Friday, December 13, 2019

Freeform Friday: What's in Ashley's Stack?

Hey book reading friends! If you're like me, you're plowing through these holiday events/obligations/choir concerts/treat making (and treat eating)/gift buying/etc/etc/etc because it's crazy that it's December 13th! Seriously. Every year I swear to you the holiday season goes faster and faster. It's okay, though. We still have plenty of time for Prime shipping. That's what I'm telling myself, at least.

Once things slow down (ha) and the kids are out of school and I stop having to stand in the kitchen at 5 PM wondering what the heck we're going to have for dinner because apparently I forgot ALL DAY that we had to eat dinner and now we don't have time for extra special dinner making before the next upcoming activity, I'm planning to read. We'll have a good dose of holiday festivities of course, but by and large I'd like to spend a lot of time reading and whittling down on this huge stack of books I have going on.

Some of these books are ones I've accepted/requested for review, so there's some amount of obligation involved, some are books that I've been given for gifts or am borrowing, some are ones that I've just put in the stack as next in line, and then of course there are the library books that I keep putting on hold even though I have a ton of books waiting in the queue. What can I say? I'm a compulsive reader. And I'm reading for sanity. So. There ya go. Whatever your holiday may include this year, I'm hoping it can include a lot of reading. Should you need some ideas, especially ones that may not be on your radar, check out my list below. Happy holidays, friends!

Books I'm currently reading and plan to finish before the year is out (all pics and summaries come from

A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Baranbaum
Summary: In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar's army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. But now, with fierce, headstrong Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia's only female surgeons, and Vanya hoping to solve the final puzzles of Einstein's elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?

Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri's fiancé. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri's own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance.

Grounded in real history -- and inspired by the solar eclipse of 1914 -- A Bend in the Stars offers a heartstopping account of modern science's greatest race amidst the chaos of World War I, and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia.

Summary: In every corner of this earth there are secrets. They are hidden in the dark edge of the woods, nestled in the cold stars, and staring out from a stranger's eyes. And whether they be demonic possession or an unsolved murder, the unknown has always haunted our dreams.

From the hit podcast Unexplained comes a volume perfectly crafted for the curious, the cynical, and the not-easily-frightened. Richard Maclean Smith is the expert in the unknown, and humbly offers up ten tales of real-life events that continue to evade explanation. With these chilling stories comes the missing key: a connection to our own beliefs in science, superstition, and perception.

What can a case of demonic possession teach us about free will? What can a cursed box show us about the act of storytelling? What can a supposed instance of reincarnation tell us about developing a concept of the self?

Perhaps some things are just better left unexplained...

Books that are staring at me longingly from their places on the to-read shelf (pics from

The Winter Sisters by Tim Westover

And one library book that is due soon enough it will probably be moved up above all these very worthy lovelies:

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