In Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott enters a new and unexpected chapter of her own life: grandmotherhood.
Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at nineteen, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson Jax's life.
In careful and often hilarious detail, Lamott and Sam-about whom she first wrote so movingly in Operating Instructions-struggle to balance their changing roles with the demands of college and work, as they both forge new relationships with Jax's mother, who has her own ideas about how to raise a child. Lamott writes about the complex feelings that Jax fosters in her, recalling her own experiences with Sam when she was a single mother. Over the course of the year, the rhythms of life, death, family, and friends unfold in surprising and joyful ways.
Pages: 272 (hardback)
Publisher: Published March 20th 2012 by Riverhead Hardcover
Rating: 8 out of 10
Source: Checked out of library
Date Completed: January 27, 2014
When I look back on early parenthood, Anne Lamott's book Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year is one of the shining lights. The book helped me so much! A few years into parenthood and I am trying to figure out how to improve my relationship with all of my daughter's grandparents. I was very excited to hear that she had a new book coming out about her experience as a grandparent. Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son by Anne Lamott was something I very much looked forward to reading, but did not get around to starting for quite awhile.
As predicted, I loved her insight and was glad to get the grandparent perspective; I also loved that she co-wrote the book with her son. I was hoping to become more patient and understanding; in the general scheme of the book I felt like I understood her perspective, but I still felt frustrated and annoyed with some of the ways she interacted with her grandson and his parents. One of my favorite passages in the book is about staking out and claiming love territory. We are so lucky that there are so many people who love and support us as a family, but sometimes we inadvertently compete to make sure we have a special spot in my daughter's heart. Even though I know better, I find myself in a weird competitive mode. Seeing my behavior through Lamott's writing made me laugh and reminded me that parenthood can be so much easier without drama.
One of my sweetest moments with the book was as I was finishing the last few pages. The Little One had not slept well the night before and came into our bed. She was sleeping in and I decided to read next to her. Hearing her breathe and look so peaceful next to me made the words about love and family feel so real.
I am counting this book for the What's in a Name 2014 for the reference to time category.
As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.
Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.
Pages: 429 (paperback)
Publisher: Published May 27th 2008 by Penguin Books (first published May 17th 2007)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Date Completed: January 25, 2014
The first book I finished in 2013 was Broken Harbor by Tana French which I read for the Partners and Professors book club. While I had mixed feelings about the book, others in the club praised In the Woods by Tana French. I borrowed a copy and began reading little sections here and there. Initially, I was engrossed and then a little bit restless. I wanted more resolution at the end, but overall I did like it better than Broken Harbor.
My favorite and most frustrating character was Rob Ryan whose connection to the past comes up in some unexpected ways as he is trying to solve the current case. I also liked his partner Cassie Maddox and wanted him to be less jerky to her.
The ending was a surprise which felt like a good reward as some parts of the book dragged.
Ever since the number of books for the lowest level of participation went up to four, I have not been able to complete this challenge. I have come close and finished three, but somehow the last one eludes me. I am back again in the hopes of *finally* finishing this challenge. Description and details are below. Even though there are no levels, I am aiming to complete four books.
My books are:
It has been so long since I finished this challenge and yet I love it so! I know that I very late signing up, but I am still going to try. Maybe a new host will help me complete the challenge.
The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories (examples of books you could choose are in brackets):
- A reference to time (Eleven Minutes, Before Ever After): Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son by Anne Lamott. I finished this book in January. My review can be found here.
- A position of royalty (The People’s Queen, The Last Empress, The Curse Of The Pharaoh)
- A number written in letters (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, A Tale Of Two Cities)
- A forename or names (Rebecca, Eleanor & Park, The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D.)
- A type or element of weather (Gone With The Wind, Red Earth Pouring Rain): We are Water by Wally Lamb: completed on March 7, 2014. You can find my review here
- Books can be any format (print, audio, ebook).
- It’s preferred that the books don’t overlap with other challenges, but not a requirement at all.
- Books cannot overlap categories (for instance my first example, Eleven Minutes, could be used for category 1 or 3 but not both).
- Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed, it’s encouraged!
- You don’t have to make your list of books beforehand, you can choose them as you go.
- You don’t have to read your chosen books in any particular order.
Last year, I was excited to complete the 2013 South Asian Challenge and was looking forward to signing up again. When I looked at the challenge page, I discovered that Swapna had created a Perpetual South Asian Challenge. I am excited for the ongoing challenge of including books by South Asians or about South Asia as part of my regular reading.
Last year, I read six books either written by South Asians or about South Asia. In 2014, I am going to aim to read seven books.