Book Nook: My Favorite Time to Read

When Ed and I brought Lily home from the hospital, she screamed all night long. Literally. It was horrible. I thought she had colic, and that our life would be a living wreck. Around 4:00 a.m., we finally broke down and Ed gave Lily a bottle of formula. I was devastated; I was determined to breastfeed, but my milk was slow to come in after the cesarean, and Lily could only nurse from one breast.

The next day, we took Lily to see the pediatrician. We had gotten no sleep, and were desperate. The doctor didn’t seem to think Lily had colic, and she told me that I could use the time nursing to catch up on my reading. Brilliant!

We were terrified as evening came. We decided to have Ed give her a bottle right before bed. It worked, and Lily did not scream all night. I did get up with her about every two hours to nurse, but that one bottle of formula made all the difference; it filled Lily’s tummy enough for her to sleep, and I was able to get the rest I needed to produce enough milk for Lily the rest of the night. After two months, I was able to nurse Lily exclusively.

Nursing my babies was my time to read. I read dozens of novels while sitting in the glider, rocking and cradling my girls. Now, my time is almost up. Emmy will be 18 months old soon, and I have been trying to wean her. She is most likely our last baby, and I am very sad to give up breastfeeding. Due to my history of breast cancer, however, I need to get a mammogram. To get the best picture possible, the breast center I use will not give me a mammogram while I am nursing. I am so conflicted; I love nursing, and yet I know I need to take care of myself. Emmy is old enough now; she is a good eater and likes cow’s milk, so it is time. But there goes my time to read!

I finished Beautiful Lies and its sequel Sliver of Truth while nursing Emmy.

Beautiful Lies: A Novel Beautiful Lies: A Novel by Lisa Unger

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Lisa Unger keeps the plot moving along, and it was an entertaining story. Some of it was pretty predictable, though. The main character had some philosophical “thoughts” which were okay some of the time, but other times drove me nuts! At the end, Ridley waxes on about “There are no villains here. Not really. If you think about it, there are no true villains in life.” So the people who were chasing you and trying to kill you and probably killed others are not villains? I can think of plenty of real villains. Just read the daily newspaper!

Besides that complaint, I would read her other books. She does have an interesting writing style.

Sliver of Truth: A Novel Sliver of Truth: A Novel by Lisa Unger

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ridley is back and more tenacious than ever. We learn more about her mysterious Uncle Max and her moody boyfriend Jake in this novel. Secrets are flying left and right, and lead to a thrilling conclusion. Ridley is philosophical once more, and more realistic. During a moment when Death teases Ridley, she thinks, “I suspect that grief is worse than death. When someone you love has died, it’s almost impossible to get your head around it.”(p. 211) How true. When she covers some unpleasant truths, she tells us, “Many people believe that evil is the presence of something. I think it’s the absence of something.” (p. 230)

I enjoyed Sliver of Truth more than Beautiful Lies, but I think if I hadn’t read Beautiful Lies first, my enjoyment of this book would have been less. Lisa Unger has hooked me, and her next book is now on my “to read” shelf!
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Book Nook: Fidelity: Five Stories by Wendell Berry

As I unpacked my suitcase at my parents’ house last week, I realized I forgot to bring a book. Fortunately, this is never a problem. My parents both have many books from which to choose. And so I stumbled upon one of my father’s books, and discovered an author I had never heard of before. I brought his book home with me, and read it cover to cover in about three days. This was one of those books you never want to end.
Fidelity: Five Stories Fidelity: Five Stories by Wendell Berry

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Have you ever read a book only to envy the author’s talent? If only I could be as wonderful a writer as Wendell Berry. The simplicity of his words evoke beautiful images of both scenery and inner beauty of the people he writes about. The five stories in this book are all set near Port William, a fictional town in the farmland of Kentucky. The characters are all connected in some way, just as in real small town life. The faithfulness of the characters are examined in each story; faithfulness to a father, wife, friend, or even one’s self.

“And there on the ridgetop in the low sunlight they danced the dance of women laughing, bending and straightening, raising and lowering their hands, swaying and stepping with their heads back.” (from “A Jonquil for Mary Penn”)

In your mind’s eye, can’t you just see the above image? Fidelity is full of such images. Perhaps one of the reasons I loved this book is because the descriptions of these families correspond with the images I have of my father’s childhood. He was raised in a very small town, worked on a farm, and had strong family ties. Or perhaps I am reminded of my own childhood in a rural community.

The last paragraph of “Making It Home,” in its simplicity, brought tears to my eyes. ‘”Honey, run yonder to the house. Tell your granny to set on another plate. For we have our own that was gone and has come again.”‘

I am usually not a fan of short story collections. These short stories, however, captured my heart.

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