This month my reading moods have been all over the place. Is this a thing? Does this happen to anyone else? Sometimes, even though I was enjoying my current read, I just didn’t feel like dipping back into the story. So I’ve been swapping out my regular reads for a book of short stories or a collection of essays when I felt like it. As a result, although I’ve done a lot of reading it doesn’t look like much on paper. I read two books and finished two audiobooks.
Anne’s House of Dreams by Lucy Maude Montgomery (audio)
This is my very favorite Anne book. I love the setting of this one, and the life that Anne and Gilbert live by the sea-side. I appreciate the touch of sadness brought to this by a death and by Leslie’s story. This one also contains some of my very favorite characters of the series- Captain Jim, Cornelia (isn’t that just like a man), and Leslie.
Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker (book)
Lisa’s previous book, ‘Surprised by Motherhood’, was one of the best books I read last year (like balm to my tired mama-heart). So I knew I wanted this book before I even knew what it was. I’d read anything this woman writes. This one is about friendships, from a very Christian perspective. She talks about the things that hold us back in our relationships, what we can’t do about it (like expect other people to fill us up, and what we can do about it. She talks about Jesus a lot, because of course He is our ultimate Friend and ultimate example of friendship.
Really loving people means loving them the way they need to be loved, not the way you like being loved.
Friendship isn’t something we passively receive. Friendship is something we actively do. It’s a gift we offer for free, not a demand we make with a stamping foot.
Story of a Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (book and audio)
The final installment. These books are so consuming. I was so grateful when Nino and Elena finally split, shocked when I found out about the deaths of certain characters. All I wanted to do was read and find out what happened to the people in the neighborhood- Antonio, Macello, Lila, Elena’s daughters. When I’m reading these books I feel like I’m actually living in their world. I do have complicated feelings for them though. While I thoroughly enjoyed them and think they deserve the hype I’d hesitate to recommend them to others. It takes a specific taste and tolerance to enjoy these like I did. Because they’re a translation the writing style and voice of the author is unique, and they certainly have their fair share of language, violence, and sex. I read these books purely for fun, but I think there is a lot in them that would be really fun to dissect and analyze. Eg- the title of this one itself, while on the surface refers to a specific child, could actually refer to a number of different themes that run throughout the books. Happy to have read these, happy also to be done and move on.
In what disorder we lived, how many fragments of ourselves were scattered, as if to live were to explode into splinters.
And, Elena, summing up the life-long relationship between her and Lila:
It’s only and always the two of us who are involved, she who wants me to give her what nature and circumstances kept, I who can’t give what she demands; she who gets angry at my inadequacy and out of spite wants to reduce me to nothing, as she has done with herself, I who have written for months and months to give her a form whose boundaries won’t dissolve, and defeat her, and calm her, and so in turn, calm myself.
And a peak at what’s on my nightstand right now: ‘Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader’ by Anne Fadiman, ‘The Empty Family’ by Colm Toibin (the collection of essays and short stories, respectively, that I’m dipping in and out of), ‘The Read Aloud Handbook’ by Jim Trelease, ‘The Well-Trained Mind’ by Susan Wise Bauer, ‘Beartown’ by Frederik Backman, and ‘The Glass Castle’ by Jeannette Walls. An ambitious list, I think.
What did you read this month?