It’s allergy season around here. Like so many other climate-related things, it seems to be happening earlier and earlier. Years ago, my allergies would hit in June. We got married at the beginning of June and I was a congested mess for weeks before and after. I had a reprieve for many years and barely suffered at all. But this year, my hay fever is back, and it’s been uncomfortable for weeks. So I’m avoiding dairy, popping decongestants and working in the garden when the wind isn’t blowing the cottonwood around. When I come inside to read, I make sure I have tissues nearby.
Here’s what I’m reading this month:
At the Gym: The Humans by Matt Haig
On the Kindle: The Light Between Us by Laura Lynne Jackson
Beside the Bed: Some Nerve by Jojo Moyes
Books read to date in 2016: 32
The seed catalogues are arriving and so are the seeds! We’re trying some new things this year – pepper varieties generally only found in Mexico, a few Mexican herbs, and some new (to us) tomato varieties too. And that’s only what we’ve ordered so far. There will be more. I love the promise of this time of year. There’s anticipation but not much hard work. Although the greenhouse is an absolute horror show and it’ll require some cleaning and prepping before it’s ready for seed flats. For now, though, this year’s garden is more of a dream and less of a demand. And that means I still have lots of time to read.
Here’s what I’m reading this month:
On the Kindle: Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
At the Gym: After You by Jojo Moyes
In Front of the Fire: My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
Books read to date in 2016: 11
Over the last week, I’ve been writing material for a series of guest blogs that will upload to various sites throughout the month of September, coinciding with the release of The Art of Getting Stared At. (I’m grateful to the bloggers for hosting me and when I get blog dates, I’ll share them.) A number of questions focused on the book itself but others were more general. Several people wanted to know my favorite book as a child.
That was a tough question to answer. I read early and voraciously, and my tastes changed as rapidly as I grew. I didn’t have just one favorite book. I had a series of favorites. But as I gave the question some thought, it occurred to me that my natural inclinations were obvious early on.
For the most part, even as a kid I gravitated to two types of books: contemporary stories that dealt with serious issues or over-the-top glamor romps. A close third was mysteries. I was a loyal Nancy Drew fan.
By the time I was 11, I’d fallen in love with a series of Sue Barton nurse books. She had red hair (how glamorous) and helped save lives (how meaningful). Though it was toned down somewhat, there was gritty realism in those books. There was also realism in With Love From Karen about a young girl with cerebral palsy, and in a novel called Mrs. Mike about a 16-year-old Boston girl who moves to the Canadian wilderness, falls in love with a Mountie and copes with extreme hardship. At the same time, I escaped with a series of books about Donna Parker who visited relatives in Hollywood, traveled overseas, and talked a lot about clothes.
The serious/light split continued into my teens as I went through an Ann Rand phase, took up with depressing Russian novelists (Anna Karenina was a favorite) and scared myself silly with Sybil. At the same time, I devoured the rags to riches story of A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford, Once is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann and any Sidney Sheldon book I could find.
Maybe that’s why when people ask me to name a favorite book or favorite author I’m as likely to say Jodi Picoult as I am Jennifer Crusie. Or maybe Jojo Moyes or Kristan Higgins. It depends on the day. It depends on my mood. It just . . . well . . . depends.
And don’t ask me to name my favorite food either. That’s another impossibility.
I’m on a Jojo Moyes reading kick at the moment. I hadn’t heard of this British novelist until about a month ago when a writer friend recommended I read her novel Me Before You (thank you EC Sheedy). I get lots of reading recommendations. And I have a ‘to be read’ pile that deserves its own zip code. But Me Before You – a layered and thought-provoking love story – sounded interesting. Plus, it was available at the library and in hard cover (and I’m always looking for hard cover books to read on the elliptical) so I picked it up. I figured I’d read it, in fits and starts, when I went to the gym.
It was a well-intentioned plan. But it failed. I read Me Before You in two days. I read it whenever and wherever I could (once when I was cooking dinner). When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. Or, more specifically, thinking about Louisa and Will. Me Before You made me laugh. It made me cry. And as soon as I finished, it made me go out and get another Jojo Moyes book.
What I’m reading right now:
At the Gym:
The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
Beside the Bed:
Stitches by Anne Lamott
In the Tub:
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
Books read to date 2014: 14