Books/life

More blogging

My 7th and 8th graders have a book review blog! They're required to do quite a bit of independent reading and I thought this would be a good way for them to process what they've read, see what their friends are reading, and find recommendations.

I'm struggling with the desire to micromanage — I want to go in and change every awkward phrase and grammar error since a blog is so public — but I'm trying to err towards giving them a sense of ownership and keeping things lighthearted.

So far the kids have gotten a kick out of it, I think!

Breaking a dry spell

I have barely read at all this year. Before this week, I'd completed just 3 books (all YA!). I've started A Tale of Two Cities, Of Mice and Men, Middlemarch, The Outlander series, The Nightingale, Big Little Lies, (and more?) but I haven't finished any of them.

The other night, I was very stressed about some travel plans that have been up in the air, and I abruptly decided to pick up a book (instead of my phone) to give my brain a rest. I chose Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory (partly because of this article, which Paul had sent to me, and partly because I'd been recommending it to people and I wanted to make sure it held up). It was my favorite book of all the books I was required to read as an English major in college. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it changed my life. It's had a permanent impact on my views on faith and grace. But I'd never reread it until this week. 

I loved it. Not only did I finish it — I also read it in one evening. In some ways, it was simpler than I remembered, but I also found nuance where I hadn't before.

Book club!

My friends/colleagues and I started a book club. We've only met once so far, but I loved it (it ranks right up there with trivia night at the local pub). Book Club — or something like it — is my ideal social event. I get to hang out with a small group of friends, eat good food and drink good drinks, and have lively, thought-provoking discussion. 

During our first meeting, we read Marilynne Robinson's Gilead and we ended up talking until 11 PM. We called it a night because we all had to be at school at 7:30 the next morning. 

Our next book is Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust, which I have yet to start. I've been wanting to read Waugh ever since we gave our younger daughter "Evelyn" as a middle name, so I'm pretty pumped.

Any recommendations?

Paul just handed me The Zanzibar Chest, which he first asked me to read four years ago. After that... any book recommendations? I'm looking for something like Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay — fully developed characters, exciting language, challenging themes, a plot. Maybe I should just work my way through the Pulitzer Prize winners I haven't read...