Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why Judy Made Me Moody

Finding books to read right now is difficult. To start with, there’s the whole “I don’t give a crap” factor about most topics. For months, the only books I’ve read have been about grief because I want to see how families survive this. At some point I will write a blog post summarizing the grief books that have been most helpful to me, in case that would be useful to others.

Magazines fit my shortened attention span, but do not satisfy me with their content. Yes, I still peruse the eye candy of a gorgeous mud-room or kitchen or the train wreck that is the Kardashians, but they leave me empty.

Novels? Are tough too.

Last Friday I scoured the shelves of the thrift store for something new to read. That store, like all the others, is a minefield for me of memories and pain, especially since Jack was a big reader. The last book he was reading was one I bought him there, “I am the Cheese,” by Robert Cormier. I remembered the title from the 70’s, but couldn’t recall what it was about. I bought it and read it myself before giving it to Jack. He was partway through and was enjoying the strange narrative style.

But what to read next? No Oprah books right now. I’ve read most of them already, and they can be a tad (!) depressing. Chick lit? Seems fluffy and irritating at this point. And don’t even get me started on "Fifty Shades of Grey!" I shouldn’t comment on something I have not read, but I have more than an inkling that all that graphic sexual content would make me cranky. I mean, from what I’ve heard, if those two devoted a smidgen of the time they spent, uh, you know, to feeding hungry children, adopting strays or even picking up cigarette butts and gum wads from the sidewalk, their (fictional) world would be a better place.

So on Friday, after careful consideration, I settled on an adult Judy Blume novel from the early 80’s called “Smart Women.” It had the nostalgia factor (“Forever”) from my not-very-rebellious early-teen years, plus the mommy connection to my kids, (“Ramona Quimby”, and“Superfudge”)

I thought I’d be fine.

When I couldn’t sleep last night and decided to read, I found the plot had more twists than the lighthearted book jacket had let on.

Yeah, so that part about the mom who lost her son in an accident, then got divorced, became a terribly unstable parent to her only remaining child, a daughter, and who ended up in a mental institution, while her ex-husband met the love of his life?

Kind of bummed me out.

Oh well. Maybe I should just read the dictionary.

103 comments:

Beth Zimmerman said...

Oh Anna! That made me laugh. Out of sheer commiseration, I promise! It all just takes time ... Hugs!

Mrs Changstein said...

I totally get this. Although my circumstances are very different, I'm finding that I have the attention span of a gnat lately. What I used to enjoy reading just seems empty right now. I'm finding that books that have chapters that can stand alone are easier. One that I've really enjoyed is 'Walking His Trail' by Steve Saint. The other book that really caught me was by Michael Oher...I Beat The Odds blah blah. (blah blah isn't part of the title but you get that, right?). Side note: what I love about Kindle is that you can return the book if it's not what you wanted - within a week, I think. Praying for you all. xo Cindy

RC said...

Ugh, that book is not for you! Dictionary may be safe but oh so boring! :) What about some biographies? Like Steve Jobs, Tina Fey, Sammy Hagar (if you like rock n roll).

Christen said...

Oh my gosh! That book sounds horrible!! And I totally agree about Shades of Grey- ha ha!

Suburban Correspondent said...

I guess reading a short blurb on Amazon first might be a good idea, right? I tend to read memoirs - let me know if you want a list.

Or maybe that new book by the Bloggess?

Japolina said...

I wish that I had a recommendation for you. I'm reading steven tyler's biography right now but it's not holding my interest.

Stimey said...

Oh dear lord. You'd think they'd mention part of that on the back cover. I wish I had a book suggestion for you right now, but I'm currently reading the Diary of Anne Frank and I don't think it is going to have a happy ending.

Jackie said...

Have you ever read any of Jen Lancaster's stuff. She is funny. Vapid, rude, obnoxious but terribly funny. And no s-e-x talk, she spells out any offensive words. And the good thing is they are more like short essays and not stories so you can read a chapter and then stop and start another later.
I just discovered her and she makes me laugh out loud. Anyway, it may help you escape for a minute. I think of your family everyday and wish you peace.

Gigi said...

I've found that the books I read (and loved) while young (i.e., Little Women & Judy Blume) tear me to pieces on a whole different level now.

If you want a list of my current favorites, I'd be happy to share.

Meanwhile, still keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

Recovering Church Lady said...

So sorry, books can be such a great escape, but not if the escape is as bad as reality. I saw 2 comments mentioning the Bloggess and Jen Lancaster, both so very funny and entertaining!

NanaDiana said...

Oh- how awful....I can't imagine picking THAT book up at THIS time in your life. That is NOT a good escape~ Blessings- xo Diana

Cindy said...

Fudge (although I didn't say, "fudge."). Love you, sweetie.

Anne said...

Anna,
What an awful book to read.I am not much of a book reader.I don't have the time or attention.I have always been a magazine reader.
Anne

K A B L O O E Y said...

Oh my god, it's like it was constructed to make you fall to pieces. Love me some Judy Blume, too. The Bloggess' book was really funny. I liked the first half more than the second, but I did laugh out loud at least 20 times. Or for sheer laughs, David Sedaris? (Not the last one.)

smilinjo said...

I also loved The Bloggess's book as well as Tina Fey's Bossypants. Pretty light yet smartly written and fun peak inside SNL. I stay fairly quiet on here but check in every day and think of you all often. Stay strong and when you can't be strong just know that so many of us are sending you strength and prayers.

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

Ok, I'm so stinking excited, I may actually be able to help you for once! I know the perfect books for you. Read Rachel Ramen books. She is an amazing author and tells these beautiful little stories that make you feel so good. I also love to read Robert Fulghum books, they are the same kind of deal. I think of them as stories told by people who pay attention and they always make me feel like I want to be a better person. I've read My Grandfather's Blessing 4 or 5 times by (Rachel) and Kitchen Wisdom and I've read everything Fulghum has written. He's the guy who wrote Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. I hope these help, they aren't long, and they aren't fluffy and they will remind you of all the good in life!I've picked up all of mine from Amazon, cheap!

Anonymous said...

Anna I have been reading your blog for the past 3 or 4 months and I just wanted to let you know you are constantly in my thoughts. I check your blog often throughout the day to see how you are doing. Everytime I read your posts my heart breaks a little bit more for you. I know you don't know me but I just wanted to tell you that I think you are an amazing person. Like others have often said stay strong and you are always in my thoughts and prayers. On a lighter note I would definitely suggest Bossypants for a good read! ~ Jessica

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,
I have been reading your blog for a long time now. I can't believe this is my first comment- because I think of you and your family daily. (all the way down here in Birmingham, Alabama) I am reading this book called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. It is a wonderful book- I am highlighting like almost every word! I know I don't know you- but I just think you would love it. Praying for you and your family. I am inspired by you with every post. I have 3 children - two boys and when you write about Jack- I am truly moved to tears. Thanks for sharing your story. You are a gem!
Stacy

Jamie said...

I used to read 4 or 5 books a week. I loved reading. Since my son died last year, I've read 2. 2 books in 16 months. I seriously couldn't concentrate on more that a page or two at a time. I really didn't care, everything seemed so trivial compared to burying my boy. I am reading more now. Slowly. I'm sorry the book turned out that way. Those things seem to happen often. It usually sends me into somewhat hysterical laughter.

Stacy said...

Like several others I was going to suggest Jen Lancaster. She has a number of memoirs and a novel (Wish You Were Here) where the couple buys a total fixer upper, primarily because it was Jake Ryan's house (yes, that Jake Ryan). They have a lot of DIY repair trauma that is highly entertaining as a reader, not so much as the DIYer.

Carrie said...

No book recommendations, just wanted to tell you that my 2 young sons point out blue ribbons all around our town. My 5 year old asked me today how long they would stay up for Jack and I said that I really hope they would stay up for a long, long time because they are like hugs for his mom letting her know that this community will not forget her little boy and their family. I say this through tears every time. I also pray really hard for you and your family every day. May He sustain you, today and always!

Anonymous said...

The Tiger's Wife?

Anonymous said...

Please, try Bloom, by Kelle Hampton

Anonymous said...

Oh dear.

Fiona, LilyfieldLife said...

Oh Anna - what a shocker. reminds me of years ago a close friend of mine tried to commit suicide so some other friends of mine took me out to the movies to take my mind off things but we didnt realise the movie was all about someone who tried to commit suicide. needless we didnt stay for the whole movie. from memory, I think we left and went to the pub...
cheers Fiona

Lisa said...

Oh. My. All I can think of is the old FRIENDS episode where Joey puts scary books in the freezer. He reads Little Women, and upon the ending, he put it in the freezer because it was so upsetting. Sounds like a good place for your Judy Bloom book!

I have had trouble reading over the past couple of years....one thing I enjoyed was The Blogess's new book. You might enjoy it...

((Hugs))

helenasc said...

Oh, I wish I could hug you. I am so sorry. If you ever do get around to the list of grief books, I would want to read it. No pressure, just wanted you to know that it would be worth your time and energy. Praying that you feel the prayers of those sending them up for you and that you feel God's presence close to you.

Deb said...

glad you can have a sense of humor about it - you made me laugh. but more seriously, i totally get this. i have not lost a close family member, but after seeing a friend lose a child, i was so stricken with grief that i could not read anymore (and i too had made literature my livelihood). the fictional world felt completely irrelevant and well, just irrelevant. i didn't even try to read a novel for a year. and then grief struck again. i read only nonfiction for a long time: nonfiction relevant to my life (at first books on grief and spirituality but i did eventually move onto other things related to my kids or whatever). so i guess my advice is go with what holds your interest and don't force the novels. your interest in fiction will come back in its own time, when you're ready for it...

E. said...

I have recently discovered magical realism and more specifically, Sarah Addison Allen. She might be a good fit for you right now. Hugs and prayers.

Take care,
Eliza

Erin said...

What about the Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn? I'm totally not into action/spy/thriller type books but I ran out of books and my husband (and rest of family) had read them so I figured why not? Turns out they are fun, fast, easy reads (total brain candy) and, best part for you --they have nothing in common with your life (unless you or Tim were a CIA spy in a previous life?). There's at least 10 books in the series so that will keep you busy for a while :)

Otherwise, maybe a compilation of short stories might suit you at this point?

Lots of love!
Erin

juli said...

Have you tried to read Bill Bryson? My husband and I both love his books. They are mainly a documentation of his travels, written in his lighthearted, slightly sarcastic and very witty style.

AmiDawn said...

i've only been a reader for a few months, but i wanted to chime in here to also say that Bossypants was a nice read, and i also enjoyed A Girl Named Zippy as a memoir with some good laughs.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time, and have never commented, but I think about you, and pray for your family......how about some Jane Austen? Or for a slightly more contemporary take on J.A., I highly recommend "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith. Not the movie, just the book!
And I agree with those that recommend biographies.

Liz P. said...

Anna,

I devoured gardening books - 'Perennials from A -Z' and basically gave myself a second education; but the only books that I found helpful at all were 'Simple Abundance' Sarah Ban Breathnach, and 'Meditations on Grief' Martha Whitmore Hickman.
The good thing about thses two books is that you only have to read about a page a day.

I continue to pray for you on your journey, Liz

Katy said...

I love LM Montgomery's books like the Blue Castle.
And that story would totally bum me out too, how depressing! sheesh.

After my divorce all I could read were books by women who had survived single parenting with lots of kids. I can tell you that it was a process, and it took a couple of years of periodically re-reading some passages, to really "get through" and accept the hand that life had dealt me.

Sue @ Laundry for Six said...

Oh no! This reminds me of after my brother-in-law died suddenly and his family came to our house to spend a holiday weekend to try to create a new tradition and I rented a movie that I heard was good. And it was about a family moving on after one of the parents died. Gah. Awful.

I will also recommend Katherine Center - she has a few books, she's a blogger. Excellent writing. (Something that 50 Shades of Grey does not have. At least not in the first chapter because that was as far as I could manage to read.)

Julia said...

Loved BossyPants by Tina Fey. I picked it up in the airport and read it on the plane. The back cover reviews said it was "laugh out loud" funny. Whatever...I didn't believe it could be that funny.

But I found myself laughing out loud. Really.

I think you need a good laugh about now. xoxo, Julia

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting book review in today's Washington Post Style section: The Chemistry of Tears

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. Books are a real refuge for me, too. I would very much like to hear about which grief books have meant the most to you. I, too, find magazines unsatisfying.

(hugs)

Princess Kate said...

I wish that I had a recommendation for you but sadly I haven't read a book in quite awhile. Stay strong Anna. You are never far from my thoughts and ALWAYS in my prayers. Hugs to you today.

Gina said...

There are times in life when the most incongruent shit happens and it makes me stop, look around and just say, sometimes outloud, "OH, COME ON!!!!! REALLY?! WTF?!"!! This was one of those times. I really was like "You have GOT to be kidding me?! Of all the freakin' books!!" It is one of those time you almost have to laugh to keep from crying...except it's just not funny AT ALL. Oh, Anna, I am so sorry!!! I understand all of the slings and arrows of pain you have to navigate on a daily basis. Still praying for you and your family always. On a lighter note...I can remember reading "Forever" in my late teens and I remember it being so taboo!!!! Sadly, we have come a long was since then....

Marta said...

Wow yeah that book took a turn I'm certain you weren't expecting. I love to read and have a huge bookcase and I'm trying to rack my brain about what might be good. Perhaps something funny? I like Nick Hornby, he has good books. I've bought The Bloggess's book but I haven't started it yet. If its anything like her blog I'm sure it'll be funny. I hope you find something that works for you!

mayhem said...

a few possibilities:

A Prayer for Owen Meany... lots of humor, and faith, and irreverence, and grappling with real life issues.

The Time Traveler's Wife... a gripping love story told so unusually from all different time points in their lives

Ya Ya Sisterhood... a really good summer read

To Kill a Mockingbird... if you havent read it in a while it is still amazing

hope one of these might work for you. although they don't all have 100% happy endings they are some of my favorites and i'm not a big fan of terribly sad/heavy books!

fiwa said...

I hope you find something that works for you. Books are such a comfort to me, I can't imagine not being able to turn to them. I'm sure everyone has advice, so I'll just say 'Hugs and I'm hoping something good falls into your lap soon.'

ssheers said...

I recommend:
Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series (the first one is called One For the Money - it was recently made into a movie). The first time my husband had cancer, I read this series like eating bonbons.
And when you're ready for a big slice of chocolate cake instead of bonbons: Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

Anonymous said...

I'm betting the dictionary will have its moments too. I'd steer clear.

I just re-read both Under the Tuscan Sun, and Bella Tuscany--sheer escapism. They are lovely mental getaways, and very beautiful reading too.

love,
jbhat

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

OUCH.
I wish I had words of comfort. Prayers are all I've got. Praying today for a bird sighting that brings you peace.

Margee said...

You have got to be kidding me. I wish I could think of a "safe" book. I went through an autobiography/biography stage a few years ago and found a lot of great stories. What about history or historical fiction? - Margee

Jen said...

Do you like Reader's Digest? The articles are long-ish and I feel like they don't rot my brain. Plus there's the funny stories (the real reason I buy that mag) and inspirational stories.

Good luck finding a good book!!!

Lady Jennie said...

You have got to be kidding me.

I wonder if I can think of something that would be appropriate ... ?

I found Dickens' Pickwick Papers really helpful about a year after my brother's death. It was so removed from my life that I was able to find it funny. Really funny. Later on I got really attached to Martin Chuzzlewit (deciding to be cheerful no matter the circumstances), but that might be too soon. It seems like you almost can't go wrong with re-reading Austen and some other classics.

But for the love of God stay clear of Thomas Hardy.

IrishRN07 said...

LOL!! How is it possible that I am laughing reading your post about grief?
Not sure if this is helpful but I'll share my latest obsession. It's not a book, but it's on PBS so that's kind of like a book, right? Downton Abby. It's a series about a family and their servants in turn of the centruay England. Starts in 1912 as they are emerging from Jane Austen- era but not quite in the roaring 20's. SO good and so addictive. Total mind melt. On Netflix!

Lady Jennie said...

(which you undoubtedly know)

Anonymous said...

Try the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters! They're funny, a little fluff, a little mystery and altogether addictive. The first one is called the Crocodile on the Sandbank.

Patricia said...

Oh My, dear Anna.....your post is so funny - but also so unfair for you to have to had read that - I always thought Judy Blume just wrote funny ! Life is very strange like that - just the things you shouldn't see keep popping up right in front of you - not fair ! I have to admit that I love to read, but lately haven't had the attention span - I keep renting DVD sets from the library - try that - they take your mind off life and hold your attention for a while. Just finished "Downton Abby seasons 1 and 2" Also watched the True Blood series, Breaking Bad, Nurse Jackie, Sons of Anarchy would definitely be a change !The list is endless !

A Speckled Trout said...

A couple of years ago, I picked up I Thought My Father Was God. It is a collection of stories from NPR's National Story Project. Nothing is more than 3-4 pages long..............but it is a treasure trove of good writing by regular people with a story to tell. I think it is out of print now but you can find it on half.com. I have read it over and over.

lizzied said...

GAH! Please take your choice of that particular book as the cosmic joke it must surely be. Holy crow.

Anonymous said...

You can get a used copy of I Thought My Father Was God for just $0.01 on amazon.com

Domestic Diva said...

Sorry but I burst out laughing at that. That is just way too coincidental!!! Sorry you had another dud - I am not sure what to suggest but I hope you find the right book soon!

Kate said...

Heed the advice of the "bossy Pants" pushers. My husbans and I listened to it on audiobooks last summer vacation and had some great laughs.

I just read Nora Ephron, "I remember nothing" and laughed out loud many times.

Beautifully written, chick lit stories by Elizabeth Buchan are always refreshing.

and anything by Marion Keyes is a nice distraction.

please post again. You seem like a "reader" and I would hate for you to lose your reading voice. You've already lost too much. I lost my reading voice after babies and it was such a joy to get it back.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I am sure your list of books would be very helpful to others. So sorry about the book, not at all what you needed. ((HUGS))

Mellow said...

I remember in the days and months after we lost Johnny, my husband and I weren't able to sleep. That was when the tiniest details of what happened replayed again over and over in our minds. My hubs told me I needed to start reading to help me get my mind off of things before going to bed, so that is what I did. I think the pages kept turning and I read the words, but they weren't sinking in, and all I could think about was my son, and how I should have done more to save him, and how I didn't have the patience for a stupid book. The first one I read was about a young girl that got pregnant and had a baby boy...named Johnny. UGH. 2 years later, I haven't picked up any more books since the first couple that I forced myself to read, but just in case you need some mind numbing fluff to fill your days with...the Stephanie Plum series might just give you a giggle if you need one. There were some things that stuck out to me, and I did find myself laughing at times...laughter is so good. It heals the heart, even if it's just a little. Still praying for you and your beautiful family.

Claire Plante said...

So sorry about the book - ugh! It also makes sense that nothing seems interesting or important.

Of the book recommendations I read in these comments, I second the recommendation of "A Girl Named Zippy." I really enjoyed that book. I also liked Mary Karr's memoirs, especially her first one.

I also recommend books by Michael Lewis about the financial meltdown. I wanted to learn more about it and his books are easy to follow and full of character studies that made me laugh too. Liar's Poker is interesting, as is The Big Short.

I also enjoy The New Yorker magazine when I can't focus. Invariably there is an article that captures my interest with the advantage that you can dip in and out for an article here and there.

As always, I send wishes for peace in your heart and love to you and your family.

Love,
Claire

Clare said...

Ugh that sucks. I would suggest a book but at the same time I can see how many different topics can trigger memories or hit a hard spot. I hope one day you're able to find something beautiful to read that you really enjoy.

I'll never read 50 shades of grey either!!

Nelson's Mama said...

I'll second the Janet Evanovich books, they are very funny and light-hearted.

Once, when I was going through a really tough time and having a hard time concentrating, I read Jan Karon's Mitford series; they aren't my usual choice, but at the time their wholesome characters, easy to follow plot and goodness were just what I needed.

The Empress said...

Do you like to laugh? I just finished Samantha Bee's book.

I depend on laughter, like most do their oxygen.

Also, Mindy Kaling's is out of this world.

Renee said...

Like others, my reaction to your post was, "You have GOT to be kidding!!"
I believe the difference between you and the character is that you have more people lifting you and your family up in prayer on a daily basis than you will EVER know. I hope you can find comfort in that. :-)

anymommy said...

I've been sabotaged by books before. It pisses me off. Books are supposed to be safe escapes. I refuse to read Shades of Grey. Will not.

The Bipolar Diva said...

I know what you mean about attention span...I seem to have lost mine somewhere.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Oh no! Perhaps science fiction? I'm so sorry Anna. I hate that even READING has been taken away from you. Love you.

Jill of All Trades said...

That's just so creepy, but I'm a big believer in intuitive reading. Maybe you should go for it, really sink your teeth into the fictional reflections of your grief (and even worse, your fears). During a major depression a few years ago, I used to read books by the dozen, just to get through the day. I must have read hundreds of novels, but the one I remember, FONDLY, to this day, is THE HOURS. Both the book and the movie captured and indulged my quiet hurt so well it was....liberating. Best! x

MissingMolly said...

I can see why that book bummed you out. I'm sorry.

I've always been a book worm; that is, until my baby died. Now, all I can seem to maintain an interest in reading are blogs. I have an overwhelming need to connect with other people who have come face to face with real suffering. It almost feels like being reunited with a long-lost sister, a kindred soul.

And I love reading poetry. I find poetry very soothing.

Fiction doesn't have the effect on me that it used to. In my previous life, I was so deeply sensitized to every touching, imaginary story, even if it was briefly told through an advertisement, of all things. These days, not only do I not usually have the attention span to get through a novel, I feel removed. Hard to get worked up by anything fictional when I've been through so much actual heartbreak.

I'm so sorry for your heartbreak. Sending big hugs.

mgh said...

This makes me smile in that sort of sad-ish I-get-that way. No matter what I read these days, I end up wondering if I am supposed to be getting some sort of cosmic or divine clues about how to cope.... which seems to make me feel like I am maybe not coping.

I feel this way about music as well. The other night when Emma's band played "American Elegy" I had tears streaming down my face. The song was written to honor the students at Columbine. They played it with so much emotion and the understanding of what an incredible privilege it is to graduate. To witness them play so well for lives of children they don't know. Several of the musicians were literally weeping when they stood up to bow.

In my mind, it was all about Jack and Olivia... 2 kids that never met but are forever connected in my mind because they went missing the same week. I keep Jack's Psalm of Thanksgiving tucked in a frame with her picture.

mribaro said...

While I was going through a period of time when I had no nerves to read (and normally I like to read), I turned to the crossword puzzles. They occupied my mind just right - they were intellectual enough to make me think, and feel victorious and accomplished whenever I wrote a correct word, and yet they were also superficial enough to just occupy my mind so I don't think about other stuff (that bothered me at the time). Hope it helps.

mribaro said...

P.S. Crossword puzzles are great for short attention span - one can leave them after half a word and get back to them whenever, without missing anything! :)

Stacey Family said...

Orson Scott Card has a fantastic trilogy The Women of Genesis. I loved it as it attached me to these incredible women of the Bible.

Anonymous said...

When we lived in the PICU with my son the nurses brought me the Twilight series to read. After he died, I just kept rereading them almost every week for the whole first year. The books aren't even that good, but it was like I was trapped in them. Plus, with no attention span, it was easy to get through books I already knew. And any escape was better than none. :P

Rach said...

Oh NO!!

I had a miserable time getting back into reading after we lost Hannah. It took me more than six months before I even had a spark of interest.

I'm so sorry your read turned out to be so awful. It's not fair. None of it is.

Hugs,
Rach

Geri said...

Oh Anna, sorry about the zinger in the book. Those things can just knock us off our pins, and I hate it when they "false advertise", like it will be a lighthearted book and something like that is in it. Had that happen with some movie, total got sucker punched, the cover made it look good and light, something about a father and his kids and I think it was called "everybody will be okay" or something like that. Merrily watching it, and get to the part where the son died of an overdose, and the dad is saying "no, no, please God no, not my son". I wailed like the day our son died. And got soooo annoyed that the cover made it sound like it wouldn't be heavy.

How about an anthology of short stories for now? I found they were good reads for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Have you read "Pillars of the Earth"? I loved it. Its a great fictional story of a catherdral and how it was built in the 1300's. it follows the towns people and their ancestors. And its thick! so once you egt sucked in it lasts a while:)

ALI said...

That sucks.

I sometimes wonder if books are put into our life at times, when we need them.

As I embarked on the TTC train, I read "Baby Trail" and laughed my way through infertility oblivious to the fact I was entering that black hole.

Soul sucking black hole.

On the anniversary trip that my husband & I conceived our son, I read "Babyville" and saw myself - losing my marriage, while my husband cheated out of defeat getting his one night stand pregnant via the event.

I knew I didn't want that. I knew that was my God given wake up call.

My problem was I didn't know how to stop the train wreck. I will continue to pray for you to find peace & comfort.

Sharon said...

Have you read the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich? Purely engrossing entertainment. The first one is called, "One For The Money." My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

OSMA said...

Have you played Words with Friends online? Great way to sidetrack your mind. I still can't get accustom to the stacking element not existing in Scrabble but that's just because I obsess about using all the tiles. Also, Pablo Neruda for poetry? Short, consice and politically driven: safe?

xoxoxo

OSMA said...

*concise. See? Obsess.

Princess Kate said...

Thinking about you tonight.

PeachPrenni said...

Anna,
I've been away (sorry) and I've missed your Blog!! I have a LOT of Posts to catch up on, so that's what I'LL be reading tonight. :) Your comment about 50 Shades made me laugh out loud because you're SO right, but I must confess I'm guilty of reading. ;) I would imagine that it would be very difficult to find literature that will capture your attention while not hitting any triggers. There's always the Bible?!
Thinking of you--always.
Annie

Pip said...

Oh! Not fair!!

Marinka said...

I have a favorite bookstore in NYC, Three Lives & Company and I remember being there one day (I was in my 20s, with great hair and BMI) and a woman asked the owner about a book and the owner said "that's not for you right now." It really shocked me because I'd never heard something like that-- but that bookstore owner was looking out for her customer (who had just lost her mother).

Is it me or is the answer that you obviously need to move to NYC to go to that bookstore?!

And I always recommend David Sedaris "Me Talk Pretty One Day."

Besides, Judy Blume isn't prophetic. I did all those "We must, we must, we must increase our bust" and it didn't work.

Julie R. said...

So been there done that! After my Hubby's Brain Tumor. A few months later I was really struggling and I went to see a moving one afteroon. I was by myself and I cose the movie about a girl and her nanny. But she needed a nanny because her Dad was dying of a brain tumor....seriously?
I couldn't believe it!!! sigh. I felt like there must have been a reason I was sent to see this moving. Even though I really never understood!

Jennifer said...

Oh my goodness, that is just awful! I have definitely had that happen before where I find myself in the middle of a book that is not at all what I was expecting it to be.
Have you heard of Goodreads? It's a website, or as my friend that introduced me to it calls it, "Facebook for readers". I love that I can look up a book that I'm possibly interested in and not only read what the book is about, but then read a whole bunch of reviews on it. I've been able to weed out lots of books this way and also found some books I wouldn't have read otherwise. Check it out if you're feeling up to it and I hope it helps.

DawnGes said...

I'm so very, very sorry, Anna.

At some point I may walk through these comments and compile a list of recommended reads, but right now I'm too saddened by your awful realities and deep pain.

Sitting with you in thoughts, prayers, and love today.

Anonymous said...

So sorry about your book experience. My favorite "rule" to myself - don't like a book after X number of pages? Toss it! There are way too many good books to read just waiting to be discovered. If you want light and funny, anything by Laurie Notaro, such as "We Thought You Would Be Prettier." another vote for "A Girl Named Zippy." ( And I have to throw in here, that "Ramona Quimby" was written by the great Oregonian Beverly Cleary...)
My daughter-in-law's blog lists yours as a favorite, so after finding it last month and crying for days, I am now still laughing about your dart! Lots of love nad prayers sent your way from all over.

Leslie said...

Are you KIDDING ME? Why did it have to take that turn? No mention of anything of the sort on the jacket? I would have burned the da*@ thing.

Sorry, kiddo.

Michele with jack and isabella said...

Anna, I can totally relate. I'm a huge reader but I work in the medical field and the last thing I want to read is anything sad or too deep. Try The spellman series by Lisa Lutz. Hilarious. Janet Evanovich series. And embarrassingly I am reading The Gossip girl series "The Carlyles" and The A-List. Total total fluff but a different world and fun.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

I totally get it. There are a few sensitive topics we try to avoid in our book club and sure enought, no matter how hard we try, they keep popping up! But I'm always glad when you can find the humor in everyday life.

Meredith Self said...

I went to the store to look for a book for you.
Nothing caught me.
Maybe that's just how it is right now.
Maybe it isn't books at all right now.

Love you!

Lesley T. said...

My book recommendations (apologies if you read any of these and hate them!):

_Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?_ by Mindy Kaling (I looove her so much!)

_Me Talk Pretty One Day_ by David Sedaris_ (obvious but wonderful and hilarious)

_Waking Beauty_ by Elyse Friedman (pure escapist, fantastical, sardonic fun that could be classed as "chick-lit," but it's very well written)

_Polite Lies_ by Kyoko Mori (a non-fiction ethnography written by a professor from my alma mater [George Mason!] and a really interesting comparison of the US and Japan from Mori's own perspective)

_Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs_ by Chuck Klosterman (a lively discussion and dissection of the absurdities of American pop culture)

_Bitch_ by Elizabeth Wurtzel (she's always a whirlwind of ideas and ramblings and a desperate need for an editor, but I like her stream-of-consciousness style and this book contains interesting historical, social, and cultural analysis)

_The Practice of the Wild_ by Gary Snyder (a lovely, reflective essay collection on nature, meditation, and the appreciation of small things--Snyder is Buddhist, but I'm not by any means and still found it meaningful)

Ashley said...

Read "Let's pretend this never Happened" - by Jenny Lawson - The Bloggess. There are few depressing things but mostly just funny. OR Ellen DeGeneres's book. (did I spell that right?)

Anonymous said...

I just realized that no one mentioned "From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" by The Pioneer Woman. A very feel good read! I found myself smiling a lot!!

Heidi said...

Um, oh no!! Figures, hey?
Someone said Tina Fey's memoir...read that. It's funny and irreverent and, most importantly, not sad.
Love you, friend.

Laura at By the Bushel said...

Life of Pi
Animal Vegetable Miracle
1st Ladies Detective Agency
Maive Binchy's Tara Road
Tisha
Just gave my short list to another friend.
Had it handy.
Blessings--

Anonymous said...

Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown

not insanely good writing but what a story of faith and God's plan

Anonymous said...

What is it about YA authors who want to prove their adult mettle by smacking you in the face with pathos?

A friend of mine lost her son 21 months ago and it was only last fall that she made it through an entire book. It was a Susan Lucci biography that her sister (who used to watch Days with her as kids) thought she would like as her 'starter' read. That seemed like a perfect book to me- one that brings back a fond memory with just enough silliness to allow you to drop it when needed.

A few choices:
"Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" by Mindy Kaling (Office writer/actor)

"The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" - A mystery set in rural post-war England. The main character, Flavia De Luce, is a freakishly smart beyond her years tween who resides in a rambling mansion with her emotionally distant father and her ostensibly evil older sisters. Flavia does talk of her mother who died in childbirth, and her father's best friend suffers from war related PTSD, so it might be a book for later. I did love the character of Flavia though, she knocks Nancy Drew right out of the water.

"The Hobbitt"- I know. But it draws you in and either keeps you there in an entranced thrall or puts you to sleep when you wake up at 3 in the morning. A win either way.

My family prays for yours.

Jamarleo

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Hi Anna.
Wow, I leave you for a few months and now I"m commenter #102. Well, I can always say, "I knew you before you were famous". LOL

I totally laughed when I saw that title (Smart Women) because I remember being young(ish) and reading that book, feeling quite sneaky because I think I was in my 20's and not yet sure if I could call myself a "woman" - I think I'd only just finished college or maybe even not.

But I remembered the title but not the content so what does that tell you about the book? ha ha