Reading Lately

I haven't been keeping up with Good Reads, but I've been plowing through a few books -- mainly on my Kindle via the EBRPL Overdrive service. Here are quick hits about the last four books I've read (mostly this week, thanks to visiting childcare in the form of inlaws!):
  • 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.
I have a couple more books in my Kindle and a few things I'm still looking for that I'll probably have to get in hard copy at the library. I read The Paris Wife a couple weeks ago and am interested in reading some actual Hemingway (I have a feeling I've never actually gotten through any of his works entirely before). I've enjoyed a couple books by Jane Smiley, the 18th Stephanie Plum book, a couple by Laura Lippman one of which I loved (What the Dead Know), a bunch of David Sedaris and Billy Graham's Nearing Home on my Kindle. All free thanks to the library.


Anonymous said...


PS - Miss Meg's kids are now 3yrs, and 5 months... and she's in her new house.

(might be worth checking-in there?)

Katie said...

My sister in law just gave me the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks! I have been looking forward to reading it for a while. We'll have to discuss once I finish. Also, we should chat about Biblical Womanhood next Skype time.

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