Chocolatespoon: Emily’s Musings

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Didn’t get most of what I planned to done this week (surprise) but I did squeeze in one more quick book, The Glass Castle: A Memoir, which is our March book club book. I was reluctant to read it since some of the other people in the book club we’re already planning on skipping this one but I actually really enjoyed it and zipped through it. It is about one seriously crazy family (which I guess made me feel a bit better about my own parenting skills). We had a good discussion last Wednesday about Distant Land of My Father (and then I went and heard the author speak Thursday night at the library) and it will be interesting (as it always is) to see what the group makes of this one.

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Finished People of the Book: A Novel yesterday, which is going to be our book club book in a couple of months but my colleague recommended it so strongly I had to read it right away. She was right, I absolutely loved it and snuck in chances to read it every time Clara ate or slept all weekend and hated having to put it down. It falls into that smart historical adventure genre which I love — I do love books about books! — and is a great retelling of some pretty awful events in history through the story of the survival of one ancient book.

I finished Colors Insulting to Nature: A Novel (P.S.) a few days ago but didn’t get around to blogging it. Not sure where I heard about this one, but I must have read about it somewhere and put a hold on it at the library because it showed up waiting for me. Its a story of a fame-driven messed up teen — I enjoyed it but am not sure who I would pass it on to.

crimson.jpgI finished reading The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig this afternoon (enjoying a bit of my last day before work).  Its a very satisfying historical romance/spy novel (with a bit of modern day grad student chick lit thrown in for fun around the edges). From the author’s web site, it looks like there may be two more coming in the series, which is nice news indeed!

I managed to squeeze in two more books, probably the last two before maternity leave ends (though I just received my pre-ordered copy of The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig, the latest in the fantastic series that started with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, so I may try to sneak that in as well over the next few days).

The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business with Babies-and How You Can, Too by Cate Colburn and Andrea Serrette
After getting over the initial tears generated in the chapter about the first day back to work, I found this a really helpful, calming read to help get me ready for next week’s adventures. The authors were women returning to work at IBM after maternity leave and writing to each other in a journal in the lactation room there. The book uses snippets from the journals entries they wrote and lots of useful and practical information. There’s a web site for the book with a blog and resources that I’ll have to check out.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
Karen and Brian sent this as a holiday present to S (thank you!) but I snagged it first and really just loved it. Its reminiscent of The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, but Kingsolver is such a good writer that it reads more like a story than the investigative journalism tone of similar books. Her book, written with contributions from her husband and daughter, details the year adventure their family took in eating locally, raising and growing almost all their own food in an Appalachian Farm. Its filled with recipes, facts about the impact of the food we’re transporting long distances, and amazing descriptions of farm life (including a very graphic description of turkey reproduction). It made me want to jump out of the Silicon Valley rat race and grow my own food on a farm (until I remember my general lack of ability in that area and unfamiliarity with dirt, physical labor, and vegetables… although I do have a husband who can both grow and cook things…). There’s a web site for the book too of course, and it has all the yummy sounding recipes and lots of useful resources.

One Good TurnFinished One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson today. Its the sequel to Case Histories which I had also really enjoyed. There’s a third coming out in the fall apparently, and there’s a little preview bit at the end of this one. I really like Kate Atkinson’s books (I think I’ve read all but one of them now.) The ones in this series are mysteries with interlocking characters that all fit together by the end.

distantland.jpgFinally finished off The Distant Land of My Father this afternoon (Clara seems to be in a bit of a growth spurt, so there has been more time than usual to sit around feeding her and sometimes that even means being able to get a bit of reading in… though still pretty rarely)  As I mentioned before, it is both this year’s Silicon Valley Reads pick and the February book in our book club at work (which I will be back at work in time for.)  It was a really wonderful read and drew me in from the start (today’s bit left me in tears.)  I’m going to try to see the author at the Feb. 28 event, one of the many happening over the next few weeks (but actually the used copy I bought online is already signed!) 

Like most of our book club picks (even though I picked this one), it wasn’t one I probably ever would have picked up on my own but which I am very glad I did!

I finally finished reading Brian’s book today (now I’m just waiting for the final bit to be posted on their web site as promised at the end of the last chapter), and over our holiday trip I read The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets which I absolutely loved and couldn’t put down (and when I did put it down for a second, Liz picked it up and loved it too, so I had to finish it quickly so that she could take it with her). We listened to The Hard Way in the car on the trip, which I liked but the last scene gave me nightmares later. Now, given the rate that I’m getting through books these days, I really should get started on my book club book for February since I’m leading the discussion. Its the Silicon Valley Reads pick, Distant Land of my Father.

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