Monday, November 12, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


I've decided that this particular post of mine - which has been partially written, then revised into a Sunday Salon post, and now rewritten back into this again, all over the course of a week - should be called It's Monday! What Aren't You Reading?

Because, truth be told, I am not reading much of anything lately.

And when I do get a chance to pick up a book, I promptly fall asleep because I am so tired.

That's not the book's fault. Far from it. As regular readers know, The Husband had thyroid cancer surgery on November 1. Between coordinating relatives coming (and staying with us) from Philly, to The Husband arriving home from the hospital and taking care of him, the house, and the kids (and instructing the relatives on all of the above - which was a godsend), the last 11 days have been a whirlwind. I'm hoping to write more about that at some point.

In the immediate aftermath of The Husband's surgery, I spent some time in the hospital with him. Including the surgery day, he was in the hospital for four days. You would think (or at least I thought) that I would have been a reading machine just watching him sleep and recover.

That was true while in the surgery waiting room and later in ICU. I spent most of my time reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich and actually finished over half of this. I really enjoy Erdrich's writing (see my reviews of The Painted Drum, The Red Convertible and Other Stories, and Shadow Tag).

But as with Erdrich's other books, The Round House is the type of book that seems strange for a reader to say one enjoys (which I am, in a way) for it is a disturbing and emotional story about how a family (particularly the teenage son Joe, the narrator) and a community copes in the aftermath of a brutal attack. In this case, the attack was against Joe's mother. What I'm most impressed with is how Erdrich is able to sustain the high level of emotion throughout the novel. Your heart just breaks for Joe. Several times.

I have 90 pages left of The Round House and I'm hoping to finish this one today. (This was provided to me by TLC Book Tours, and my full review will be up next Monday.)


While in the hospital with The Husband, I forgot my book one day but fortunately had my Kindle. So, I also spent some time reading Dirt: A Story About Gardening, Mothering, and Other Messy Business, Susan Senator's first novel (although not her first book). I've had this on my Kindle since last Christmas, when I purchased it with a gift card.

Dirt is a much lighter read, which is what I needed (but didn't realize I needed) at that point. I love when that happens, don't you? In this novel, Emmy is a soon-to-be divorced, somewhat bored and often overwhelmed mom of three boys, one of whom has autism. A realtor, Emmy's true passion is gardening. Novelist Susan Senator (whom I consider a friend) expertly weaves in the theme of growing a garden into this story of raising children and the messiness of relationships.

Finally, I also need to spend some time with the essay collection Because You Have To: A Writing Life, by Joan Frank. This is also one for TLC Book Tours (my review date is Thursday). I couldn't resist this because I love reading about writing by writers. I love hearing about their lives, their approaches to their craft, and their advice for aspiring novelists like me.

After that, I have one more review book obligation for the year - and that's going to be it for review books in 2012, besides my NetGalley books. Although The Husband's surgery is behind us, there's still one more treatment to get through, which will likely be mid-December. It'll just be easier, I think, to read what I want and not worry about any challenges or obligations. Start anew and refreshed in 2013, so to speak.

But first, a nap is calling my name ....


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. Stop by her blog to participate and see what others are reading today. 

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2 comments:

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I like your new version "What Aren't You Reading?" I have had several weeks like that throughout the summer and fall :)

Sue Jackson said...

Oh, Melissa, I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I hadn't realized you were going through that. I hope his surgery was a success and this next treatment helps, too.

That is the one thing hospitals are good for - reading. Not much else to do with all that waiting.

I keep hearing good things about Round House (though I understand what you are saying about saying you "enjoy" a book on a disturbing subject).

I hope your husband recovers this week - glad to hear you have so much help! And enjoy your books -

Sue