If I had to choose…

I love the “if I had to choose” game. Sometimes I make it difficult – you’re on a sinking ship with your whole family, you can only save three people, who do you choose? Normally, though, I try to keep it lighthearted and fun. If I had to choose between reading and chocolate (or any candy at all really), what would I choose? Reading, of course. If I had to choose between going blind or deaf I’d choose blindness because I can still listen to books (and theoretically learn to read braille) and I would also get to keep music. Sometimes I give myself impossible choices like knitting or books (the answer is I would refuse to choose and take whatever consequences result, while humming Freewill).

I’ve started listening to the podcast Literary Disco. I knew I’d love it based on the opinions of some other podcasters to whom I listen, so I started from Episode 1 and am working my way forward. They do a segment called “Bookshelf Revisit” where they choose a book from their own collections and do a quick review. In Episode 5, Julia reviewed A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle. This is one of my favorite books of all time ever, bar none. One of the categories on my reading prompt is “a book from your childhood” and it clicked directly into place – I logged into Amazon and found a boxed set of the five books in the Time series. They are in the cart, waiting for the next Amazon order. I am on the edge of my proverbial seat, imagining reading them all in order. Hopefully I can line up another day like today, which has been the ultimate Lazy Day today. I’ve done a couple small things – laundry, dishes, hanging up the new shower curtain – but mostly I’ve been quite lazy and reading books.

Speaking of books, which I do a lot, here are the books I’ve finished since the last review. It’s been a slow week…

Ordinary Life by Elizabeth Berg

  • Short stories
  • Library e-book
  • PopSugar Challenge Category: None

AMAZING. Totally, completely, wonderfully amazing. Elizabeth Berg is a storyteller, for sure, whether the story is novel-length or shorter, and this book is a terrific example of her mad story skillz.

I’m not going to talk about the individual stories or pick a favorite, like I even could, that would be like picking a favorite child. I’ll instead talk about what they have in common. Almost all of them are from the point of view of a female, most of them grown women. There are a couple of exceptions, but even with those I got a feeling that there was a grown woman in the background pulling the strings, so to speak. All are wonderfully crafted. All are complete in and of themselves, introducing characters that are staying with me in a similar manner to those in really good novels.

While this book doesn’t really fit in with my reading challenge, it is a direct offspring of the challenge. I didn’t take the time to read short stories before I read One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak and remembered high school English class. Short stories are fabulous! How on earth did I let myself forget that little fact?

I recommend Ordinary Life to anyone over the age of 15 who reads (but I normally don’t read with kids in mind so 15+ a thin line). It’s amazing.

Five Minutes Late by Rich Amooi

  • Romance
  • Free e-book download from Bookbub
  • PopSugar Challenge Category: NONE

This is the story of Ellie the librarian and Cedric the garlic farmer. They’re star-crossed and made for each other (it’s a romance novel so I’m not giving anything away by telling you that). It’s cute and funny and caused me to be late for work because I got easily pulled into its cute-sweetness. It’s a quick and lighthearted read. One of my favorite things about the book was the trivia – Cedric was always challenging Ellie, who is the queen of random facts. I’m assuming her answers were correct but hey, who can really say.

However… there were a couple parts in the book that bothered me. As per the norm in a romance novel, everyone is beautiful, something I always find issue with. Why can’t normal people fall in love? There were more than a couple pronoun issues (they for him and the like). And the ending? Well let’s say it was a HUGE stretch and leave it there. Everything neatly wrapped out, which is something I totally appreciate in a book, but perhaps a bit too neatly.

I’d recommend this book if you’re not a grammar nerd, don’t mind an implausible ending, and like really light-hearted romance.

In Progress:

  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell
  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
  • Autobiography of a Pocket Handkerchief by James Fennimore Cooper

On Deck:

  • Orphan Train by Christine Baker Klein
  • Jenny Pox by JL Bryan
  • Pam of Babylon by Suzanne Jekins
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