Fall nights are perfect for snuggling up with a good book. Here is a list of what we’ve been reading. What’s been on your bedside table that is worth sharing? The holidays are coming up and we love adding books to our wish-list.
Rurally Screwed by Jessie Knadler
Carol reviewed this book a few months back and the next time we got together she passed it along to me. I enjoyed Jessie’s tale: big city girl falls in love with a cowboy but the road to love and marriage is anything but smooth. Is it wrong that I was humming the theme to Green Acres in my head when I went to pick it up each night? Jessie and her cowboy are living and raising their daughter in rural Virginia where she continues to write professionally and blog at Rurally Screwed.
A Charmed Life by Beth Bernstein
Initially I wasn’t sure about this memoir by Beth Bernstein but then I just embraced the stories for what they were. Bernstein writes of the unbreakable bonds that she, her mother and grandmother shared. She uses their collective love for jewelry as the binding agent for these stories which when you think about it is no different than feeling connections through recipes, ornaments, a blanket or even a special place.
Shout Her Lovely Name by Natalie Serber
I just finished this collection of short stories that I found impossible to put down. The theme is mother-daughter relationships and while I have no daughters, the mothers did resonate with me. The complexity and realness of the characters makes this collection seem more like voyeurism than a leafy read. Natalie Serber was near perfect as she revealed the grittiness of these women as she exposed them to their daughters, flaws and all.
Dear Life by Alice Munro
This woman can do no wrong. She said she was going to retire two or three books ago, but she keeps writing, thank heavens, and we still get wonderful collections of her short stories every few years. Dear Life ends with a series of memoir pieces, a very rare thing from Munro. I enjoyed every page.
The Juliet Stories by Carrie Snyder
Again. It’s just so good. It was my pick for my book club, and I re-read it and loved every word. The fact that it has since been nominated for the Governor General’s Award just goes to show what wonderful taste I have!
Mom Inc. by Amy Ballon and Danielle Botterell
The moms behind the personalized blanket company, Admiral Road, wrote this book on starting your own business to help other budding mompreneurs. It’s a great read, full of useful advice and helpful caution.
The Dead Kid Detective Agency by Evan Munday
This had me howling out loud, laughing great belly laughs and keeping my husband awake at night as I read in bed beside him. It’s a young adult novel about a girl detective who gets help from some neighbourhood ghosts. I picked it up on Halloween and laughed my heart out.
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell
Hilarious!! And sad. “Do you have any books by Jane Eyre?”
The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
Strangely similar to Rurally Screwed (also reviewed by 4Mothers), The Dirty Life features a city writer who falls in love with a man who takes her to the country, and her subsequent integration into a radically different life. This time, the couple create a low-impact farm for a CSA (community shared agriculture) project that would come to feed over 100 people. It’s a lovely read, a reflection on food and farming both, and of course on the author’s personal growth.
The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alana Chernila
Bought on a whim after seeing it referenced in a blog, each recipe in this big, beautiful book is prefaced with its origins or thoughts by the author. There are lots of sweet stops in this book, which is positive or negative depending on who you are. There are recipes that I have from elsewhere and some I’d never make, but I’ve already made a couple of recipes from it, and I haven’t even finished looking at all of them.
Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness
This is the second in Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy, and a sequel to last year’s bestseller, A Discovery of Witches. In this volume, we follow Emily Bishop, a professor of the history of alchemy at Oxford — and a witch — and her husband Matthew Clermont — who just happens to be a vampire — as they continue their search for the mysterious manuscript entitled Ashmole 782, a document that could explain the origin of life itself. Their search takes them back in time to Elizabethan London, where Diana meets some of Matthew’s old buddies — Sir Walter Raleigh, Thomas Harriott, and a particularly surly and demonic Christopher Marlowe — and Her Majesty, herself. Not surprisingly, thoroughly-modern Diana stands out (at one point, she’s scolded by Marlowe, who admonishes her to “speak English”) and must learn to navigate not only life in 1590’s London, but her nascent witches powers as well. This is a fun read — author Harkness is a professor of European history and the history of science at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, and the book is overflowing with historic detail. If I had one complaint, it is that the book is a bit too long; while I loved the attention to detail, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of this book will figure in the final volume. Still, a good, Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea kind of read, particularly for fans of historical fiction.