Reading Wrap-Up For Q1 2020
Only two weeks ago I was in Colorado celebrating my upcoming wedding at my bridal shower. Now I’m under a stay at home order in my apartment in Los Angeles and I can’t even visit the beach. It’s amazing how quickly the world can change. I’ve had a lot of time to read this year and I hope this list helps you find your next read. If you have any book recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them. I’m always searching for something new to read. Comment below!
My Favorite Book – Vegan Without Borders
Of all the books I’ve read in the past three months, my favorite was actually a cookbook. I happened upon it in the library and my usual recipes were getting stale so I decided to check it out. It’s called Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson. I’m not vegan but there are some really amazing recipes from cuisines all around the world. There’s a really good white bean ceviche recipe – a perfect light appetizer and keeps well in the fridge.
Favorite Fiction Book – Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
“Marsh is not a swamp. Marsh is a space of light, where grass grows in water, and water flows into the sky”
Kya is a girl who grows up on the outskirts of town in a marshy area. It’s a story about how she grows up isolated in the marsh, with no parents, no siblings. She is resourceful as a young child and figures out how to take care of herself, how to get money, and how to entertain herself in her long days of solitude. Eventually, she is accused of the murder of Chase Andrews, who was found dead in the marsh. In the days of quarantine and social distancing, I think Kya can teach us how to appreciate our slower and isolated days ahead.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book – Upstream by Mary Oliver
“But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses itself, splashing, into the pond of meditation.”
– Mary Oliver
A collection of essays by Mary Oliver. She encourages us to live thoughtfully, fully, but with humility and effort. These essays show her appreciation for the natural world and how the great writers that came before her have influenced and shaped her works. Oliver also appreciates solitude and believes it is essential to any creative work. A book to slowly savor over your morning coffee.
I read Ask The Dust and Play It As It Lays to better understand LA. Not easy books to read, they paint a very grim and hopeless view of LA. Play It As It Lays is especially depressing and the main character Maria eventually turns into nothing, a hollow vessel with no thoughts or feelings. The reviews called the book “sordid”… and I think that’s a very apt word for the book.
The Alice Network, City of Girls, and The Husband’s Secret, and The Immortalists are all great easy reads. Out of the four, I’d choose The Alice Network as my favorite. It’s a story of a female spy and how she helped the allies in World War I and World War II.
If you’re looking for a nonfiction book, The Professor and the Madman is a story about the history of the Oxford dictionary and the “Madman” who contributed countless definitions to the dictionary. The “Madman” is actually a US Army surgeon who went insane after treating patients in the Civil War. He was discharged by the Army and traveled to London, where he murdered a random stranger because he thought the stranger was out to get him. He was put in an insane asylum where he began contributing work to the Oxford Dictionary project because he had nothing else to do in his cell. Actually, a very fascinating story.
The Books I Read in Q1 2020
- Ask The Dust by John Fante
- City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Upstream by Mary Oliver
- 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
- Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
- Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson
- The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
- Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
- Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
- The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
- The Bhagavad Gita by Eknath Eswaran