I went through a spell of not reading earlier this year and had no idea why, though I did wonder if sharing my bed with two little fellows was maybe distracting me from reading as much and as often as I once did. So my book pile kept growing and I kept climbing into bed and falling asleep without picking up a book from that pile.
My pal Lisa and I were chatting about sharing our reading lists and somehow or other we ended up thinking it could be a shared thing ……… so here we go. I’m writing this post, Lisa will write the next and if you want to jump in at any stage feel free and link in to this page.
And just because it’s me and it’s my blog and I never follow the rules anyway – I’m kicking this thing off with a book I didn’t read!
I started reading the book at the beginning of October and by the end had given up. I wanted to read it, I really did. I wanted to enjoy it, I really, really did. It has everything going for it – it’s set locally, it’s historical, it’s well written – it won the Man-Booker ………. It appeared to tick all my ideal reading biases………… Or so I thought.
The story is set in my country, in regions I am very familiar with; in the nineteenth century – an era that fascinates me; is written by a woman and is one of those weighty books with lots of pages – it really ought to be a riveting read. I love history, I love a big thick book – it means hours being lost in words and worlds not mine….. And this is indeed a massive tome of 800+ pages, following a convoluted mathematical design and telling the same story from several different points of view……….. I’d read a couple of pages and wonder what I’d just read. It felt ponderous, like reading the bits of Dickens that become lectures on the spiritual needs of the poor and destitute of London which left me thinking ‘get on with the story already Mr Dickens!’ I’d go to bed and be reluctant to pick the book up – this has never happened before in my life – there is always something to be gained in a half hours dedicated reading time that can stretch out to an hour or even longer whenever required. I’d pick it up and dive back in and feel no connection to the words on the page.
Eventually I took the advice of my friend Robin who told me she gives a book 50 pages and if it hasn’t drawn her in by then she puts it down. I gave the book 88 pages and decided there must be a better way to spend the last half hour of every day………. I decided to wait til the movie comes out!
Instead I picked up ‘We Never Asked for Wings’ the second book by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.
I loved her first book ‘The Language of Flowers’ and soon found myself just as lost and involved in this new story from her.
In both her books Diffenbaugh writes about loss and finding yourself and about finding a new kind of family. She tackles some hard questions around how one feels when abandoned, when alone and in chaos and does so without losing hope and without an overdose of syrup.
‘We Never Asked for Wings’ tells the story of Letty, a young unmarried mother who finds herself suddenly and abruptly fully responsible for her two children when her own parents return to Mexico. With no idea how to be a mother – her own mother raised her two children and asked nothing of Letty – she finds herself abandoned and having to step up for her teenage son and much younger daughter. There’s chaos and grief and levels of love and a slow unfolding of hope and resilience and the birthing of a new family.
I felt kind of elated when I finished reading it and the characters stay in my memory – all signs of a good read don’t you think.
So what’s sitting beside your bed, what are you reading now?
I have to go rummage through my book stack now to find something new to start this evening when me and my little furry babies all tuck up into bed – here’s one tired little fellow.
Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!