"Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson is one of the most wonderful books I've read in a while! I initially doubted if I'd really relate to the main character - a stiff British gentlemen, retired from the military and a gun collector - but I came to adore him. He made the funniest observations on modern life and turned into a true romantic hero, throwing all convention aside for the pursuit of love with a Pakistani shopkeeper. He may have rediscovered the juice of life - but spilling the tea wouldn't do at all.
The book is a full-fledged delight. It reminded me of Diane Johnson's novels with the clash of cultures and comedy of manners aspect. Breathtakingly well-written, with a rich sense of place in the small English town, this book has characters who will remain with me. I want to be Mrs. Ali, with her grace and serenity and big heart. "Major Pettigrew" was glorious fun with an ending that made me hug the book.
"Building a Home with my Husband" by Rachel Simon is a thoughtful memoir about her experience doing a home renovation - she gets anxious about the stressful process and often her husband has some Zen wisdom for her. She probes and investigates how the process affects her relationships and perspectives. I tend to overthink everything as well so I related to her search for meaning in marriage, commitment, community, design, and family.
So our library is fantastic for many reasons - it's just a mile away, so I can walk there easily. They have a good selection, story time for babies, etc. But they also have given books to me to keep! When our baby was born, we got five free board books. And just yesterday I got a book to keep as part of the "Everybody Reads" program. It's called "The Ghost Map" and it's about the cholera epidemic in Victorian London. Previously I've read "The Dress Lodger" about the same time period so I'm eager to learn more about it!