Before We Were Yours Lisa Wingate
A fictionalized account of a real-life black-market adoption ring, run through the hands of Georgia Tann and Tennessee Children’s Home Society, a well-respected orphanage in the early twentieth century. Scandalized by being exposed as a front for a broad black-market adoption ring in 1950, Georgia Tann died before she could be prosecuted for the many kidnapping and murder charges of children who died or suffered in her care. The home provided the backdrop for this heartbreaking story of an impoverished river gypsy family that was splintered and very nearly destroyed by Miss Tann and her deadly operations. I would highly recommend reading this powerful story.
Miss You Kate Eberlen
This romance of near-misses was a fun read. While I had trouble identifying with the characters, and thinking that some of the encounters might be a bit unbelievable, it was a fun journey. The female character was very loveable, but she was consistently shorted in the good partner department. I’ll let the final match be yours to judge. I think this would make for a great spring break vacation read, perfect to leave behind for the next guest and free up some souvenir space in your carry on.
All Time Best Appetizers (Cook’s Illustrated)
I have to bring appetizers to a dinner party this month, so I was doing a bit of research. I need to be able to bring something that I can make ahead, but that can be kept at room temperature or chilled, and I’m having trouble coming up with something creative. Ultimately I think I will bring a cheese tray, so this book wasn’t resourceful for me. It was fun to flip through, but I wouldn’t recommend for a home reference.
Slow Knitting: A Journey from Sheep to Skein to Stitch Hannah Thiessen
I enjoyed every second of this one. If there’s one problem I tend to have with knitting (other than gauge), it’s choosing the right yarn for the project. The more I knit, the more I know that I need to consider more than just the weight and color of the yarn. Fiber content determines the price and softness, hello cashmere!, but it also can determine how much it snags or pills with wear, the halo or felting that might occur over time, or break easily during the process of knitting. This book was masterful in helping understand not just the design but the reasoning behind making a good fiber choice to get the product you want to keep forever. And with most hand-knit sweaters costing upwards of $100 in materials (and many months of time, if knitting is your meditation as well), you want a sweater that will wear well. I especially loved both the Grow and Spruce patterns.
Small Great Things Jodi Picoult
Racism is so important and difficult, so complicated and oversimplified. My daughter had to write a brief 1-minute presentation a week or so ago on how to solve terrorism, and her simple solution was as close to any oversimplified answer for any big, complicated “ism”. Listen with humility and understanding, and with resolve to be respectful and more tolerant in the future. This is a great story for that prescribed listening. Listening to the experience of an educated, loving, capable black nurse, and understanding just how precarious the ledge she is balancing on can feel. Also understanding who is vulnerable to these hate-building movements and how to support those future generations better. Resolve to change with one thought, one action at a time.
Educated Tara Westover
I heard Tara speak on NPR, and put myself on the hold list at the library. Then I read an editorial on the book in BookPage and knew I couldn’t wait, so Amazon delivered the hardcover to me. Tara grew up in remote Idaho, raised with radical theology and a family with mental health issues. I don’t feel this is a book about Mormonism, because I do not think the twisting mental issues that shaped her father’s fundamental Mormon theology reflect mainstream Mormonism, but it would be interesting to hear what Mormons think of the story. I know my own Christian beliefs are much less conservative than previous generations, but respect for the past and hope for inclusivity in the future is not always easy to balance (or for a congregation to navigate). Forced with choosing between the sucking vacuum of her family and an education, Tara takes us through her life as she finds a future of balance between respect and mercy for her family but withdrawn from the actual emotional and physical violence. I passed this title to my sister, whose book club is soon to feature.
My April stack is pretty tall, but work is pretty crazy in the spring, so I am happy to have the escape planned. What’s on your reading list this month?