This week, I finished the fantastic At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson, which took me quite a while to read. So I wanted to switch up to something I knew I'd read quickly and something I was confident I'd enjoy: Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I'd heard so much great stuff about that book that it was a natural choice; I didn't know how much it would crawl inside of me and make me spend the rest of the day looking at things that make me happy-cry.
What I Read This Week:
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this ramble through the history of modern civilization, organized by the rooms in Bryson's old English parsonage. Bryson is the king of anecdotes that make you turn to whoever is sitting next to you and go, "Whoah, did you know..." I highly recommend this for anyone who's curious about the details of history: why does "toilet water" mean two very different things, why forks have four tines, and why jackets have those useless sleeve buttons, to name just a few.
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Wonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is going to be a terribly incoherent review because I've just finished reading this book and I'm still in pieces. Ok. Let me see. You know how, when you have a massage, you feel tired afterward, because your muscles have been mushed around for an hour? So even though you did something relaxing and enjoyable, now you feel like you just need to sit and sip water and recuperate? That's how I feel about this book. Like I need to spend the rest of the afternoon meditating or something, even though the actual experience of reading it was mostly a lot of fun.
The thing about this book is that even though it's a serious book, it's a fun-serious book, because Auggie and the people around him are people, and like most people they enjoy fun things and have senses of humor and don't go through life never cracking a smile because a person in their lives has medical issues. Wonder does an especially great job of capturing the moods of the gala days of growing up: science fairs and school plays and graduations. It's also got things in it that are sad and things in it that are frustrating. It's got song lyrics and quotations from books and plays that I love. It's the kind of book that makes me want to teach fifth grade (and it also reminds me of the hard parts of teaching kids that age.)
I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but if you haven't read this yet, do yourself a favor and set aside some time (preferably by yourself, in your home, as the likelihood of tears in the second half is strong) and read it.
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