Anne Bogel (Modern Mrs. Darcy) shares brief reading updates each month on her blog that she calls Quick Lit, and I’m joining the fun this month for the first time. We’re halfway through January with two full weeks finished, and I’ve managed to read three nonfiction books. I’ve read some fiction too, but I think I’ll use these kinds of blog posts to focus on nonfiction and the occasional outstanding fiction. With three books, I’ve found a new favorite, finished and rehomed a book that was on my shelf but ultimately not for me, and took advantage of a short waitlist at the library. I’ve also managed to write short reviews on all of them on Goodreads, and that’s another thing I’d like to continue this year.
I’m definitely the audience for Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson as a Christian woman who has loved books and stories in general as long as I can remember. I think the frequent mentions of Christianity probably wouldn’t work for a non-Christian. This is a memoir of a reading life along with inspiration and encouragement for other readers. The chapter topics are broken up in interesting ways as she shares books to broaden your world, shape your story, stir you to action, cultivate the imagination, foster community, open your eyes to wonder, deepen your soul, and impart hope. This was the perfect book to read at the beginning of the year as I think about my reading desires for the year ahead.
I admit the cover of The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson is what first caught my attention. How could I look away from those pretty overlapping feathers and the subtitle that looked like an old specimen tag? A combination of natural history, museum, heist, and niche hobbies/obsessions based on history sounded like the perfect mix to me. I was right for the first half of the book because it had all the old explorers and natural history angles I wanted. Then the book turned into a story about the author pursuing his obsession with the case, and that’s when I completely lost interest.
Maybe you have to be a Monty Python (or more specifically Eric Idle) super-fan to really enjoy Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle. The most interesting bits for me were about his childhood and schooling. The rockstar lifestyle anecdotes once he achieved success seemed like they were maybe supposed to be the highlight, but I didn’t care about that at all. I just don’t have much to say about this one.
My current nonfiction read is Dreadnought by Robert K. Massie, a book that’s been on our shelves for years. It focuses on the naval arms race between Britain and Germany and general tensions in Europe leading up to World War I, and in the last couple of years, I’ve developed a strong interest in military history from the first half of the 20th century. I blame it all on When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning.