Last week, I packed up my school badge, classroom keys, and teacher laptop, sent in my letter of resignation, and started the drive to my school that I used to make everyday. It was a hard day but a good day, because even though I was on my way to say my good-byes, I had my little Annie in the back seat, my new partner in crime and my best friend.
And somewhere between home and school, my past and my present, I happened upon a radio interview with Kate Bowler, author of Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I've Loved, and we became instant friends (even if she doesn't know it). She is real with words and heartfelt as a listener. Her voice has such a quality of a sincerity that it felt like she was talking directly to me as she shared her story.
I've changed a lot as a reader over the last year. I rarely read new Young Adult literature anymore. I read so much of it during college and as I became a middle school teacher that it all started to feel like the same generic story line. Perhaps because of that, I've developed a strong preference for good Nonfiction. I needed a change and I certainly found it in a genre many might consider the antithesis of YA Lit. I still read my fair share of novels, but there is nothing like a true story well told. Most recently I've started reading cookbooks- really reading them. Instead of just perusing them for recipes, I've found well-written cookbooks are almost as satisfying as the recipes they offer. Almost.
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
A couple weeks into motherhood, and I had picked up my first parenting book :) All I knew about the book before I read it was that French children purportedly eat anything and don't throw tantrums- Sounds good to me! I usually don't read informational nonfiction, so I love how the author uses her own life to tell her story of discovering the secrets of French parenting. Her welcoming personality is a constant reassurance; She may have written the book, but she's still figuring things out, just like you and me. Plus, the text is well-balanced anecdotes and research. Having studied human development for my undergraduate degree, it was clear that the techniques she describes are substantiated in modern academic literature while being presented in a no-nonsense, thought-provoking manner. It was especially interesting to evaluate WHY French and American parents parent the way they do (and therefore why their children act the way they do). I especially loved these tidbits:
Going into October, I started to wonder, "What book am I going to take with me to the hospital when the baby is born?" It seemed monumental, but, of course, reading was the last thing on my mind when the time came :)
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Sometimes I'm at a complete loss when it comes to what to read next while I'm waiting for books on my library hold list to become available. And so I ended up reading the Marriage Plot. The author is a Pulitzer Prize winner and nearly 100,000 people have read and rated the book on Goodreads. Plus, the title of the book hints at the classic Jane Austen era marriage plot, so I decided to give it a try.
While I read, I found myself impressed with the writing and even intimidated by the language, but I think this was purposefully done to create the sense of constant and rampant self-appraisal and comparison. so indicative of one's early twenties. Likewise, I was torn throughout the story as to whether I even liked the three main characters (or the story for that matter!). But again, I think the author was working more with human weakness, and by the end of the book, I appreciated how accurately he portrayed the psychology of insecurities, unhealthy relationships, and the tumultuous transition from adolescence to adulthood. It wasn't what I expected, and I can't say it was an enjoyable or relaxing read, but it was a good book... if that makes sense.
Fantastic Beasts & Where to find them: The Original Screenplay