Things I Love Lately: the book edition

I’ve been reading some excellent books lately, and wanted to share some of them.  Please, I am curious: what are you reading?

Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel): I admit it took me a few chapters to get into this story, but once I did I was hooked.  It’s a darkly glittering tale of a post-apocalyptic world that ultimately concludes that humans are good, art endures, and the world we take for granted now is breathtakingly beautiful.  I can’t recommend this book enough.  It’s a riveting, unsettling story whose characters I can’t stop thinking about and whose pages contain indelible images of beauty.  Mandel’s novel reminds us to see the beauty that we don’t even notice around us. I believe this book would make a terrific movie. (read my friend Jennifer’s thoughtful and compelling review of Station Eleven here)

Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message (Tara Mohr): I devoured Tara’s book, underlining madly because so much of what she said made so much sense to me.  Playing Big is a call to action, a reminder of all that women leave on the table when we don’t speak up, and a careful diagnosis of the ways in which we sideline ourselves without even realizing it.  In every chapter Tara unfolded an insight that I’d never seen that particular way before, and I frequently gasped as I read.  “This book was born out of a frustration and a hope,” says Tara in the introduction, and Playing Big helped me both understand my frustration at certain constructs in the world and allowed a new hope about what might someday be to bloom.

Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters (Carla Naumburg): “Mindful parenting is about remembering that in any moment we have a choice about how we engage with, and respond to, the details of our lives.”  I love this quote so much that I instagrammed it, and it’s been running through my head like a banner ad ever since.  Yes, yes, and yes.  Carla’s book is sensible and reassuring, sensitive and wise, thoughtful and realistic.  I dislike parenting books as a general rule, but Parenting in the Present Moment feels different.  It’s a book about how we live our lives.  Period.  Plain and simple and powerful.  I highly recommend it.

Lila (Marilynne Robinson): This was one of my most-anticipated books this year, and the honest truth is that when I first read it I was slightly disapppointed.  I found the narrative, which cuts back and forth between history and the present day, a little bit confusing.  But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the story, and that tells me that Robinson’s book is another masterpiece. Like Gilead, Lila‘s pace is deliberate, and reading the novel felt like attending a sermon or praying.  And yet for all the parallels between the books, Robinson beautifully differentiates Lila’s voice from John’s.  This is a powerful tale of redemption and grace, and reminds me of what religion, at its best, can be.  I loved it.

I write these posts about what I’m reading and thinking about and listening to and loving lately approximately monthly.  You can find all the others here.

What’s on your bedside table, your kindle, and your mind lately?

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18 thoughts on “Things I Love Lately: the book edition”

  1. I love it when you write these posts! I LOVED Station Eleven. One of my most favorites of the year. I read it awhile ago and haven’t stopped thinking about it. Just requested Playing Big and Parenting in the Present Moment. They each sound wonderful. I recently finished Bellweather Rhapsody and really enjoyed it and I’m in the middle of The MInaturirst now and so far it is really, really good! I will be back later in the day as I always love seeing what your readers are reading!

  2. I always love hearing about what you’re reading, Lindsey, and am so glad to hear you enjoyed Station Eleven. Thank you also for the link! I have Lila on my to-read list, and as I write onward, I’m reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Next up: Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan S. Foer.

  3. I love when you do this! I adore Tara Mohr and am going to get this book asap. I am reading a great parenting book called The Conscious Parent which is also good. I am going to add Parenting in the Present Moment to my list.

    I love parenting books, because I have no idea what I am doing:)

  4. I have no idea either, that’s not why I don’t like them 🙂 … just find some of the overly prescriptive, that’s all. But The Conscious Parent sounds great. Will check it out!

  5. I haven’t read Everything is Illuminated either and it’s definitely on the list of Greats I Have Not Read. Let me know what you think!

  6. I love hearing your recent reads, I check your running list frequently for new ideas. My recent reads:

    We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler, very intriguing, smart, moving, just a great story

    Little Failure, Gary Shteyngart, his memoir of growing up in the Soviet Union, moving to the US at age 7

    Book of Ages, Jill Lepore, a surprisingly intriguing story about Ben Franklin’s sister

    I’ve started We are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas, a novel about an Irish American family, and am loving it so far

  7. One of the facts I’m ashamed of as a reader is that I have struggled with a lot of Ann Patchett’s work. The glaring exception is Truth and Beauty, which I LOVED. Adored.

  8. I love your book posts! I’ve always got a stack of 3 or more going. Right now it’s Delia Ephron’s Sister, Mother…Etc. (she talks about Nora, so how could it be bad?), Three by Annie Dillard (a collection of her work), and I just finished Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking (so good, so heartbreaking). Two recent audiobooks worth hearing were Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927 and BJ Novak’s One More Thing. Both funny for different reasons. Bryson had me snort-laughing at the post office with this line: “For Warren G. Harding, the summer of 1927 was not a good one, which was perhaps a little surprising since he had been dead for nearly four years by then.”

  9. Station Eleven sounds amazing. I am definitely adding that to my (precarious) TBR pile. And thank you for the Parenting in the Present Moment recommendation. What actually got me was when you said that you usually don’t care for parenting books. Now I want to read it. 🙂 I don’t usually read them, either, but now I’m intrigued. Also, anything that encourages being in the moment is something I want to read. Thank you.

  10. Yeah I really don’t like them as a category … but I promise this is different (at least in my view)! Let me know what you think.

  11. I need to read Delia Ephron’s book, I think!! Also I suspect I’d love BJ Novak and have often guffawed at Bryson. That line you quote is hilarious. xo

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