Reading Lately

I have read quite a few books lately, but I haven’t posted about them in detail. There’s literally no time, given the work I’m doing on my dissertation, the academic jobs I’ve been applying for, the classes I’ve been teaching, and the mothering I do. My blog has slowed down, as I’m sure some of you have noticed, but I’m still a reader and I still want to share the books I’ve read with you.

Here is the latest pile of those I have finished.



I finished Ken Follett’s Night Over Water (1991) a few weeks ago. It is my dad’s copy, and he let me borrow it after we visited for my grandma’s funeral. It is an interesting character-driven narrative about a transatlantic flight during the beginning of World War II. It has a little too much explicit sex for my taste, but overall it was a fun read.

I read Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement (2014) by Julie Debra Neuffer after presenting at and attending the Mormon History Association’s (MHA) 2015 conference. This book won best biography of the year from the MHA. The fascinating womanhood movement was a subject I knew little about, save a few entertaining scenes from the film Fried Green Tomatoes, so learning more about the motivation behind it was interesting and thought-provoking. However, I’m glad it isn’t a philosophy we all cling to these days. I would rather not wrap myself in cellophane on a regular basis.

Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist (2014) is a collection of Gay’s essays on popular culture, race, feminism, class, and other current events. She is an astute observer and critic of the media, and I appreciated her insight on many topics. The essays were entertaining and informative. I used several of them to teach a Feminist Theories course this semester. I especially enjoyed her essays about playing Scrabble!

The Girls’ History and Culture Reader: The Nineteenth Century (2011) by Miriam Forman-Brunell and Leslie Paris is a book I discovered when I ordered books for the Girls’ Studies course I took a few years ago. We focused on the twentieth century reader for that class, but I wanted to become acquainted with what scholars had researched in the nineteenth century. So I read this one for fun. Yes, I’m a nerd.

I also picked up Juanita Brooks: The Life Story of a Courageous Historian of the Mountain Meadows Massacre (1988) by Levi S. Peterson at the MHA conference. I knew that Brooks was an important figure in my religious culture’s history, and as I had been doing an internship on Mormon women’s history at some local archives, I wanted to know more. After reading about Brooks, I have the utmost respect for her, as a small-town Utah woman who made research and truth her life and who did so on her own dime, with her own ambition, and without formal training as a researcher. She would ride the night bus north and west to larger cities to conduct research, and then ride home again to be with her children, to teach English classes, and to serve her community.

What books have you read lately? Is anybody else out there in a blogging rut?

28 thoughts on “Reading Lately

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  1. I’m not in a blogging rut but I haven’t had time to read anything longer than a blog post. As soon as I finish the revisions to my novel, I plan on giving myself a week off to do nothing but read. I have a collection of books on my novel that I haven’t opened since I bought them…..almost a year ago.

    1. I have read this one as well as many of his other ones. This one is near the top of my favourites. Thank you for sharing, Emily!

  2. I am just now reading Fidelity by Susan Glaspell, the first book by her I ever read. It’s really good and seemed like something you might be interested in. It’s about a girl who ruins her future by running off with another woman’s husband, but it’s also about having fidelity to oneself, and about her finally learning that she has to have something for herself to live for, not just to live for other people. Since this is a book written in the early 20th century, I thought it was a feminist message for the time.

    1. I would LOVE this one. Glaspell has been on my list for quite a while, but there’s never enough time, is there? Thanks for letting me know about this one. Early twentieth century lit is my favorite.

      1. Several months ago, I signed up for a six-month subscription to Persephone Press, and they seem to specialize in writers from that era. It is expensive to get their books that way (directly from England) because of the postage, but it is just as expensive to buy them through Amazon, because they cost more. Anyway, I have absolutely loved every one I’ve read, and this is one of them. They are beautifully bound, too. Most of them are in gray double covers with a colorful pattern on the inside covers, and they come with matching bookmarks. You might keep an eye out for them, very sturdy paperbacks.

        1. I love Persephone Books, I just haven’t taken the step to subscribe like you have. Maybe I should ask for that for Christmas! What a nice thing you’ve done for yourself. Very very cool.

  3. Thank you for sharing your reads! I’m really fascinated by these books! They aren’t the genres I would normally go to, but you make them sound very interesting.
    Currently, I’m reading The She Wolf by Maurice Druon (part of a larger series focused on the end of the Capetian kings in France and the start of the 100 Years War). It’s a historical fiction that helped inspire A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. The last book I read before that was Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer, the third installment in the Clifton Chronicles which is a dramatic epic about one family living in England in the early 1900s.

  4. Ha! I always feel as if I’m in a blogging rut just due to the lack of time to compose posts! 🙂 I just completed At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen and really liked it. (It was NO Water for Elephants, but few books rank that high with me!) Prior to that, Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett which was an absolutely excellent historical fiction novel that I highly recommend! Bad Feminist definitely looks like a good one. I have yet to read a Follett. Have you read many of his?

    1. I think I’ve read two other Follett novels. They are easy to read, entertaining, engaging, and fun. I think you’d like them, especially for a vacation/beach read.

  5. In fact I have been in a blogging rut these past few weeks. And a writing shut down. And now I’m fighting off a sinus cold–but life is good!

    So here I am back out on the back porch. The sun is up and has chased off the morning chill. Cody–my black lab is out sunning himself…and snoring. Yeah, it’s good to be back.

    I started reading Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms. I had to put it down. The hero’s conquest of Miss Barkley is practically unreadable.

    He tries to kiss her. She slaps him. She forgives him. He kisses her. She falls into his arms and begs, “Oh, darling, you will be good to me, won’t you?” OMG!

    Now, I regard Hemingway as one of the absolute greats of the twentieth century. His influence on style reigns supreme. BUT, his female characters…well…hmmm…

    Thanks for the always interesting post.

    1. Ha ha. Hemingway did not write women very well. Didn’t somebody say that his female characters are really just men acting like women?

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been in a rut and feeling ill. Get well soon!

  6. I have been reading several novellas for Novellas in November, as well as a book about Autism. I’m not in a rut, but have been having a hard time lately finding as much time for blogging as I would like. I tend to want to read everyone’s posts before getting to my own. So, if everyone else would just slow down… 🙂

  7. I’m reading See You at the Hall: Boston’s Golden Era of Irish Music and Dance by Susan Gedutis, which would probably not interest many outside of the Irish music scene, but an interesting slice of American History. Just finished The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey. A fun read.

    I still love blogging, and reading the writings of others, but lately it’s been a lot like performing for an empty hall, which makes it hard to get up enough steam to post.

    1. That book does sound like an amazing slice of American history. I would probably love it, although I know nothing about Irish music.

      I’m sorry to hear that your blogging has been frustrating. I hope you find a way to be motivated and to find more of an audience.

  8. I’m not necessarily in a blogging rut, but I’ve had to slow down. The first year my blog was up I posted a review a week! But film reviews don’t get many views, and my wife and I don’t get out anymore now that we’ve had a baby, so restaurant reviews are out too. I can only manage one book review a month and otherwise have been using shots of my bookshelves as filler!

    1. Bookshelf shots are great fillers! 😉 I can completely understand why you have slowed down. Having a baby completely changes everything. Congratulations!

  9. Hi Emily – Despite your “blogging rut,” you’ve still managed a post! I’ve only read one Folliett novel and that was a while back…Well, I’ve only been blogging for a year but I didn’t realize that there would be things I would want to post about in a thoughtful way and that just requires more time than I always have. Or sometimes I’m going “great guns” reading and writing only to wake up one morning feeling a bit contrary not only that day but days after! I guess its a phase to honor….Recently I’ve read The Ghost Bride by Yangtze Choo; and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings. Maybe something short and light will be next!

    1. I have managed! I’m just not blogging the way I used to, with posts waiting in the wings and reviews for every book I’ve read. Oh well. it sounds like you’ve done some wonderful reading lately. I hope I get to read a review of both of those books!

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