Words by Kelly: An Update and Books I’ve Been Reading

April 23, 2015

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I officially started a business this week. I have a sales tax number and a form from the county clerk. I started a new Facebook page, and I’m in the process of rebranding my website to fit the needs of my growing venture. Life is weird and pretty great.

Books I’ve Been Reading

Even though this site will become my hub for all things Words by Kelly, I also want to keep a space to write about weird stories or deep profound thoughts (like, Why do I like some unreliable narrators and call those books profound and hate other unreliable narrators and call those books terrible?) So, in the spirit of book nerdery, here’s what I’ve been reading lately.

Landline: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell: I didn’t love Landline as much as I loved Attachments: A Novel and Eleanor & Park, yet I enjoy Rowell’s voice and cultural references and characters so. The supernatural element held just plausibly enough to keep me interested.

The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel by Jojo Moyes. Apart from one glaring plot hole, I enjoyed this book, though my favorites so far are The Girl You Left Behind and Me Before You.

Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day by Sam Bennett: A great kick in the pants for creatives.

Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel by Katherine Reay: The name of Jane Austen’s heroes, but patterned more after Daddy Longlegs, this book follows one of my favorite formats, the epistolary novel. Check out her other book Lizzy and Jane, too.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler: This book completely surprised me with its wisdom. I KNEW it would be funny, and I KNEW it would have behind-the-scenes stories about Tina Fey and Seth Meyers. What I didn’t expect from this book were the moments of hard truths Poehler sprinkles throughout or the tears from the chapter about her boys. I love moms.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling: I binge watched the first season of The Mindy Project while Tyler was away at a convention. I loved it so much, but I couldn’t satisfy the craving for more (not on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Our library only had 1 season). I fulfilled my Mindy Project crush by reading her book, which was quirky and funny and strangely like my childhood/college years, even though completely different. Growing up in America is funny like that.

Station Eleven: A novel by Emily St. John Mandel: This book has a crazy wild premise – a flu pandemic, a traveling Shakespeare theatre and orchestra, comic books, a pivotal production of King Lear. But it has captivating characters and an interesting narrative.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan: Our library finally stocked this book, and I’ve been wanting to see if it lived up to they hype it received in 2013/2014. I liked it overall, and I loved the weirdness of it. And I loved that Google was essentially a character.

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doer: This book is on everyone’s list it seems (including Pulitzer’s!), but the hype is deserved. The writing is gorgeous, and I love the narrative arc. This writer has such an interesting take on detail.

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning: This book traces the development of the Armed Services Editions during World War II. Publishers worked together to create paperbacks for the Army and Navy, books small enough for infantrymen to stow in a back pocket or knapsack. I loved so much of this book, but then, it started to get repetitive.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James: A Novel by Emma Hooper: I grabbed this from the New Shelf at our library and instantly loved it. It changes narrators, throws in a bit of supernatural, and traces a love story spanning generations. The characters are compelling and a bit weird. I love good writing, and this book has it.

Funny Girl: A Novel by Nick Hornby: This book was a breezy read, but it talked a lot about 1960s culture, reaching goals, doing important things, and love. It was fun to jump into it. Hornby is a conversational writer, which is harder to do than one might think. My husband and I recently started watching Mad Men again, and this book fits along the same timeline.

The 39 Clues Book 1: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan: The Cahill siblings forego a million dollar inheritance from their late grandmother in order to get a clue that leads to a great treasure. The brother and sister team travel the world, following trails left by famous people in history. Think National Treasure meets the DaVinci Code meets the Amazing Race meets the Magic Treehouse. We listened to the audiobook on a recent trip, and my oldest totally dug it.

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo: “Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.” A mouse born with his eyes open, a beautiful princess, a serving maid with cauliflower ears, a ban on soup, a rat, some red thread, and a quest. The stuff of great stories.

Kelly Wiggains

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Kelly Wiggains, a high school English teacher turned homeschooling mom, likes to surround herself with good literature, beautiful things, and big ideas, and she wants her home to reflect those things, too. Here at KellyWiggains.com she talks about everything From Literature to Living.
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