List of books. 

So, I had great intentions of blogging at least weekly to get all of my books in.  Thoughtful posts  that did justice to the wonderful material that I was reading.  But as sometimes happens, I bit off more than I could chew. I've decided to just list the books that I've read. Many of the books that I have read since I've last posted pertain to babies since we are also expecting a little boy on March 10th!   Pregnancy has been a lot of work, but it pretty awesome that he's in there growing and changing and getting ready to meet the world. 

23. Birth: the Surprising History of How We are Born... by Tina Cassidy
24. When Women Were Birds...by Terry Tempest Williams
25. Making Babies: Stumbling Into Motherhood by Anne Enright
26. I was a Really Good Mom Before I had Kids by Trisha Ashworth
27. The Blond Baboon by Janwillem Van de Wetering 
28. Hard Rain by Janwillem Van de Wetering
29. The Atlas of New Librarianship by R. David Lankes
30. The Power of Reading by Stephen Krashen
31.  Free Voluntary Reading by Stephen Krashen
32.  Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta by Ina Mae Gaskin
33. How Your Baby is Born by Amy Tuteur
34. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
35. Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
36.  The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
37. Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing up in a Polygamous sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall
38. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
39. The Litigators by John Grisham
40. King of Torts by John Grisham
41. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
42. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
43. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn by Penny Simkin
44. You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs
45. Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives by Annie Murphy Paul
46. Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
47. The Rookie Mom's Handbook by Whitney Moss
48. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
49. The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alan Chernilla
50. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

So, 50 books for the year is what I read.  Significantly less than I thought that I would, but next year I'll be reading picture books so I'm sure my total will increase!! :) 
 
 
Picture
I listened to this debut book of short stories all over the course of a couple of days.  I listened compulsively because I enjoyed them so much. 

 Some of the characters appear in more than one story, some of them only appear in one.   Each of the 12 stories is smart, witty, and deals with young women navigating the complexities of love.  None of the stories contain a lot of action, but are rife with explorations of relationships between people. I would highly recommend it!




 
 
Picture
I really like how this book started and the premise of it. I enjoy running and wanting a motivational piece to inspire me to continue running, take it to a new level, etc. 

The book started out like that, but it didn't follow through and it took me a really long time to finish it, even though it was relatively short. It was braggy and I wouldn't recommend it. 



 
 
Picture
“There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” 


Quiet  is an intriguing look at introversion.  By looking at the research about introversion, Cain builds a convincing case for what we miss as a society when we discount introversion. She posits that we live in a world where extroversion is idealized. She does not argue that extroversion is bad, merely that we all benefit when it is tempered by introversion. 

I listened to this on audio and really enjoyed thinking about all the ideas that Cain shared. I have found myself considering what she says in light of my relationships at work, at home, and in the world at large.  I think we'd all benefit from a little balance. 

 
 
Picture
This slim volume of short stories is utterly bewitching.  It's delightful from the beguiling title to the beautiful passages contained therein. Skibsrud reads like the best storytellers out there. 

The longer I write this blog, the more that I realize how much I enjoy short stories.  I love reading just parts of a persons life, getting just a glimpse of what their reality is.  It also allows one to audition an author to see if you want to commit the to a longer story.  I definitely would like to commit to Skibsrud's other works. 

One particularly haunting piece that I've thought about since putting the book down is called "The Limit" and it's about a divorced man and his teenage daughter. The difficulty that they have connecting feels palpable and made me feel that I knew what it would be like to be a divorced man with a teenage daughter. 

 
 
Picture
"In the summer of 1917 Robert Grainier took part in an attempt on the life of a Chinese laborer caught, or anyway accused of, stealing from the company stores of the Spokane International Railway in the Idaho Panhandle". 

Train Dreams is a short book that I've thought of many times since I finished it. The writing is beautiful; clear and concise. The story begins with an attempted murder and then centers on the life of one of the men involved in the attempted murder.  Robert Grainier's wife and young child die shortly following this and then tragedy after tragedy befalls him.  The reader is left to wonder is it because of the attempted murder. What exactly are the consequences of our actions? 

Train Dreams also contains vivid depictions of the Northern Idaho mining camps and the men who lived in them. It was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and I think it would have been an excellent choice.   I would recommend this one!

 
 
Picture
"Watch your topknot
Watch your'n."

I love the movie Jeremiah Johnson with Robert Redford.  I've watched it multiple times and it strikes me as independent, daring, and fills me with a desire to live on my own on a mountain.  So, when I realized that Jeremiah Johnson is actually based on the book Mountain Man by Vardis Fisher, you can imagine my excitement. I couldn't believe my luck, I could read one of the possibilities for next years Read Me and relive my favorite moments from the movie. 

I was sorely disappointed in Mountain Man.  The depictions of Native Americans are racist and contain sweeping generalizations.  I found the descriptions to be somewhat boring and cliched. 

Maybe it was because I had gone into it with such high expectations, but the book was definitely a let down.  I'm glad I read it because I've always felt that I needed to read a Vardis Fisher since I'm from Idaho, but I don't feel like I need to read another one of his books. Life's too short. 

 
 
Picture
"Hens will be 19-20 weeks before they begin laying eggs."

This book is an interesting look at how chickens are regulated throughout the United States as well as a good beginner's guide to hen-keeping. Anderson is a local Boise author and chicken farmer.  Since we've decided to get some chickens this seemed to be the perfect book to read and blog about. 

First, we learned that they need to be in a brooder box with easily accessible food and water. Then we learned that they didn't really like going outside when they are little.  Now that they are 9 weeks old, we've discovered that they like their coop and that we still have awhile before they will be laying eggs. 

Picture
Then we learned that the didn't really like to go outside when they were little. They preferred the dog kennel!

So far, the experience has been fun and I'm looking forward to getting an egg of my own:)

 
 
Picture
"I'm in America, I say, and America is me". 

Sometimes people come in to the library looking for a particular book, but they can't remember the title or the author or anything but that fact that it was blue.  "America" is one such book. The customer who wanted "America" could only remember that the book have eyes on it. After some more discussion he remembered that it was a young adult novel and thought that it was called "Belonging". We still couldn't find it and resorted to using Novelist and typing in a half-plot. Eventually, we look through enough pictures that we were able to discover it.  We found another library that had the book and I put it on hold for the customer.  At that point I was so invested in the book that I put it on hold for myself as well. 

"America" is a tough book. It takes place in a rehab facility  and flashes back over the course of America's life. America is a bi-racial teenager who has grown up with an unstable mother, a variety of foster care placements, and kind, but elderly adoptive mother. All of these lead him to a place of great confusion and a desire to belong, but not the skills to know how to belong. The library customer's mis-rememberance of the library as "Belonging" was very apt. Much of the book centers around his relationship with his therapist who he eventually comes to trust.   

I felt a lot of compassion for America and it was a very eye-opening book. I would definitely recommend it!

 
 
Picture
"The kind of love that offers its life so easily, so stupidly, is always the love that is not returned."  Patchett

     Bel Canto by Patchett is a delightful read. Really it's a meditation on the place of love, art, and beauty in everyday life. It takes place in an un-named South American counrry where a group of terrorists take over the Vice-Presidential palace.  At the Vice-Presidential palace are many international figures who have come to celebrate the birthday of a Japanese businessman who may be interested in investing in a business in the small country. Among the guests is an opera singer whose mesmerizing voice provides cover for the terrorists to take over 
    Patchett makes each character interesting and explores the ways in which the disparate group becomes a community. The opera singer, Roxanne Coss, plays a large role in this community by singing and training one of the young terrorists to sing as well. Many of the members of the party become intimate with the terrorists and both groups are surprised by the humanity of the other.   
    Earlier this year, I read Lucy Grealey's Autobiography  of a face. Grealey and Patchett were friends and it's interesting to see how the themes of beauty and love play out in two very different works. I would recommend Bel Canto.