Monday, June 13, 2016

It's Monday! And I'm Back At It!

Well, hello.

It turns out that I took a three month hiatus from my blog. I can’t really explain it. It started with a struggle to find a good book to read, and then that struggle spread into writing. Suddenly, I couldn’t put words to paper. Thinking about the blog made me feel badly, and reading everyone else’s blogs made me feel even worse.

So I un-blogged for a while, but the need to start again has been tormenting me like an itch on the bottom of my foot. I can’t ignore it any more.

Here’s a list of some of the things I read during my hiatus. There are no reviews up for any of these, and there might never be. I do hope to go back and discuss them, but I’m also wary of getting stuck in the past.

Stoner by John Edward Williams (a character portrait of an academic that I liked more than I thought I would!)

Golden Age by Jane Smiley (I eagerly read this last book in the trilogy but felt it needed momentum and suspense, just like the others)

Class Reunion by Rona Jaffe (read this and loved it in high school; now I think it’s terrible)

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (compelling YA that works well for adult readers)

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson (compelling YA that drips with adolescent angst)

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (shockingly entertaining given how little I enjoy Jane Austen. It’s a modern re-do of Pride and Prejudice)

How To Raise An Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims (this would be a great book to discuss with other parents, assuming everyone is willing to be self-reflective)

Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederik Backman (the charming quality of A Man Called Ove turns sticky sweet in this one)

Happy Family by Tracy Barone (deeply depressing subject matter but such engaging writing)

In the spirit of moving forward, here’s what I’m reading right now:

Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Can teenagers be turned on to serious reading? What kind of teachers can do it, and what books? To find out, Denby sat in on a tenth-grade English class in a demanding New York public school for an entire academic year, and made frequent visits to a troubled inner-city public school in New Haven and to a respected public school in Westchester county. He read all the stories, poems, plays, and novels that the kids were reading, and creates an impassioned portrait of charismatic teachers at work, classroom dramas large and small, and fresh and inspiring encounters with the books themselves, including The Scarlet Letter, Brave New World, 1984, Slaughterhouse-Five, Notes From Underground, Long Way Gone and many more. Lit Up is a dramatic narrative that traces awkward and baffled beginnings but also exciting breakthroughs and the emergence of pleasure in reading. In a sea of bad news about education and the fate of the book, Denby reaffirms the power of great teachers and the importance and inspiration of great books.

And after that, I’ll be reading Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín for my book club.

Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" -- she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

I’ve missed you all! Thanks for sticking with me.

(It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Date)


Anonymous said...

Welcome back!

New follower here :) I've been blogging for years but have just started a new blog again, which explains my lack of backlist on it.

It looks like you had a good, and eclectic, stack of books over your hiatus. I haven't read any of them but there's a couple of titles I wrote down to look for. Thanks for sharing your news.

jennifer said...

Thanks, Rita! I look forward to checking out your blog, too!

Lark said...

Glad you're back!! :)

Melinda Ott said...

I've heard such great things about "Eligible" that I'm actually tempted to read it, even though I hate Jane Austen with every fiber of my soul.... I may have to just put my big girl panties on it and give it a read!

jennifer said...

Thanks, Lark! Me, too!

Melinda, it was fantastic -- in that easy, airplane kind of way. It's very true to Sittenfeld's style.

Lindsey said...

I've heard good things about I'll Give You the Sun. Was it too angsty for you?

jennifer said...

Lindsey, I liked it a lot. But it was definitely YA -- so many feeeeeeelings. ;)