My reading life goes through cycles where I read a lot and where I rarely pick up a book. Lately I have been reading quite a bit, even going to the library regularly to get more books. Here are a few that I have really enjoyed over the last couple of months.
A French Wedding by Hannah Tunnicliffe – I was mesmerized when I read her first novel, The Color of Tea, and have eagerly read her other books as well. This novel centers on Juliette, a chef who has recently lost her restaurant in Paris and returned to her hometown to be a personal chef to Max. Max is a washed-up rock star who decides to host his group of college friends for his birthday weekend. As the friends navigate their various relationship issues, Juliette is drawn out of her shell and into their circle. This was a well-paced, enjoyable read.
The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg – Berg is one of my favorite authors, and this book does not disappoint! On one of his daily outings to the cemetery where his wife is buried, Arthur meets Maddy, a high school girl avoiding school by hiding out there. Their relationship with each other as well as Arthur’s neighbor Lucille forms the basis for the story. I enjoyed the characters and plot equally and highly recommend it.
Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt – This is an engaging novel about two sisters, Lucy and Juliet, and how their relationship evolves when Lucy comes to stay with Juliet after her life in Boston comes apart at the seams. Set in a small town in England’s Lake District, this charming novel offers hope that even strained relationships can be mended. I loved both the setting and the characters. A side note of interest, I found out after posting that I had read the book on Goodreads that the author is my friend’s husband’s sister – talk about a small world!
By the Book by Julia Sonneborn – I didn’t realize before I started this book that it was a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, but it became very obvious even within the first chapter. I was delighted because that is my favorite novel of all time! In this adaptation, Anne Corey is an English professor at a small college in California who finds her ex-fiance Adam Martinez has just become the president of her school. It was a charming take on the story and a fun read.
I sometimes find it interesting to look back at what I have posted here and see how things have changed. In September 2016, I posted Unmotivated = Overwhelmed and shared about how life was basically kicking my butt.
Things are much different now, partly because of the progress I have made with my medication and therapy, as I posted in My Journey with Psych Meds a few days ago. Here are the things that were overwhelming me back then with an update on where I am now:
- Adjusting to being married again – Joe & I have been married for 2 1/2 years now and have bought a house. I have really settled in to the relationship and feel much more comfortable being myself around him.
- Continuing existing friendships while being married – Of my three close friends, I still have two of them and those relationships are going very well. I seem to have lost the other one, who stopped responding to my attempts to connect a few months ago. I was really upset about it for a long time, but now I am moving on.
- Getting used to a new church and trying to make connections there – We are now going to a life group connected with our church that meets every other Wednesday night. There are two other couples in the group, and we have really bonded. We are all friends on Facebook, and we have good conversations when we are together. Currently we are reading the book The Purpose Driven Life together and discussing it.
- Trying to participate in group conversations at lunchtime (can handle 1 person or maybe 2, but more than that gets tricky) – I work from home now so almost all my communication is through email or Skype IM. I rarely have to talk to anyone at work, and then it is always one-on-one. I still find group conversations difficult and mostly stay quiet during them, although I am comfortable speaking at the life group I mentioned.
- Parenting an autistic 14-year old boy – Michael is 16 now and just about to finish 9th grade. We spent 8 months in Family Based Mental Health Services, and it was very helpful in dealing with his depression and anxiety (along with medication that took a while to figure out). Now he is back in the regular services and sees a mobile therapist once a week. I feel our relationship is a lot stronger – we talk more and play games together. He is also more sociable – going to Smash Bros tournaments and having a friend over to play video games occasionally.
All in all, life is good. We are talking about getting a dog sometime in the next few months. Joe & I are going to Boston for a few days this summer, and next year we are planning a trip for the three of us to Illinois to see both my parents and possibly some other family. We have a few unexpected home repairs to deal with, but Joe is very handy and will probably be able to take care of them himself, which is a huge blessing.
So, how are you feeling these days – motivated or overwhelmed?