Amanda Gates

Three Books, One Post: Blue Nights, Sisterhood Everlasting, Bird by Bird

I’ve been lacking in the book blogging a bit. I’ve read several books that I haven’t mentioned here yet. Maybe because some weren’t too fantastic, or because I review them on Goodreads and then feel that’s enough. Either way, I want them on the record here, too. So, in the next two posts, I’ll quickly highlight some of my latest reads.

Blue Nights: This one didn’t grab and hold on to me like The Year of Magical Thinking did (and still does). I don’t know, maybe it was the timing. Maybe Magical Thinking felt more about the journey of loss than this one? And that’s what I needed at the time? All the reviews say Blue Nights is about Didion discovering her own mortality. She’s getting older, she’s forgetting and feeling scared, she’s feeling alone, she realizes the end is coming. However, the true message I left with was something different. [Perhaps a spoiler.] While she’s studying her own mortality, she’s realizing that all these bits of knowledge and all these stories she holds about her late daughter Quintana, well, she’s the only one who has them. They will die with her and she doesn’t want that. Because if Quintana is already gone, then her mother is the only one to pass on her legacy, to pass on her unique stories. And once she dies, no one will know. I hope that she feels more at peace now that she’s shared Quintana with the rest of us.

Sisterhood Everlasting: I started the Traveling Pants series on a whim. I believe I picked up the mass-market paperback from Target before a trip. And I fell in love with these girls. The books are simple and somewhat silly, but as a girl who really appreciates her best friendships, I could relate to the four of them. Their differences, their relationships with each other singularly and as a whole group, their journeys.

[Spoiler.] I don’t know if it’s a spoiler, because I found out before I read the book pretty easily, but in Everlasting, four friends become three. And this is the only book in the series where all of the friends’ stories happen away from each other. They barely even talk to each other for most of the book. It’s them grieving for their fourth friend on their own. They each have their own ways to grieve, and they each hold true to their personalities while doing it. But, I have to say, sometimes I just wanted to shake them and say, “Call your friends! You need each other right now!”

The book wrapped up in kind of a (unrealistic) pretty bow, but I was OK with it. Because I love these girls and I just want to leave them knowing they’re happy together somewhere.

Bird by Bird: I will never take a writing class from Anne Lamott (that would be amazing!), but this book felt like I was. She’s humorous and wry and she gives great tips about being a real-life writer. I love that she ignores her students when all they want to learn about is how to get published, because that’s Not What It’s About. I also love that she’s so honest with how hard writing is, but how wonderful too. I love the peek into her childhood and grown-up life we get as she teaches us. This is a fairly quick read. I only wish I read it when I was in the throws of writing more for myself. I would’ve absorbed and taken in so much more then. I’ll have to read it again.

Did you read any of these? Thoughts?

I'll post about four more books next week.



I've only read one. Although I've had good intentions to read some Didion, I'm just not sure which one to start with. Anyway, of course I agree with everything you wrote about Sisterhood. I'm so glad we read these books. (Mostly) light, easy books that made me happy and celebrated friendship. I also wanted to shake them sometimes, I also was ok with wrapping a bow around them. And I secretly hold out hope that there will be another one in a few years!

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