The stories we read

January Reads…Sort Of

January started out with the arrival of our 4th little one, born hours before 2016 ended. We are so happy he’s here. 

Ah, those first 2 weeks of newborn bliss. “Bliss”is a rather complex word when used in conjunction with the postpartum period! However, it’s safe to say I read a lot. I was feeling  ambitious and began several books. Now I’m back on my feet and my ambition (and time for reading…and attention span…)has waned. This is the month of the unfinished book(s).

The House on Mango Street- Sandra Cisneros-No picture because I can’t find it. So typical. These short essays based on the author’s childhood are poignant and revealing. Cisneros writes of both the universal struggles of growing up and the specific difficulties faced as a minority. I’m always blown away by writers who convey a lot with few words, and she does not disappoint. Hopefully I can finish this one next month. Thank goodness I can renew missing books online…


1215: The Year of Magna Carta-Danny Danziger and John Gillingham-Ok, I mostly picked this one for its size and cover art. Yep. Oh, but I do like history too. The authors write wittily about all aspects of life surrounding and leading up to this critical document. I jumped around since the chapters are more topical than chronological. What I remember most is discovering what may be the root of longstanding British prejudice against the Irish. The British favored towns and cities over rural life, and when Prince John visited Ireland with Gerald de Barri, Barri wrote two books that furthered a wide-spread disdain for the Celts. 


You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One)-Jeff Goins-I actually finished this one! I chalk it up to 1) reading it on my phone via Kindle, because only one hand was needed, and 2) short, pithy content. The first part deals with common insecurities and hold-ups faced by all beginning writers. The second and third parts were incredibly practical and helpful for building a platform, brand, and more (not as yucky or scary as I always thought). I like that he often says, “I wish I’d known/done this years ago” because then I feel better about my progress as a writer! If you write, I recommend Goin’s book. When I can start applying the principles here in 6 months or so I’ll have to revisit this one.  

There you have it. One out of three is not the best, but there’s next month.

I take it back-I finished a second book this month:


Right before I chucked it through the return window.

My kids are fans of Junie B. Jones now. The writing is laugh out loud funny, but I’ll let my son read the next one himself. I need a break from first grade drama. 

Thirteenth century war and prejudice, anyone?

PS. I also finally got a copy of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. It’s a much acclaimed book. Can I finish this one before I lose it or the library calls it home? We shall see…

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One thought on “January Reads…Sort Of

  1. I’ll definitely have to check out Goin’s book. So many things related to writing professionally still seem yucky and/or scary to me. 🙂

    That’s fascinating about the British and the Irish. It makes so much sense, though. Those sorts of things fascinate me. Of course, the date I feel like I always pull out of my pocket is 1066. “That’s why there’s so much shared vocabulary between French and English,” I tell everyone who asks about taking French. 🙂

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