My Favorite Read in 2011 {Book Nook}

There was a time when I stopped reading. I became so involved in blogging and being a mom that I didn’t have time to read a whole book to myself. Sure, I read books constantly to the girls, but I wasn’t reading books for me. When I picked up a book and started to read again, I realized how much I missed reading. So 2011 became the year of the book club! At the beginning of last year, I joined an online book club through the SITS Girls.

Through this online book club, I read some amazing books, including The Bird Sisters, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, and Secret Daughter. One of the big advantages of joining this book club was being able to participate in the Twitter parties. Several times the author joined in our discussion of the book we had read. It was so fun to ask questions and get an answer from the author herself! The disadvantage of this type of discussion was commenting on these wonderful books in 140 characters at a time. Challenging, to say the least.

Source: via Ginny on Pinterest


Then, my neighbor asked me to join her book club. A night out with other women, in real life, to discuss books with as many words as I wanted? Absolutely!

And so I read even more. Being in a book club encouraged me to read books I never would have picked up on my own. This is one book that I might not have read, and I’m so glad I did.

Major Pettigrew's Last StandMajor Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Sometimes you love a book because of the relevance to your life. While it doesn’t seem like I would have much in common with a retired Major living in a quaint English village, amazingly, I did.

Major Pettigrew is obsessed about the heirloom gun set in his family. As I read about his obsession, I remembered my grandma. When I would visit my ninety-year old grandma in her apartment, she would go around the room and point to each piece of furniture. She would tell me the history of the piece and remind me that it should stay in the family after she was gone. Just like Grandma, Major Pettigrew comes back to the subject of his family guns time and time again, and how this set of guns should be owned by him after hisĀ  brother dies.

The death of the Major’s brother comes as a shock to him; just a few years earlier, he lost his wife. Surprisingly, it is a shopkeeper in town who becomes a comfort to Major Pettigrew. Mrs. Ali has also lost her spouse. Their unexpected relationship grows from a fondness for literature and their enjoyment in each other’s company.

Here enters more relevance to my life at the time that I read this book. This past summer, 18 months after my mother died, my father married again. Through the eyes of Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali, I was able to accept the idea of love after loss. The Major and Mrs. Ali’s new relationship doesn’t diminish the love they felt for their respective spouses. Major Pettigrew at one point even tells Mrs. Ali that he wishes he had known her husband. With grace, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand explores the idea of a second love in life. Quite different than a first love, as my own father would say, but also worth pursuing.

While I think I would have liked this book no matter when I read it, 2011 was the ideal year for me to read this enjoyable book.


State of Wonder {Book Nook}

Blogging every day has taken away the time to read, but when the library told me a book I have had on hold for a couple of months was available, I had to take the time to read it. As I read State of Wonder, I could hardly put it down to feed the kids.

State of WonderState of Wonder by Ann Patchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dr. Marina Singh lives a life of secrets. She cannot divulge that she is having an affair with the CEO of her pharmaceutical company, Mr. Fox, to anyone. The reason she became a lab doctor instead of a practicing medical doctor is also a huge secret; a secret she would rather forget.

One day, a letter arrives at the lab. It is from a secret research facility in the Amazon, and the doctor leading the research tersely reports that a colleague of Marina’s has perished in the rainforest. Mr. Fox and the colleague’s wife recruit Marina to go down to South America to investigate.

As Marina prepares for the trip that she would rather not take, it is important for her to take Lariam, an anti-malaria medication. As she does so, she remembers taking her malaria pills as a child when she goes to visit her father who lives in India. The medicine’s side effects affect her greatly, and the nightmares she had as a child return. Before she goes on the airplane, she throws the Lariam into a waste basket.

Once she arrives in Brazil, Marina’s search for the truth begins, and she discovers more secrets that she must keep. These secrets go beyond the research lab in the rain forest and the secrets the doctors who work there keep. She also discovers the secrets she has been keeping from herself.

While the ending seemed a bit rushed and I yearned for the story to continue, I highly recommend adding this book to your “to-read” list.

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