Reading has saved my sanity! (Plus, where I’ve been these past months…)

So, friends, I wrote this post back in mid-November, right after I returned to work after bedrest/maternity leave. I never got around to editing it and actually clicking “publish,” apparently, but I still wanted to share the sentiment that reading saved my sanity so I decided to just publish as-is!

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What happened to me after my last post on September 3rd?!? If you follow me on Twitter (@theedifyingword), you’ll know I didn’t disappear off the face of the earth.

I had a baby!

He’s wonderful and adorable and precious and I’d love to share pictures but I don’t post identifying info about my kiddos… so, just know that little baby E is healthy and happy and immensely loved!

Having a new baby and being on maternity leave from work gave me LOTS of time for reading on my Kindle (and NONE for blogging or reviewing those books) — in fact, it saved my sanity. A nursing newborn = a ton of time sitting in a chair, much of it in the middle of the night. If I did not read, I would have fallen asleep (this is still the case, though now I only nurse twice-ish a night and for shorter periods of time). So, I started reading so I wouldn’t pass out and drop the baby. It was really just practicality, and it works so well that I can’t believe I didn’t do this with my other kids (well, at least with #3 – I didn’t have a Kindle for the first two).

Maybe I should have, but I totally didn’t expect the added benefit – in a time when I was by necessity giving so much of myself, physically and emotionally, to my new baby, with any minuscule leftover bits going to my other three kids and my husband, reading while nursing gave me some semblance of “me” time. I was able both to do something I enjoy and to engage myself intellectually. These are both things I definitely lacked after having my first two, and did slightly better with after my third. This time, though, I rocked it. By the time he was six weeks old, I had read 17 books. 17!!! To think in January I thought I was being ambitious when I set my Goodreads goal at 20 books for the year!

I’m hoping to pop in and actually review some of those books now, but life with four kids is CRAZY so no promises… ๐Ÿ™‚

 

2018 Reading Recap and Welcome, 2019!

2018 was… busy! Most importantly, my family gained a new member in my wonderful son, who is now three months old. His birth and the many, many hours spent nursing (and my stint on bedrest) enabled to me to read A TON, but not review a whole lot. Here are the stats:

Goodreads Challenge: Goodreads tells me in one place that I read 75 books, and in another that I read 79. I’m not going to go back and recount so… I read somewhere between 75 and 79 books. I had set my goal for the year at 20 so I far exceeded that, go me!

Reviews here on The Edifying Word: Out of those 75-79 books, it looks like I reviewed somewhere around 20 books, and some of them I had read in 2017… yikes, that’s a poor showing for a book blog! I’m going to try my best to get more reviews up this year – though I’ll have to start by backtracking to some of those 2018 books!

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So what’s in store for 2019? Well, I’ve already read two books! Granted, one was a kids chapter book and one was a short story – but that’s still two books. I’m thinking this year that I’m going to include kids chapter books and middle grade fiction in my Goodreads total because I read A TON OF THEM aloud with my kids. If I included every picture book I read, though, it would be an overwhelming total so I think I’ll hold off on those (unless they’re picture books I’ve received for review or that I just found to be amazing). Hmm…maybe I should rethink my Goodreads Challenge goal of 30 books. I’ll have to recalculate what I think is reasonable now that I’m including the reading I do with the kiddos…

I’m also thinking about some more thematic posts and some shorter reviews. Thematically, sometimes I read a bunch of books in one genre that would be better suited to discussing as whole on the blog and reviewed separately via short reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Shorter reviews because 1) I want the reviews to actually happen, and 2) I usually only read short reviews on those sites. Actually, I’m more likely to pick up a book based on a compelling tweet than a drawn out review, which has me rethinking my strategy here… So, hopefully 2019 will bring more frequent posts and a few positive changes on the blog side. The editing/betareading side is another issue altogether ๐Ÿ™‚

This year’s books both earn five stars, and deserve posts of their own. For now, just take a look (pictures link to Goodreads)! I hope to be back soon with more to share. Happy New Year, everyone!

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Book Review: The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

34111673I recently read another book I picked up via NetGalley last year/earlier this year, called The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse. When I opened it up I had no recollection of what it was about, or even whether it was fiction or nonfiction. Turns out it’s a novel, and a fairly heavy one at that. I briefly considered putting it down, because I sometimes struggle to read emotionally taxing stories, being prone to depression and anxiety, but I quickly found myself too engrossed in the story.

The protagonist, Nina McCarrick, is left to raise her two sons when her husband unexpectedly dies in a car wreck. Having married young and into wealth, Nina has never had to fend for herself as a mother and adult. The novel is Nina’s story at its heart: her journey to self-awareness, self-sufficiency, and self-respect, as a woman and as a mother. Though I started out identifying with Nina, as the story went on I sometimes found her incredibly frustrating — I found myself judging her and asking how on earth she let herself get into such a ridiculous situation! That said, I came to admire her perseverance and her ability to both provide for her sons AND pay attention to her own needs.

It’s an emotional story of loss, so the reader must be prepared for some weightiness. But it’s also a story of love and triumph, with many important life lessons taught (in a very unpreachy fashion) along the way. I’ve included below some of my favorite quotes from the book, those that resonate most with me (for varying reasons) and that I think show some of the depth of the story and insightful life lessons learned by the characters throughout the book:

“But here’s the thing, Nina. I think happiness lies in being content now – right now! Every day! That’s not to say you can’t plan and work for change, but if you are constantly waiting for happiness to start, waiting for the change that will make it happen, then you just might miss some really good days along the way.” (Kindle location 3253)

“Hardship eroded his sense of entitlement and in its place a nicer, humbler boy was emerging.” (Kindle location 3953)

“I’ve been reading a lot about people who are depressed. People who live with extreme stress and those who only see one way out… They often fall into two camps. Those who fall apart externally, seek help, battle it publicly, and then there are those won don’t, can’t. It’s this group of people who interest me most. They are skilled in the art of hiding. I think that my dad must have been like that.” (Kindle location 4105)

I’m sorry it took me so long to read this book and I definitely think it’s well worth reading (just not if you’re feeling in a fragile frame of mind). I’ll definitely be interested in reading more from Amanda Prowse!

4 stars!

Buy it now for only $0.99!