Why I Left, Why I’m Back, and What I’ve Read Lately

I stopped blogging after the election last year. I know that sounds stupid, but it was right after I got pregnant and I found myself being angry and stressed all the time. Blogging seemed trivial and stressful at the time, and I dropped a few other things from my life along with it.

Our son is about eleven weeks old now and I am still on maternity leave, so I’ve decided to start blogging about books again when I can. If you’re reading this, thanks for indulging me. I’ve missed you!

Last summer I read around 20 books and this summer I read half of that. I like hanging out with my kid, so reading has definitely taken a back seat. However, I’ve read more this summer than I did the whole time I was pregnant! Reading is such a relaxing pastime for me, so it makes sense that in this time of transition I’ve gone back to it. Here’s what I got up to this summer.

Romance

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I read a few romance novels this summer, which was a first for me. Friends have been telling me to get into romance novels, and they’ve made some good arguments for how feminist and enjoyable they are. I really liked them and plan to read more in the future. Did you know that romance novels basically keep the publishing industry running? So even though people (read: me) have a tendency to think of them as guilty pleasures, we shouldn’t be ashamed of reading ANYTHING that we like.

(That reminds me of this scene in Liberal Arts when Josh Radnor’s character makes fun of Twilight.)

Anyway, these are the romance titles I read this summer:

  1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  2. How Not to Fall and
  3. How Not to Let Go by Emily Foster
  4. Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren

My favorite of these were the two Emily Foster books. They were really sweet, smart, and insightful. The two main characters are smart science-y people who work in a lab together (she as an undergrad, he as a postdoctoral fellow). At the end of Annie’s undergrad career, she asks Charles to start a relationship with her. The romantic tension between these two is great, but even better than that is the depth of these characters; since there are two books, Foster really gets to flesh these two out (no pun intended). I loved Annie’s self-assuredness, her great relationship with her parents, her willingness to ask for what she wants, and the way she tries to understand those around her. Charles is kind, but a little broken. His family is fascinating and the way he battles with his horrific childhood and the scars it left behind was just so satisfying. I loved these two books so much that I wrote into my favorite book podcast to find a couple more like them!

Mystery/Thriller

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  1. Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
  2. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
  3. Final Girls by Riley Sager
  4. Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

It’s really hard to choose which of these I liked best, so I’ll go with the one I read most recently. Fierce Kingdom is about a mass shooting at a zoo. The main character is there with her four-year-old son when the shooting starts, but since they are far away from the action they are able to hide. The novel takes place over the course of three hours, and during that time Joan has to make really hard decisions (should she help others and risk her son’s life in the process? how much should she tell her son about what’s going on?). I cried in parts of the book, so–TRIGGER WARNING–this one is not for you if you don’t want to be a little depressed. Babies and animals are involved here…so it’s tough. I liked it so much, however, because of the mother-son relationship. Joan knows Lincoln so well and the way they converse and negotiate fascinated me.

Stuff About Motherhood/Memoir

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  1. The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg
  2. I Like You Just the Way I Am by Jenny Mollen
  3. Live Fast, Die Hot by Jenny Mollen

In case you don’t already know, baby books are evil…or at least they have been for me. I felt compelled to read a few during my pregnancy and then I read this Tracy Hogg one right before my son arrived. It was great, but I’ve found that reading books that say stuff like, “If you do everything I say your baby will be smart and happy and sleep through the night at two weeks!” are lying. These kinds of books have really made me feel like I must be doing something wrong, so I’ve stopped reading/listening to them.

What I have enjoyed, however, are books by mothers about motherhood! Mollen’s Live Fast, Die Hot made me laugh so hard I thought I was going to bust my c-section incision (too graphic?). I highly recommend it if you don’t mind some crudeness…I seriously laughed so hard I was worried about tearing myself open.

Comics

 

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 8 vol. 1

I loooooooove Buffy TVS and have been meaning to read these comics for a long time. Daniel got me some for my birthday and they have been a true delight. They’ve added years to my life, I’m sure, as it is a true pleasure to read them at night (when my son is safely tucked in bed) and imagine that the world is a simple as the good guys/bad guys in these comics. I highly recommend them if you liked the show!

 

Anyway, that’s what’s been up in my reading life. Real talk, my son is waking up from his nap, so I have to go. Thanks for reading! I hope to update again soon!

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