Skip to content

For the Love of Reading: Mid January to Mid February 2019

Time for a reading update, friends. Really it’s just a way of keeping you entertained while I’m on vacation but I’m guessing you won’t mind. Here’s what I’ve read since we last talked about books:

Shade: A Tale of Two PresidentsShade: A Tale of Two Presidents by Pete Souza
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can’t say this book made me feel better about the current state of politics as it made me miss Obama even more than I already did. Still, it was nice to remember a time when I was proud of our president.


The DollhouseThe Dollhouse by Fiona Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great story and a mystery that kept me guessing pretty much until the end. Fast and easy, with a time line that alternates between the 1950s and the present day, I’d happily recommend this to fans of historical novels, romance, and New York City.


EducatedEducated by Tara Westover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Compelling, powerful, and difficult, this is a memoir in every sense of the word. The author willingly acknowledges that her memories differ from those of her family but who among us can’t say the same? I was intrigued, horrified, and astounded at the abuses suffered by the author. If you enjoyed The Glass Castle this is not to be missed.


Dumplin' (Dumplin' #1)Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While there are some good messages about acceptance and friendship contained in this book, it just never really clicked for me. Stereotypes and cliches abound and the ending felt rushed.


ImprovementImprovement by Joan Silber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A series of vignettes with interconnected characters, Improvement illustrates beautifully how the things we do and the choices we make impact others. Highly recommended.


BecomingBecoming by Michelle Obama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A truly fabulous biography, made even better by listening to the audio read by Michelle Obama herself. While it made me long for the days when the Obamas were in charge, it also gave me hope that good people are still out there doing good things. Highly recommended.

The FriendThe Friend by Sigrid Nunez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meditative, rambling, cerebral, and often confusing but still extraordinary. This book is definitely not for everyone but I was enchanted by the stream of consciousness and quality of the writing.



White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About RacismWhite Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An eye-opening examination of how racism is unavoidable in our society with practical suggestions on how we can listen, learn, and do better. I highlighted many passages but I think this one is the one I really want to remember: “To continue reproducing racial inequality, the system only needs white people to be really nice and carry on, smile at people of color, be friendly across race, and go to lunch together on occasion. I am not saying that you shouldn’t be nice. I suppose it’s better than being mean. But niceness is not courageous. Niceness will not get racism on the table and will not keep it on the table when everyone wants it off. In fact, bringing racism to white people’s attention is often seen as not nice, and being perceived as not nice triggers white fragility.” This book has inspired me to commit to working on my own white fragility. Highly recommended.

I've Been Thinking . . .Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful LifeI’ve Been Thinking . . .Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life by Maria Shriver
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I admire Maria Shriver but I can’t say I enjoyed this book. It’s repetitive and superficial and I was hoping for something more, something deeper that would make me pause and examine my own life and choices. What I got was a series of short essays that attempted to be moving but instead felt rather forced and the prayer at the end of each one just didn’t work for me.


Kingdom of the Blind (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #14)Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even after 14 books set in Three Pines, Louise Penny manages to keep the story intriguing and the characters fresh. While on the one hand reading this was like visiting with old friends, on the other there were new characters introduced and plot lines established for future books that are definitely intriguing. I was uncertain how it would feel to read about Gamache, knowing that Penny’s husband Michael, the inspiration for this character, had died. I’m relieved and happy to report that Gamache is still wise and wonderful and the personal heartbreak that’s now part of the series only made him more dear to me. The ending had me in tears and the author’s notes are profound and beautiful. Highly recommended.

That’s a pretty good variety of books for me and most I truly enjoyed. How about you? What have you read lately that you’ve loved? Or hated? I want to know it all!



This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. I’ve been saving Michelle Obama’s book for a big quilting project. I get bored with the pace of audiobooks, but feel I really want to hear this one. Your comments are encouraging to try that path. Thanks.

    Now, get back to vacationing!

  2. I’m just about to finish Tommyknockers, and I really hope that Improvement is available at the library. I’m also reading The Golden Child, but don’t know yet if I can recommend it. The fact that I have to make myself finish it may answer that question.

  3. That is a really broad range of books there, Carole! I am on the hold list at my library for Improvements and The Friend, and I’m eager to read them. Some of the others on your list, though? Not so much . . . 😉 I loved Becoming. I hope you’re having a great break-week.

  4. Some excellent reads here! Becoming just came through from my hold list – so I have that to look forward to after Armand!

  5. Nice selection! I seem to still be in a reading slump (or just too tired at night??). Still reading “Where the Crawdads Sing” which is ok. A bunch recently came through on Overdrive (There, There which I have been WAITING for), so maybe I’ll find something that picks the pace up for me.

  6. I’m in the middle of Michelle Obama’s book and really enjoying it (and savoring it, as it’s taking me a while to get through because I’m reading a hard copy and can only manage a handful of pages a night!). I’m also reading Maxwell King’s biography of Fred Rogers and enjoying getting to know a man I grew up with, so to speak, more fully.

  7. Did you know Dumplin has been made into a movie by Netflicks? Starring Jennifer Aniston as Mom. Full of cliques like you say but not too bad of a way to knit through an hour or two.

  8. Great round-up Carole – thank you! Several of your 5-stars are on my Next-up list (which is still more than a dozen titles, so “next” is a relative term you know) and you’ve made me even more excited to read them!!

  9. I loved Becoming, and liked Educated a great deal. I think I’d give them the same ratings you did!

    We recently read Killers of the Flower Moon for book group. I didn’t enjoy it; the Osage were treated terribly by caucasians in early twentieth century Oklahoma. Ugh.

    Now about to read I Am Yours by Reema Zaman. The author is the daughter of college friends, and she writes lyrically and with great power. I’ll see if I actually like the book!

  10. My book group is reading Improvements and I’m looking forward to it. Educated was so powerful, horrible and well written. I read the Friend and you’re right about her writing. I’m going to be rereading it and expect to get much more out of it the second time. I always love Louise and Michelle Obama’s book really made my heart sore.White Frailty is on my list. We should all be reading it and living it.

  11. I am reading “Circling the Sun” by Paula Mclain. It a historical novel about Beryl Markham, who was an aviatrix back in the ’30’s. I’ve only read about 1/3 of it, but I am recommending it.

  12. You know I love these book posts, so I am going to save and savor. I finished The Silent Patient last week. It was just OK, I would not recommend at all. Did you read the article about A.J. Finn in the NYT’s? I was gobsmacked, and I will never believe another recommendation from this pathological liar. It is definitely worth the read. I am currently reading Jane Harper’s newest, The Lost Man, and I recommend it. Thanks again for this summary, Carole. I hope you are having a mahvelous time!

Comments are closed.

Back To Top