Thursday, January 17, 2019

Lift

LiftLift by Kelly Corrigan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's rare that you read a book that gives voice to your own thoughts and feelings in such a way that you feel like your own heart might burst from the truth being shared, but that's what Kelly Corrigan's Lift was like for me. I laid in bed early this morning, head tilted towards the direction of my baby's room just in case he made a sound, and devoured every word in this short book. Corrigan's attempt to "put down on paper how it started with" her girls was profoundly relatable to how I feel about being a mom. I know this is a very short book, but somehow that made it even better. Every detail Corrigan included was so purposefully chosen.

Read it, or, at least, read anything written by Kelly Corrigan. I love her. Happy reading and happy mothering-

Can't help but include some of the quotes I loved. So many good ones--
*You’ll remember middle school and high school, but you’ll have changed by then. You changing will make me change. That means you won’t ever know me as I am right now—the mother I am tonight and tomorrow, the mother I’ve been for the last eight years, every bath and book and birthday party, gone. It won’t hit you that you’re missing this chapter of our story until you see me push your child on a swing or untangle his jump rope or wave a bee away from his head and think, Is this what she was like with me?

*I want to put down on paper how things started with us.

*I whittled down all my requests to one: children. You.
[This is exactly how I feel. I have wanted to be a wife and mother all my life. It is and was the greatest wish of my heart.]

*“That’s all I want, Kath. Right there. Funny kids who like each other.”

*People rarely rave about their childhoods and it’s no wonder. So many mistakes are made.

*I have the chance to give to you what was given to me.

*You can’t imagine how seriously I take that—even as I fail you. Mothering you is the first thing of consequence that I have ever done.

*You are sacred to me too.

*She told me later, she wanted to memorize him.

*I want to keep you in the world where I can find you.

*I meet people at cocktail parties all the time, women who are moody or mean-spirited, and then their charming husband comes up with a nice, fresh drink for them and I always think, what does she have that Meg doesn’t? Why does this woman get someone to sleep next to, someone to call when the dryer breaks, someone to bitch about to her friends? Meg is so much better. I’d marry her in a second.

*I want her to have this thing I have that’s so ordinary and tedious and aggravating, and then, so divine.

*“I think,” she said through tears, “I could be a really good mom.”

*I think about your futures a lot. I often want to whisper to you, when we’re tangled up together or I’m pinning your poetry to the bulletin board or repositioning the pillow under your head so you don’t get a crick, Remember this. This is what love feels like. Don’t take less. But what I end up saying is, “This was my dream. You were my dream.”

*So girls, will you please believe me when I tell you that I love you enough to take in the full reality of your lives? That I can understand the things you think I can’t and I can see and know and embrace every bit of you, full frame, no cropping?

After You

After You (Me Before You, #2)After You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh man - I wanted to like this book. I really did. I loved Louisa Clark in "Me Before You" - so much so, that I finished this book despite shaking my head over and over again at the plot twists. Jojo Moyes is still a good writer. She just didn't know where to go with this story and ended up including all sorts of cliched storylines. I read an interview where Moyes said that she did not expect to write a sequel to "Me Before You", and I'm going to pretend she didn't....that way I can slip back into the story of Louisa and Will without what came later....

Happy reading and happy pretending that characters' lives go on the way we want them to--

ps. Probably a 2.5, but you know Goodreads and their lack of half stars....

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Middle Place

The Middle PlaceThe Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am working my way through Kelly Corrigan's backlist after falling in love with her most recent book "Tell Me More". "The Middle Place" did not disappoint. It's just as poignant and real. I love her other book more, but I still found myself so captivated by her experiences getting breast cancer as a young mom while her father also has his own bout with cancer across the country. I think this book might have been rounded from a fourth to a fifth star in the afterglow of "Tell Me More", but I seriously could not stop listening.

The title "The Middle Place" is Corrigan's concept of "that sliver of time when childhood and parenthood overlap.” I am in that place. I am an adult in theory and practice. I have a husband, a son, and a mortgage. I get excited over my Roomba and a new chocolate chip cookie recipe. But I still call my dad for advice and defer to my mom when we're in a room together. I seek both of their affirmations and approval as I learn to parent my own child. I still look around for what I call "certifiable adults" when I walk into a room, sure that it's not up to me to make any decisions for the group. It's a surreal, sometimes confusing, and often beautiful phrase of life. And because Corrigan offers me these types of insights to consider, I am already on to another one of her books. How lucky that she has a couple more to devour.

Happy reading and happy living, whatever place you're in.

[Book 4 - 2019]

Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say

Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to SayTell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished listening to this book through my library's Libby app, and immediately bought it online. That's how good it is. I needed it on my shelf. I needed to be able to return to Corrigan's words over and over again. Are you supposed to read your favorite book of the year in January? I think I might have.

"Tell Me More" is a collection of the twelve things Corrigan is learning to say. It's simple and profound, heartbreaking and inspiring - so many polarizing things that I can't fully (and ironically) put into words. Corrigan doesn't whitewash details. She is raw and unfiltered as she talks through what it's like to lose a father and a best friend alongside the normal day-to-day experiences of raising kids and just living. Her language might be too rough for some, but her voice is authentic. I want to casually run into her while she's walking in Piedmont (she lives about twenty minutes away from where I live) and just talk....because I like how she sees things, how she phrases things, how she's willing to peel back the layers we insulate ourselves with out of fear, pain, or necessity.

In short, I love Kelly Corrigan, and I love this book. The end (or maybe just the beginning).

Happy reading and/or happy listening. Oh, and please, at any point, feel free to tell me more.

[Book 3 - 2019]

Louisiana's Way Home

Louisiana's Way HomeLouisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Louisiana's Way Home" is like "Anne of Green Gables" meets "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood": southern charm, an extensive vocabulary, and a super quirky heroine. Like Anne, Louisiana can make you shake your head sometimes, and yet, she is lovable in her earnest desires for home and belonging. Louisiana is smart, inventive, and hungry - hungry for life, love, and for just about any type of food she can get her hands on.

This book is probably a bit closer to a 3.5, but well told, so I rounded up. This is a strong candidate for middle grade girls or lovers of Anne and Sidda, not to mention DiCamillo's other great work.

Happy reading--

[Book 2 - 2019]

The Book Thief...Again

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Choosing a favorite book is like trying to measure ingredients with your bare hands, but when pressed, I tell people that "The Book Thief" is my favorite book. I love this story. I love Zusak's voice and his unique way of shaping language. I love his characters, and the way that their one liners involuntarily come to your lips as you think about them. I love how vivid Himmel Street is and how the messages of this story are so subtle and yet earth-shatteringly profound. I love that Zusak chose death to narrate. And I love that I finally listened to this book. Tiny descriptions and details were layered in that I hadn't noticed in my previous readings. Perfect book to start the year--

Happy reading and happy 2019!

[Book 1 - 2019]

Monday, December 31, 2018

Almost Sisters

The Almost SistersThe Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unique premise, quirky and memorable characters, engaging writing, flawed ending. Loved that the main character is a comic book writer because the details about her artwork helped propel the story forward, while also establishing Leia's character. The characterization and subtle details are a four. The plot is only a three star for me. Either way, this is my last completed book for 2018.

Happy reading and happy 2019!