- The Book Thief: World War II/Holocaust novel told from the perspective of Death, focused on a particular girl growing up outside of Munich, Germany. Her mom drops her off with a foster family -- I was never clear why, as she wasn't Jewish. Something about being Communist though. They hide a Jew in their basement, so the war and Hitler is an overarching theme and stress. It's not a very happy ending in most respects, I would say. But an OK read.
- The Life of Pi: a novel written as if it were a biography/memoir type thing. It's fantastical about surviving a shipwreck -- from India to Mexico via the Pacific Ocean. I couldn't put it down and was reading while getting ready to go out several times, and at least once I forgot my phone or something else vital. Another less-than-happy ending in some respects. But I really liked it. Not sure if I'll watch the movie that's been made. It came out last year and was up for a bunch of Oscars.
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: LOVE. This has been on my list (and in my Amazon shopping cart) since it came out several years ago. I think I was leaving R!A when it was first published (or thereabouts). It's about the woman whose cervical cancer cells have been used for research breakthroughs since the 1950s -- without her or her family's knowledge or consent. It raises a lot of issues about research and privacy, but I think what I liked most was seeing another kind of life. It seemed to be presented truly, her family's life, in a respectful but honest way. I've kept thinking about it since I finished it last night.
- Why Have Kids? I picked up this book at the library after my mother-in-law spotted it on the New Nonfiction rack after story time this week. I'd heard about it and definitely heard of the author before. And a book is a book, so I checked it out (along with a Louisiana Lighthouse book that I thought would have pictures -- upon further inspection realized it was curated from Wikipedia articles ... is that a thing now?!). I guess I liked it -- I read it very quickly this afternoon. It was written like a book report or college term paper -- lots of references and footnotes. The author has a child, so there are some personal anecdotes included (you know me, loving the nosy business of knowing about others' lives).
I'm still not sure what her thesis was -- other than women should be allowed to choose whether to have children and society should support either decision equally (as of now society doesn't do a good job supporting either, depending on how you look at it).
What I didn't like was the chapter that basically said women who don't work are doing a disservice to womankind and to themselves (because eventually their partner/husband will die, leave them or lose his job and getting back to work after an extended leave for kids is impossible/difficult). She wasn't saying that herself, but "reporting" on others' research/writings/findings. But she was wishy-washy in her critique, indicating that she initially took issue with the idea but now supports it/agrees with it. She definitely states her belief that women shouldn't solely depend on another person financially for any long period of time. I hesitate to state an opinion of my own, although my actions speak for my own situation at this point in my life, so I couldn't help but feel like it was a bit of a personal affront. I also see the logic in the thinking. So there you go.