The year has been filled with a lot of reading, much of it related to pregnancy, birth, and life with a new baby. There also have been books for pure pleasure, my favorite kind of reading.
Longbourn by Jo Baker. While the tale of Pride and Prejudice unfolds upstairs, this book imagines what went on in the lives of the servants downstairs through the eyes of the housemaid Sarah. I'm intrigued by anything with traces of Jane Austen, and this did not disappoint. Lovely and thoughtful, you almost begin to prefer the servants to the masters of the household.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. A fun read, perfect for escaping into an unfamiliar world. Rachel Chu joins her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, on a trip to his home in Singapore and discovers that he comes from a very rich family. Crazy rich.
Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother by Beth Ann Fennelly. This book holds a special place in my heart. I read it in the third trimester of my pregnancy and was moved by the letters exchanged between two women about the journey of pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood. It built my anticipation for the pain and pleasure, joy and heartache that was to come. Once Elena was born, I began to read it again (even though I had finished it only weeks before), to find comfort in the words that described the joy and the difficulty far better than I could at the time.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. A wonderful portrait of a character that I still feel I only just know, the author describes the life of Zelda as a young adult, how she met F. Scott Fitzgerald and their rise in renown as the artist class rose to the top of the world.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. A completely engrossing story of a man accused of killing his wife, whose diary unfolds the story of their life in parallel to the investigation. Twists and turns of a tale that you've probably read. If not, you must.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. A simply beautiful tale of a wife and husband who live a solitary, quiet life in rural Alaska. Their experience of losing their baby in childbirth left a rift in their hearts and relationship. After building a child in the snow one evening, the next morning they meet young Faina. They grow to love her, although can't be sure if she is real.
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida. A glimpse into the mind of a boy with autism. Thirteen-year-old author Higashida describes his experience of daily life and how he perceives and interprets interactions with others.
Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman. The trendy book that sheds light on how the French raise children that are patient, engaged, and eat and sleep well. The popularity of the book made me hold off for a while, but in the end I was won over. It presents a balanced approach to child rearing that feels closer to the values I attained while living in Europe and that Marcus grew up with in Germany.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. After living for 25 years in Arizona, where everything to sustain life had to be shipped in from other parts of the country and world, the author and her family move to Virgina, determined to consume food they either grew themselves or bought from their direct community for the next year. A favorite book of mine and a timely reminder of the importance of buying local and seasonal.
What books have you enjoyed this year?