Bookish Chatter | Another Very Good Week (of reading)

Thank you for all of the well wishes on Monday! Bryce and Bronwyn are feeling much better. The rest of us are working our way in that direction. Colton is still staying home from school, so he’s had quite a long stretch of being sick (tomorrow will mark a full week). I’m hoping that he’ll turn a corner today! Now more than ever, I’m thankful for good books. Stitching has taken too much strength and energy, but picking up a book in the quiet moments has been just right. And luckily I’ve had some good ones in the queue.


I finally decided it was time to read The Marriage Portrait. And you know what? I’m glad I saved it until now because I really needed this luscious, slow burn to turn to when everyone got sick. This book started out slowly for me but became un-put-down-able in the last 150 pages or so. I was fascinated by Lucrezia’s story – a young Medici girl, wed at 15 to a cruel and power-hungry duke – and I rooted for her all the way through. O’Farrell has written such a beautiful tale – full of the most vivid descriptions and lovely details. It has, once again, made me so thankful that I wasn’t alive during the medieval times. Those weren’t easy times for anyone, even the rich and powerful.

I was glad to have read this one on paper because I think the alternating timelines would have been difficult to follow on audio. The time periods were so close together and I had to gather my wits at the beginning of each chapter to feel confident about where it fit into the story.

“You’re allowed to just LIVE.”

A Psalm for the Wild-Built was an interesting little book that stole my heart when I learned that the main character is a tea monk. Just that combination of words is enough for me! Dex is a monk who goes around to different villages and sets up their tea station, listens to people’s problems, fixes them the perfect cuppa, and gives them comfort and support. One day a Robot appears to ensure that humans have everything they need. This ends up being a much more complicated answer than anyone might expect.

This was, unexpectedly, a wonderful pairing for my one little word this year: Less. I’m on the waitlist for the second in this series, which I expect should move fairly quickly given how short these books are!

“Maybe all of them are simply a chorus of souls, light touching light.”

Signal Fires blew me away and I shouldn’t have been so surprised since I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Shapiro. The opening scene is set in the 80s when a brother and sister do a really, really stupid thing and another teenager is killed (not a spoiler.) The reverberations of this fateful night follow the Wilf family for the rest of their lives. And a couple of decades later a new family moves in across the street, The Shenkman’s, who have their own impact on the Wilfs’.

The characters in this book are complicated and felt so real. This book is about how we’re all inextricably connected to each other in ways that are simply embedded into the universe. Shapiro moves us throughout time seamlessly and expertly, while teaching us about how the universe works in the most amazing ways. This would have been a very good book club read because there’s so much to talk about!

Bryce and I finished another Captain Underpants this week. This was the Attack of the Talking Toilets. Melvin Sneedly invented a contraption from a copy machine that would create anything scanned into it. George and Harold didn’t believe that it really worked, so they made playground copies of their latest comic book on it: The Attack of the Talking Toilets. So their fantasy became real! The toilets ate everything, including their teachers. Luckily, Captain Underpants was there to save the day. Yum, yum, eat ’em up!

I hope your reading life was as fulfilling as mine was this week. I’m planning to be back on Friday with a stitching update. I haven’t managed any stitching this week but I have a few things I’ve been wanting to show you for a while now. Until then – take good care.


15 thoughts on “Bookish Chatter | Another Very Good Week (of reading)

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  1. I got a copy of Signal Fires for Christmas and I’m excited about it! Shapiro is a new author to me, so I hope this is the beginning of a long book relationship.


    1. I’ve read three of her memoirs and loved them all, but was nervous about how she’d translated to fiction for me. Amazing!! That’s how! I hope you get to Signal Fires soon and that you love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to hear everyone is on the mend in your house! I suppose if you had to be down with the flu, there are worse things you could do with your time then read a Maggie O’Farrell book. So happy you loved it! I’m patiently waiting for Signal Fires from the library.


  3. The Marriage Portrait was one of my favorites from last year, I’m glad you liked it! I have Hamnet on my list and I hope it’s written in a similar style.


  4. The Marriage Portrait and Signal Fires were two of my best from 2022 – I’m so glad you enjoyed them, too! and I was just tickled to see Captain Underpants sitting atop that stack! continuing to send up the get well wishes!


  5. I loved The Marriage Portrait. I wasn’t sure about Signal Fires, but everyone is raving about it – I may need to put myself in the queue for that one. Glad to read that you all slowly getting better!


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