Hello lovely friends,
Here’s a review/recap of some books I read in November, including:
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Quiet by Susan Cain
The Events of October by Gail Griffin
Educated by Tara Westover
Hope you enjoy the video! (Winnie makes an appearance too). Please subscribe to my Youtube channel and follow me over on Goodreads if you are the bookish sort.
Yesterday I finished listening to the audiobook of The Tudors: A Captivating Guide to the History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I.
This choice won’t surprise many of you, as you know that I am fascinated by this period in English history, and particularly the stories of the Tudors, including “Bloody Mary,” Elizabeth I, and Mary Queen of Scots.
The audiobook attempts to be comprehensive, but because of its brevity, lacks some depth. If you already know a lot about this time period, you may find this to be a “Cliff’s Notes” version of a very complex historical era. The “bird’s eye view” aspect of it all might be useful to someone who is just beginning to explore Tudor history, but for me, it felt rushed and simplified. (An exaggerated example, but this is the level of depth to expect: Henry was married to Catherine of Aragon when he fell in love with her lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn. He divorced Catherine to marry Anne. Later, he ordered Anne beheaded when she was found guilty on trumped-up charges). (Point, set, match).
I exaggerate, but not much. On the upside, it’s short as audiobooks go, lasting just over 3 hours.
I did learn a few new (to me) facts about Henry’s sisters, and his best friend Charles Brandon, which I enjoyed hearing about.
Overall I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.
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I just finished this one on Kindle:
I’m a little weird about mysteries … I get so far in, and then I want to know the answer! I flip ahead to try to learn the secret. What can I say, I’m one of those rare people who loves “spoilers,” but I’ll do my best not to spoil this one for you.
This book has been compared to the movie “Sliding Doors,” which I haven’t seen, but if you have, it might give you some idea what to expect.
The Bookseller is the story of Kitty (Katharyn), a woman who owns a bookstore with her best friend. Kitty lives alone with her cat, Aslan (as a Narnia fan, I love the name), and enjoys her life as an independent, single woman.
Except she has another life.
At night, in her dreams, she enters another world where she is a wife and mother to three children, and her days are very different from everything she knows as a bookstore owner. This life feels very foreign, and she slowly learns the details of this existence – how old the children are, how long she’s been married, and how she spends her days. The dreams are vivid, but when she awakes, she’s back in her single-girl apartment.
The story alternates between these two “lives,” and as the “wife and mother” life becomes more vivid, the “single bookstore owner” life becomes less so. Kitty becomes confused, and wonders if she is mentally ill, and whether one of these lives only exists in fantasy (and if so, which one).
I found the book to be a page-turner because I longed for the answer to those questions!
It’s a quick read, and I think you’d enjoy it.
I just finished listening to the audiobook of “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. I had read the book years ago and enjoyed it, and since I am going through a bit of a writing struggle, I thought it might be helpful to revisit it.
I’ve never read any of King’s fiction, as I’m not fond of the horror genre, but I’m always willing to listen to the voice of experience. In this book, King narrates the story of his life, interweaving memorable incidents with his writing adventures. As a child, he was drawn to science fiction and scary stories, so those are the stories he set out to write.
I found the book meaningful and useful as he addressed the struggles of writing, especially with a full-time teaching job, and the inevitable rejections a writer must be willing to face. I also appreciated his advice to read a lot – he contends that a successful writer needs to also be a voracious reader.
Upon finishing the book, I watched some YouTube interviews. He’s an interesting man, and surprisingly endearing. I felt a kinship with him when he stated something I’ve always believed – that anything we have in this world is “on loan.” We enter this life without anything, and we leave it the same way. The things and people we call “ours” we don’t get to keep, but to enjoy for the time we are here.
It’s a useful idea for keeping perspective.