The May Books

I’m an avid reader though I didn’t used to be. I can name on one hand the books that I recall reading cover to cover during my school years. I was that girl who often picked up the movie or Cliff notes version in order to get through the next day’s English quiz. I realize now as an adult that it was because it was “assigned” reading. Nine times out of ten, I wasn’t interested or couldn’t relate to what I was reading, so I just read because I had to. I didn’t discover reading for pleasure until much, much later when someone introduced me to the equivalent of a rom-com in book form. The world is filled with too many real life films noirs, so, much like my taste in movies, I generally prefer my book escapism of the happily ever after variety.

Most months I get through about two contemporary romance/rom-com/drama type books a week and one to two serious non-fiction books a month. How is this possible? I have a Kindle Unlimited subscription and frequently download books with Audible narration. I read while I’m at home and continue listening while I’m driving. While driving a minivan is not my preference, I certainly love the technology that allows me to listen to something entirely different from my kids in the car. While I can appreciate Ms. Frizzle as much as the next early millennial, the fact that the kids each have a set of headphones to listen to Magic School Bus ensures that everyone is happy.

On to this month’s non-fiction books.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I started the month reading At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider. The book was about Tsh and her husband taking their kids on an adventure around the world for 9 months. The book is a memoir of sorts and Tsh’s prose paints vivid pictures of the cities, towns and villages she and her family visited. She certainly left me with a more acute case of wanderlust than I previously had. While Tsh could have easily glossed over the difficulties of her journey and let us all daydream about the splendors of living in Thailand for two months, she chose not to (or seemed not to) aggrandize her experiences. For example, while obviously not impossible, traveling with 3 young children isn’t a walk in the park, and Tsh didn’t shy away from sharing those stories. She also shed light on relationship and communication struggles that occur while traveling that I hadn’t yet pondered; issues that could no doubt arise when my husband and I take our own trip across the country. Ultimately, the book had me pondering my own place in the world and what home meant for me. And while it was still a bit of escapism for me, I flipped through the last page feeling a little more inspired and a little more prepared for our upcoming adventures.

I just recently started another non-fiction book. I don’t often pre-order books, but I did this one:  Spies in the Family by Eva Dillon.

I met Eva a few months ago at a local social gathering and in between conversations about politics and our mutual upbringing in the Washington DC metropolitan area, I asked her a bit about her life. She shared that she had recently authored a book that was due to be released in May. I won’t do her the disservice of trying to summarize her book, especially since I haven’t finished reading it yet, but here is what Google says: “Spanning fifty years and three continents, Spies in the Family is a deeply researched account of two families on opposite sides of the lethal espionage campaigns of the Cold War, and two men whose devoted friendship lasted a lifetime, until the devastating final days of their lives.”

I haven’t really had a taste for memoirs in the past, but between At Home in the World, Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance which I read a few months ago, and this book, I might add this genre to my list of favorites. I’m only on Chapter 3 and I’m already riveted. Stay tuned!

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