The Gritty Scale

This post could also be called “Why I love chick lit,” because I hit it out of the ballpark with the good-time stories this month. Here’s what I read in October:

On the Noodle Road, perhaps the most gritty of the novels I read completely this month, even though this book rates 1 out of 5 on the gritty scale. There is talk of war, oppression, and poverty (even if it is only talking about how to avoid those three things). It was really inspiring and makes me want to get into the kitchen to try my own noodles and experiment with sauces. Still hasn’t made me want to try lamb and I completely skipped over the slaughter part… but I loved that she wove her own personal story of early marriage through the book, and I especially loved how she highlighted the role of women along the silk road.

The American Heiress, lovely, lovely book. I love just about any story set in Newport 1890’s, but this one was particularly interesting because she spoke not only of the fashion and excess of the time, but included the servants’ perspective and English country life of a noble during the gilded age. In the author interview in the back (yes, I read all the way to the very, very end; even composing my own answers to the reading group questions), Goodwin says “I absolutely loved writing The American Heiress. To be able to escape into a world full of beautiful frocks and perfectly trained servants was a joy.” It was a joy to escape as a reader as well.

The Casual Vacancy, (Rowling) gave up and not only gave up but threw the book down and cried for a bit. Gritty scale = 5. Rowling is absolutely illustrative with her words, however this is a particularly difficult one for a bedtime reader such as myself. It’s slow to start because of the many character stories but after devoting a full week to figuring it out, I read ahead to discover that the 3 year old boy dies from neglect. (When I have a hint that it might be a gritty = 5, I read ahead. I’m all about conserving my time like that.) I found it so disturbing that I wanted to throw the book away; that I didn’t even want to donate it to my library because I didn’t think this was a book to be shared. It made me think about censorship and banning books. I had a passionate reaction to the book, and not in a good way.

Grounded, tried and failed to get into this. To be fair, I started this after I escaped from the child abuse book and I was a bit disenchanted with books altogether. I’ll try this one again later this month.

On the reading list this month-

An Abundance of Katherines– John Green – Can I just profess my love for John Green a little? Is he 17 years old? Because he captures it so well and I love reading his stories. (Put Paper Towns on your reading list this month, it’s fast and interesting and everything this genre should be).

The House at Riverton– Morton

Grounded– again…

Better Than Fiction, True Travel Tales From Great Fiction Writers– I love love travel stories.

And maybe an audiobook for running? I just haven’t picked a good one yet. But I recently downloaded Overdrive for my phone so I could borrow audiobooks from my local library and want to give it a go.

What are you reading this month? Do you have any recommendations?


Daddy’s Job

sleeperThe most wonderful part of yesterday was when I helped my youngest girl go to sleep. As I lay against her bed, she twirled my wedding ring on my finger for a few minutes. Then she turned over onto her tummy with her bum up in the air, and then flipped over to rest her head on the body pillow while snuggling my arm like her favorite teddy bear. The bedtime activity is akin to a little dog trying to find that perfect comfy spot. All the while, she is whispering some of the conversations and events of the day, talking it out as I softly say “shhh.” Finally, she surrenders to sleep, tangled in her covers and off her pillow with her wild red hair splayed around. I wish I could say that this is my favorite part of every day, this scene, this sweet moment of time. But the truth is that this portion of bedtime is usually not mine. It’s usually Daddy’s job.

For Anna and I can be so much alike at bedtime, restless, itching for conversation, for closeness and snuggles. I have always been the girl too wild and rowdy for my cat to snuggle upon, too intent on “the next thing” to slow down and just enjoy the moment. Even last night, as I lay against her bed with my arms draped over the side for her to tangle with, I had my headphones tucked in my ears, listening to internet radio. Multitasking, so to speak, so I could focus on my breath, on trying to be still for her, and to help pass the time in my mind. For without the music I become restless as well, her co-conspirator in staying up past her bedtime. Moving around too much, attacked by the itchy nose or focused on the fact that my foot has fallen asleep, and ultimately leaving the room before she is ready for me to leave which prompts her to tears, and resets the bedtime routine.

This Daddy-man, my better half no doubt, has bedtime patience in spades. He can sit and listen to her without speaking, silently affirming her desire to know he cares, he is there, and she can rest. He understands the importance of just being there. And he understands that the big girl in the next bed, needs this help also. If he can keep the little one quiet, she will drift off to sleep almost instantly, just like he does. He knows this routine like the back of his hand. He knows his girls.

We wish this very important man a happy birthday this week, and hope he knows just how much we adore him.