Apparently themes are sooooo 2015. My reading as been all over the place - whatever's available at the library, whatever is at my fingertips when I've finished a book, or whatever has just arrived from Thriftbooks.com.
Speaking of, if you're a reader, you need to know about Thriftbooks. It features new and used books for great prices - I think the most I've ever paid for a hardback was $10 or so. If you spend $10 or more, you get free shipping, and that's not hard to do. Plus, if you sign up using my referral link, you get 15 percent off your first purchase, and I do, too. Fun, right?
Anyway. I think maybe my mishmash of books is a good thing - a bunch of different books means that perhaps I'll review something that could be helpful to each and every one of you, my loyal subscribers. So I'll continue to be random, and you just keep reading - my blog that is, and maybe a book or two if you have the time ;)
The Nesting Place, by Myquillyn Smith. The premise of this book is how to decorate and be content with your home even if it's not exactly what you'd like it to be. Her quote is, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." I love that. She encourages you to take risks and to make your home reflect you, your needs, and your wants. And it's all true, too. If there's a piece of furniture you don't like, paint it. For instance, my guest bedroom always seemed drab to me, with the boring brown nightstand and the brown bookcase. Even though the walls were yellow, that was a lot of brown. So I painted the nightstand Paris Blue, and lo and behold I smile every time I look at it because I love blue and yellow together, not least because they remind me of my wedding colors. That's the kind of thing Smith discusses in her book. It's a valuable read, no matter where you live - a house, an apartment, a shack. Hop to it. And fun fact(s): Smith lives in Charlotte, N.C. She's also the sister of a favorite writer of mine, Emily P. Freeman. Small world.
Dear Mr. Knightley, by Katherine Reay. The premise of this was so good: a girl who grew up in the foster care system hides behind classical literary characters, such as Elizabeth Bennett. The actuality was kind of a disappointment. The book is written in epistolary style, with the main character, Sam, writing letters to a mysterious "Mr. Knightley" whose foundation gave her a scholarship to Northwestern University's graduate journalism school. From the beginning, the whole thing seemed too fantastical (I mean, where were the mysterious benefactors giving out scholarships for journalism school in exchange for anonymous letters circa 2004 or so?). The writing was also elementary. It seems that the author, much like the main character, is hiding behind novels and not being realistic. However, it was an okay book with a semi-cute plot.
The Bronte Plot, by Katherine Reay. This is what happens when you see that two books you've been wanting to read are available at the library at the same time. And after finishing Dear Mr. Knightley, I was a bit skeptical of this book as well. While it was actually better than the first, my skepticism was still well-founded. It all seemed wildly improbable, and I never could understand the main character. I had none of that burning impulse to get back to the book the minute I put it down to eat or do laundry or make dinner. I was happy to let it be. The only saving grace was the location - set briefly in Chicago, then mostly in London and the English countryside, it was a lovely winter read and made me wistful. I want to go back to England. However, I don't want to read any more of these books. I'm removing Reay's third book from my to-read list. Slogging through these was enough.
A Week at the Airport, by Alain de Botton. This book has been on my Goodreads to-read list since September 5, 2012. I was intrigued by the premise - a guy living at Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport for a week - but it was a hard book to find. It's not well-known or super-popular, so it wasn't showing up at Mr. K's or 2nd and Charles, and I didn't want to pay full-price for it. Luckily, Thriftbooks came to the rescue. I'm glad I read this - it's incredibly intriguing, but the book left me wanting...more. It felt like it missed some crucial nugget. de Botton's writing is good, and some of his encounters with people are interesting, but I felt there could be more details, more stories, and a lot more humor. Don't misunderstand me - I really liked this book and I'm glad I read it, and I recommend that you read it, too (it's short - only 100 pages). But I needed a little extra here.