Recent Books, Swearing & More Questions for Readers

I continue on with my reinvigorated reading schedule! It has been mostly fiction reads – unusual for me.

Here is what has been on the docket lately:

My Name Is Lucy Barton. This is the first book I’ve read by (Pulitzer Prize-winning) Elizabeth Strout. I think this is a book you’ll either love or hate. Over the first few chapters I thought I might wind up in the hate camp. That feeling didn’t last – this book was brilliant. It’s heartbreaking and, yet, oddly triumphant. It’s a quick read, but I have thought about “Lucy” a lot since I turned the last page. (I do want to note that, while not graphic, this book touches on a number of very hard topics like domestic/child abuse, negligent parents, war crimes, and PTSD.)

Felicity. Mary Oliver is top of class…literally, she also won a Pulitzer Prize!

Once Upon a Chef. I don’t track/rate things like cookbooks in Goodreads, but I did skim this cover-to-cover…and it is technically a book. I have made several recipes by Jennifer Segal and reference her recipe site occasionally (Once Upon a Chef). The food all looked delicious, but I am just not a cookbook person and, quite frankly, they leave me feeling overwhelmed. I don’t want to make a perfect pie crust. I want to BUY MY PIES. Every single pie from now until eternity. I don’t want to brine chicken thighs or make a new spice rub. I’d rather search for a recipe online rather than happening upon ideas in a cookbook. So, this was a very nice cookbook, but I need to stop reading them.

Love Your Home Again. I am a sucker for home organization books and find them strangely relaxing. Unfortunately, for me, this book missed the mark. The authors (a mother-daughter team) would use slightly different angles of the same photo repeatedly which felt like cheating. I also felt like their approach could be quite mean sometimes. Referencing people holding on to wedding pumps, they wrote: Must we really hang on to a pair of shoes we wore for seven hours, fifty years ago? Well…maybe someone really DOES want to hang on to those shoes for sentimental reasons. Can’t that be okay? They also pigeonholed/typecast the reader, which I didn’t appreciate. Still on the topic of shoes (in regard to “how many is too many pairs”), they wrote: You’re reading our book so we can bet you have too many shoes! Bet again. At another point, they wrote something snarky about how many sweaters people have and said “…one or maybe two of you [are] saying: ‘Wait. I only have eight sweaters in total.’ You can put this book down and pat yourself on the back. You are an organizational expert and you should probably send your resume to us…”

The joke is on them – I have exactly 8 long-sleeved shirts (including “sweaters”) in my closet.

At another point they had a picture with ~100 toilet paper rolls lined up perfectly in an exposed storage cupboard in a laundry room. First, who takes that much toilet paper out of the package (maybe you do – if so, what a wonderful idea! You’re clearly a genius and I’m missing something that will change my life)? All I could think (after wondering who has this much TP in their house at any given time) was: as soon as you remove a single roll the whole thing will look completely off-kilter.

The book itself was nicely designed, but the tone didn’t sit right with me. The one takeaway that I did appreciate was their suggestion of bagging up extra (new) hotel/mini toiletries and donating them to shelters. I thought this was brilliant. I try to not bring things home from hotels, but we still wind up having a small tote of little lotions and shampoos and I never know what to do with them – and having individual-sized toiletries to hand out to clients at a women’s shelter, for example, seems like it would be ideal (rather than donating single large-sized items).

The Fortnight in September. This was a book I thought I would love. It’s a two-week snapshot of the life of an ordinary family going on their annual vacation. There were some very sweet moments and the writing was good…but I never got emotionally invested with any of the characters. I need to like/dislike someone to feel a connection with a fictional book, but I mostly felt apathetic. I also missed any sense of closure at the end of the book. But I did write down some wonderful quotes/thoughts.

Mr. Stevens was thinking what a very happy place the world would be if people could lead each other quietly aside, and gently but firmly tell each other the little things they unconsciously do that irritate and annoy their fellows. [This quote was part of a brilliantly crafted scene in the book – where one character feels obliged to make small talk with another character even though they both would rather skip the pleasantries entirely – and I found it so relatable.]

Unpacking is an irritating business at the best of times – but to wander about with rolled socks and underclothes, to hang coats in stuffy cupboards and lay things out in drawers before you have even smelt the sea is a stupid punishment to inflict upon yourself…The best plan of all was to go down to the sea – stay there just long enough to roll it round the tongue – then come back and dive into the trunk with the tingle of salt in the nostrils, and the promise of a long unhurried stroll in the evening. Unpacking can be made a pleasure, done in Mr. Steven’s way. [I loved this; again, so relatable and I appreciated the idea that something like unpacking – which the author highlights is objectively irritating on most levels – can still be transformed into a pleasurable experience.]

The family is trying to decide whether to spend extra money to rent a beach “hut” or opt for a less expensive option (leaving more resources for other activities while on vacation). After weighing pro’s and con’s:

It was Dick who decided them at last. He had been standing still, gazing out to sea, and suddenly he turned – Why not? – It’s only once a year. [I’ve been thinking so much about my Why not conversation, so seeing this question in print gave me a thrill. Just last night, when I was dithering about whether I should upgrade something as part of a Christmas gift I thought: Why not spend the extra $2.40 for nicer paper – it’s only once a year!]

She was too tired to worry about the lumps [in the bed] tonight, but tomorrow when she got into bed, she would work the lumps carefully about with her hands and feet, and get them into the right positions. For luckily the lumps in the bed at Seaview were the kind that could be moved about and kneaded into different shapes, and if properly disposed could be made into an additional comfort. [Again I love the idea of something that seems negative, being flipped to a positive.]

People who like arranging things in advance can make themselves a dreadful nuisance on a holiday – but it largely depends on the way they go about it. [This made me laugh. I sure do like to arrange things in advance and suspect my family might sometimes consider me a dreadful nuisance?!]

Then he put on lighter socks and his canvas shoes, and came down feeling as fresh as paint. [I don’t think I’ve ever heard this turn of phrase – “fresh as paint” – but it sounds like something my grandmother would have said, and it made me feel warm and fuzzy.]

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. I have a lot of feelings about this book and they’re all complicated. On the one hand, I really did like the main characters (Strike and Robin). Overall I thought the writing was good and I didn’t want to put it down. But, also, reading it felt…icky and I just couldn’t get over the grittiness (see below). Perhaps some of my uneasiness comes from the fact that Robert Galbraith is actually J.K. Rowling?

This is not another Harry Potter book. I found the level of swearing very distracting and it felt forced and that ended up being my main takeaway from this book (also, no spoilers, but I did predict a big chunk of the ending!). I can see why people love this series, but I think I’ll start and end with the first book.

In terms of picture books…wow, it has been slim pickings. Between not carving out much time to read with the kids and a dearth of great books, I can only think of two to highlight:

I’m Sticking With You is a repeat book that I’ve mentioned before on the blog – one of the kids must have picked it off the shelf at the library, and I’m glad they did – it’s just so, so cute. It’s Duffy Time! is a delightful story about a dog who loves to nap. It was sweet and reading it together felt like a warm hug (and we don’t even own a dog).

And that’s a wrap on what I’ve been reading over the last few weeks…

swearing in books

My reaction to the language in The Cuckoo’s Calling gave me a lot to ponder…so let’s talk swearing.

First and foremost, I am very sensitive to any language that flippantly or irreverently invokes the name of God/Jesus. I was thinking about this the other day and wondering how to make it seem relatable to others. Imagine a beloved person in your life – a parent or spouse or sibling or friend or child – and then imagine someone who doesn’t know them using their name/character in a derogatory manner. How would that make you feel? You’d want to protest: But you don’t even know this person – if you did, you wouldn’t speak about them this way!! I realize that I function in a society where many people do not share the same spiritual beliefs and this sort of language is unavoidable; that said, it always, always makes me wince when I hear/read it.

Other salty language, I can handle at a whole different level. For some context, in my household growing up we avoided all “swearing” with a 10-foot poll. We didn’t even say “pee” (it was tinkle; I mean – can you even?). I have no idea what we used in place of “fart” – break wind? Pass gas? I remember seeing the F-word (and I don’t mean fart) written in dust on the back of a school bus one day. I can distinctly remember the town/intersection where our car pulled up behind said bus. I also remember taking great satisfaction when, out of earshot of my parents, I said Darn it one-day playing basketball with a friend. Or when an international student who moved to town taught everyone swear words on the bus…in German.

Lest you think I have towed the family line, let’s just say the dermatologist who injected bleomycin into my foot years ago would have earned the right to wash my mouth out with soap. After the first few injections (he did about 20), I couldn’t help myself. After my involuntary – and not quiet – tirade, I apologized. He didn’t even look up from his job of inflicting trauma to my foot, he just said very matter-of-factly: Oh, this is the most painful procedure I do; I only do it a few times a year…and everyone swears.

But gratuitous swearing is a major ick factor for me in many books/movies. If I’m watching Saving Private Ryan, I expect language. It fits and serves a real purpose. In a rom-com (or, in the case of a murder mystery book), it can feel very forced – like the writer is checking off some “gritty/edgy” box – unnecessary and, for me at least, a big distraction. If 3/4 of the language had been filtered out of The Cuckoo’s Calling, I think I would have loved it.

is reading always “good” for you?

Switching gears.

This might seem like an odd question, but I’ve been thinking about my natural inclination to always have a book on the go and I thought: I wonder if reading is always “good” for me? I know sometimes I’ve gotten fixated on finishing a certain number of books (stressful) or I’ve been stuck on a particular genre (a string of rather horrifying, but excellently written, memoirs – Educated, The Glass Castle, The Witness Wore Red, The Sound of Gravel, Troublemaker…) and thought: maybe I need to switch things up a bit.

So, is reading always a positive addition to your life? Have you ever made a decision to pivot away from a certain type of book or a level of consumption to make way for other priorities?

race to the end – or A slow, steady savour?

Are you a race-to-the-end sort of reader or, if you’re really enjoying a book, do you purposefully try to prolong the experience?

I’m definitely a racer – but mostly because I have a hard time turning my brain off. So, if a book is truly engaging, it’s easier to just finish it than to ruminate on what’s going to happen.

what do you think about fictional names?

I’m always so interested to see what names get used in fiction writing. (Abby shows up frequently, I’ve realized since birthing an Abby of my own). I’m also surprised by how unusual some of the names/spellings are and I have this weird (lazy?) habit of not trying to think through how to pronounce things properly. I mostly notice this when I start to read out loud. Just last week I was reading Abby a chapter from whatever Harry Potter book she’s on now (I’ve lost count and this is her 2nd? 3rd? read-through of the set). I was stumbling over Pigwidgeon and Grimmauld Place, not because I didn’t recognize the names but because when I read the books to myself I could just skim over the names and, without solidifying the pronunciation, still recognize them and assign ownership. As in: Pigwidgeon = Ron’s owl and Grimmauld Place = house where the Order of the Phoenix meets – so I could read the books and understand the context without working out how to pronounce the word.

Your turn. What’s your favourite book from the last month of reading. Do you find gratuitous swearing an unwelcome distraction in books? Do you take the time to figure out the pronunciation of uncommon names in books you’re reading? Do you like to read a good book quickly, or do you prefer to savour it?

Header photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

34 thoughts on “Recent Books, Swearing & More Questions for Readers”

  1. Oh wow, that foot procedure sounds like it really warranted swearing!

    I swear quite a bit around my husband but otherwise rarely (I did use a swear word in my post today though). My parents, mainly my dad, were anti-swearing. (They also always wanted to use appropriate medical terms for everything from private parts to bodily functions; we never said fart either, and it makes me cringe to hear my daughter say it, which surprises me!) I don’t mind swearing but it’s like salt: it needs to be used to bring out the real flavor and it can easily overpower everything!

    1. It was awful! And the worst part of it all – the treatment failed completely (after 2 attempts of ~20 injections each time). Eventually we found another, non-invasive way to fix the situation…but not without my swearing in his office.

      What a perfect analogy. Swearing is definitely like salt – in the right context, wow it feels good and can actually be a great tension reliever (I swear to myself regularly and have caught myself a few times involuntarily saying something and hoping the kids weren’t in earhot)…but it’s all about context and quantity. To me, in The Cuckoo’s Calling, it was just TOO much. I thought the same thing with Only Murders in the Building, too. I liked the story, but the swearing just felt really, really forced to me and it turned me off the show.

  2. First, I love Lucy Barton and Mary Oliver is my very favourite poet. I really love Elizabeth Strout’s writing style, and I have enjoyed almost everything she has written. She has a new one out and I’m dying for it.

    Second, swearing. I don’t swear a lot, but I do occasionally use it for emphasis. I also think it can be really funny, like my Pride and Prejudice tee or when my kids say things like “Earth, Wind, and Fire, f*ck water.” Or decorative gourd season. But I don’t like when people swear constantly in conversation, or in books like The Magical Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I don’t love that. But mostly I don’t mind the occasional swear. Hilariously, we often listen to Sirius in the car and all songs are radio edited, which makes hip hop really funny to listen to. Some songs, every other word is blanked.

    1. I have another Elizabeth Strout in my to-read pile and I’m excited. I really appreciated the length of Lucy Barton; I think it made the story more impactful that it was shorter than a traditional novel.

      Swearing can be funny and – aside from anything to do with God/Jesus – I like to think I’m relatively flexible (they are JUST words, after all). But it’s the frequency/context that can really throw me for a loop and it really has a dramatic impact on my ability to enjoy certain things – like a book or movie. Also I found The Cuckoo’s Calling used a lot of deragatory words about women – which I won’t write out here – and that bothers me a lot more than any f-bombs.

  3. Really who does know how to pronounce Pigwidgeon? I’m afraid I pronounced it PigWigdon and when I get to watching the movies I’ll obviously be schooled. Lol

    With the many things in life I can’t be bothered to figure it out… Especially after spending 30mins getting the kids into bed.

    I like to read but I am a slow reader. For the most part I read a lot of self-help books. Most of my reads are books that include self reflection. I end up reading a chapter and then stopping to ponder. How does it pertain to me or others around me? What can I learn from it? and sometimes go back again…

    FYI: Despise the name of the “Self-help” section. Why can’t it be self improvement section? Or the making myself more awesome section? I don’t need help!
    Okay, well except when it comes to learning how to pronounce Pigwidgeon….

    Have a great day Elizabeth
    Lovely post yet again.

    1. Do you know? I defer to Abby because she has listened to the audiobooks like 25 times; so however things are pronounced there, she corrects me on in my failed attempts.
      I don’t like the term “self-help” either and I think the category is way too broad, as well.
      Always lovely to hear your voice online, my friend! <3

  4. So, first off- Cormoran Strike. He’s not for everyone, and I get that. I’m pleased that you at least finished the book because I recommended it to my sister and she didn’t even make it to the end. I definitely think that series gets better and better as it goes on, but I don’t think it’s worth it for you to keep reading. Moving on to swearing…
    My mom grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, so a lot of those values were incorporated into our household growing up. Swearing was out of the question. We also couldn’t use the word “God” in any casual way, as is, “Oh my God.” Nope, it was “gosh” and “darn” for us. We also didn’t use any words that I guess would have been considered crude- like “pee.” My mom told me that when she was little, if she needed to use the bathroom she had to go over to my grandmother and whisper in her ear “ta-ta.” I know… I’m laughing as I write this.
    Anyway, because of all this, I don’t usually swear now. If I swear, you know I’m REALLY upset. (And I have to say, swearing in those situations feels pretty great.) My kids also don’t swear, at least in front of us. And my son made a comment fairly recently that he doesn’t like girls who swear. So I guess we’re all carrying a little bit of Wisconsin inside us!
    Back to the book. When I hear a lot of gratuitous swearing in a TV show or movie, it totally turns me off. But for some reason it didn’t bother me in the Cormoran Strike books and I’m trying to figure out why. Maybe it’s because the swearing goes with his character- if I’m remembering correctly, Robin doesn’t swear, which also goes with her character. Really interesting topic!

    1. I did really enjoy the book – if a good chunk of the swearing had been removed, I think I would have loved it!? I just found the level of swearing so, so distracting. And it became this thing I just couldn’t unnotice.
      Well, we said tinkle, so that’s no worse than ta-ta. I know people who say “fluff” for a fart and I LOVE it. So hilarious. We are all about the fart/poop/pee in our family, I’m afraid!
      Swearing can feel great and aside from invoking God/Jesus, I find salty language can be a tool I use occasionally to vent stress. I remember vividly the first words out of my mouth when I was in a car accident about a decade ago – and they weren’t oh shucks, that’s too bad. It was involuntary and felt very, very good. Same with when I was getting foot injections.
      It wasn’t Strike that bothered me – he didn’t actually swear that much. It was all the other characters and it was just…CONSTANT. With some chapters/characters it was literally every few words and I found it distracting in a bad way.
      But I 100% see why you love these characters and swearing aside – it was a good book!

  5. I’ve been tearing through The School for Good Mothers – mostly because it’s a 7 day loan. I’m still on the fence about whether or not I like it. I can’t say I’m enjoying it, but I’m finding it a very thought provoking read. Some of it hits very close to home. Even still, while I don’t think I’m a slow savoring reader, but I’m not a skimmer either. I often go back and read the first chapters of books after I finish books because I often feel like I speed through the first chapters because I want to know sooner rather than later if I want to stick with something.
    Swearing bothers me less and less these days. My Husband is Catholic so he is pretty strict about not taking the Lord’s name in vain, but other than that … We aren’t total potty mouths but we don’t censor as much as we probably should given that we have sponge-like children. (I was pulled aside the other day by the three year olds’ teacher because she used the word “Stupid” in class the other day. Which, three year old told the teacher, she had learned from her big sister. I had to try very hard to seem outraged and not laugh.) Even still, I don’t like aggressive swearing. Expressive colourful swearing to describe something is fine, but swearing aimed at a person makes me really tense.

    1. I’m definitely a skimmer, much to the horror of several readers! Ironically enough, for the first 1/2 of The Cuckoo’s Calling, I think I read every word.
      Ha. Yes, stupid is a tricky word (I had to laugh about you trying to express outrage when really you wanted to laugh; I’ve had to bite my tongue on things like this before, too).

      YES, YES, YES – expressive VS excessive/aggressive is the key here. And I hadn’t articulated it myself, but I 100% agree – gratuitous swearing (especially directed at someone specifically) makes me tense/on edge.

  6. I very rarely swear as well. I am not generally bothered by it all in movies (when it seems natural/ appropriate for the scenario- I suppose excessive swearing for the sake of swearing might be annoying.). But I agree that I wince when I hear the Lord’s name taken in vain, in part because it bothers me how casual it is for a lot of people. Of course, not everyone is Christian- no problem there. But I feel that it would be generally frowned highly upon in today’s society to use any other Non-Christian religion’s “higher power” in vain as that would be considered offensive (swap out “God” for any other name). So I strongly dislike the double standard that it’s okay to dis a Christian’s God so flippantly. (Similarly, I recently saw someone I know personally dressed up as nun for Halloween, and couldn’t help but think that if I had dressed up as, I don’t know, a Muslim leader wearing a head scarf when I am not Muslim, that would be SOOOOOO not okay, but a non-Christian dressing up as a Catholic nun (or a pregnant nun! I’ve seen those before, too) was apparently totally fine. I was not personally offended because I really don’t get whipped up over stuff like that, but the double standard part really irks me.). That being said, re: the swearing, I think it’s one of those things where people are so used to hearing it, that they don’t actually MEAN any disrespect to anyone’s God, if that makes sense- it’s kind of just something they say to express general displeasure about something. 🙂

    I also will admit that I find it distasteful when someone I first meet starts dropping F bombs 2 minutes into our conversation. It just seems really… tacky to me. Like I tend to feel that someone with a real potty mouth in general day to day or professional conversation seems very… low class? For lack of a better word? Not sure how to describe it exactly, but a not-classy type person. Like I was at a work thing with my husband once and we met a new guy and he started swearing a bunch immediately (like, F word type swears casually mixed in) and I was just very turned off by it. We didn’t even know him! In certain situations, if I know the person better and I know they are kind of a “swearer”, it really doesn’t bother me at all/ I expect it- but I guess I find it to be in poor taste in some other situations. Like it makes me think the person is rather crass, I guess. I personally find it kind of cringey/ almost embarrassing when I see people doing that!

    I am most likely to swear to myself (e.g. an “ugh, dammit!”) if I stub my toe or realize I forgot something important at the store and I’m already home or something. hahaha! Or for occasional emphasis/ when recounting a story and I’m upset. lol.

    1. I definitely agree that some (much?) of the time people invoking the name of the Lord do not do it from a position of animosity – it still makes me wince/feel sad, but I do have the perspective that they don’t realize what impact it could have on someone who uses those names only in a spiritual/reverent context. And I also realize that people have very different spiritual beliefs; a few times I have asked my kids friends to not say these sorts of things inside the four walls of our house (and they have all been so, so respectful about that request).

      I didn’t even touch on swearing in real life (in terms of someone who swears a lot), but it really makes me feel on edge/unsettled. I have to admit I seem to avoid this most of the time; occassionally we’ve had a contractor with colourful language (the most surprising was this elderly plumber/electrician who dressed in a button up shirt and wore shoe covers in our house – basically he looked like he was headed to trade on Wall Street, not heading to wire a light switch or change a toilet – but he had the worst mouth of anyone! It really, really took me by surprise (and not in a great way).

      I am a head swearer like you – if I stub my toe, there is always some salty word that will immediately come to mind. Though when the dermatologist was injecting my foot…those words came pouring out my mouth!

  7. Many a times I caught myself reading much longer than was good for me when reading a book I liked a lot – so I am camp finish as quickly as possible- I just can’t help myself.
    I don’t mind the swearing that much but it might be different if I grew up in the US? I always feel like Germans don’t care as much about swearing. Who knows maybe that changed in the last 17 years but using certain swear words in the German language feels fairly common place. Don’t worry, we raised our kids right 😉 They usually don’t swear and look at us parents reproachfully if we are caught using the German ‘S” word.

    1. Ha. I know the German “S” word thanks to all those bus rides in high school with a German international student – haha.
      It’s the frequency and context that bother me the most – if it feels very contrived and/or if it’s constant.

  8. I am definitely a race to end reader. I get really invested in plot and just want to know what happens!

    On swearing…I have never really noticed swearing in a book. I rarely notice it in real life, either. It’s just not a dealbreaker for me. We also swear in our house, but every since I instituted a swear jar a few years ago, it has gotten way better!

    1. I’m a racer, too 🙂
      I had a friend in high school whose whole family had a swear jar and it was such a hoot to watch their tallies over the months.
      I definitely notice it – everytime. Maybe because of how I was raised? Or maybe because it feels more prevalent in things, especially since I grew up watching edited-for-TV movies. Now with things like Netflix I find so much more content has a lot of swearing in it. Sigh.

  9. I can very much relate to your last point about NOT working out the pronunciation if there are really complicated/unusual names in a book… I usually glance over the word because like you said, you can still recognize and place it. I feel like it is holding up my reading flow when I stumble over words like that and pause to “pronounce” it in my head.
    It’s like trying to say my name (Sandra) with German intonation. I have to pause to switch gears to do that.

    I don’t swear often. My co-workers (who I have known for years, just for reference) find it hilarious when I occasionally drop the F-word in conversation. In general, like Kae mentioned, it turns me off if others do it, especially someone who I don’t know well. It’s not a good look … but swearing definitely has its places – haha.

    1. Yes – stopping to pronounce something really messes up a flow state! For me it’s enough to recognize and place, but I wonder if other people are a bit more patient than I am…?

  10. I spent time in Fairbanks, Alaska as a child in the early 70s. Everyone swore like truckers. When we moved back to California, my mom told us to pretend the entire state was like Grandma’s house. I have, however, lost a lot of my talent for it, such that a few years ago I stubbed my toe HARD, and I was home alone, and still, I merely yelled “Fudgecicle!”. I often use Christopher Columbus’ name in vain, I think he is a perfect person to use as a swear word.

    I loved “My Name is Lucy Barton’, though I read the second book, Anything is Possible, first, and it was a little bit confusing. There is a new book, ‘Oh William’ with Lucy as the main character. Really good.

    1. I had to laugh “pretend the entire state was like Grandma’s house.” This is hilarious! And that you’ve “lost your talent for it” – bahaha.
      I remember there was a phase when an older sibling taught me fiddlesticks and funnybuns (?!) and I used that for a while in high school. Let’s just say it’s not as therapeutic as the root word…
      I have Anything Is Possible in my to-read pile in my bedside table right now. I have a few more books to get through first and then I’m excited to dive back into Lucy’s world.

  11. I’m on to my fourth Cormoron Strike book but hadn’t noticed the language … hmmm. I did have an issue with Matthew’s behaviour that wasn’t really called out by any of the characters as emotional/coercive control.

    I’ve been reading one poem from Mary Oliver’s Devotions most mornings. I love her writing.

    I ten towards a race to the end, but I try to control myself because I need my sleep and I usually read fiction just before I go to bed.

    1. Maybe, because of the characters involved in the first one, there were more language than the others? Though I read the first chapter of the second book (it was at the end of The Cuckoo’s Calling) and I think there was a lot of swearing in that first chapter? Sigh. Because I really did like the characters (especially, thankfully, Strike and Robin). I only saw Matthew’s behaviour in the first book, but he didn’t seem like a very nice fella even this early in the series.
      Just last night I was enjoying my book but it was a slog to keep my eyes open. I almost had to shake myself (mentally) and ask: Why are you doing this? Just turn out the light and go to bed?
      It’s hard to carve out reading time during the day, so I guess I just feel like any time to read at night is such a luxury and I hate to eat into that time with…sleep. But, alas, I turned out my light and slept like a rock. So it was the right choice, as sad as it was to stop reading!

    That’s a good question that I’ve been thinking about lately. Reading requires time, time that I could spend chatting with my girls or doing things with them. Because of this aha moment I had few weeks ago, I am more mindful of the opportunity cost of reading by myself. Now, whenever girls want to do something with me, I’d put the book down.
    different ages require different attention from the parents, so I think I choose to adapt with them and be there for them when I can, and actually, I enjoy it too.

    1. What a great point – reading might not always be good for us in that is can take us away from a more rewarding activity?!
      There is an opportunity cost to be sure. For me, I think the hardest thing about reading is how I tend to want to push through bedtime (I almost always read at night after the kids are in bed)…I want to carve out more time for reading and in my world that tends to involve staying up later…which is counterproductive, of course.

  13. I am not a swearer either and was raised in a house where we would never take the Lord’s name in vain. So that has followed me through life. I will swear very occasionally for emphasis but it is very very rare. And I don’t like the excessive use of swearing in books or movies unless it’s situationally appropriate.

    Reading is always good for me but I will shift the kind of books I read depending on what is going on in life. Like I read way more romance books during the pandemic because I needed light content and happy endings!

    And I definitely race through books. I very rarely savor books because I want to know how they turn out!

    1. I’m impatient – also, racing is just in my nature with books. I grew up reading quickly and don’t know any other way!

  14. I didn’t like My Name Is Lucy Barton even though everyone else on earth seems to love it. I tried to like it, really I did. I’d read Olive Kitteridge [by the same author] and enjoyed it, despite Olive being cantankerous. I think that too much reading is really a form of avoidance allowing you to not deal with your own issues. I like to read, savor it slowly, but then am comfortable not having another book lined up to read. Again I’m not like most readers I know.

    1. I’m late to the My Name Is Lucy Barton party, but I did really think the writing was so good, but I also felt it would be a love/hate book for people and can appreciate you not liking it! I have a few more Elizabeth Strout books in my holds list, so we’ll see how I feel after I’ve read more of her work.

  15. I also ca’t get behind the cookbook hype. They may be nice to look at but mostly they are overwhelming. That is way I decided I will go through the cookbook shelf and get rid of everything I really don’t need. I have a few cookbooks from my grandma with notes in them from the 50s so obviously those will stay. But everything else is on the internet nowadays. And I usually skim a couple recipes and then make my own dish mash of them.

    As for the question if reading is always good. I believe reading is always good but also that you need to choose the right books. When I am already anxious and my mind is all over I may pick a random romance novel just to quiet my mind. If my life is more balanced I read tougher books. But I need that peace of mind and stability to get through such memories or fiction books that go so much deeper. And I take breaks much more and not race through…

  16. Yay, I love your reader questions!

    Let’s see, the last book I gave 5 stars to was I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy. It was such a well-written memoir about Jeanette’s relationship with her mom, though it was deeply upsetting, too. (The title still makes me so uncomfortable, though!)

    Gratuitous swearing doesn’t really bother me. I grew up in a household that didn’t swear and even now, I try not to swear around my mom. But in books, I don’t really think much of it! I swear a lot around my friends so I think it just feels natural to me.

    to figure out how to pronounce uncommon names in books, unless I’m very curious about how it sounds.

    Lastly, if I’m reading a really great book, it’s hard for me to savor it! I just want to keep reading and not put it down.

    1. I have heard SUCH divided reviews on the Jeanette McCurdy book; I am intrigued, but I think I’ve read too many memoirs like this and will steer clear of it for now at least. Heavy topics, indeed!

  17. This is very interesting – all of it – and such wide-ranging topics.
    I am now a very slow reader due to time, but I am also a super-fast reader when it’s a book that speaks to me and I have the time available (e.g., I read a 500 page hardback in 3 days because I was so into the topic, and it was such an interesting story… to me…).
    I confess that I do swear. I don’t often think of the impact of my doing so on others, unfortunately, so thank you for making me aware of just how hard it is for you to hear. I think you know that I am not a religious person, but I need to respect those who are. Thanks for the reminder to think outside of, well, me. Always a good thing.
    I looove Mary Oliver but rarely buy/pick up her books. Same with David Whyte, another of my favorites. And I don’t know why. Their poems bring me so much joy – I should just invest in them so I can pull them off my shelf and have a dose of inspiration whenever I need it. <3

    1. I never think less of anyone for swearing (and, again, it is the faith-specific words that make me cringe the most). But I definitely have noticed a sharp uptick in swearing and, interestingly enough, just listened to a podcast all about this today!
      You could just Google Mary Oliver poems when you want a little jolt of poetry. No need to invest in a collection and then feel guilty if you don’t use it!!

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