Sharing what I’ve been reading this autumn and linking up with Anne for Quick Lit. A little classic fiction, historical fiction and some good inspiring non-fiction! I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading lately or what you think I should read next!
Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
I read most of this book while on a weekend getaway in the wilds of Cape Breton, just a few hours from Prince Edward Island. It’s Anne’s coming of age story, when she realizes so many true things about herself but as with any journey, there’s some heartbreak and hardship involved. This is the perfect book to read in November, so much of the book deals with grey days, both literal and emotional. But there’s charm and delight as there always is with Lucy Maud’s work. It’s been years since I read this gem and I think I’ll be reading my way through the series this winter.
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
This was a delightful read, unexpectedly gripping and just the right length. It is as the title describes, set in the summer before World War I, time is slow and as it always has been in the countryside just outside of London. There’s a new school teacher, a female one and she must prove herself to all the traditionalists. There’s gypsies and poets, titled gentry and the village people who would like life to carry on as it has forever but war breaks out in Europe and everything is turned upside down. It’s another war story but I found it a very timely read in our own time and place in history.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I’ve seen this book everywhere this past year and resisted reading it because the description sounded too sad and too emotional. I was pleased to finally read it and find it wasn’t the emotional wringer as I thought it might be. Emma marries her high school sweetheart, and moves away from everything – her hometown, her family and her family’s bookstore and they make a life that looks nothing like how they grew up. Until her husband goes missing and she needs her family. She finally settles into her new reality and then Jesse is found, Emma has to choose between her high school sweetheart and the man she’s come to love. I loved it for the bookstore setting and the travel adventures. There were parts that seemed a little far-fetched but overall it was a good read.
Design Mom by Gabrielle Blair
Design Mom was one of the first blogs I read, nearly a decade ago when I was rocking my baby to sleep and dreaming about the home we would make once we settled down. I don’t read blogs nearly as much as I did then and we’re fully in the home making process now. I loved this book! She combines design, style with great practicality for families. She has six children, ranging in age from elementary to university and has made homes in France and California. This book was hugely helpful in casting vision for how I want the rooms in our home to look with plenty of eye candy and delightful essays on parenting in the 21st century. We’re slowly making this house into the home we want and her book is the inspiration I need, when Pinterest is just too much.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
Earlier this year, I read Essentialism by Greg McKeown and it was the book I needed right then to give me perspective in my mothering. This fall I read Deep Work and while it’s not written at all as a mothering book, that was where I found it most applicable. I’m not trying to advance my career or get papers published but I am trying to be the best mother I can be to my three kidlets. This book gave great insight into deep work and how to do it, staying focused and purposeful in your work (whatever work it is) and gave valuable insights on managing social media and still getting things done. This is a book for everyone, in my opinion, because doing deep, good work is something that everyone needs to do.
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
I heard about this book on Anne’s podcast, What Should I Read Next (if you’re not already listening, you need to start. It’s a gift for any bibliophile!), and it sounded intriguing but not captivating. This fall I found myself in a fiction rut and read it, loved it and promptly read the sequel in a matter of weeks. It’s set in the South, where a young orphaned Irish girl is brought to a plantation and raised by the slaves there. Her parents died on the plantation owner’s ship and so the girl became his property. Her red hair and pale skin in stark contrast to the other slaves. This book is a book about slavery and freedom and the South but it’s more about relationships and trust and friendship and the truth that we all need kindness in our lives. I cried at least once.
Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
I appreciate when a sequel picks up where you want it to pick up and doesn’t lack any of the original storytelling. Glory Over Everything picks up years after The Kitchen House and is set mostly in the North where colour and race and social standing are still a big issue. There’s escape on the underground railroad and secrets and heartbreak. I found the underground railroad thread most intriguing and informative as well as how they managed medical care for slaves.
For many more titles and some great kid lit picks, head to Modern Mrs Darcy. And tell me what you’ve been reading lately!