Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What I'm reading lately

I go in fits and spurts with reading. Admittedly, I don't always have the time or the patience to sit down and focus on a book. Over the last few weeks, though, I've been on a decent roll. (It helped a lot that I hosted last month's book club meeting - accountability works wonders! =) ) Now I am hoping to keep the reading momentum going as long as possible.
As I mentioned here, for book club in July, we read In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume.
I enjoyed the story very much, although I did have difficulty keeping all the characters straight at first. I learned that the storyline was inspired by Judy Blume's own experiences as a child growing up in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This made the story even more impactful to me - and it also made me appreciate how much times have changed since then.

On the note of Judy Blume, I had previously mentioned that I wanted to reread some of the books I had first read in my youth. Most notably, I wanted to reread Tiger Eyes. Mission accomplished last week.
Oh my goodness. Going in, I already knew that I hadn't comprehended a lot of the details as a child. Even so, I was still flabbergasted at how much I had missed. There were so many inherent themes, including alcoholism, self-forgiveness, and racism, that I didn't pick up the first time. As an adult, I could truly understand the motivations, the hesitations, the unspoken thoughts. Tiger Eyes was an extremely worthwhile and very eye-opening reread for me.

Moving on to a different genre. Ana recently wrote about her progress in working through the 100 Books To Read In A Lifetime list. One of the books on the list is The Diary of Anne Frank. After visiting Yad Vashem in Jerusalem last year, I was inspired to read it, but hadn't gotten around to getting a copy. Seeing the name on the list finally spurned me to action a few days ago.
Knowing the story and viewpoints are completely real, I get chills reading the passages. It boggles my mind to witness Anne's maturity and forthrightness in discussing the often-horrific wartime occurrences. She was an extremely intelligent and thoughtful girl with incredible perspectives, especially at her young age.

Anne's recounts also make me think of Amsterdam. I've only been there once, and unfortunately, I did not make it to the Anne Frank House. I definitely want to see it the next time I'm there.

On a similar note, my next read will be Night by Elie Wiesel, which is an autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
My intention is to commemorate Wiesel's recent passing. I am also drawing further inspiration from my visit to Yad Vashem. The book is fairly short in length, but I know the story is devastatingly heartbreaking in magnitude. I am bracing myself as best as I can.

Finally - and on a much lighter note - I recently received a copy of Bruce Poon Tip's book, Looptail. 
Bruce Poon Tip is the founder of G Adventures, which is a travel adventure company. The book is his entrepreneurial success story. I traveled with G Adventures on a jaunt to Costa Rica about ten years ago. Therefore, I am looking forward to discovering more about the company's development and business philosophy, especially from a traveler's perspective. In my opinion, there are no better learning experiences than those gained while traveling.

Now it's your turn to share. What are you reading these days? Any and all recommendations are always welcome!

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I am inaugurally linking up with Stephanie and Jana for Show Us Your Books.

30 comments:

  1. Thank you Emily! you are so kind!

    I have Night in my list too. Those books are hard to read, but we all have to learn and know what has been experienced by others, and especially those who went through the Holocaust. Keep tissues handy.

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    1. Thank YOU, Ana, for helping to inspire me to read more!!! :) I'm always looking for new book suggestions, and that list will be so valuable to reference going forward!!!

      Yes, the Holocaust stories are so heartbreaking but it's so important to learn and to remember what happened. I'm going to keep a couple of boxes of Kleenex and a garbage can nearby for sure!!!

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  2. I read Night my freshman year of high school and it's difficult to get through. I couldn't even watch Schindler's list until a few years ago when it was on TNT. I could take a breather with each commercial break.

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    1. OMG, that would be a tough book to read as a freshman. I can imagine if I had read it as a young teenager, I would have had nightmares for months afterwards. Ahhh, Schindler's List! That's another good book to put on the to-do list. Yes, in really intense movies like that, it's good to have the commercials breaks to regroup!!!

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  3. I read Night in college. It's very powerful. Was sorry to hear that Elie Wiesel passed away.
    I don't read much nonfiction but Looptail looks interesting.
    Are you on Goodreads?

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    1. I can certainly imagine Night being very powerful! I don't read a lot of nonfiction, either. Looptail is not something I would have picked out on my own (I actually got it at the RnR Chicago race expo for stopping by a vendor booth!), but it's gotten solid reviews on Amazon. So we'll see how it goes. I'm not on Goodreads yet and I need to create an account! Are you?

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    2. You should join! I get lots of good book recommendations from Goodreads and also it helps me keep track of books I want to read instead of having five lists different places.

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    3. Just joined!!! It'll take me some time to populate my account, but I'm in! Sometimes all it takes is the right encouragement from a friend to do things in life. =) I think you can search for friends based on email address, yes? Assuming so, my account is under eeseto@gmail.com. Let's link up!

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  4. I recently read The Dairy of A Young Girl too by Anne Frank. I agree with everything you said about it. It's really amazing to think what some people had to live through when most of us today would never think of anything like that.

    I read Night when I was in school. Really loved it! I want to pick it up and read it again since it's been like 20 years!

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    1. What a coincidence that you recently read Anne Frank's diary, too! Yes, she mentions a lot of things that we completely take for granted, e.g. being able to look outside during daylight hours, being able to take a bath in private, etc. etc. That is great that you enjoyed Night! Please let me know if you read it again soon. I bet your perspectives on it will have changed a lot in 20 years!!!

      BTW - I know your big day is coming up soon. Is it next weekend??? I hope final preparations are going smoothly!!!!!!

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    2. Yes it's August 14th!! Ahhhh!! :)

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    3. Super exciting!!! We're down to single-digits in the countdown now, woo hoo!!!

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  5. I love Anne Frank! I use to teach 8th grade English and we would read that very same book! I started "Night" but never finished it. It was in my closet for for the last 8 years and I just got rid of it when I cleaned this summer (I have since regretted that). If you like that genre, you may enjoy "the boy in the striped pajamas". It is also a movie as well. I won't say it is "enjoyable" because it is of course about the Holocaust, but it is very interesting to say the least. A very eye opening movie/book and I highly recommend it. -M

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    1. Oh wow! So cool that you would read Anne Frank's diary as part of 8th grade English!!! It would be a terrific book for students to learn from. When I was in high school, my history teacher gave us a list of books to read on WWII. Anne Frank's diary was on it, but at the time I chose other works. Bummer about getting rid of Night, but obviously it's very easy to get another copy. I've got an e-copy on hold at the library right now. Thank you for the suggestion on The Boy In The Striped Pajamas! I'm not familiar with it and will definitely put it on the list!!!

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  6. I loved The Diary of Anne Frank-- I read it million times as a young girl. Maybe not a million... Right now I'm reading Boston Bound by Elisabeth Clor for my blog book club. She's a runner who tried to qualify 7 times for Boston but couldn't get her anxiety to cooperate. Sounds a lot like someone I know--me....

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    1. I wish I had read The Diary of Anne Frank as a young girl! Maybe it would have inspired me to be better about keeping a diary throughout my life, too, which I now regret. Ah yes, you have some terrific running books on your blog book club! I haven't looked at the selections in detail for awhile and need to do so. Very cool that you'll get to interview Elisabeth Clor! I bet we'll all be able to relate to her in many ways!!!

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  7. Haha - I saw Judy Bloom and thought "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret." Takes me back. I should revisit some of my youth favorites, too. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. I think everyone automatically thinks of "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret!" when they hear the name Judy Blume!!! It really seems be the book that put her on the map, right? I'm starting to think about going back to reread that one, too. It's such a classic!!! Please let me know if you do decide to pick up some of your youth favorites again, I would love to hear your thoughts!

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  8. I've read "Night", a great book! And I've also read "The Diary of Anne Frank" and loved it but also made me sad. I kind of read "The Girl on the Train". I say kind of because I read the beginning and the ending and well it looks like a great book. I just did not have the patience to read all of it. I know there is a movie out in the fall and I am looking forward to it.

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    1. The Diary of Anne Frank makes me sad, too, and I am sure Night is quite sorrowful as well. =( I haven't read The Girl on the Train but have heard good things about it! I struggle with having the patience to read many books, too. It'll be interesting to see what the movie is like!

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  9. i unfortunately was not a fan of judy blume's latest book.. i really did try! i loved her growing up. i have been trying to re-read her books as well, you are right, you really interpret things differently as a child and miss so many things, i love going back and reading them as an adult.

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    1. I understand. When I first got started, it was really hard to keep track of all the characters and I thought it was going to be a long road ahead. I want to go back and read "Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret!" and "Just As Long As We're Together!" What about you?

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  10. Night is such a powerful novel. I've been to the Anne Frank House, and it was crazy and sad to see how small of a space the annex was!

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    1. Very cool that you've been to the Anne Frank House! I can imagine it must have been a chilling experience, knowing all that transpired there. It also must have really put Anne's words into perspective, knowing how many people were crammed into that space!

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  11. I remember reading Anne Frank when I was in middle school and it just floored me. I always think about what she might have been had she lived. I want to read The Night but I have to emotionally able to handle it too. But so important we read and don't forget either.

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    1. I've thought a lot about how influential and charismatic of a person Anne would be if she had lived, too! She mentioned wanting to be an author and I can imagine how great her works would have been, considering how much talent she showed at such a young age. Yes - Night is going to be a tough read but it's so important to learn and remember!

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  12. I rarely re-read books, but Diary of Anne Frank is one that I want to re-visit as an adult. I read it in high school, and I want to explore how my reading experience with it would be as an adult.

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    1. I saw that you read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas! Another friend suggested that one, too, based on the genre. It sounds like a terrific read - although probably also one that would require some mental preparation, yes?

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  13. I read In the Unlikely Event last summer and it was OK for me, but not the best...however I am just about to finish Summer Sisters and have enjoyed it quite a bit more! I remember loving a few of her books as a child.

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    1. Ahhh, I'm not familiar with Summer Sisters so I'll have to add that one to the list. I loved many of Judy Blume's works as a child, too. They taught me a lot about the process of growing up!

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