Bookish Chatter | Catching Up

I didn’t do a bookish update last week so I’m going to try to quickly catch up on what I’ve been reading. And I mean quick: it’s 4:45 and Colton is already awake so my time is very short!

Books Finished in the Last Two Weeks:

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow seemed like an epic undertaking for the author. It follows Sam and Sadie from childhood to adulthood, two video game creators and collaborators. For some reason, I thought this was a romance but I was completely wrong. This was really about two people who happen to create some incredible games together and all of their misunderstandings and functional dysfunction along the way. It did an excellent job of portraying how humans fail to communicate – at their own peril – throughout life! This dragged for me a little bit in the middle, but I really enjoyed the scope of this book and what the author managed to pull off. 4 stars!

I enjoy rereading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up every few years. I was inspired to pick it up over the weekend because of my desire to have Less clutter in my home and love Kondo’s approach for discarding items that seem to be taking over. There’s so much practical advice and permission in here and I love that I can hear Kondo’s voice while I’m reading it, thanks to her Netflix show. This book sparks so much joy for me and has a very special place in my home library!

This was my third time to read The Bluest Eye and it becomes more powerful with each reading. I picked it up with a group of Fiction Matters members who are aiming to read 12 Toni Morrison novels this year (I shared our schedule in this post if you’d like to join me), and it was so helpful to be reading this with friends. This book was first published in 1970 but still resonates today. Serendipitously, I have been reading a lot about African American and African history this week (The Bluest Eye, the fourth section of When You Greet Me I Bow, Bronwyn and I are reading the Addy American Girls boos, and we’re studying West Africa during the height of the slave trade in our homeschool right now) and so much coalesced for me with this reading. I could talk about this book all day, I think, but am trying to keep this short. I’d be happy to chat more about it in the comments or via email and am really looking forward to tackling Sula in February!

I read When You Greet Me I Bow slowly, starting in September and reading roughly one section a month until finishing it. It really helped me to read it with a friend because I’m not sure if I would have taken it slowly and given it time to sink in without our discussions. This was a collection of essays that Fischer has written for different publications over the last several decades as a Buddhist priest. Some were way over my head and difficult to comprehend; others seemed to speak to me especially. My favorite sections were the first and last: Notes on the Joy and Catastrophe of Relationship and Notes on Social Engagement. The first section dealt with finding ways to bring Buddhism into your own life and the last thought about racism, sexism, and climate change. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in Buddhism and who wants to read thoughtful essays about the practice.

Bronwyn and I finished the second Addy book, Addy Learns a Lesson. Addy and her mother have arrived in Philadelphia and Addy started school and is learning to read. There’s a girl in her class, Harriet, who is smart and well-off. Addy wants to befriend her but that would cost her friendship with Sarah, the girl who has helped Addy settle in Philadelphia and who understands what Addy is going through as she transitions into a life of freedom. I was nervous to tackle the Addy books but I’m really enjoying them. I was curious about how people of color perceived them as children and have done some research. I found a few articles to help me understand:

Addy Walker: A Story of Sensitive Histories, Representation – a piece for Wisconsin Public Radio written by Haleema Shah

American Girl’s Addy Is More Than a Slave – a discussion between NPR’s Aisha Harris and Rachelle Hampton that I haven’t listened to yet, but hope to get to today

The Making of An American Girl – written by Aisha Harris for Slate

Addy Walker, American Girl – written by Brit Bennett for The Paris Review

And now I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole and could link thoughtful discussions for days and days. And this is what I LOVE about our homeschooling and one-on-one readalouds: we can fall down these rabbit holes and learn so much informally. I read these Addy books as a little girl, but don’t remember much about them. Bronwyn might not remember much either, but the exposure is so important. It’s such a privilege to be learning along with my children!

Bryce and I finished Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants last week. This is our first introduction to Professor Poopy P.P. Poopypants (named after his grandfather) who later changes his name to Tippy T. Tinkletrousers so that people will stop making fun of his name. It doesn’t help. Anyway, Professor Poopypants becomes a science teacher at Jerome Horowitz Elementary School and decides it will be the perfect way to take over the world. But Captain Underpants, George, and Harold are in his way. Those meddling kids! Maybe we don’t learn too much from these books, but they sure are fun and are perfectly suitable bedtime reading!

We’re expecting another snowstorm tonight and I would guess that Colton will have another remote learning day tomorrow, so I’m going to be doing triple schooling duty again! That’s okay because his remote learning is very straightforward, easy to get through, and keeps our challenges in mind – his teacher is wonderful. I’m hoping to be back on Friday with an update on what I’ve been sewing lately. Until then – take good care.


19 thoughts on “Bookish Chatter | Catching Up

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  1. I’m always amazed at how much you read and love the thoughtful peeks into your read-alouds. I’m hoping to join the Toni Morrison reads for at least a book or two. Stay warm!


    1. Thanks, Mary! I’m waiting for my copy of Sula to arrive via ILL – I am excited about it! And I’m loving learning about Addy Walker (the American Girl) and her impact. The more I learn about her, the more I recognize what an interesting character she is!


  2. Stay warm indeed! Excellent reading as usual, and I love that we are reading the same book right now! (Yay for deliciously titled books… A constellation of vital phenomena!)


    1. I took a break from the Constellation of Vital Phenomena to read something else that was due, but I hope to refocus on it this week! You might already be finished with it? I hope it’s as a good as everyone says it is!!


  3. Always enjoy your Bookish Chatter. I was going to recommend the podcast with Aisha Harris, but you beat me to it. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I will do so. I am a big fan of Aisha Harris, who is one of the hosts of the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, one of my favorites. Stay snug and warm during the next storm. Fingers crossed that we don’t lose our power.


    1. I finally listened to that podcast and it was so good. I loved the hosts!! I don’t listen to a ton of podcasts but now I’m interested in listening to the Pop Culture Happy Hour – she seems so interesting!

      I hope you didn’t lose power in this last storm? We’re now bracing ourselves for the polar vortex coming our way later this week. -16 is forecasted for Friday — so I would imagine it will be even colder for you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love the whole Pop Culture Happy Hour crew. Well worth listening to. Thanks be, we did not lose our power last week. Brisk weather is coming to New England. Yes, I bet it will colder here. I’ll be recording the temperature for next Monday’s post.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I read The Bluest Eye for the first time last week and I thought it was stunning!
    I’m embarassed to say that I’ve never read Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye was published when I was in high school, so wasn’t on the curriculum at that time. I look forward to reading along with you this year.


  5. I should really reread The Bluest Eye; I have not picked it up since high school, I think, but I’m pretty sure it’s on my shelf (which means there might be some interesting notes in the margins). I think the very act of savoring a book slowly is an excellent tie-in with Less as a theme for you; with reading, as with so many other things, there’s always a pressure to read more. I’d much rather spend more time with a good book than read more mediocre books.


  6. I plan to read more of Toni Morrison. I generally have one book for slow reading that I refer to as my “Sunday morning book.” I read a little bit from whatever book and then journal a little about my reading. Right now Poet Warrior by Jo Harjo is my Sunday morning book. My daughter and I read some of the American Girl books when she was growing up. They were fun for us too.


  7. Definitely want to read some Toni Morrison this year (I have some in one of the bookcases in my bedroom). “When You Greet Me I Bow” sounds interesting – I may look for that at my local library. Thanks for the recommendation! Hope you are all staying cozy in the snow!


  8. I love this kind of post so much! I’ve been wondering about the Tomorrow book, I love an epic long life book….and homeschooling is so great get in so many different kinds of books! I’m no longer homeschooling, but have so many good book memories with my kids ♥️ 🙂


  9. Read Hamnet last week and started The Wedding Portrait yesterday. And have a longing to go back and reread The Shell Seekers.


    1. I hope you’re enjoying The Wedding Portrait! I thought it was a slow burn but it really picked up in the second half. And I adore Rosamunde Pilcher — I think a reread of The Shell Seekers is a very good idea!


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