Well hey there! Among the reading I’ve done this year (strange year that it has been), I’ve done far less reading that I intended. I credit the grumpy 2020 mindset and the bungled 2020 distractedness for that, though I could lay the blame more squarely on my own shoulders for downloading Blockdoku and Numberzilla. But, let’s be honest: Sometimes it’s easier to play a puzzle game than to read a book, no matter how good.

But I have been reading. And I’ve been sharing about the books in super-short-form on book booksandsarah Instagram account (not preferable, and 2020 can’t be held accountable for my laziness).

Today, I’m dusting off my keyboard and typing longer thoughts and reviews…because the writing I love to do has to do with the reading I’ve enjoyed, and I haven’t been doing a lot of that kind of writing lately. So…here goes!

These are the last three books I finished, in reverse order. They’re not the best books I’ve read recently, just the books I’ve read most recently. 🙂 I’d love to hear what you’ve read recently–good, bad, recommended, hated…

Silas Marner

By George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), originally published in 1861

A couple of my colleagues and I have been buddy-reading about one classic a month. We take turns picking the book, and this was my pick this month. It’s been on my shelf for years (maybe as many as ten), and I could have sworn that I had read it. But…I have no memory of reading it. None. Not of turning the pages (and they are wonderful thick and creamy). Not of reading the words (which are descriptive and delicious).

It’s not a long book: My copy clocked in at 185 pages. The story is pretty straightforward, and it carries a lesson that we could all take to heart, really. Marner’s a hard guy to really like, but once Eppie shows up, it’s hard not to like him. And maybe there’s a lesson there for others who struggle. Other people can (and often will) help us, if we let them. Sometimes, being open to that doesn’t happen until a tragedy.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I’ll tackle more of Eliot’s work sometime. (Middlemarch has been on my classics TBR for quite a while.)

Year Zero

By Rob Reid, 2012

When I heard Rob Reid on TWIT a couple of years ago, he had a new book out (which I LOVED). I’ve had this one out from the library on and off, but I never quite got around to picking it up.

Until recently, when I borrowed the audiobook from my library. And. It. Was. Wonderful.

For one thing, the narration was stellar. For another, the book is hilarious. Hil-frickin-arious. In some ways, it doesn’t even matter what it’s about. I called my best friend and told her to get it RIGHT NOW, because don’t we all need a laugh this year?

It’s probably not for you if you’re very sensitive about language, you don’t enjoy snappy dialogue, and/or you have zero tolerance for technology. Then again, the storytelling is spot on, the dialogue is snappy, and the descriptions are sneaky…meaning that I could picture everything, even though I don’t recall long passages of narrative.

Fast paced. Sort of suspenseful, though what I really loved the most was the way I would be doing dishes and then suddenly laughing. Because “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” was just sort of the name of the game. And if you love music, I suspect you would love this book even more than I did, because I didn’t catch a lot of the references. (But I’m sure they were funny and on target.)

(If you don’t have Hoopla and Libby, you are missing out, my reading friend, you are missing out.)

Toward That Which Is Beautiful

By Marian O’Shea Wernicke, 2020

This novel is beautifully written, and what kept me reading was the narrative. O’Shea Wernicke has woven a tapestry of visuals, and Kate’s struggles feel real because they are real. They’re not limited to nuns, certainly, and probably aren’t really explored in depth.

The storyline examines a young woman’s vocation and her love, though by the end, you should be asking yourself if it really is love. (Spoiler: Nope.) Though I did find parts of this tiresome, I think that had more to do with my grumpy 2020 attitude and inability to think deeply during my evening reading times.

This is not an easy read, especially not if you’ve ever faced a challenging change in life circumstances or a thorny relationship. O’Shea Wernicke is raw and honest in how she presents the struggles. A solid read, and one I’d recommend.

Fine print: Yep, those are Amazon affiliate links. If you click and buy, I get some kickback, which will go right into my book fund, website hosting fund, and food fund. Thanks, yo! 🙂