• The Bossy Bookworm

Three Books I'm Reading Now, 11/17/21 Edition

The Books I'm Reading Now

I'm reading Jessica Anya Blau's 1970s-set music-focused story Mary Jane; I'm listening to Katherine May's nonfiction study of settling in and turning inward, Wintering; and I'm reading Margo Orlando Littell's novel The Distance from Four Points.

What are you reading and enjoying these days, bookworms?

01 Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

In Jessica Anya Blau's novel Mary Jane, it's 1970s Baltimore, and straitlaced teen Mary Jane has landed a nanny job with a nearby family--a "respectable" family, her mother says approvingly--whose father is a psychiatrist. The doctor has only one current patient, a rock star with addiction problems.

The musician and his wife move in with the doctor's family while the star struggles with his issues, so in the household, Mary Jane suddenly has a front-row seat to wild behavior, musical experimentation, group therapy, and all sorts of other eye-opening events.

By the time summer is over, Mary Jane will understand how many more possibilities there are for her future than she's ever dreamed of.

02 Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

In Katherine May's nonfiction ode to settling in, stepping back, and slowing down, she explores her own experiences with times of her life in which this unique approach is not only called for, but beneficial.

When grief, worry, or challenges feel overwhelming, treating your schedule and your pace as though it is winter can allow you to sleep more, turn inward, adjust expectations, and nurture your body and soul.

She includes examples from others who have undergone periods of severe challenges and by choice or necessity powered down and retreated into themselves as well as the author's own found benefit in doing so.

So far this is a calming, reassuring look at listening to your own body rhythm, reducing pressure on yourself, and finding satisfaction in less.

03 The Distance from Four Points by Margo Orlando Littell

In Margo Orlando Littell's slim novel The Distance from Four Points, Robin Besher's husband has died, and she's desperately trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

But she soon finds that he had secretly sunk all of their savings into ramshackle rental houses in her Appalachian hometown, which she fled decades earlier. She has no clue as to his intentions, or why he would go against what he must have known she would have wanted.

Angry, confused, and filled with dread, Robin drags her daughter Haley back to Four Points in hopes of renovating the houses quickly, selling them, and cutting ties to the town forever.

But Robin inadvertently connects to unlikely characters in the town, and Littell explores this human connection, grief, womanhood, the power of origins, and what home means.