We have now reached that point in January when my instincts to climb into bed and stay there until mid-March are threatening to overpower me. Daily responsibilities? The raising of children? Fiddlesticks. All that matters is my bed. And my down comforter. And my electric blanket. And my quilt.
Please leave me alone. I’m trying to crawl through the rest of winter. It’s avoidance behavior at its best (i.e. worst). I can’t take the inversion, the grayness.
It’s so bleak.
I am using books as a sort of lifeline to happier times and less-arduous months of the year. Here are some self-centered reviews (simply my gut reactions, without wasting time here summarizing plot and characters) of books I’ve recently read:
The Rosie Project: Delightful, hilarious, fun, refreshing. It was a glimpse into the mind of an Aspergian, which made me think author Graeme Simsion is a complete genius. Is he on the spectrum himself? Is a family member? Read this book if you need something happy and so funny that you find yourself mentally recreating the funniest scenes throughout the day and smiling foolishly. I love how real this book felt.
Sweet Tooth: A sort of creepy tale of a young woman working for British Intelligence in the early 1970’s. Weird. Smart. It’s by Ian McEwan who wrote Atonement, so I had to read it. Everyone is suspect. I kind of thought the narrator, Serena, was an idiot. For someone who is supposed to be so smart, she seemed awfully clueless. Literary. Unsettling.
The Mistborn Trilogy: A fantasy young adult series that sounded super promising and was really inventive, but which lost me before I finished book one. I kept waiting for this hero Kelsier with the je ne sais quoi to show up and act like a hero. But he wasn’t and I found him disappointing. Maybe I should’ve stuck with it and found the reward in the story’s arc. But honestly, it’s January and I’m simply holding on. Slogging though winter, currently. Can’t slog through meandering stories.
When Women Were Birds: Terry Tempest Williams is haunting and heartbreaking writing about her mother’s empty journals which she left to her only daughter when cancer claimed her life at a young age. There were passages when she seems to enter a trance and sort of chant things that her loss has revealed to her about her mother. Those parts were a little otherworldly for me. However, it made me think deeply about things—my beliefs, my relationships, my priorities. Nonfiction.
The Light Between Oceans: I am in love with this book, but rumor has it, it’s going to tear my heart out and throw it out to sea. It feels like a fable—the way it unfolds, the language by which it comes to life. I’m forty percent through it and I feel a sense of dread about how this book will end. *sniff.
A Red Herring Without Mustard: Alan Bradley’s mystery-solving preteen heroine Flavia de Luce continues her escapades in a crumbling English country house in post-war Britain. It was good. I still love her dysfunctional family so very much. This one made me long for more stories about her departed mother, Harriet. I’ll probably keep coming back to this series because they capture adolescent angst in a funny, puzzle of a package.
The Witch’s Daughter: Time-jumping story of a “real” witch. Sad. At it’s heart, the tale of how people who are different can be vilified and misunderstood. I think I’m approaching capacity on my current phase of witch books. I’ll change my mind, of course, when The Book of Life comes out this summer. I’ve been waiting for it! There’s a Discovery of Witches movie in pre-production!
Bottom line is this: there is a lot of time- and energy-intensive child-rearing happening right now. Books are my natural high, my non-chemical cloud. Sanity. Escapism. Literary addiction. Label it as you wish.
I read to forget it’s January.
I read so that I may be lucid the rest of the time when I am raising the children.