautiful bridal shower you can imagine. They know glitz and glam is not my thing, and put so much thought into a gorgeous event in my parent’s home (complete with a Jeopard game on Jay, myself and our wedding party – it was AMAZING!) I felt so unbelievably loved and special. The following weekend, I went to visit Jay up north and had the most lovely time with him. Being apart before getting married has been the worst and seeing his smiling face was such a relief.
With the exception of those two lovely weekends, I was a ball of stress for most of July. I started my new job (same company, new position) and though it is much more my stride than my old position, it is a huge learning curve and I’ve been spending many a late night trying to catch up. On evenings where I was stressed with work, missing Jay or unable to quiet my brain, I went book shopping. One night, I couldn’t sit around at home any longer and took myself out. My friend (and roommate) was meant to to be out late, so I just dumped my work bag and left. A few hours later, the sun had gone down, but I was still perusing the shelves and paying no attention to my surroundings or my phone. I realized when I left that it was almost 10pm on a weeknight. I grabbed my phone to notice a ton of missed calls from said roomie and a stream of “WHERE ARE YOU!?” texts. Though I had just taken myself on a little book-date, it felt oddly nice to have someone worrying about me. When I got home, she flipped through my purchases, and listened to be whine about the thing that had gone wrong that day .. whatever it was.
When I’m stressed, my reading suffers. I get into bed exhausted and can’t bring myself to concentrate on what I’m reading. I finished Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth near the beginning of the month. I read the first half in June, was pretty bored (don’t hate me!) and set it aside for a few weeks. I went back to it in July and tore through the last half. I enjoyed it so much more! I’ll never know if it was ‘right book right time’ or the first half just dragged a bit but I did enjoy it. Some beautiful scenes/lines!
Next I read Mara Wilson’s upcoming memoir. You remember Mara? From Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire? The childhood star who was so cute, you wanted to hug her, but grew up to be “not cute enough”for Hollywood. Instead of continuing to strive for movie stardom, Mara put her energy into what she truly loved, writing. She left film in the dust and built her own life. She’s sassy and smart and this was a really interesting read. Also she writes about OCD in a way I’ve never seen and I loved it!
Lastly, I read Delia Ephron’s book of essays. I tried to read this years ago and just couldn’t get into it, but I really enjoyed it this time around. Beside two very serious essays, the rest was sweet and light. But, as you know, I like the sad stuff, so the two more serious essays were what made the book for me. The first was on grief and losing her sister, Nora (which spawned by desire to buy books based on grief) and then an essay about her tumultuous relationship with her mother; a brilliant screenwriter and an angry drunk. Both were striking, honest essays that I will not soon forget.
I bought Delia’s essays because I missed Nora’s writing and know that they collaborated a lot and wanted some more Ephron lady language in my life. I bought the Hanff because I adore her and I found an inexpensive hardcover edition on Abe Books! Win! The love letters book was research for my wedding ceremony (I had already read Love Letters of Great Men years ago, but the individual letters are no longer available to purchase, just the bind-up of both, so I got that instead. Living With a Dead Language was a recommendation from a friend and Stet is a recommendation from another friend (both the result of the aforementioned bad day). Blue Nights and Mortality were my purchases on grief, and the result of another not so great day.
Now I need to do some serious reading this month (spoiler: I really haven’t. But it’s all okay!)
Also, I got my engagement photos back at the beginning of July, but our photographer took a really great shot of two of my bookshelves. I’ll leave you with that :). Have an amazing remainder of August!