I had very lofty goals for 2014 and overall, I've kept with them, but have slacked in blogging about them. One such goal was to read 35 books in 365 days. So, here's what I've been reading:
Stitches by Anne Lamott was a last minute choice in a rush at the library and I loved it. She is a bit more spiritual than I am, but regardless, her point that life is made up of moments, both good and bad, that stitch together in a way to make life beautifully complex. There are certain books that find me at the right time in my life and this was one of them.
I finally finished Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks and as much as I enjoyed it, I found it slow in the beginning. That is the trouble with historical fiction, I suppose. The author must give us so much background knowledge and that, at times, can be a bit dull. However, the story, about the first Native American to graduate from Harvard is one I'd never read. I did feel, though, the book was more about the Puritan girl who was by his side and her life, not Caleb's crossing. I love Geraldine Brooks but this was not one of my favorites.
Savage Beauty has been on my to read list for a very long time. It is the story of my favorite poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay and her life. Nancy Milford is one of the best biographical writers out there. It made me appreciate not only Millay more, but Milford for writing a biography that read like fiction.
Another random library find was Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of Black Renaissance. As I've written before, I'm mildly obsessed with the 1920s and this book captured the complex relationships of benefactors, artists, and race relations during the 1920s. It made me appreciate the brazen nature of that time period on an even deeper level.
And now, I'm buying into this whole Divergent craziness. I went kicking and screaming into The Hunger Games but found myself staying up all night to finish them...we'll see how this one goes.
For our bed time read alouds with the kids, we've explored some classics, some poetry and some new fiction.
The Evolution of Calpurina Tate was a story the girls loved. It tells of a girl who is not the typical Texas girl in 1899 and is trapped by societal expectations of who she should be; she LOVES science but is told girls don't study science. Both historical and heart breaking, this is a must read.
Little Women was a huge hit as well. I have always loved that book and reading it to the girls and having them pick up on Alcott's message was so awesome.
We filled our nights with trips to Narnia with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe in preparation for the upcoming show at a local theatre. The girls hung on every single word each night.
A favorite of mine to read was Words with Wings about a young girl who daydreams too much, gets into trouble for daydreaming, but finds such freedom and wonder in her daydreams. I'm not going to ruin it, but it was such a lovely read. The entire book is in verse and the girls loved hearing poetry each night.
And now we are reading one of my very favorite novels, Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust. It, too, is written in verse and tells the tragic story of a young girl, Billy Jo, growing up in the Dust Bowl in 1934. I first read this in college when I took a Young Adult Literature course and rereading it again as a mother is a completely different experience. It is a beautifully sad, redemptive, hopeful novel that leaves me breathless some nights when I read it. I've had to stop a few times because I'm just so choked up by Hesse's ability to create poetic magic on each page. The girls, too, are deeply moved by this novel and we've started also taking about Dorothea Lange, one of my favorite photographers, and how her images captured the humility, devastation, desperation, and hopelessness of that time in our country.
What about you? What have you been reading?
"To read, is to live" ~Gustave Flaubert