Brand new books arriving from the library makes me so happy. QuickLit is a short recap of what I’ve been reading–this month the book all happen to be new fall/winter 2016 releases. The holidays are a busy time, but I’ve managed to find a few minutes to sit down with some good books and my heated blanket.
The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell–Russell and her husband live a fast paced life in London, when they are given a job opportunity in rural Denmark. They agree to accept the job and go to Denmark for a year, and Russell writes about their experiences.
Reading about other cultures and how other people live is so beneficial. Russell views Denmark with the eyes of an expat outsider, which is both informative and entertaining. She writes about her Danish experiences with much humor, often directed at herself. This book was extremely easy to read and well written, a must read for anyone interested in other cultures. (Highly recommended for fans of the Madame Chic series by Jennifer Scott, Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon and French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano).
The Danish Way of Parenting by Jessica Alexander and Iben Sandahl–while I didn’t agree with everything in this book, it did include some wonderful parenting lessons that we’ve started implementing at our house. I felt that the discussions about fostering empathy, encouraging free play and reframing situations were excellent.
For me, one of the biggest takeaways from this book was to praise children for their perseverance. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to tell a child when they lose or make a mistake. Emphasizing the importance of perseverance can help children understand the benefit of working hard until they master something, which will become a life long skill. Viewing mistakes as part of the learning process, instead of a road block will help them develop a positive attitude and determination.
Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb–I only made it through two chapters of this book, I just couldn’t get into the story. Let me know if you’ve read it, and what your thoughts are. My to-read list is just too long to spend on books that aren’t right for me, right now.
Mischling by Affinity Konar–Mischling is about identical twin girls, Pearl and Stasha, who are placed in the Auschwitz “zoo” under supervision of Dr. Josef Mengele. The girls are told that their mother and grandfather will have better living conditions if the girls participate in medical experiments, so they vow to help each other survive.
Clearly, the subject matter is dark and disturbing. This book certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, and I skimmed sections, as well as put the book away for a day or two. However, the author’s writing is beautiful and unique, and pieces of the book are uplifting and hopeful. I look forward to future books from Konar.
The German Girl by Armando Correa–this debut novel tells the story of the SS St Louis, a luxury cruise liner which left Germany in 1939 with 937 Jews on board. They were headed for Cuba, and then onto America. Their story is told through the eyes of fictional 11 year old Hannah Rosenthal, and eventually her great niece Anna. Though I read a fair amount of WWII historical fiction, (read other reviews here, here and here) I had never heard the story of the SS St Louis. Correa does an excellent job of weaving the story line in with modern day events.
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley–somehow, I was previously unaware of the literary heroine Flavia de Luce, and I now know that my life has been emptier because of it. Apparently this is the 8th (!!!!) Flavia book, and I’m eagerly awaiting the first in the series, to catch myself up.
Flavia de Luce has returned to her family home in England after being dismissed from boarding school in Canada. Instead of being joyfully reunited with her family, she discovers that her father is gravely ill in the hospital. While on an errand for a friend, she discovers the dead body of a reclusive wood carver, and promptly begins unraveling the mystery herself.
Flavia is an extremely intelligent and precocious 12 year old girl, who is fascinated with chemistry and solving mysteries. The writing is witty, sharp and fast paced, and a pure joy to read. I loved the numerous references to movies, music, books, and the overall inner workings of Flavia’s mind. I can’t wait to read the other books in this series.
Here’s what’s on my to-read list next:
Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy–head over there for more great book reviews.
Let me know if you’ve read anything that I’ve read, or if you have any recommendations!