My Friday Reads: A Blog Post

It's been a crazy couple of weeks where books have taken the back-burner (sad times, indeed).  I got a new job, which is challenging, and requires that I stay glued to a screen, logged into a couple big time social media sites.  So, with that being said, adjusting to a new position and the demands it's sure to require, I've had little energy to read and exercise and pack and spend time with people that I love, each and everyday.  Plus, let me just be honest, I've found that I'm not ready to jump into the books I'm reading as soon as I walk in the door at night.

So, let me advertise my own walk of shame.  Here goes...


I. The Jungle Upton Sinclair

A Classics Challenge selection that would fulfill my Banned Book requirement, I found I  had the hardest time getting into this initially. When I finally found myself invested in the characters (about 130 pages in), I felt that I cared for them so much that I couldn't bear reading anymore of the woe that characterized their sad lives.  It's been over a month, and I still haven't finished. However, I'm not giving it up, just waiting till some of the anxiety of all the recent changes in my life subsides.

II. The Forgotten Garden  Kate Morton

Okay, so we all know I'm a thrifty shopper. However, sometimes (and I hate to admit this) I splurge on books (meaning I pay full price).  Don't hate me. There are plenty of books that I will buy full price, but when expenses are tight and you need to appease a hankering that the library can't satisfy, you go out and attempt to find it for half the price at a used store.  Well, I needed something lighter, not chick lit light, but something that had a magical element and included several generations of interesting female characters.  Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden fit the bill; plus, once I heard that it contained a secret garden (and I love gardens), it stuck with me for months.  After no longer being able to stomach the (what I thought to be) ridiculous queue at the local library, I broke down and purchased a brand new copy at the Barnes and Noble up the street.  While there are elements I find completely endearing and sweet, there's something about Morton's writing that makes me feel a little cheated.  The storyline seemed entertaining: a granddaughter searches for missing pieces to the mystery her recently deceased Grandmother spent her whole life trying to uncover about her own unexplainable past.  And, while I feel that the female characters are pretty great, there's just something lacking.  The dialogue offers little depth that would help me relate, hindering my ability to suspend disbelief.  At 600+ pages, I've decided that I'm going to finish (hey, I'm already over 300 pages in) but without haste - when I feel like reading, I will.  

III. The Road of Bones Anne Fine

A young-adult novel I discovered after reading The Book Thief, The Road of Bones is an account of a young boy growing up in an era that closely resembles post-revolutionary days of Soviet Russia. A novel created to explore the darkest moments of revolution and war within a landscape, Fine wishes to raise awareness of the paranoia and hysteria of such periods through the perspective of a young man coming-of-age.  The novel reads unlike any young adult novel I've come across, exploring the power of corruption and manipulation while evoking fear.  I'm slowly making my way through this title, as well, despite the darker content, but have really enjoyed it thus far.

 Book Club Picks for the Month of May:

I. Eating Animals Jonathan Safran Foer

I'll be finishing the first half of this book for my first book club meeting in over a month this coming Wednesday!  I'm so excited to be seeing all of my favorite ladies again, not to mention the attendance of two new participants! Although I'm a bit nervous about reading this nonfiction title, I have little doubt that I'll glean loads of new information.

II. Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists Edited by: Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan

A pick for the FWHC reading club I organize, I chose this title so that we could welcome all the new participants at the center with a series of short stories from leading females throughout the world.  Not only is it a great collection, but it creates the perfect opportunity to share stories about our own lives.  I'm excited to get it finished and share!

Look daunting?  Tell me about it.  So, what are you currently reading?  How do you cope with limited energy and time to read?


  1. Phew! That's a lot of books! I try to buy new copies of books by living authors, particularly if they're still relatively unknown and/or it's their first book. Essentially, if I think writing has earned them much of anything yet, I try to buy new copies. If the author is dead or so well-known that there's a good chance they can make writing financially reasonably, I have no problem buying used - it keeps trees in the dirt and landfills slightly emptier. The problem is, I rarely get to read new books because I can rarely afford new books! Ah well, one of these days...

  2. Jennifer,

    I feel the same way. Until fairly recently I really couldn't afford new books unless I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted it. And I'm also more inclined to purchase new books if they're newer authors. I guess it's silly for me to say that I'm more upset about not enjoying the book because I paid full price, but I still feel like I could have purchased something that I might have enjoyed more. Oh well.

  3. Don't give up on Sinclair Beth! He's a meat grinder of a man (and writer), but he's worth the trip. You might not come back to him afterward, but you'll be happy you gave him attention.

  4. Haha...walk of shame. Love it! I can see why you wanted The Forgotten Garden, what with reading such heavy books. Plus, two books about the food industry at the same time is quite impressive...don't know if I could stomach both simultaneously.

    The Road of Bones does sound really good, though! I like that it is YA, but takes darker subject matter and keeps it serious. I'm definitely doing more research on it now!

  5. The Road of Bones sounds interesting. I'm not usually into YA writing, so when you mentioned it reads unlike most YA, you piqued my interest.

    Try not to feel burdened by your books... sometimes its a good thing when life gets in the way of reading.

  6. Ben,

    I don't plan on giving up on Sinclair. I just needed a break from all the sadness. Especially given that I've been dealing with a lot of that with my own family, so it just wasn't a good time.


    I was thinking that when I decided to read both titles. However, The Jungle's description of the conditions individuals were expected to live in is what surprises, and saddens, me most.


    Yes, I think that many adults could learn a lot from the title. It's definitely very different from what you would expect from a title for the targeted age group. I'm looking forward to reviewing in the near future.
    And thanks. I'm trying to remind myself that I need to enjoy everything going on around me and not focusing on what I'm not finishing quickly.

  7. I'm technically 'behind' on my reading goals, but I'm not letting it overwhelm me much at the moment. When you pick long books, it takes longer! Forgotten Garden sounds like something I would have picked up as well, had I known anything about the plot (The Secret Garden was a favorite as a child... unique, I know) - you'll have to let us know how it turns out when you get around to finishing! As always I like learning about titles I know nothing about from you.

  8. I have, on occasion, bought books at full price when the local library queue is way too long....don't feel bad about it! Also, so excited that you're reading "Click." I've had it on my bookshelf for awhile...I may bust it open sooner than I thought.

  9. Cat,

    You're so sweet! And I LOVED THE SECRET GARDEN- the book & the movie! It's actually picking up a little and getting to the point where I don't want to put it down, so hopefully I'll get it finished sooner than later! I'm trying to not stress; I just feel guilty when I don't update the blog as frequently as I did in the past.


    Yes, I just ordered The Bird Sisters full price because the author is so sweet and it just sounded so lovely. I can't wait to share Click, and I can't wait to see your review of The Cookbook Collector! :)

  10. I'm still waiting to read my first Foer. I'm going to pop that Jungle one on my tbr list, sounds so emotional.

    I enjoyed The Forgotten Garden as a light holiday read. I was fortunate to find it in the library there.

  11. Am running off in quest of "Click"; I remember vividly Gloria Steinem's fab essay about "click" moments (in the collection "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions) and so any collection with this title gets my immediate attention....


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