Reading This Week | Week 9 of 2021

Happy Wednesday! I usually link up with Kat at As Kat Knits on Wednesdays to share my reading and knitting, but I haven’t had any knitting for a few weeks so I’m only going to share books today. But please – if you’re looking for loads of inspiration, then head over to Kat’s and visit the bloggers participating! I had another excellent week of reading and can’t wait to share with you.

The Whispering Oak by Katrina Charman
This is the third book in The Last Firehawk series that we’ve been reading aloud. Our three friends – Tag, Skyla, and Blaze – are searching for the third piece of the ember stone before the evil vulture Thorn finds it and destroys their enchanted forest. To get the third piece, they must help the bears and birds of the Whispering Oak come to a compromise over the last piece of precious honeycomb. This has been a really fun series to read aloud and I’m excited to borrow the next book from the library.

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
So much happened in this book! This is set the year after The Longest Winter and their life was, thankfully, so much fuller than it was during that cold, dark winter. Laura got her first job in town, Mary finally got to go to college, the cruel Nellie Olsen moved to the prairie, the new teacher had a real vendetta against the Ingalls girls, Almanzo began spending time with Laura, and Laura got her teacher’s certificate a year earlier than she expected. Whew! The book ended with Laura getting a teaching job in another town, which means she is going to move away from home soon and I don’t know if I’ll be able to take it. I’m on the waitlist for the last two books in the series and should be able to finish soon. I’m so excited to see how the series ends, because I’ve never read these last 3.

Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton
“There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over any encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.

This journal covers a year in the life of the poet May Sarton in the early 70s. She is living in the tiny village of Nelson, New Hampshire, along with Punch the parrot and various friends and neighbors who visit occasionally. Her journal focuses on finding time to write poetry and spending time in her garden. Almost every single entry includes an update on the fickle New Hampshire weather and the flowers she has displayed throughout her home. I loved this and made about a million (okay, more like 33) Kindle highlights, which you can read here.

White Pine by Mary Oliver
This was the first collection of poems by Mary Oliver that I’ve read and am now captivated. It’s a slim volume and completely approachable for us lay poetry people. I don’t understand form or how poems are built at all, but I still felt like I got enough out of these poems to feel a connection with the world around me. Here’s a snippet from Woodshed, in which she talks about the work spent keeping wood ready for the fire:

This is how it is,
year after year –
everything put by,
nothing kept

everything used up.
And that, as much as anything,
is the wonder of it,
I say philosophically —

how it all
gathers and vanishes,
how it all
goes up in smoke.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
This book won the Goodreads Choice award last year! I always try to read the winners and was pleased when I saw that my library had this on their shelves. Nora Seed decides that she doesn’t want to live anymore when she tires of constantly facing the regrets of her life. After she attempts to end her life, she’s stuck in a sort of in-between: a never ending library that’s full of alternative choices for her life. With the guidance of Mrs. Elm, her high school librarian turned Midnight Librarian, Nora searches for the one life she could have lived in and found happiness. I can’t say that I loved this book because I found it quite predictable. I nearly gave up on it halfway through, but decided to keep going with the hopes that it might surprise me. It didn’t. BUT! It offers a wonderful perspective about the lives we currently live and how much hope we can all continue to carry, no matter how dark our lives might seem. And we all need that reminder right now. 3 stars.

Have you read any of these books? Any recommendations for more based on what I’ve read this week? Here’s to another great week of reading for all of us!


10 thoughts on “Reading This Week | Week 9 of 2021

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  1. Loved catching up on your reading, Katie! Mary Oliver is a wonder, and I’ve never read May Sarton but you’ve piqued my interest. I’m reading The Sum of Us right now, by Heather McGhee. It’s a tough read but really, really good IMHO. As the rest of its title says, it’s about “What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” — how ‘zero-sum thinking’ creates and sustains our very lop-sided world, where almost no one gets to have so-called ‘nice things’ (like health insurance, jobs that allow you to support yourself, etc.) I’m finding it very helpful in trying to understand why so many in the GOP seem to vote against their own interests.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’d love May Sarton, Jordy! Thank you for your own recommendation – that sounds like the book that many of could benefit from reading… and it sounds difficult!! I’m adding it to The List.


  2. I keep meaning to read Mary Oliver, but there’s always a long wait for her poetry volumes from the library (for good reason, I suppose). Maybe I should just buy one!


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