Monday, December 5, 2011


I am bored. I never thought that 4 1/2 months after having a baby I would be complaining about boredom. I thought that I would be running around, changing diapers, getting up for feedings and trying to find enough hours in the day to cook and clean the house. But here I am, bored and babyless.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. I've always been a big reader (I was an English major in college) but after I graduated, I gave up on literature for awhile and read mainly non-fiction and chick lit. (I can't believe I just admitted that last bit in a public forum.) I've found myself with a lot of time on my hands and I've already gone through the aimless laying on my bed part of my mourning process (which was spent watching both The Office and How I Met Your Mother) and now I need something else to do. So I am reading fiction again and not of the Shopoholic variety.

Right now, I am reading a book called The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. I've read some of his books before and I've liked his style although I forgot how depressing his writing can be. This book is about a man whose wife was in the library of Columbine during the shootings and the aftermath this left on their lives. Yes, entirely depressing but it fits my mood.

When I read, I tend to focus on parts of the story that hold poignant to me and my own life. Obviously, my perspective has changed a lot in the past 6 months. During what part of the story, the main character is teaching a class called The Quest in Literature and he asks his students to write an essay in which they compare themselves to a mythological character. He does the assignment himself and compares his struggle to Sisyphus, the king who is forced to push a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down on him for all of eternity. This really stood out to me. I think the struggle of Sisyphus is a perfect metaphor for the grief one experiences when you have lost a child. Every day is spent struggling to push the thoughts of your child out of your head in order to get through the day and make it up that hill. Some days, you barely go a few feet before everything comes crashing down again. Some days, you make it a good halfway up and feel like you are really progressing and you just might make it a little bit further tomorrow. And some days, you get that boulder pretty damn close to the summit but something gets in the way that causes that damn rock to come rolling back down again. Unfortunately, I think that parents who have lost a child suffer a similar fate as Sisyphus because we are never going to be able to get rid of that boulder.

Anyway, I am almost done with the book and looking for other good reads. Any suggestions?


  1. Do you like science fiction? We by Zamayatin is amazing (if a bit on the old side,) Bloom is newer and longer, but the end is worth it. Let me know if it's a genre you might read, I have a ton more recommendations!

  2. The Red Tent by Anita Diamante

  3. The Help. If you read fast enough, the story is good...but I just really liked the writing style when she's in the first person of the two characters who are "the help." Not the same, boring writing.

  4. Kari - Not a huge science fiction fan but am willing to try. I've never heard of Swan Song but I looked it up and it sounds interesting although the cover just terrified me. I actually own the Red Tent but I haven't read it yet. Maybe I should go there next. Misha - I loved, loved, loved the Help. I actually read it while Naya was in Santa Barbara and I read it out loud to her every day. I think she enjoyed it as well.

    Keep the suggestions coming! :)

  5. Unlikely Angel by Ashley Smith
    Why I Jumped by Tina Zahn

  6. Based on what you've just gone through...

    The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. By far, the BEST book I've ever read and one I think you'll appreciate (from what you just went through AND as an English major).

    The Last Witchfinder by James K. Morrow, and The Philosopher's Apprentice by same author. The runners-up. (Again, same as above.)

    The Fox by Arlene Radasky (free PDF on her website)

    The Giver by Lois Lowry

    Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

    Ghostwalk by Rebecca Scott

  7. The Red Tent is good Jamie.
    If you are into vampires, The Historian is good too. It's definitely not a "Twilight" type book. It's a thriller. I have it and can send it to you.
    I have all my books available that I will be donating to the library soon.

  8. These are all awesome suggestions! Thank you everyone - keep it coming. And Dan, we may need more bookshelves :)

    Mom- I think I stole the Red Tent from you awhile ago but I still haven't read it. I will gladly take your books :)

  9. I was totally going to suggest The Historian too...I'm not into vampires at all (especially of the Twilight variety) but it was an excellent read. Glad to see someone else liked it as well! I enjoyed The Bean Trees and its sequel, Pigs in Heaven (Barbara Kingsolver)...very sweet story. Also, if you haven't read them and you want something easy and utterly hilarious, the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Not sure if you want thoughtful and deep, or just entertaining. I go for the latter these days.

  10. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I got it as a gift and could not put it down :)


  11. You've probably read it but "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck is my all-time favorite, followed by "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins.


  12. 1984 never gets old. I have read it like 5 times.

  13. I second Swan Song.

    Jamie, has anyone suggested "Comfort" by Ann Hood? I was sent tons of books about grieving parents, but this is the only one I was able to read all the way through. Maybe it will resonate with you, too.