March book report

In March I read 7 books for a total of 20 so far in 2018. 

crystal moody | March book report

Book #14 was It's Not Yet Dark. I really liked it though some would probably find it sad/depressing. Here's a glimpse into how "heavy" this little book is!

People get sick. I wish that all things happened for a reason and that all things are in my power to change, but I don’t believe it. And it’s arrogance and a burden to tell someone who’s sick that it’s their fault if it’s not.
Hope is a way of living. We often think we are entitled to a long and fruitful Coca-Cola life. But life is a privilege, not a right. I feel privileged to be alive. That’s hope.
Our lives are not the legacy we leave behind, or the value of the work that we do. Our lives happen in between the deeds and ideas that define us. Each of us feel it, the mystery, the strangeness of life on earth. Of life and death. We feel it when we travel, we feel it when we stay at home. We feel it when a loved one dies or when a loved one is born. I’m sure we all crave more certainty than we have but that is not human life. That is the ticking of a clock. Some days you can just see clearly. Our meaning, what we value, is the most private part of us. It may just define us. It shapes everything we do, everything we say, everything we feel, everything we dream. It’s hidden, from others, from ourselves. There is no mirror to show us what we value. So often it is only revealed to us after the fact, in the long movie reel of memory. And when we see it, our heart stops, aching with recognition. It is a beautiful thing to see yourself.
crystal moody | March book report

Book #15 was Stoner.  I guess I read a lot of “sad” books (see above) but this one was more quiet and melancholy than sad.. It was published in 1965 and recently re-released. It’s set in Columbia, Missouri so I was curious. I think the main thing that held my attention was Stoner’s love of learning and teaching, the constant throughout the story. Also I love that cover, a detail from a Thomas Eakins painting and I love scoring just the right size paperback at my neighborhood little free library.

Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.
crystal moody | March book report

Book #16 was Born a Crime. I’d seen several people recommend it on Instagram and they’re right, it's really good.  

Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give to another human being.
Relationships are built in the silences. You spend time with people, you observe them and interact with them, and you come to know them—and that is what apartheid stole from us: time.
People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.
We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.
crystal moody | March book report

Book #17 was The Blue Zones.  I really hate that this book is marketed as sort of a diet book. I thought it was fantastic! It’s written in first person by a researcher yet it was suprisingly interesting and easy to read. It’s about how people over age 100 live and have lived, what they do and what they eat, etc. It has such great quotes from centenarians. The big takeaway for me wasn’t about food but about purpose and community. (Though it has gotten me eating more vegetables!)

 ...one of the remarkable things about the centenarians he met on his amazing journey was how extraordinarily ordinary these people were.
crystal moody | March book report

Book #18 was The Astonishing Color of After. I totally got this book for the cover but it was also really good, a different-for-me kind of book. I read an essay recently (somewhere?) by Stephen King about the importance of the opening line in a book. And this book has a really great opening.

My mother is a bird. This isn’t like some William Faulkner stream-of-consciousness metaphorical crap. My mother. Is literally. A bird.
crystal moody | March book report

Book #19 was What To do When I'm Gone. My friend Brittany won an advance copy of this book and she loaned it to me after reading it. I loved it! I can't wait for this book to come out so I can see the illustrations in full color. It was really fantastic, sometimes funny, mostly poignant, and not at all sad. Yesterday I mentioned my frustration with this and she explains it so much better! 

When you start saying and thinking that the world has gone to hell in a handbasket, you are officially old, whether you are 34 or 95. Every generation probably thinks this, decrying the sad state of affairs, the dreadful mess politicians have made, the younger generation’s sins, so much more.

You are not the first to be in this position, and you do not know everything, and you are probably not in charge. Absent a nuclear war or global pandemic, you are in a more privileged position than any generation in history.

Instead of just complaining, do something to try to make things better.
crystal moody | March book report

Book #20 was Morningstar: Growing Up With Books. This one was ok. I like the idea of looking back at the books that influenced your life and writing about it. This little part had me laughing out loud.

Marie lived up the street from the school, in one half of a mill house. It was almost dark by the time school ended, and the autumn air smelled of leaves burning and the sharp scent of winter approaching. At her house, her brother lazed on the sofa. He wore blue jeans and a pocket T-shirt, and although he was barefoot he had drawn what looked like the straps of sandals across the arches of his feet, ending in a pointed V between his big toe and the one beside it. This, Marie explained, allowed him to enter restaurants and stores barefoot, as clerks and waitresses thought he had on sandals.