Skip to main content

Featured Post

Spring means Hope | Weekly Snapshot

Hello you guys! I seem to have forgotten how to blog with everything going on around here. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Hope you all are coping okay?

Last week Things finally got to some semblance of a routine this week and I've been finally feeling better and in charge of my emotional faculties. I've taken over one of the upstairs bedrooms and set it up as my office-cum-homeschool room. In other words, the room is a big mess, but both my daughter and I are able to navigate the room fine as everything in the room has a meaning in our own brains. We're both very organized that way. I've been using a sit-stand desk for my work laptop and I'm a little glad that I got to try this system finally. When I'm not working, I'm helping the girl with her letters, numbers, or fun activities. Trust me, this is difficult but we worked through the system this week, and think we have it under control. My father-in-law watches my son during the day as the little ma…

On my Nightstand #3

I have been having a hard time reading anything at all this past week. I doubt it's a rut because I do want to read and happily pick up a book every evening. But, by the time I start reading, which is usually past 9.30 pm on a weeknight, my eyes are ready to shut. Most of my evening before bedtime tends to go into TV, cooking, resting (oh, that nasty back pain), and trying to plan my baby shopping. Hopefully, I'll have some of that shopping plan in order by this weekend, making next week at least a good one for reading. One can always hope. For now, these are the books I'm reading (or trying to read).

The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag: I am in two minds about this book. On the one hand, I love love love this book. I feel the same way about it as I would about a book that is filled with literary characters or references. Except for a passing mention of Virginia Woolf, Beatrix Potter, George Eliot, and Sylvia Plath, there really are not many literary references in this book. So it's weird I feel that way. On the other hand, while there is a plot to this book (three women are trying to turn their lives around), it is a weak plot. The setting in the book, all the magical stuff that happens completely dwarfs the actual intent of the book. That's probably why I am not able to make much progress through this book, though I love every bit I read from it.
Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she has never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in. She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included George Eliot and Beatrix Potter, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers—literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds - and maybe even save her life.

French Milk by Lucy Knisley: When I borrowed Relish from the library, I also went and picked up French Milk. I loved Relish and have been meaning to start this since then. Considering that my reading was anyways going slow, I picked it up last night and promptly fell into the easy journalistic narrative style (in comics!) and the familiar writing? comic? tone of the author. It's probably (sort of) timely that I read this now. (Maybe a couple of weeks ago might have been even more appropriate.) Like Lucy, I spent some time learning French, or trying to learn, at least, before and during my trip to Quebec.
A place where young Americans can seek poetic magic in the winding streets of a beautiful city. The museums, the cafes, the parks. An artist like Lucy can really enjoy Paris in January. If only she can stop griping at her mother. This comic journal details a mother and daughter's month-long stay in a small apartment in the fifth arrondissement. Lucy is grappling with the onslaught of adulthood. Her mother faces fifty. They are both dealing with their shifting relationship. All the while, they navigate Paris with halting French and dog-eared guidebooks.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin: Ever since this book was released, it has been on my radar - just not high enough on my want-to-read meter. Since I had just finished listening to an audiobook yesterday, I was wondering what to pick next - I had three nonfiction books on my audible account waiting to be read, but I was looking for something fictional for a change. Having chanced upon this one on my library's list, I figured it was finally time for me to read it. We'll know soon whether all the wait was worth it.
In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county— and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town. More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades.


French Milk is on my list for sure. I've read the other two and must say that Crooked Letter rated higher on my list.
rhapsodyinbooks said…
I hate when I can't find a book to read "next." I feel so at loose ends!
bermudaonion(Kathy) said…
I loved French Milk and liked Crooked Letter a great deal. It sounds odd, since Tom Franklin is from Mississippi, but the dialogue in Crooked Letter didn't feel southern to me and my book club.
Nadia A said…
I really loved the Menna van Praag book, but can understand how you feel about it. That's how I felt about another book she wrote - The Dress Shop of Dreams. Its like there is something endearing about the story, but then there is something that just doesn't seem to fit and it throws you off. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I do know what you mean about her book. I have Crooked Letter on my TBR and am thinking I should move it up at some point. Its been on my radar since it came out, but I never felt inclined to read it ASAP either. Hope you enjoy it!
Ti Reed said…
Crooked Letter has been on my list forever too. I never seem to read books when others are reading them.

That tired thing. You should be getting burst of energy soon.
JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing said…
Crooked Letter Crooked Letter was excellent on audio and I enjoyed French Milk, too. The House at the End of Hope Street has been on and off my wish list several times... it's off a t the moment. The magical stuff puts me off, I think.
Athira / Aths said…
Glad to hear that you liked Crooked Letter! I know I should have read it sooner, but every time I think of reading it, I'm not too sure it will work for it. I listened to one chapter of the book and it is a great listen so far.
Athira / Aths said…
Me too! I try to decide my next book before I finish my current one, but it doesn't always work out properly. The break in between two books can be so unsettling sometimes.
Athira / Aths said…
I only listened to one chapter so far and I know what you mean - the language doesn't feel too southern to me - but there is enough "southernness" for me not to feel that the book doesn't fit the locale.
Athira / Aths said…
That totally makes sense! That is exactly what I feel - it is a great read but there is not enough flow or plot to keep me going. The writing is good and the atmosphere is great so that makes the book a wonderful treasure to lose oneself in.
Athira / Aths said…
I have a feeling my burst of energy has come and gone. But only weekdays are like that. Weekends are full of plans and ideas! At least, I don't feel so tired yet that I don't want to do anything. I want to do a ton of things, I just don't have the strength to do it when I want to.
Athira / Aths said…
The House at the End of Hope Street isn't as magical as it is charming. I guess that's the right word to describe it. But then, I generally enjoy books with magic as long as it isn't overly supernatural. Glad to hear that you though Crooked Letter was excellent on audio - I just started it yesterday and it's great so far.
I love all the premises for these!! I particulary am interested in French Milk. I love stories like that.

Popular posts from this blog

Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri (Short Fiction Review)

I first read Jhumpa Lahiri years ago, when her Interpreter of Maladies was making a huge buzz. At the time, I didn't catch any of the buzz, but for some reason, when I saw the book on the shelf at the store I was browsing in, I felt it just might be a decent read. Funnily, I read the entire short story collection without complaining about it, but for some reason, I cannot read any collection anymore without agonizing over its disjoint nature.

I did enjoy Interpreter of Maladies, but I did get bothered by the thread of loneliness and infidelity and distrust that laced through the stories. For that reason, I have been reluctant to read Unaccustomed Earth. However, when I came across Hell-Heaven at the NewYorker - a free short story from her book, I decided to go ahead and read it. I can't resist the pull of stories set in India or featuring Indian characters, and it is that same aspect that hooked me throughout this story.

In Hell-Heaven, the narrator contemplates the relations…

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.
Bernadette Fox has a reputation. While her husband and her daughter Bee love her, there's barely anyone else who share the sentiment. Her neighbor Audrey loves to gossip mean things about her with her close friend, Soo-Lin. The other parents of kids at Bee's school look down on Bernadette because she doesn't involve herself in school affairs. Bernadette herself goes out of her way to avoid company.

And then one day, Bee comes home with an excellent report card and asks for her reward - a family trip to Antarctica. The very plan throws Bernadette into a panic but she has no other option. She hires a virtual assistant, based out of India to take care of all her demands, including getting prescriptions at her local pharmacy, doing her online shopping and taking care of some of the logistics of her trip. (It is ridiculous! Bern…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Short Fiction review)

With the Hunger Games hype that engulfed us last week, it was hard to avoid all the discussion of similar works that existed. Of the many titles that I came across, two stood out particularly - a short story called The Lottery and a Japanese novel (and movie) called Battle Royale (which I'm reading right now and just cannot put down). The novel will be fodder for another post, so for now, I just want to rave about the awesomeness that was The Lottery.

In contemporary America, villagers across the country are gathering on the 27th of June (and some a day earlier) for an annual event called the Lottery. Children, women, men, all come to the main square of their village or town, where the lottery master keeps a black box full of paper chips. One of these chips is marked has a special mark on it to identify the winner (the person who draws that chip). Not everyone draws however, but only the head of the family. Husbands are viewed as the head of their families/households, and if the …