Jolie Guillebeau

Archive for the ‘readings’ Category

By request…

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

When Chris is gone, I get a lot of reading done.
And since we’ve moved and I don’t know anyone, I spent even more time reading this month.
And to this, that you can only spend so many hours of the day painting, or on the internet, and well… let’s just say, I’m really glad the library is right across the street.

So Portland’s library system has this neat little feature that keeps up with the books you check out– I love it. It’s much easier to remember what I’ve actually read.

So, in March of 2009, I read 28 books. Now, before you freak out– some of those were children’s books because I’m re-reading the entire Ramona Quimby series to celebrate moving to Portland (Ramona’s hometown). Those take less than an hour each, so it’s really not as much as it sounds like. I promise. Though, it’s a lot– even for me.

Anyway, these are the books. Some are worthy of further discussion and some aren’t.

Beverly Cleary Books:
Ramona the Pest
Ramona the Brave
Ramona and Her Mother
Ramona and Beezus
Ramona and Her Father
Ramona’s World
Ramona Forever
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Ellen Tebbits
Otis Spofford
Henry Huggins

These were all pretty quick reads– 20 minutes to an hour. They’re written around a 3rd grade level, so they weren’t any big brain stretch. But it was nice to find the references to Portland and reread books I loved as a kid.

Speaking of children’s books. I also completed the entire Harry Potter series this month. I’d never read any of the Harry Potter books, and so I requested them from the library, and read all seven while Chris was away. Though I technically started in February, so I can only count three of these in the total for March.

I also went through a Jane Austen phase this month. I love Pride and Prejudice, so I find myself drawn to the modern sequels–even though I know I’ll probably hate them when I’m finished. That was true of the Pemberley Chronicles, yet I still read the whole series this month. I can’t recommend them though.

Now for the “real” books I read.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
A historical account of WWII in Warsaw, Poland. An amazing story, though I was tempted to skip parts in the middle, because it got a bit repetitive.

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

Amazon has been recommending this to me for months, if not years, but I never took the bait, because it seemed so sad to read an unfinished work by an author who was murdered in Auchwitz. However, I finally checked it out from the library and found it to be lovely and moving without being too depressing. I should have listened to Amazon earlier.

Salt by Mark Kurlansky

More useless facts for my eventual takeover of the world via Trivial Pursuit. Or just more useless facts. But I like them. Do you know where Salzburg got its name? I do, now. Those little moments of “Aha!” made this book worth the read, though it got a bit tedious near the end.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Another book I had been meaning to read for awhile. The story of one man’s work to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It’s inspiring, but a bit rose-colored in its perspective. If you want to read a book about one guy trying to save the world, then read Mountains Beyond Mountains.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

A good quick read, though a bit eerie. I liked it, but it’s not very memorable.

Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors

Another quick read, this time about the building of the Taj Mahal. The imagery was lovely, though again I doubt I’ll remember this book a year from now.

And my favorite book of this month: The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.
Geraldine Brooks is my new favorite author. I loved March and Year of Wonders. People of the Book doesn’t disappoint. It’s a fictionalized account of the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah, which is a real book with an intriguing story. I loved every word. And reading the acknowledgements, I found a small connection that made me happy. The author was able to see the Sarajevo Haggadah under restoration in 2001, thanks to the help of Jacques-Paul Klein, who was working as the Special Representative for the UN in Bosnia at the time. Later, Mr. Klein was appointed as the head of the UN Mission in Liberia, and met with Chris several times while we were working in Liberia. It was just a small detail that made the book a little more real to me.

I’m ending March with a knitting book, and The Audacity of Hope, another book I’ve been meaning to read. Perhaps I’ll run out of things to read in April and this won’t be quite so long. And if you requested book reviews on my blog, be careful what you ask for…