Monthly Archives: January 2019

Beneath the Apple Leaves by Harmony Verna

Despite my fears that after having a baby it would be years before I could read again, I was actually able to read a book before the semester started! Beneath the Apples Leaves was my first foray into “genre fiction” in I don’t know how long. Years and years. It was a gift. It was there. And so, during one of the baby’s long naps, I picked it up and started reading.

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image from Amazon

The characters fulfilled the strictest and most obvious gender expectations. The plot lines and their resolutions could be spotted from a mile away. I found myself skimming through the first quarter of the book, getting through the basic (and, again, predictable) background information as quickly as possible.

After that, though, I was surprised at myself when I started to slow down, the details engaging me a bit more. In fact, toward the end, I’d even refer to this book as an enjoyable “page turner”!

So, despite it’s obvious shortcomings as a piece of Literature, it was worth reading for me for the following reasons:

-It took me back to my high school days when I read so many Victoria Holt books, an experience which, I swear, has allowed me to understand, predict, and analyze plot lines like no other. While reading this book, I had a tinge of nostalgia for the time when I was reading Holt’s novels and being immersed in place, a house, a setting.

-Similarly, Beneath the Apple Leaves creates a setting–a quaint, if dilapidated, Pennsylvania farm. Even when the characters fell short, I enjoyed “being” at the farm.

-It’s entertaining. While much of the plot is predictable, there are many twists and turns that kept me reading. It’s similar to watching a romantic comedy in that way. I don’t watch them often, but sometimes they’re entertaining.

-I like to keep my finger on the pulse. I’m not sure why, or if this is necessary, but sometimes it’s seems important to read what the majority of the public is consuming.

I’m not sure what I’ll read next, or when, but this book gave me confidence that some regular easy reading could be possible for me again soon, and that’s just the kind of hope I need right now.

 

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2018 reading list

I’ve kept an ongoing reading log here, but I thought I would make a cumulative post to round them all up. I didn’t read as much as I would’ve liked because buying a house and moving, and gestating, and teaching, and writing, and prepping for baby, and having a baby, and recovering, and caring for my baby all took up a lot of time and energy.

I did most of this reading in the first months of 2018. I love reading and hibernating in the winter months. Sadly, I can’t imagine that I’ll get a chance to read much in the coming year(s). My baby requires a lot of care. He’s still up every 1-2 hours in the night, and there’s no sign of that changing any time soon. So, all extra time and energy I have goes to frantically caring for my own basic needs and working as much as possible. I hope I can find a way though because reading is vital to my emotional health and creative wellbeing.

So there they are, in the order they were read:

-Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

-Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

-Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

-Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel García Márquez

-If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name by Heather Lende

-Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

-The First Forty Days by Heng Ou

-A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

-Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf

-The Reason for Crows: A Story of Kateri Tekakwitha by Diane Glancy

-And I Shall Have Some Peace Here by Margaret Roach