So, remember how in my last post I was all, “I’ve got ideas for this blog” and “contributors” and “news forthcoming.”
After further reflection, I’ve decided the last thing I want to do right now is give myself another writing project. The day job and my freelancing work provide the perfect number of deadlines for the time being.
Besides, I’m enjoying coming home from work with energy left to exercise my brain, so I’ve been letting myself indulge in books. Since moving to Champaign, I’ve read:
- Losing It
- Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang
- In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
- The Night Circus
That might not seem like a lot for the hardcore book nerds out there, but eight books since September trumps my January through August average by, like, I dunno…a lot. I attribute my newfound energy and desire to read again to two things: going back to Central Time and having access to natural daylight at the new day job.
Anyway, of the eight titles listed, I’d have to say that In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin was my favorite. Despite the horrible title, it was a fascinating read. It’s by Erik Larson, the guy who wrote Devil in the White City, and it follows the lives of the reluctant American ambassador to Germany and his family at the time Hitler was coming to power
A fair number of people on Goodreads complained about how much attention Larson gave to the ambassador’s daughter’s scandalous love life. I think those people are idiots. First of all, her diary provided a first-person account of a historically significant period. Second of all, that a member of the Nazi party tried to set her up with Hitler, that she fell in love with a guy in the Russian military, that she slept with whomever she pleased in 19-freaking-33, that her escapades complicated life for her dad—those things are damn relevant to a story about the ambassador and his family.
My one caution: Because Larson quotes primary sources where he can, the prose can get a little clunky. This one reads closer to the non-fiction it is, where Devil in the White City reads a little more novel-like. Prepare yourself for grammatical structures that are a little more complicated than “See Dick run.”