Greetings and welcome to the Mercury in Retrograde Edition of You Are What You Read. Some of you may have noticed last week that our most excellent picture of The Egg Tree was on its side. This had us totally flummoxed. When we looked at the image on the platform that we use to send out that e-mail it was upright and straight. And yet, by the time it reached you all it resembled an Egg Tree that had enjoyed one too many sips of a little something something.
I am placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of Mercury in Retrograde. If you have never heard of this phenomenon I am happy to clue you all in.
Three or four times a year, Mercury passes the earth in its orbit. As it rounds the bend, Mercury slows down and appears to stop and spin backward (retrograde). In astrology, Mercury rules communication, travel, and technology, so all of these areas go haywire for about three weeks. And I am not so happy to report that this year we get to ‘enjoy’ this four times.
We are currently in the thick of this Mercury in Retrograde which began on April 9th and is ours to enjoy (or not) until May 3.
“But Jen, “you all ask, “What does this mean?”
Well People, it means that we all have to stay flexible, leave extra travel time, and think twice about signing contracts and the like.
And it also apparently means that an Egg Tree will come at you sideways. If you want the 411 on this planetary monkey wrench The Farmer’s Almanac has got that covered.
This week we have a text message, charity work, Japan, and some chemistry.
Playlist? Well best laid plans, People. Sorry.
Let us begin!
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan has just finished The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. “In my opinion, the third time is the charm for Ruth Ware. Her latest novel, The Lying Game, is a highly addictive suspense novel that will keep you guessing. It has been fifteen years since Isa, our narrator, has seen her four closest girlfriends, but one simple text ‘I need you,’ will bring them all together again to deal with the consequences of a childhood secret. While I found all of the characters highly unlikeable, I could not put this atmospheric and slightly creepy book down. This is definitely going to be a summer hit.”
Caitlin from the Rock is here this week which is always a good thing. Here’s what she likes. “Hello! I just finished reading Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly. It always seems like when I'm looking for a good book, I settle on WWII historical fiction. Lilac Girls was an amazing story, based on real women and real events. The story follows three women: Caroline Ferriday, a New York socialite who does charity work for French orphans; Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish girl arrest by Nazis and taken to Ravensbruck concentration camp; and Herta Oberheuser, a doctor at Ravensbruck. The chapters alternate narrators (one of my favorite storytelling methods!). While the story has some very dark, harrowing parts, the overall feel is uplifting and inspiring. I highly recommend it!"
Barbara M is joining the quietly swelling ranks of people who adore Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. “Thank you L for getting me out of my reading slump. I have not been captivated by a book for a while but Pachinko by Min Jin Lee has me totally engrossed. It is the saga of a Korean family who fled from their homeland to Japan only to face poverty and discrimination during a time when Japan was attempting to conquer a large part of Asia. Sunja, the beloved daughter of a fisherman and his wife, becomes pregnant by a man who unbeknownst to her is already married. She is saved from disgrace by a Christian minister, Isak, who takes her with him to Osaka to begin a new life. The writing is lovely and the characters feel real. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction told through a multigenerational family story.”
The Amazing Amanda visited a Studio Ghibli film festival. "Ghibli is the Disney of Japan. Their films range from heartbreaking features like Grave of the Fireflies to children on supernatural adventures like Spirited Away to hilarious films like Porco Rosso which I saw at the film festival. I went in knowing nothing about the film other than it involves a flying pig. Porco has a curse on him which transformed him into swine, but it hasn't stopped him. He transferred his WWI fighter pilot expertise to become a bounty hunter. Every moment of this film is an unexpected delight. Characters are funny, react in original ways, and the note of sadness and the impending WWII gives the film solid ground to soar from."
Steph is here with a fast read but not an inconsequential one. “Sure, doorstopper novels are great, but I think nothing is more impressive than an excellent short novel. That’s one of the reasons I was so delighted by the compact Chemistry, by Weike Wang, which is being published at the end of May. The story puts the reader amongst the thoughts of a young woman working on her Ph.D. in chemistry over the two years in which her mind, and her life, unravel. As her relationship with her boyfriend and her progress on her degree stagnate, she turns inwards, reflecting on her immigrant parents, the scientific principles and theories she admires, and the minor details of daily life. Anything to avoid the emotions she’s spent so many years keeping at bay. I’m sure that sounds intense and it is, but shockingly, it’s also quite funny! Wang’s writing is as precise as a lab experiment, and the results are unexpected but always a thrill. Fans of Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation or Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk will feel right at home in this one.”