Let me attempt to breeze through the personal stuff first: Yes, I’ve been absent from this blog and most of the internet. In the first days of February, my husband Marshall was in an accident while out with our local Search and Rescue team. He sustained two fractures to his pelvis and one to his neck. One of his team members was sent to intensive care, and another was killed. It was a horrific accident that no one could have anticipated, and it’s obviously affected our lives in myriad ways.
Taking care of Marshall, managing the aftermath of the incident, and working full-time has left me bereft of time and creativity. I’ve been experiencing a sort of emotional writer’s block that paralyzes me when I attempt to write so much as a tweet. But there is always a silver lining to be found – even a few, if you look hard enough. One of those is that I’ve been reading, a lot. I feel like, in the face of a very scary experience, I’m reverting to my childhood comforts and consuming as many books as I can get my hands on, starting one as soon as I finish another.
I’m bone-tired, and I don’t want to push myself to write an entire review for each of these books, but I do want to share them with you! So, I’ve put together a list and some short blurbs about the ten books I’ve read in 2019. Here are the first five, and the second five will come next week!
1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Perhaps it was telling that I kicked off the new year with some classic horror – The Haunting of Hill House. I haven’t watched the Netflix series yet, but many people I know did and enjoyed it, and as is my wont, I decided to read the book before watching it (Surprise! I still haven’t.). I really didn’t know anything about The Haunting of Hill House before I read it, but it completely subverted my expectations and ended up being a chilling tale about trauma and the female experience that’s going to stick with me for a long time.
2. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler
I love reading historical fiction, but generally I don’t like fictionalized accounts of real people’s lives – it feels sort of disrespectful to me. Out of curiosity and based on great reviews, I pushed past that dislike to read Z, and I’m so glad I did. Beautifully written, intensely researched, and profoundly moving, this novel gives Zelda Fitzgerald the story she’s always deserved. It was inspiring to me as I continue to work on my novel set in the same time period, and inspiring to me as a woman and storyteller.
3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne was the first book I read after the accident, and I couldn’t have picked something more perfect. I read the Anne of Green Gables series as a kid, but they’re really foggy in my memory; more of a mood than anything. I picked up the whole series on iBooks for less than $5, and it’s been worth every penny. Reading Anne soothes my anxieties, makes me laugh, gives me good dreams, and has been an essential comfort over the past few months. When I can’t sleep or I don’t feel like reading anything heavy, I pick up Anne.
4. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Y’all. Dumplin’ is sweeter than sweet tea and an absolute delight to read. I adored the main character and the whole cast around her. It’s a really beautiful book about coming into one’s self, managing relationships, and taking risks, and I finished it in a day. And no, I haven’t watched the movie yet.
5. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
See above for my thoughts on Anne. I was happy to discover that the magic continues through the second book. Watching Anne grow up is fun and satisfying as she stays very much herself and continues to bring sunshine into the lives of the people she meets through hardships and the “scrapes” she never fails to get herself into. Also, I’m trying to convince Marshall that we should move to Prince Edward Island… think it will work?
I’ll be back next week with the latter half of the list, but in the meantime, let me know what you’re reading and what you think I should read next!