May: A Month of Reading

The past month has been a month of transition for me. It is the final term of my undergrad career and rather than going to typical lectures and seminar classes I have started an internship. This practical portion of my course will be spent at what is my ultimate dream job: working on an acute mental health inpatient unit. Basically I’ll be working a typical Monday to Friday type schedule which means, for the first time in 4 years, I have absolutely no classes to attend! This also means, outside of regular working hours, I’m left with more time than I can ever remember having to do something I forgot I loved so much: Read.

To say I’ve been reading a lot during the month of May is an understatement. I’ve been devouring books, finishing one and jumping right into the next, constantly craving that feeling of being drawn into the words on the page. Also, because of my new work commute, I’m spending hours in the car and have started listening to audiobooks – something I’ve done with the kids for years but never thought to ‘read’ my own books this way. I will admit, it isn’t the same as reading the written word but I do enjoy it!

I’ve finally read a few books that have been on my To-Read list for ages and I’ve dabbled genres and read authors I swore I’d never read. Yesterday was a child-free day for me and although my to-do list was long, I spent nearly the entire day reading. Starting and finishing the book in one day, I even read while doing dishes! But now that I’m done that book, and the local library is closed on Sundays, I’m left with nothing to read today. A day without a book feels so empty…

So because I can’t read something new, I thought I’d share with you what I have been reading:

1. Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

I read The Glass Castle in 2008 just after my son was born. It was an amazing story written by Walls about her childhood and upbringing. It was a book I just couldn’t put down – and this one was just the same! Written about Wall’s grandmother, it tells a story of her difficult life but in the face of all her struggles no one could get the better of Lily Casey Smith.

Both of Wall’s stories literally come alive as you move through them. They are easy to read but produce profound emotion. This book provided a lot of insight into the early years of Wall’s mother, Rose Mary, which answered some questions about her unconventional parenting detailed in The Glass Castle. If you’re not the type to normally enjoy biographies, I recommend giving this book a try. It’s relatively short and never boring or overdone.

2. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Another book I couldn’t put down! It was tragic, touching, and a little depressing! I’ve worked with many people with Alzheimer’s Disease  and done significant research in this field for my degree but this book provided me with a perspective (albeit fictional) I’ve never experienced before. It was very insightful and made me think about many of the experiences I’ve had with individuals with Alzheimer’s and how I could maybe approach things differently in the future.

I have to admit, I hated the husband in the book! So many times I just wanted to shake him, or smack him! But then I’d stop and think who am I to judge, no one can understand his situation until they are in it themselves. By the end of the book I forced myself to understand him although I still didn’t agree with his choices/actions. I loved the writing style and the story.

3. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

The first book I’ve ever read by Nicholas Sparks and I actually listened instead of read. It made for a good story while driving but seemed too much like a typical romance novel – which isn’t my type of book. It drives me nuts when I read stories like this, when people can just fall in love so easily and everything is just meant to be…it was frustrating at times but got interesting nearer to the end only because Sparks switched things up a bit with an unpredictable twist. Although the unpredictable twist ended in the most predictable way….it wouldn’t have been something I likely would have finished had I of been reading a paper copy but since I was driving, with nothing better to listen to, I finished it and can now say I’ve read/listened to a Nicholas Sparks book.

 

4. Man’s Search For Meaning 

This is a brilliant book! I’ve always been interested in WWII – fiction or non-fiction. This is a powerful tale focusing not only on the authors experiences living in concentration camps but on the deeper meaning of those experiences. Frankl believed that we can choose how to cope with difficulties in our lives. This choice can allow us to find meaning in it and from there we are able to move forward with our lives. To hear that message from someone who lived through the devastation and hardship as he did makes this message even more powerful! I think everyone should read this book!

 

 

5. The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Yes, I read another of his books even though I didn’t particularly love the first one! I was curious for some reason and decided what the hey, why not give him another go. This book was different in that it wasn’t entirely predictable. Parts were but there were constant curveballs throwing me off and this is maybe what got me hooked. I literally read this entire book in one day. I wasn’t able to put it down and every time I tried I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I was addicted to it and just needed to know how it ended. Now that it is done, I don’t actually think it was an overly great story and I can’t understand why I was so hooked on it. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters nor did I feel connected to any of them. I didn’t connect with and couldn’t relate to the setting. I didn’t even really love the storyline. I credit the writer because somehow, some way he got me hooked and I couldn’t put it down.

Now I’m unsure of what to read next. What are you reading?