Bookish Chatter | A Stellar Week

Happy March 1st! March is considered spring in some parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Not in New Hampshire, but I take heart in knowing that so many of my blogging friends are seeing blooming crocuses and daffodils. I have had an embarrassingly stellar week of reading and have very little time this morning to write about it. So let’s just get started!

Finished This Week:

” ‘Hell ain’t lasting forever. Hell is change.’ Not only did men leave and children grow up and die, but even the misery didn’t last. One day she wouldn’t even have that.”

I picked up Sula knowing very little about it but was immediately hooked. This was a powerful story of female friendship and I’m still contemplating all of the complicated meanings behind this book. My emotions ran the gamut: I laughed a lot, cried, and was completely horrified. I’ll be thinking about these characters for a while and think that they might show up again in future Morrison novels. I’m planning to read Song of Solomon in March if you’re interested in joining me!

Finishing All Over Creation makes me an Ozeki fiction completist! I still have one work of non-fiction to read, which I will tackle later this year to make it official. There was so much packed into this book! Yumi Fuller grew up in Idaho with her American father and Japanese mother and ran away as a teenager after an affair with her teacher. She came back with three kids in tow after learning that her father was terminally ill. Upon her return, Yumi learned how her parents’ business had shifted from her father’s traditional potato farm to the seed sharing revolution that her mother had been quietly working on.

In the midst of this, her family gets caught up in a radical group called The Seeds of Revolution. They’re the type that go around the country protesting genetically modified foods and puts poison stickers on the food in the grocery store. They are obsessed with Lloyd and Momoko’s business and want to learn from them. The Seeds are welcomed onto their farm despite all of the chaos they create in the surrounding towns.

This book made me about so much and my journal page is full. I think I could write a whole blog post on this book alone, but I’ll spare you that!

Bleeding Heart Yard is the third installment of the Harbinder Kaur series. Harbinder is now living in London and a lead detective. Her first case is a big one: the murder of an MP at a school reunion. As she interviews the reunion-goers she quickly discovers that he was a part of The Group in high school, the popular kids. As she gets to know the other members of The Group, she learns that everything seems to go back to the death of a fellow classmate in their last year of school. Where’s the connection? And when another member of The Group is found murdered, the stakes rise even higher.

This was such an excellent novel. I really enjoy Harbinder and her story, although I did miss her family in this novel. If you’re interested in picking this up but haven’t read the first two, then you should know that I don’t think it’s necessary to read these in order. But they are all good and worth the time!

What Are We Doing Here? was a book that I read slowly over most of February. It was thought-provoking and surprising in so many ways. I didn’t always agree with Robinson’s arguments but I loved learning about her point of view and thinking about how it could apply to my own life. I took 9 pages of notes in my reading journal, which is a record for me!

I think my favorite essay was How American Talks About Itself. This was a conversation about her fascination with the untold (and mis-told) parts of American history. She believes that we don’t know enough about our own history to understand our present. “History that is grossly incomplete can feel coherent, sufficient, and true” p138. I love conversations like this and am often in a tizzy when I see facts misrepresented by misused in the news — and this essay spoke right to that frustration.

My biggest takeaways about Robinson: she has an intense interest in Puritan history; she is constantly searching for the right language to discuss religion and spirituality; she firmly believes in honoring human dignity. I think that makes for a fairly interesting life.

The best part is that I read this book with Mary. She and I connected almost every day about the essays we finished and what we loved about them, which kept me motivated and excited. Next up is What Are People For? by Wendell Berry.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Book of Goose but was delighted to learn that it’s mostly set in France after WWII – my favorite time and place! This story is told to us by Agnés, and she writes about her childhood friendship with Fabienne. As girls, they were thick as thieves and started writing books together. Through a twist of fate, Fabienne insists that the books be in Agnés’s name only and then her life turns into a whirlwind. Eventually, she is sent to an English boarding school which is oppressive and demanding, and Agnés hates it. When she finally returns to her village — after just 4 months that feels like a lifetime –, things have changed in heartbreaking ways for Agnés

This book is about childhood friendships, first loves, and our ambitions. It was incredible and I couldn’t stop listening to it.

The Summer of the Great Grandmother is the second book in L’Engle’s Crosswicks Journals – the journals she kept while she summered with her sprawling family in a giant country house that they called Crosswicks. This journal chronicled Madeleine’s mother’s last summer with them. She knew that her mother wouldn’t be alive much longer and it seems like she coped with this fact by putting down her family history in a very detailed way.

Some parts of the book were quite boring, but I did enjoy reading about life at Crosswicks. She always includes tidbits about how she manages to write while caring for such a giant group of people, which I love.

Changes for Addy was the last Addy book! In this one, the Walkers are finally all reunited. What a journey for Addy and her family. Bronwyn and I have now finished all of the books for Kaya, Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, and now Addy. The Addy books are absolutely the best so far and I can’t imagine this series getting any better. But we’re startimg Samantha’s stories tonight and I’ll let you know!

Bryce and I finished the eighth Captain Underpants book. Goodreads tells me that this is at least the fourth time we’ve read it so I know I’ve talked about it on here before. And my time is very short so I will not say anything else about this one today!

Slow & Steady:

I am still reading 20 pages of War and Peace a day and am on page 600 — nearly to the halfway mark! Things are really heating up for Natasha and I’m anxious to see what happens to her. I know who she eventually marries because of the family tree I printed out, but how in the world does it happen? Inquiring minds must know. (But don’t tell me.)

Okay – sorry that this has been stilted but I’ve been trying to write this in the midst of hungry and grumpy children this morning. And I am unable to go back and proof read, so oof! I apologize for all my errors in advance. I will leave it here but hope to be back on Friday! Take good care!


17 thoughts on “Bookish Chatter | A Stellar Week

Add yours

  1. I want to tackle War and Peace and some point after reading Anna Karenina a few months back.
    I have seen crocuses and daffodils and it is making me very happy indeed!


    1. Anna K is on my list for the fall and I’m excited to get to it! I’ve been surprised by how approachable W&P has been – I hope you love it. Yay for spring flowers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Everyone I know who has read The Book of Goose has really enjoyed it, so I’ve got to read it one of these days! I’m definitely quite a bit ahead of you in W&P, so I can tell you that you are going to get into a lot of Natasha drama soon. I know a little bit about how she winds up married, but only because I watched the miniseries a few years ago (I plan to rewatch when I’m done reading), though I don’t know how faithful the series was to the book.


  3. Congrats on making it halfway through War and Peace. That’s longer than most books are. I’ve read about The Book of Goose on another blog I follow. Just might have to put it on my TBR list. The Marilynne Robinson Book sounds thought provoking. I was especially taken by the following quotation: “History that is grossly incomplete can feel coherent, sufficient, and true” I agree. One only has to look at what’s going on in this country to see how true this is. Yet, the opposite is also true, especially if you’re part of a marginalized group, the way I am as a Franco-American. Our history and language were suppressed for too many years, and growing up, I had no clue how Franco-Americans fit into the story of Maine. It was almost as though we had crawled out from under rocks to vex the Yankees. Not knowing your history is a form of blindness. Fortunately, that has changed, and Franco-Americans are now telling their stories.


    1. YES! Robinson talks a lot about how little is truly understood about the Puritans who lived in the US, so I think you might sympathize with that given your own historical background. It is so fascinating!

      And yes to The Book of Goose – it was so good!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fantastic month of books, Katie! I am so glad you enjoyed Book of Goose (I did too… it was wonderful!) I have added a few books to my tbr list! Thank you!


  5. I’m about at 400 pages in War and Peace and the feelings I feel about each character is very extreme – love Natasha and Pierre and hate Vassily and Dolohov. I’m going to push through for the ending I know will be amazing!


    1. You’re making great progress! I also love Natasha and Pierre. Vassily makes my skin crawl!! And so does his son, Anatole. What a sneaky family!


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