Monday, March 23, 2015

It's Monday 3/23! What Are You Reading?

Whew, what a whirlwind week. I posted almost nothing on my blog last week - nor did any other writing. I had a long to-do list that I ended up totally ignoring when several emergencies came up. My grandmother died last week - my last remaining grandparent - so we quickly planned a last-minute trip to Rochester, NY, (my hometown) for the funeral this weekend. I dropped everything else and focused my energy on creating a memorial DVD to celebrate her life. I was fighting off bronchitis most of the week, too - and was actually successful, thanks to my new best friend, the inhaler. Bronchodilators rock. Meanwhile, our 17-year old son was less successful - his cold turned into a nasty sinus infection, and we ended up having to leave him at home for the weekend.

Then, Delaware got hit with a big snow storm on Friday, so we cancelled our plans to leave that night and instead drove up Saturday...which means we spent 14 hours driving and only 20 hours actually in town for our visit! It was a quick trip but well worth it, both to honor and remember my grandmother and to spend time with my family. I also got to spend a little time with my dad, who is fighting cancer.

So, here I am, back home, ready to get back to normal life! Here's what we've been reading this past week:
  • I continued reading Personal History by Katherine Graham, an autobiography of the Washington Post owner and this month's selection for one of my book groups. I missed the book group discussion last week because I was sick, but I was only about 2/3 of the way through this very dense, long book anyway. It's as much a history of the Washington Post as it is her personal history, and I'd prefer more personal stuff and less about the newspaper, politics, and all the famous people they hung out with! However, it has been interesting, and I think I will pick it up again and read more after I finish my next book group pick...
  • I started The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon this weekend for my neighborhood book group. I read it about 5 years ago for another book group. Honestly, I didn't love it, but so many people who have similar book tastes to me have told me over the years that this is their favorite novel that I decided to give it another try (besides, I hardly remembered anything about the plot!). Sometimes, you just read a book at the wrong time or in the wrong mood. I'm enjoying it so far.
  • I am still listening to Finding the Worm by Mark Goldblatt, a middle-grade audio book about a boy whose best friend has cancer. It's set in 1970, and I am loving it - it is heart-breaking, yes, but also funny and spot-on in its portrayal of middle school kids. I will probably finish it today.
  • I also started and finished Here by Richard Mcguire, a unique graphic novel. It shows an inside corner of a house across vastly different time periods, from many hundreds of thousand BC to 2200's (obviously, there wasn't actually a house on the spot in BC!). I'd heard great things about this unique book, and it held up to those high expectations - it was absolutely fascinating, and I still find myself studying its pages.
  • My husband, Ken, is reading Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand, part of his goal to read some nonfiction this year. Hillenbrand is a favorite author in our house because she is not only a brilliant writer but also suffers from the same disease as my son and me. What she has accomplished is absolutely amazing. Ken is almost finished with the book now and says he is  looking forward to the local racetrack opening this spring!
  • Jamie, 20, has been on a zombie kick in honor of The Walking Dead. I finally had a chance to ask him about his reading during our many hours in the car this weekend, and as I suspected, he is still working his way through the 10 books of the Dead series by T.W. Brown, in between classes, parties, and his new (first-ever) job. I doubt he will read much this week because he heads to Florida for spring break on Friday!
  • Craig, 17, is reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald for his American Literature class. I asked him if he wanted to borrow my copy from high school, apologizing for all the scribbled notes in it and offering to buy him a new one if he wanted. He said, "Are you kidding? This is just like the Half-Blood Prince in Harry Potter!" His teacher has been impressed by my notes, but credit belongs with my fabulous high school English teachers.
And, since we were visiting Rochester, I took bags of books with us to give to my young cousins and my nephew - they were all grateful and enthusiastic! I typically pass along teen/YA novels that I've enjoyed to my teen cousins, and we do tend to like the same sort of books. My 9-year old nephew was thrilled with so many books that had been his older cousins' favorites. He immediately sat down with me to look through one of the Wimpy Kid books and took one of our all-time favorites, The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy by William Boniface to bed with him. I just love sharing good books!

Only one blog post last week, about my new essay, Celebrate Everything, Big and Small, that is featured on the Mamalode website this month. It's about finding joy in every day. Check it out and let me know what you think!

What are you and your family reading this week?    

What Are You Reading Monday is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, with a kid/teen version hosted by Unleashing Readers

Our wedding in 89 - my grandmother, Ruth (blue dress) passed away last week


  1. Anonymous12:22 PM

    I should reread The Shadow of the Wind one of these days. It's been ages and I remember really loving it. Here is on my list of graphic novels to check out soon. Have a great week! ~Megan

  2. Your grandmother looks young in that picture! Sorry to hear about your loss. I'm glad you were able to go up and spend time with the family, even if the weather didn't cooperate.

  3. I'm interested in reading Finding the Worm as Twerp was a fabulous read. Thanks for reviewing it and giving me the heads up about it.

  4. Ordinary Boy is such a great series! I am so glad that he gravitated to it!
    I love that you share your reading love with extended family :)
    I also love your sons reaction to your notes--priceless! :)

    Happy reading this week!

  5. I am so very sorry to hear about your grandmother. My heart aches for you. You've had a tough time lately. Please imagine me reaching across the computer and giving you a squeeze. Reading and blog posting should not be a priority to family, so please don't be disappointed in yourself! You are such a devoted reader!

  6. I am so sorry about your grandmother's death. My Grandma was 96 when she died and yet I was still so sad. It doesn't matter old or young, we miss those we love.

    And another snow storm. What the heck? How can it be?

    I am one of those fans of Shadow of the Wind. I'll be interested in what you think second time around.

  7. I also had a bad reaction to Shadow of the WInd. I remember thinking that all the female characters were flat and more stereotype than human. This made the book seem lopsided and weak. Let me know if I should revisit it!