What I’ve Been Reading Lately



Welcome to my monthly book report! This is where you’ll find my random thoughts on a variety of books each month. As usual, I’m linking up with the Modern Mrs. Darcy community to discuss what we loved and, sometimes, what we didn’t.

According to Goodreads, I might be the last person alive who hasn’t read “The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman, but I’m glad I finally got to it. Here’s the story: a young married couple stationed out on a remote lighthouse island find a boat has washed ashore with a dead man and an alive baby inside it. For the wife, it seems like an answer to prayers after she’s suffered through several miscarriages. The husband reluctantly goes along. And so they begin to spin their own web of pain and suffering. Yet somehow the author balances the story so that you understand the characters’ decisions, without despising their actions. I generally liked the characters even if their actions were questionable, which seems to be rare these days in books. Disclaimer: there was about 25 pages near the end that made me incredibly frustrated, but I basically ignored them so I could keep my positive feelings toward the book. You might want to do the same. If you couldn’t already sense it, this is a very melancholy story. A perfect story for a rainy day.

My daughter and I read “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate” by Jacqueline Kelly for a family book club. The story takes place in Texas during the turn of the century. Calpurnia has never been a girlie girl but she becomes even more tomboy-ish when her grandfather introduces her to the exciting world of science. Calpurnia’s mother, on the other hand, would like her to stay focused on cooking, knitting and other womanly pursuits. The voice, setting and details were unique, even though the dilemma isn’t a new one. It wasn’t a fast-paced story, but I think that was part of its charms. The author took her time telling the story, just like any good Southern storyteller would do. Fans of Caddie Woodlawn would like this story also.

Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell was a fascinating read! In a writing style that’s unique to Gladwell, he deep-dives into the circumstances surrounding the outliers (or anomalies) in the world and figures out what contributed to their success or failure. The answers were surprising. I’ll think twice before I utter the words “oh, he’s just naturally gifted” or “wow, what a lucky guy” because, as Gladwell proved, the stories are much more complex than those generalized statements. This is a book I’ll be thinking about for a while. I highly recommend it to anyone, but I thought several of the stories are especially relevant to parents.

I’m listening to “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly as an audiobook right now. It’s the story of the team of African American women computers (their actual title because, well, they computed numbers!) that worked behind the scenes during the heyday of the space program. While working on putting a man on the moon, they were also working toward being able to sit anywhere at the cafeteria tables. It’s not only a story about their lives, but also a story about the mindset of the times. Signs were set up in the shared cafeteria telling them where they could eat. During a special project assignment, one of the ladies was laughed at when she asked her white colleagues about using the bathroom. Despite the odds against them, they were successful and thrived at their jobs and kept a positive and determined attitude. I think this paraphrase from the book sums it up well: “In a decade when anything seemed possible, nothing seemed impossible.” A fascinating time in history that isn’t covered often enough.

Your Turn: What have you been reading lately?

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