Books on my nightstand, February 2014

twitterature Feb 2014

Have you been reading any good books lately? I feel like I have tons of books I want to read, but almost no time to actually read them. (I blame the Olympics!)  I did manage to get a few books read before the torch was lit, though.  Here are my short (but slightly longer than 140 characters) reviews for Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Twitterature link-up.  (If you love to read, this is the BEST place to get great suggestions for books to read.)

Stitches by Anne Lamott. A book of short stories that explores how you can continue to have faith during tragedy, personal or collective. (I think this book was a response to the Newtown elementary school shootings.) “Remnants” was my favorite essay — I loved the imagery of sewing together pieces of old fabric into a new creation as a metaphor for how we pick up the pieces after going through challenges or changes in our lives.

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coehlo. This was a book club pick that I really struggled to get through. It’s a fictional version of the author’s own experience of being institutionalized as a young man, and his view that unhappiness in the world is caused by trying to conform to the expectations of others. In a mental institution, everyone already thinks you’re crazy, so there are no expectations and people can discover what truly makes them happy. Too philosophical (and just plain weird) for me.

10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage by John Gottman. Hopefully you don’t need all ten lessons in here, which range from “We Can’t Move Past Your Affair” to “We Only Have Time for the Kids Now.”  There is probably something in here for every couple, and several chapters you can skip, which makes this a quick, helpful read for anyone who wants to improve their marriage. The chapter entitled “I Shouldn’t Have to Nag” really resonated with me.

And for something a little different this month, I also wanted to write about the book that I received in the We {Heart} Books book exchange. I signed up for this exchange in January, and I was paired with Jessica of Life in the White House. We each filled out a questionnaire about the type of books we like, as well as some books on our wish list. I included The Blue Jay’s Dance on my wish list, which another new blog-friend, Rudri, had recently recommended to me and Jessica surprised me with it!  She said she hadn’t heard of the book until she saw it on my wishlist…and since she very rarely splurges on a new book for herself (and figured I was probably the same), she decided to treat me to something on my wish list!  Wasn’t that thoughtful of her?  I am really looking forward to reading it.

And last but not least… here’s a shameless plug for you to enter the giveaway that I’m running for some great Wildtree spices and a bread mix.  (And you can read all about the freezer meal workshop I attended, too!  Giveaway runs until 2/18.)

What’s a book you love that most people haven’t read?

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55 thoughts on “Books on my nightstand, February 2014

  1. I haven’t read any of those books, but I have been reading a lot, and watching barely any of the Olympics. I have a post next week with some reviews, so maybe you’ll find something to add to your list!

  2. I read “Veronika Decides to Die” several years ago, but I can’t remember a thing about it.
    I’d be curious to try the Anne Lamott one. Sometimes I really don’t like her, and other times, she blows me away. I always have to try!
    I loved “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier.” Maybe it was popular and maybe not. I can’t remember but no one ever talks about it!
    Tamara recently posted…Random Acts of Kind Ask Away Fridays.My Profile

      • Do you remember the long running Inspector Morse series on PBS’s Mystery years ago? Well Lewis was Morse’s partner and after the Morse one ended they created a series around him. It’s murder most English, set in Oxford and it’s the right kind of murder mystery for me…more like modern day Christie or Sayer than the more hardboiled and gory stuff. I’m hooked!
        Moira @ Hearth and Homefront recently posted…February Reading RoundupMy Profile

  3. Too bad about “Veronika Decides to Die.” The idea is intriguing. “Stitches” also sounds interesting.

    Book I recently read that most people haven’t: “Battle Royale.” Some readers think the idea for “The Hunger Games” was lifted from it. (Suzanne Collins denies reading it.) A class of Japanese junior high kids are dropped off on an island and forced to fight to the death by their fascist government. I like “Hunger Games”, but preferred “Battle Royale” in every way – higher body count, more interesting characters, better love story, way more Japanese. The tone veered wildly from pulp to character study to bullets to social satire to explosions. Fun, fun read!

    • Everyone else in my book club liked Veronika, so you might like it. It was just too… Philosophical(?) for me? Felt like something I would have to read in college. Battle Royale sounds really good, I loved Hunger Games.

  4. Stitches by Anne Lamott has been on my to-read list since it came out. I loved Bird by Bird, and I’m slowly getting into her other books as well. I loved your list of reviews! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book exchange – that looked like lots of fun!
    Ginger recently posted…Twitterature ~ February EditionMy Profile

  5. Stitches is on my reading list as well, though I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t finished ‘Help, Thanks, Wow.’ Anne Lamott is one of my favorites, but there are so many amazing books out there to read these days! I have a HUGE pile of unread or unfinished books of mine. I’m taking Leigh Kramer’s February Reading Challenge, where I read books I already own. (I’m also including my currently checked out library titles to that stack.) Some of the great books I have that I haven’t read yet include: Wild by Cheryl Stayed, The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey, To Kill A Mockingbird, and An Altar In The World by Barbara Brown Taylor. I will definitely be doing my best to read these this year. Great post!
    Sarah Caldwell recently posted…What I’m Into – January 2014 {The Mid-February Procrastinator’s Edition}My Profile

    • I may have made it sound worse than it really is — she doesn’t really address the Newtown tragedy directly, I think it was more of a jumping off point for her. Stuff like that always makes you question how God allows such suffering to happen…this book take on that question.
      Sarah recently posted…Books on my nightstand, February 2014My Profile

  6. Sarah,

    Thanks for the mention. I am curious about your review of The Blue Jay’s Dance. I hope you find her words compelling. Her writing definitely has a lyrical quality to it.

    Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers. Her book on writing and life, Bird By Bird, is a must read for anyone who enjoys writing. Traveling Mercies and Plan B are books about faith that are also very insightful.
    Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri recently posted…Three WordsMy Profile

  7. I’m reading Traveling Mercies right now. I’m quickly becoming obsessed with Anne Lamott. I’ve already put a hold on Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith at my library.

    Have you read any of her fiction? I’ve read The Blue Shoe and really liked it.

    Cafe Cusco was terrific. The food, the ambience … we all loved it. I had the Sweet Potato Noodle Stir Fry. Yum!

    Thanks for meeting me yesterday. It was fun. I feel like I was a little spacey all day yesterday because I got about 4 hours of sleep Thurs. night. Sleep deprivation always hits me on a two-day lag. I told Jim and Ally last night that I hope you didn’t think I was a total space cadet. Anyway, I enjoyed our chat. Jim is intrigued by the whiskey cube concept. Jameson is his drink of choice, although he usually drinks it neat. (Yuck.)
    Shana Norris recently posted…Twitterature: February 2014.My Profile

    • Not spacey at all! It was great to see you, too. Now I really want to try Cafe Cusco… I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it. It’s always a little scary recommending a place I haven’t been, but I had it on good authority that it was really good. Hopefully the, um… “atmosphere” of Commercial Street didn’t turn you off too much. =)

      I haven’t read any Anne Lamott fiction — you’re a much faster reader than me, so let me know what you think. =)
      Sarah recently posted…Books on my nightstand, February 2014My Profile

    • May I recommend The Rosie Project? I picked it up after abandoning The Shadow of the Wind (which all all accounts I should have loved but after slogging through 2/3rds of it and STILL not loving it, I gave up). The Rosie Project is such a fun, quick read. It reminds me of Bridget Jones’ Diary with the quirkiness of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
      Sarah recently posted…Books on my nightstand, February 2014My Profile

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