If I’m ever not working my way through a giant stack of books, I might be dead. I’ve never understood the wonderfully disciplined fold who pick a book and stick with that book (and only that book) until it’s finished. I’m the opposite. These are books that I’ve started in the past few weeks, but haven’t made much headway.
Lila by Marilynne Robinson. I may or may not have dramatically posted on the ol’ instagram about how this book was salvaging a very bad day. And then I proceeded to haul it all the way to MN so I could read my grandparents’ books (infinitely more fun). There is no doubt in my soul that I will at some point read this book, but probably not until Thanksgiving. While I would definitely class Robinson as one of my favorite authors, her works are winsome with a touch of melancholy. I weep my way through them because they’re about sin and grace and redemption and coming home. So, soon, sweet Lila, when I’m feeling sturdy enough for the tears.
On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee. I think I splashed this all over my pinterest board, jinxing myself. I get that this is classy dystopian fiction, and I generally like the genre, but I’ve just been reaching for the books that speak comforting words to me. Currently, this book is acting a leaf press for my beautiful maple leaves that I collected in MN.
The Mazerunner by someone who is a lot richer than I will ever be. I feel like writing young adult fiction can’t be that hard. There’s such a clear formula for these novels. And yet, I just can’t imagine cranking out books that I wouldn’t want Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill to read (yes, they’re my imaginary audience). I couldn’t get through the first 60 pages of this book. Too much weird slang. Too many boys with hipster names like Clunk and Ran and Locker. As the worst friend in the world, I gave the book to my friend Jenny to read. She finished the entire thing and reported that the rest of it is not much to write home about. So I will be giving this one away.
Instead, I’m rereading The Four Graces by D.E. Stevenson. Four sisters living in a village in England during WWII, so lots of talk of rations. Two love stories! It’s like Little Women but no one has to die, and no one is obnoxiously good. Also, Old England will always trump New England (except in that whole Revolutionary War thing.)
I also just read the How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are. It was frothy and fun. Although there is definitely an edge there. I guess I came away from the book feeling glad that I’m the opposite of Parisian (from good northern European stock that used to eat Parisians for lunch). But of course, like everyone else, I wouldn’t mind looking Parisian. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi that they possess although the book reveals it’s more je sais ce que je fais (I know exactly what I’m doing). Hannah, feel free to chime in with some French corrections. And deep down, I really just want to be English. The accent, the teeth, the tweeds, the sensible shoes. I want it all.