I once saw a meme that said something like, “Adulthood is just saying, ‘In two weeks, things will calm down’ over and over again until you die.” Folks, truer words have never been spoken! I (once again) convinced myself that things would calm down once the kids were back in school…but NOPE!
Because of this I have to apologize for not visiting many blogs last week. I meant to, but I just couldn’t find the time to sit down at the computer (okay, I’ll admit that’s because I was probably sitting down on my iPad watching more videos about the Queen….).
This past week was our 15th Wedding Anniversary, which we celebrated by not doing much. We did go out for dinner, but that was about it. This coming week is my birthday and it looks like I will celebrate it by going to a Back to School night at Chris’s school. Fun times!
Our “full” schedule starts this coming week with Chris starting up swimming lessons. Lillie will also start rehearsals for the school play, so we have something going on every weeknight other than Friday. The upside of this is that I do have 30 minutes of extra reading time twice a week while Chris is in the pool!
And, now…onto the books!
As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.
Last week, I finished:
Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch by Ruth Cowen (narrated by Jennie Bond, Tim Piggott-Smith, and Lindsay Duncan)
Date finished: September 15, 2022
Rating: 3 stars / B
This has been sitting in my (now closed) Audible account for a while, and there is nothing like a royal death to prompt me to go hunting for royal biographies.
This is a good choice if you are looking for a no-frills general biography of the now late-QEII. The information is presented clearly, although none of it is groundbreaking. Instead of a piece of biographical journalism, this feels more like a research paper. This book covers Elizabeth’s birth to her appearance with James Bond at the London Olympics. In context, it ends before her husband’s death, and Meghan Markle comes on the scene.
Cowen mostly keeps her biases to herself. Mostly. The two areas where Cowen’s mask slips are Charles and Diana (she is #TeamDiana) and Sarah Ferguson (she isn’t a fan). While I don’t think the former situation was avoidable, I do feel that the coverage of Fergie was overblown and outsized. It came across as a rant on Cowen’s part instead of any worthwhile criticism of the behavior of the former Duchess of York.
I did listen to this, which was…fine. This is the sort of book that translates well to audio. However, I wasn’t fond of actors reading snippets of statements or speeches where actual recordings have been widely heard. I would have rather they would have spliced in the voices of the actual players and not relied on actors.
Honestly, I probably liked this more than I would have had I listened to it before the Queen’s death. But, it was a pleasant enough, albeit slightly forgettable, way to mourn the late Queen.
The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson
Date finished: September 17, 2022
Rating: 5 stars! An All-Time Favorite!
This was the perfect book for me at the perfect time.
I’ve become very interested in books by American Indigenous authors, and I bought this book online–sight unseen–only because an Indigenous author wrote it. It did languish on my shelves for a while until it was selected for a discussion with the Book Cougars podcast, and I will be forever grateful that they prompted me to read it.
This is the story of an Indigenous, put into foster care as a 12-year-old, who had lost connection with her heritage and slowly finds her way back. It isn’t an action-packed story, but one that will carry you with it as it journeys through Rosalie Iron Wing’s life. Wilson brings Rosalie’s worlds to life, showing her story’s place and time. She even dips into Rosalie’s ancestors’ histories and shows the Indigenous experience’s timelessness.
Gardening, or working with the earth to provide sustenance, is a big part of this book. In my own life, I’m a beginner (but enthusiastic) gardener, and I love seeing the ways that growing our food is important in our lives. It has even encouraged me to try to bring my children along on my gardening journey.
I’ve seen people say that this book will put you through the emotional ringer. While this book tackles some difficult topics, I didn’t find it overly emotionally burdensome. This may be because I recently read Five Little Indians by Michelle Good, which tackles more difficult topics. If you could read that book, this one would be a breeze in comparison.
This is such a wonderful novel. It will stay with me for a very long time and has earned its place among my all-time favorites.
The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway #2) by Elly Griffiths
Date finished: September 17, 2022
Rating: 3.5 stars / B+
I’m only two books into the series, but I can tell it is one that I’m planning to stick to. They are delightful and funny, and Ruth Galloway is a relatable heroine. As someone who tends to read weightier and darker mysteries, it is nice to throw something like this into the mix.
This one was a great romp, but let’s address the elephant in the room here. While this is what I would consider a lighter mystery, it does include child death and ritualistic child murder. It’s not told in great detail, and I think Griffiths handles it as well as possible, but it is there. However, I feel you can’t skip this story without missing an important chapter of Ruth’s life.
The mystery itself is well-told with enough inconspicuous red herrings to keep you questioning. The historical and archaeological details are told in a way that even those who swear they hate such things will enjoy it. There is also a colorful cast of supporting characters that seem completely in place in Ruth’s world.
I read this alongside a much heavier novel, and I think it was the perfect mental break. It’s a fun one and I think we all could use a little Ruth Galloway in our lives!
- Suburban Hell by Maureen Kilmer
- The Last Wild Horses by Maja Lunde (narrated by Karen Gunderson, BJ Harrison, Christa Lewis, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Rob Shapiro)
- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
- Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
- I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet by Shauna Niequist
- The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
- Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie
- Alone in Wonderland by Christine Reed
(Yes, I’m still pushing the limits of my book polygamy…)