12.26.2013

Recent Reads

Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas!! Mine was wonderful, spent with my husband and family, and possibly a little too much Jack Daniels, courtesy of my brother.
 
I'm on a bit of a work hiatus for the next few days and looking forward to diving into a new pile of books I got.
Which got me thinking, since I usually devour a book a week, I figured I may as well start sharing my recent reads and reactions to them. I figure I'm not the only one with a little downtime on my hands now, so here’s some books I've read over the past month or so:
 
How to Love an American Man, by Kristine Gasbarre
Kristine Gasbarre is pretty terrible at relationships, and after a string of failed ones followed by the death of her grandfather, she moves back home to live with her grandmother. While back in her hometown, Grandma dispenses love and marriage advice while Kristine falls for a sophisticated, but difficult to pin down, local doctor. At times, the author is truly immature, and her actions sometimes are frustrating, but I loved the relationships she had with her family, and her grandmother’s love advice.
 
Dr. Brown is a vulnerability researcher, and this book discusses the way many of our fears, shame, and feelings of inadequacy keep us from living a wholehearted, connected life. She points out that many of these feelings are shared among people, and that throwing light on these dark corners of our emotions reduces their power and gives us courage to really be ourselves. The book is written in a very straightforward, plain style that makes it easy to understand, though her teachings may be harder to actually apply to our lives.  It’s a great and encouraging book, and though it takes effort and courage to improve ourselves, Brown shows the benefits of doing just that.  Excellent choice for improving ourselves.
 
Don’t Sing at the Table, by Adriana Trigiani
This is one I really read and re-read, one of my all-time favorite books. I’m a sucker for family history, and this book memorializes Trigiani’s two Italian grandmothers, sharing their histories, personalities, and life lessons. I also come from a large Italian family, and I see a lot of my relatives in this book. It fills in the gaps just a little for me where my grandmother’s family lore left off. Love it.
 
I am on kind of a Fannie Flagg kick lately. Admittedly, this is not the deepest or most original novel, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. It’s about an old Southern lady who dies, goes to Heaven, and comes back.  Flagg’s descriptions of Heaven and life seem fairly prosaic and often oversimplified, but it’s a wholesome and fun read. I really liked it. 
 
I’m always up for a civilian take on religion, and have recently gotten into author Lauren Winner. She converted to Orthodox Judaism only to later convert to evangelical Christianity. I really enjoyed her first memoir, Girl Meets God, so I picked up this second book. It’s a short tome that highlights Winner’s favorite parts of Judaism, things she feels are missing from Christian worship. As part of an interfaith household (I am Catholic, my husband is Jewish), this book was useful in helping me to see ways to combine and celebrate our different faiths.
 
 
Oh, Jen Lancaster. I loved her first few books, but am now finding myself a little tired of her shtick. How many times can she mention her under-theAmbien-influence midnight shopping sprees? How many times can one person give themselves food poisoning, and why does the reader need the details? She’s definitely worth checking out if you’re unfamiliar with her, but for me, I’ve hit my Jen saturation level.

Any book recommendations?


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