I'm trying out a new monthly post idea...the reading receipt. I often mention what I'm reading on my weekly Wednesday post but thought I'd try to keep my monthly progress updated for my 2016 Book Challenge at the end of each month.
Here's my January Reading Receipt:
#1 The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Reading this one was a good way to start 2016. It's the story of an Irish girl who becomes an indentured servant in Virginia in 1791. This is one of those books that starts off with a gruesome scene, and then flips back to many years previous and starts to tell the story of how the initial scene comes to be. Sometimes I resent this tactic, and sometimes I find it intriguing. The deciding factor is how much the characters and story pull me in as the book progresses. In this case, it was the latter, even though I was dreading finding out how things came to be in the initial scene. In the author's afterword, she said she came upon a piece of land like the one in the opening scene of the book and could just see the scenario. She built the whole book from that one scene. Pretty amazing.
#2 The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Another historical fiction book that was a winner. This one is set in France during German occupation in World War II. It told the story of two sisters and how they both helped the Allies cause in very different ways. This almost came across as a very well written "made for T.V. movie", but Hannah does not wimp out in the end and romanticize the effects of the war on her main characters. I think people my age who have never lived through such a thing can tend to romanticize World War II a bit since we've only seen it through movies and books. But make no mistake about it, there's nothing romantic about war. This novel is a great example of that.
#3 Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Best book of the month for me, hands down. I'll be writing a longer post about this later. Gilbert writes so honestly about living a creative life that I felt like I was carried away by this book at times. I liked Eat, Pray, Love (probably her best known work), but it was nothing compared to how I felt about this one. The only other time I've liked reading about writing so much was in every foreward I've ever read by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. If you are a writer of any kind, read this.
#4 The Blondes by Emily Schultz
Very different from the first three books I read this month, this one was styled in the science fiction/apocalypse fashion. This tells the story of a rabies like virus that starts to affect blonde women all over the world. The story is told by a graduate student who is writing her thesis on the way women are portrayed in advertising and film. I always say I like an outrageous premise if the author can make it work. Did she? Oh, yeah. Funny, sharp, and eerie.
So there you have it - January's books. I'll be back at the end of February with another Reading Receipt.