The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante
Mr. Smith discovered this title on The New York Time’s list 20 Books We’re Watching for in 2020. He requested it from our library, quickly devoured it, leaving time for me to read it before it was due back. It is the story of Italy’s haves and have-nots told through the eyes of a young girl. Giovanna is a meek, obedient, 12-year-old girl growing up in a middle-class part of Naples. She overhears her father comparing her to his sister Vittoria who her parents have always described as someone in whom “…ugliness and nastiness were perfectly matched.” From that point on, Giovanna begins a journey through the Hell that is puberty with her father’s words in her head. There is chaos, deception and infidelity on the part of the adults in her life. The book opened up a window for me into the Naples culture, allowing me a look into a very different world than the one I grew up in. It wasn’t my favorite read of the month, but I’m glad I stuck with it and appreciate that it expanded my horizons. Elena Ferrante is a pseudonymous Italian novelist who also wrote My Brilliant Friend.
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
My fan-girl admiration of Fredrik Bachman continues this month with Us Against You. Set in hockey obsessed Beartown and full of human drama, you don’t have to have an interest in hockey to love this book. When the star of the hockey team is accused of rape, the town is divided and struggles with the aftermath. Even though I know Bachman is a Swedish writer and his novel is set in Sweden, I could easily imagine it being northern Wisconsin. The Washington Post review states, “Us Against You takes a lyrical look at how a community heals, how families recover and how individuals grow.” Not a quick read, but well worth it.
Atomic Love by Jennie Fields
Jennie Fields’s own mother worked as a University of Chicago-trained biochemist in the 1950s. Inspired by her mother’s work, Fields wrote Atomic Love set in Chicago. During World War II, the protagonist, Rosalind Porter, was the only woman working on the Manhattan Project. Five years after the war, she is 30 years old and selling jewelry at Marshall Field’s. When she is contacted by a colleague she had a passionate love affair with while working on the Project before he abruptly broke up with her, she is also contacted by the FBI who wants her to spy on her old lover. There is science, love and espionage. One reader aptly described it as “atmospheric, historically interesting and escapism” and I agree. It was a quick read and a nice distraction.
And a Valentine book craft!
I recently came across a Valentine craft I had saved from a few years back. I decided this was the year I would finally make the upcycle book-page treat bags ala The Refab Diaries. I made a pattern and since I didn’t have any books to upcycle, I cut out my hearts from some sheets of crafting papers I already had on hand, as well as using ribbon and card stock from my stash. The only thing I purchased was the candy to tuck inside. I used a 4” heart template which only held one Hershey Miniature.
They were quick and easy, and I think turned out pretty darn cute! For those of you who may not have a sewing machine, I hand stitched one heart with two strands of embroidery floss using a running stitch. Let me know if you are inspired to create your own!
C’est la vie.