I am feeling under the weather. It’s a combination of the changes in weather, my insanely-busy schedule over the last couple weeks, my detour from working out regularly and probably lack of vitamins. Regardless, this past week was not stellar, and today I feel awful. Cancel class awful. I don’t ever cancel class, but I am having a colleague put a note on my classroom door. I feel so guilty, but I just would not be on top of my game today.
When I don’t feel well, I crave certain foods – baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, soup. Basically, I want fattening starchy foods without a lot of nutritional value. I want my reading material the same way.
Last Monday I finished Peter Robinson’s A Dedicated Man which was good, but oddly enough for Robinson, it was the type of mystery where all is revealed at the end in an Aha! moment. I typically do not like these mysteries, but as it is Peter Robinson, I’ll let it slide this time.
Then I picked up Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty. My mom bought this book for me because she enjoyed it so much. The book begins on Gemma’s 16th birthday, her mother and she arguing in the street markets of India. Gemma wants more than anything to go to London, where her family is from, but her mother refuses. In a quick twist of events, Gemma’s mother is killed, and Gemma realizes she has an odd power. She is sent to a finishing school and learns more about her power and herself, while navigating the dangerous tides of adolescent girlhood. The book was a fast, enthralling read. The book is rated YA; however, the only YA aspects of it were, to me, Gemma’s naiveté and Bray’s interference in the story, “conveniently” pointing out things Gemma has missed. Without those two elements, I would have enjoyed this book much more. I believe this is a series, but I’m not sure if I would read the others unless Bray steps it up a notch.
Yesterday, after throwing a baby shower Saturday, I recuperated all day with another Mom-Recommended Book – Adriana Trigiani’s Very Valentine. I was reluctant to pick it up because I thought: Valentine? Valentine’s Day? My least-favorite holiday? But Valentine is a 33-year-old, single woman who quit her teaching job to apprentice under her Gram, a master shoemaker. This book was fantastic. A comfort read? Yes. Chick lit? Not really. It didn’t feel formulaic. The main character, Valentine, is just as concerned with making a name for herself in the world of shoe design as she is in finding a boyfriend (sometimes to her relationship’s detriment), and strong, independent women are scattered throughout the book, tempered and complemented by boyfriends/husbands. Plus, much of it is set in Italy, and after three trips to different regions, Italy is a place I feel even more “me,” if possible. Since I am not financially able to take a big trip this year, it was such fun to relive Italy through Valentine’s eyes. If you need a break from something more literary but don’t want the tripe that is chick lit, I highly recommend this. Plus, it’s a series! I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. Thanks, Mom.
Today, I will try and finish The Brothers Karamazov Part Three in order to post on Thursday. Until then, I am going to fortify myself with Vitamin C, B12, juice and whatever else I can to feel better. Happy reading!