What I’m Reading – June

If I had it my way, I’d spend many, many hours each day between the pages of a book. When I was younger I would spend entire afternoons up in my room reading, sometimes finishing a whole book in one sitting. I haven’t done that in ages – probably because for the last 4.5 years I’ve been deep in the trenches of mommyhood, and sometimes when you’re busy keeping up with a toddler it leaves less time to keep up with your reading.

But no matter what is going on in my life reading will always be a big part of who I am and what I enjoy. I still carry a book with me everywhere I go (even if it’s just to different rooms in my house). Here’s a little snippet of what I’ve been reading the month of June.

FROM THE BOOKSHELF:

The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
This one is a re-read for me. I’ve actually probably read it at least three times over the years but every now and then I get the urge to go through it again. I’m a lover of historical fiction and am particularly drawn to stories centered around characters from the Bible. This book is narrated by Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah. The story recounts the lives and marriages of Jacob and Dinah’s mothers – Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah. Dinah is the only daughter of Jacob, so this book very much carries undertones of the mother-daughter relationship and the bonds and stories that are passed down from generation to generation. The story follows Dinah as she embarks on a marriage to a man she desperately loves – a love that is instantly destroyed by tragedy, after which she finds herself beginning an entirely new life in a foreign land. This is such an intoxicating story, and Diamant tells it beautifully. It’s also one of the few books that focuses on women of the Bible – the wives and daughters of the Biblical men who typically garner much of the attention. I love reading about the close bonds that are formed between these women, and the way they still find ways to assert their importance and value while very much living in a man’s world – a dangerous world, at that.

ON THE KINDLE:

Last weekend I finished a book by Kristin Hannah called The Great Alone. Set in the wilds of Alaska the story follows a young girl, Leni, as she and her mother try to survive not just the harsh conditions of the Alaskan wilderness, but also Leni’s father, Ernt, a Vietnam War POW. As Ernt’s mental state continues to erode and his abuse on Leni’s mother increases, Leni and her mother find themselves in an impossible situation, and also in a fight to survive. I can’t say enough good things about this book – it was an intense read and is a much larger story than my meager description lets on. The physical setting of the book – Alaska – is just as much a character in this novel as any of the people. It’s a fine testament to how certain places can bind themselves to people, can become as much a part of someone as their own heartbeat. There are a lot of heavy themes running through this book – physical abuse, mental health, family relationships, love, grief, the list goes on. But it’s a beautiful book and one that I can see myself revisiting.

Currently on my Kindle I’m working my way through The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. I’m not far enough along to offer any sort of review, but it is supposed to fall in the mystery/thriller genre so here’s hoping the story can deliver!

ON AUDIO:

As I was driving down to my parent’s house last weekend I turned on an audio book I had downloaded a while back, called Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman. Written by Sam Wasson, this book covers the story of how the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s came into being. It also gives readers more insight into how Audrey Hepburn became Audrey Hepburn. Exploring the cultural themes of the early 1960’s and how women were expected to be portrayed on-screen, this book is thus far a fascinating portrayal of just how carefully producers and film writers went to disguise the topic of sex with female actresses. I’ve always loved Audrey Hepburn and am equally loving the behind-the-scenes glimpse into how this iconic film was created. I have high hopes for the remainder of this one!

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