What I’m reading

What I’m Reading. Or actually, some of what I’ve read this year. I had set a goal to read two books a month, and while I’m falling very short of that goal, I’m not doing terrible. I’m much better at reading than I am writing about what I’m reading. But here’s some of that anyway. Enjoy!

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

Dawnie Walton

Why I read it: This book was recommended in one of my Facebook Book Clubs. I always want to read along with others but I can never keep a schedule.

Synopsis: The Final Revival of Opal & Nev chronicles the lives of fictional band mates Opal Jewel and Nev Charles from their origin in the early 70’s to their final performance in 2016. 

Reaction: This was one of the most immersive novels I’ve ever read. It’s a whole experience. The story is told through an interview, with commentary included from recognizable musicians from the 70’s through today, which gives authenticity to the music duo. I actually googled them to see if they were real because I wanted to hear their music. This book challenged me and made me ask myself uncomfortable questions.  I love it when a book holds up a mirror and shows you an ugly truth about yourself. Am I truly willing to walk the talk of an ally? I have a lot of work to do.

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music

Dave Grohl

Why I read it: I’m a Foo Fighters fan from way back. Not a superfan, I mean, I’ve never seen them live, but I do enjoy their music and what I’ve seen of Dave Grohl in the media, he just seems like a genuine great guy. That, and I had some credits on Audible so I got it for free.

Synopsis: Stories from the life of Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl.

Reaction: Dave Grohl’s life is infinitely more interesting than my own. But to hear him tell his own story is like listening to one of your guy friends telling you about some incredible dream he is having. Like he can’t believe it either, and the whole time you’re both just like, “What? No way! You’re kidding! This really happened??” Such a fun listen. The part that stuck with me the most, I think, is how he knew who he was from the time he was a child, and his mother loved him enough to let him go and it made all the difference in the world to him. I was more interested in the parts about his mother than any of the rock and roll stories. I would love to read a book by Dave Grohl’s mother. Does she have a book? The Nirvana days were interesting as they were part of my high school soundtrack, and of course I remember where I was when I heard that Curt Cobain had died. And during the time I was listening to this book, Taylor Hawkins sadly and unexpectedly passed away, which added a deeper layer of heartbreak to the story. Overall, the thoughts I had throughout were, “Wow. What a life. What an amazing life.” I loved this book.

The School For Good Mothers

Jessamine Chan

Why I read it: ScaryMommy book club recommendation.

Synopsis: Frida Liu is a mother who had a “very bad” parenting day, leaving her toddler home alone for two hours, which results in calls to the police and CPS, and eventually lands Frida in a mothering reform school. 

Reaction: This book was dark and infuriating. At first I found it difficult to sympathize with Frida, because she did something very bad. But as the story developed I was surprised that she hadn’t flown into a murderous rage or jumped off a bridge. It really brought home the burdens women are asked to carry and how quick we are to punish women rather than support them. As I was reading the stories of the mothers in the reform school I was reminded of the times I left my kid in the car while I went in to pay for gas and hoped no one called the police on me. Or how I let my kids play outside unsupervised and I hope no one calls the police on me. Or I let my kid ride his bike to the store and I hope no one calls the police on me. Good grief, this world we live in.

What I’m reading

What I’m reading:

So I set a new reading goal for 2022. I’d like to read 24 books this year, two books a month. I’m thrilled to say that I’m already ahead of the game for January, as there have been many events this month that have given me cause to escape. It’s been a hard month. But anyway, January’s books were Untamed by Glennon Doyle and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Before beginning any reviews, I’d like to thank whatever divine providence brought these two books to me at this time in my life. The timing was uncanny, and these two books, though very different, have very similar themes. And here we go.


Author: Glennon Doyle

Why I read it: This book was recommended by a friend several months ago, and apparently I downloaded the audio book when I had some free audible credits and I forgot that I owned it until I finished another book on my kindle and found myself with nothing to read.

Synopsis: Untamed is all about finding your way to your most true and beautiful life by unlearning and unbecoming all of the things the world has expected of you as a human (particularly a female human but not exclusively, the patriarchy hurts men too).

Reaction: I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. This book spoke to me on so many levels, as a woman of a certain age living in the world, as a mother raising kids in the digital age, and just as a human trying to navigate my humanness. This book is like the wisdom of the ancients, but rather than some pointy headed man pontificating at you, it’s like having coffee with your girlfriend while the two of you untangle life’s challenges together. There were so many times I found myself thinking “YES!! THIS!!” These are the words for so many things I have been feeling but could not say. And I was thrilled when we got to the part about raising sons. And the way she tackles challenging scenarios with wisdom, humor, and wit. So relatable, so easy to love. Highly recommend this book.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”
  • “I can feel everything and survive. What I thought would kill me, didn’t. Every time I said to myself: I can’t take this anymore — I was wrong. The truth was that I could and did take it all — and I kept surviving. Surviving again and again made me less afraid of myself, of other people, of life. I learned that I’d never be free from pain but I could be free from the fear of pain, and that was enough.”
  • “In my thirties, I learned that there is a type of pain in life that I want to feel. It’s the inevitable, excruciating, necessary pain of losing beautiful things: trust, dreams, health, animals, relationships, people. This kind of pain is the price of love, the cost of living a brave, openhearted life — and I’ll pay it. There is another kind of pain that comes not from losing beautiful things but from never even trying for them.”

Book 2

The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho

Why I read it: I bought this book several years ago and it’s been in my TBR pile. I bought it because it seemed like the kind of thing I should read, I liked the cover, and it was recommended for anyone with wanderlust. I finally read it because my work colleague texted me and said “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT!”

Synopsis: The Alchemist is the story of a shepherd boy’s journey to himself. He visits a gypsy woman to have a recurring dream interpreted, and she tells him his treasure lies in the pyramids of Egypt. (This part reminded me of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure… “Your bicycle is in the ALAMO! In the BASEMENT!”) Along the way he meets a cast of characters, each of whom teaches him something important and guides him along the path to his treasure. Throughout his journey he follows omens, he learns to listen to his heart, and ultimately he learns that his treasure has been inside him all along. But he did get to see the pyramids and isn’t that neat?

Reaction: This book reminded me of one of my favorite books of all time, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It takes you on a beautiful journey and teaches timeless life lessons along the way.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”
  • “The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”
  • “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
  • “Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life.”

The reason I wanted to thank divine providence for bringing these books to me is because these books, as different as they are, share a common theme. Listen to your heart. Trust your knowing. Your intuition is a gift. At a time when I’ve been looking outwardly for affirmation, for guidance, for help, these books reminded me that everything I need to achieve my ‘personal legend’ is already in me. I’m grateful for the reminder.