Sunday, April 2, 2017

It's Monday....What Are You Reading - April 3 #IMWAYR

Well folks, this Spring break did not go as planned.  I considered not posting this update at all this week, but then I realized that what's going on is kind of affecting everything around me.

So, basically, as I write this, I'm waiting by the phone.  My mother is currently in end-of-life care and, honestly, I'm not sure that she will still be with us by the time this update posts.  We knew where this was headed for about a week (although my mother has been in failing health for quite some time), so it isn't a surprise--but it still sucks.

Not surprisingly, this has not been a "fun" Spring Break.  I offered to go down to Arizona to be with my dad, but he asked me not to--and I know that my mother would not want me there (oddly enough, she told me this the day before her decline really started).  So, I've just been here...waiting.

I know that I said there would be an update on my "change of direction" with the blog and I promise that it will come, but maybe not as soon as I had hoped.  If things sort of stay in limbo around here, now you know why.


It's Monday...What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.  Please visit her blog to link up and join the fun!


I started Miss You by Kate Eberlen last night, partly because it was next on my to-read list and partly because Sophie Kinsella said it was "witty, poignant, and uplifting" (courtesy of the back cover) and THAT is precisely the kind of book I need right now.  I'm not far into it, but we've already had one the main character's mother die...so there is also that. (Also, let's just not talk about this past week's epsiode of Grey's Anatomy...okay?)

I have These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories by Luke Mogelson here, but I haven't actually started it yet.  It is a collection of short stories, which is a nice change from novels and something that I can easily read while reading other things.  However, "these ten powerful stories magnify the consequences of combat for both soldiers and civilians," so I'm thinking that this might not be the right time for this.

I'll admit that I'm probably the last person on the planet to read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  It is the April selection for my IRL book club, so the time has come.  Unfortunately, I don't think this is an upper book and, even in the best of times in my personal life, I am kind of burnt out on World War II, so this might be more of a struggle than it normally would.  But, I'm also the person who tries to read every book club selection that comes her way, so I'm just going to take it nice and slow...

I didn't make much any progress on me re-read/listen of In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner this week, only because my kids were home and my gym doesn't have childcare.  I didn't notice until just recently that Karen Ziemba is the narrator--I saw her star in Crazy for You on Broadway when I was 21!

I also didn't make any progress in Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by Lisa Cron this week, but only if you count progress as reading pages.  I'm doing the exercises in it and this one is more involved and I've spent a bit of time on it, but not as much as I'd like, given current circumstances.

Last week, I said I wasn't going to start recapping what I finished during the week until next week.  The reason for that is that I didn't expect to finish anything between March 31 (up to that date, it will be covered in my The State of My Shelves post, which will come out on 4/5) and when I wrote this update.  Well, wouldn't you know that I finished a book yesterday?

It was yesterday that I got the call that the decision about Mom and ceasing treatment had been made, so I sort of checked out and plowed through a book about....rape.  I know, what an upper...right?  The book is It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany, who is one of my favorite authors.  To be honest, it was probably the perfect choice of a book for that moment in time.  It wasn't all unicorns and rainbows, which I had no patience for right then, but it was also serious and thought-provoking in a way that had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with my current situation.

I'm not going to give it a full review, for reasons that will be made clear when I finally get around to talking about where I'm taking the blog from here, but I did want to share a few thoughts on it.  There was much in this book that I found heartbreaking and important and I think that Hatvany treated the emotional aspect of rape better than many other authors I've read who tried to tackle the same thing.  Yet, there were two things that I found less successful, although only one I would call a problem with the book.

Hatvany spends a lot of time--half the book, actually--inside the head of the rapist.  This was fascinating and well done--and I didn't want to read it.  Not because I think Hatvany was off-base or even because I thought she was too sympathetic, but because I did not want to go there.  So, while this may be one of the strengths of the book, it was also one of the things that made me itchy while reading it.

Secondly, Hatvany makes a major plot choice that I found to be a bit over the top and, ultimately, unbelievable.  Unfortunately, this plot choice serves as sort of the frame of the novel, so you can't really overlook it.  I wish that Hatvany had chosen another envelope for her letter, shall we say.

It was still a worthwhile read and I'd definitely say it is worth the time for anyone who has read and enjoyed Hatvany's other books.  Beyond that, I think I would be a bit more discerning who I recommended it to.

So, that's it for this week.  Sorry to be such a bummer!

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