March Reads

Color Outside the Lines: Delays, Bookshelves, and Cowhides

I’m obsessed with these chunky built-ins. (image)

Just Read:

Columbine, by Dave Cullen – I’m going to gush about this book longer than I have about others. It’s so good. I have a lot more questions, and I would have read 500 more pages if Cullen had written them. I was in high school when the murders at Columbine High School happened. I remember turning on the TV expecting Oprah (as any 15 year old would), and getting completely sucked in to the media coverage. Cullen was a journalist on site that day, and after years of extensive research, he gives us an incredibly detailed account of what really went on not only that day in April, but years before, and years after. Spoiler alert: the media got a lot of it wrong. As I read, I thought for sure the story of the Lutheran minister who helped one of the shooters’ parents hold a private memorial service for their son would be the story that stuck with me. And then I got to the first day of the following school year. Hundreds of parents and community members formed a human wall around the high school to protect the returning students from the media so they could have their own moment walking through the doors again. I was sobbing as I read. But that was one of the few parts that brought me to tears. This is good journalism, and while I’d love to get Cullen to answer about a million questions I still have, many as foll0w-ups to what he wrote, this book is worth reading.

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas – Another one about a shooting, but this is a YA novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. It debuted at number 1 on the YA best seller list, which is a giant deal. I ordered it the next day and gobbled it up. I feel about it the way I feel about Wonder, which is to say it is nowhere near flawlessly written, but it is a book that everyone should read. I’m still turning aspects of this one over in my head and I finished about two weeks ago.

Shrill, by Lindy West -I dont’ know. It’s a collection of essays, and there are some winners. But also losers. The first couple chapters had me laughing out loud, but sometimes I found her more whiny than she was making her point.

Hungry Heart, by Jennifer Weiner – Winner. Total winner. Another series of essays, almost all fantastic, from someone who is truly a grounded, and confident person. Loved it. Recommend it, even if you’re not into her chick lit. Though, she’ll tell you to stop looking down on chick lit!

The Red Pencil, by Andrea Davis Pinkney – A middle grade novel, written in verse, about a young girl escaping the horrors of Darfur. I enjoyed it, but I kept thinking, would my students?

Reading:

Etiquette and Espionage, by Gail Carriger – I have done a wonderful job staying on pace for 52 books this year, but a terrible job at consciously fitting them into the Pop Sugar categories. So I’m attacking this steampunk novel because it’s part of the challenge, and because it was just sitting on the YA shelf waiting for me to pick it up. It’s definitely different, and may serve as both my first and only steampunk novel, but I can commit to finishing.

Want to Read:

In The Great Green Room, by Amy Gary – because I have read Goodnight Moon infinity times (I love it, though, it never gets old to me).

So You’ve Been Publically Shamed, by Jon Ronson – because everyone on the internet raves about it.

February Reads

Guys. My New Year’s resolution was to read every day. I have read every day. It has undoubtedly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. There have been only 3 nights I’ve read a single page (That’s what I told myself. At least one page. Every day.) There have been a wealth of nights I have thought, “It’s just going to be a one-page night,” and I read so much more. Those people who say to start small when you’re trying to change a habit might be on to something there.

Ideal Bookshelf 974: Feminists

(Jane Mount’s Ideal Bookshelf – Feminist Edition)

Just Read:

Find the Good, by Heather Lende – Short, sweet, and worth a quick read.

Deconstructing Penguins, by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone – I had this on hold at the library for years, years! Not because a million people were waiting, but because there was one copy, and I’m assuming it got lost. I finally broke down and ordered it. While I didn’t agree with everything the authors taught or chose to read with their book clubs, there’s a lot of good here.

You Will Know Me, by Megan Abbott – Total quick-read, page turner, in the unreliable narrator, and creepy situations genre that has taken the book-world by storm in the last couple of years. I thought it was (seriously racy) YA, but turns out, Megan Abbott is shelved in the adult sections of both the libraries I’ve visited. I swear Anne referred to it as YA in Episode 63, and I swear The Skimm called The Fever YA when they picked it as a Skimm read. Know that it follows both adult, and young adult characters, if that makes a difference in your selection.

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon – Classic YA. Completely predictable plot. So good anyway. Short chapters mean you can plow through it quickly.

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal – I love, love, love Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She is equally adept at writing for kids and grown ups. This is a grown up volume, and oh-man, does Amy have a was of noticing the little things that might otherwise slip by unnoticed.

Sabbath in the Suburbs, by Mary Ann McKibben Dana – The idea of sabbath is a fave of mine. This is written by an associate pastor at a church in Northern Virginia, about her family’s experiment with Sabbath and rest. Such a quick read, and I found myself highlighting lines on almost every page.

Reading:

The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon – Consensus on my bookstagram feed is that this is the better of Yoon’s two books. Loving it so far.

Want to Read:

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood – I’ve never read it and I want to watch the series on Netflix. But, of course, gotta read the book first.

Ragtime, by E.L. Doctorow – I have plans to go see it (again – love this show) in D.C. this spring and it’s about time I read the original story.

2016 Reading Challenge, an Update

Dear readers, it’s reading week.  Which will likely last well beyond a Monday-Friday’s worth of blog posts.  Books are the best.  Cheers.

You know the deal.  PopSugar posts a reading challenge each year, and I count myself in.  I check in with you all halfway through the year to let you know how I’m doing, and then again at the end of the year.  More on my 2017 reading goals tomorrow.  Here’s how I finished up 2016.   How I didn’t read a single dystopian novel is beyond me.

Penguin English Library.

A book based on a fairy tale

A National Book Award winner – Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DiCamillo (well, it’s a finalist)

A YA Bestseller – With Malice, by Eileen Cook

A book you haven’t read since high school

A book set in your home state

A book translated to English – My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

A romance set in the future – Happily Ever After, by Kiera Cass

A book set in Europe – Echo, by Pam Muñoz Ryan

A book that’s under 150 pages

A New York Times bestseller – The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey

A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A book recommended by someone you just met

A self-improvement book –Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes

A book you can finish in a day – Tales from the Back Row, by Amy Odell

A book written by a celebrity – I Feel Bad About my Neck, by Nora Ephron

A political memoir – Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance (well, it’s sort of, unintentionally political right now)

A book at least 100 years older than you

A book that’s more than 600 pages

A book from Oprah’s Book Club – Love Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton

A science-fiction novel

A book recommended by a family member – Accidental Saints, by Nadia Bolz Weber (recommended by my Pops)

A graphic novel – Dare to Disappoint, by Ozge Samanci

A book that is published in 2016 – When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalinithi

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation – American Housewife, by Helen Ellis

A book that takes place during summer – Summerlost, by Allie Condie

A book and its prequel

A murder mystery – Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty

A book written by a comedian – You’ll Grow Out of It, by Jessi Klein

A dystopian novel

A book with a blue cover – After I Do, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A book of poetry – Booked, by Kwame Alexander

The first book you see in a bookstore – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

A classic from the 20th century – Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne

A book from the library – My Year of Running Dangerously, by Tom Foreman

An autobiography – Life in Motion, by Misty Copeland

A book about a road trip – Love that Boy, by Ron Fournier

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with – A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park

A satirical book – A Window Opens, by Susan Egan (not true satire, but it pokes some fun at suburban life in all the right places)

A book that takes place on an island – The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy – Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo

And the stuff I’ve read that doesn’t fit these categories:
Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave; Peace, Locomotion, by Jacqueline Woodson; Stella by Starlight, by Sharon Draper; Swimming Studies, by Leanne Shapton; Small Victories, by Anne Lamott; George, by Alex Gino; I Remember Nothing, by Nora Ephron; Sparkly Green Earrings, by Melanie Shankle; Little Victories, by Jason Gay; Maybe in Another Life, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult; The Secrets of Happy Families, by Bruce Feiler; Grace, not Perfection, by Emily Ley; My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Stroud; The Light of the World, by Elizabeth Alexander; This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett; The History of Great Things, by Elizabeth Crane; Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist; The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion;  Delicious, by Ruth Reichl; Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight; Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catmull; Keep Me Posted, by Lisa Beazley; A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd

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November and December Reads

These past two months, I was in a complete reading rut.  I used to stress that I’d never touch a book again, or that less reading meant I was watching too much TV, but now I don’t worry as much.  I always come back to books.

You know I love this. via Happy Monday. Hope you have a good week. xo:

Just Read:

You’ll Grow Out of It, by Jessi Klein – Loved it.  Flat out, loved it.  Don’t know that anyone not born in the 80s would feel the same, but I was, and I loved this.  Also, anyone who includes a chapter about attending their first barre class in so much (hysterically accurate) detail wins.

Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult – Oh, Jodi.  My first Jodi was My Sister’s Keeper.  I read it when it came out in 2004.  I hit Jodi right when she hit her stride.  Where Disney had The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, Jodi was on a roll with My Sister’s Keeper, Vanishing Acts, The Tenth Circle, and Nineteen Minutes.  I eagerly awaited the release of each novel, and in between, I went back and read her earlier books.  And then, I kept reading the new one each year, but they lacked that same “can’t put it down” feeling that those others held for me.  Until this one.  It’s so relevant.  It’s so well-done.  I’m calling it my fiction read-alike to Hillbilly Elegy, and it’s making me want to read this, this, this and this, too.

Reading:

Counting Thyme, by Melanie Conklin – This one came recommended by my aunt.  It’s a middle grade novel about a sister who moves across the country to New York so her younger brother can participate in a medical trial for kids with Neuroblastoma, a horrifying cancer about which my aunt knows far too much.  When she was telling me about it, I wanted to read it first because of the family connection, and second, because I realized I hadn’t read a middle grade novel in ages.  I’m enjoying it.

Want to Read:

The Mothers, by Brit Bennett – Just came in for me at the library, and I know I’ll need to get started because they’ll want to keep it moving.  Can’t wait.

Mrs. Bixby’s Last Day, by John David Anderson – I’m a sucker for a teacher story, and this one sounds like it will tug at my heart.

(image/shelf goals)

October Reads

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Just Read:

Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance – As a rule, I do not discuss politics.  Ever.  So all I’ll say is Appalachia, and the people who live there, have gotten a lot of attention lately, for reasons both political and not.  This book was fascinating.  A look into a culture that has been around for quite some time, and is often misrepresented and misunderstood.  I love the way Vance writes honestly about his family and his hometown.  He doesn’t apologize for his family, nor does he try to sugar-coat them.  It’s his story, so of course, I can’t paint broad strokes and say I now understand all about the hillbillies of Appalachia, but Vance’s story is a great one.

Someone Could Get Hurt, by Drew Magary – If you haven’t read Magary’s annotated guide to the Williams Sonoma catalog (it comes out every holiday season), you are missing out.  Magary is hysterical.  He says the things we’re all thinking, excessive expletives included, and wouldn’t dare say out loud.  Thank goodness someone is speaking these truths.  I attacked this one, a couple chapters at a time, before bed over about a week.  And there were multiple times I feared I would wake my husband because I was laughing so loud.

The Secrets of Happy Families, by Bruce Feiler – This is like The Happiness Project (a favorite of mine) with a family twist.  I loved this book.  Feiler’s writing is honest, and most important for a book like this, it’s not preachy.  I guarantee if you read it, you’ll find one or two ideas you want to bring into your own family.  That said, I’m a big-picture person, and took away a couple of over-arching ideas that make me warm and fuzzy inside.  First of all, families (and the dynamics associated with them) are always changing and it’s supposed to be that way.  Move with the cheese, anyone?  And second, families should be safe spaces.  You don’t have to get everything right, you just have to be loving, and try your best.  I would put a copy of this book in just about anyone’s hands.

Reading:

The Year of Living Danishly, by Helen Russell – This title screams my name.  I’m a total sucker for books where people try things for a year, and I am absolutely taken with Scandinavian culture.

Want to Read:

Modern Love, by Aziz Ansari – I’ve started and stopped Parks and Rec about a zillion times, and that was the extent of my knowledge of Aziz Ansari for a while.  But this summer, my husband and I watched and adored Master of None, and I recently listened to his podcast on Freakonomics.  I don’t mean to sound unintelligent here, dear readers, but he’s much deeper than I gave him credit for.  (Did I think he was true to Tom Haverford?  Do I really not know how TV works?)  Excited to get my hands on this one.

 

What I Read on my Summer Vacation

LOL, I went nowhere, really, except for our annual beach vacation, which was cut a tad shorter than I would have otherwise liked because one of our party stopped sleeping.

I digress.  Already.

I always have my phone in hand, which means I always have a book at the ready, thank you Kindle App.  And so I got a lot of reading done this summer, mostly while holding a baby who chose to only sleep on me.  Whatever works, right?

I am incredibly picky when it comes to books.  I’ve read a lot of them, which means the odds the next one I choose will change my life is slim.  Only a handful of books can do that, and I’m not likely to come across them very often.  But the search for the next one is always so enticing that I keep on keeping on.  Here are my 3 and 4 star picks:
Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty: I was so skeptical about this one because all I had read by her was The Husband’s Secret and I did not love it.  But this was the best page-turner I read all summer.  I couldn’t put it down, and if I had to, I kept thinking about the plot.  It’s about a group of elementary school parents, and while what happened to them seems far fetched, the ways in which they interact hit close to home.

Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan: I have loved this author for years now, and her latest installment was captivating.  It’s three separate stories, about how three characters from different time periods come to love a particular instrument.  That sounds kind of boring, but because of the history the characters live through, the stories are rich and compelling.

Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne: I came across this while browsing the library’s website, and borrowed it simply because it was a classic I had never read.  I’m hit or miss with classics, but so many people I know have talked about the humor in this book.  It’s delightful and oh-so-charming.  I can’t wait for Gooplet to grow up so I can read it to him already.

Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catmull: This one did that thing a lot of non-fiction books do, where they go on for a little longer than I think they really should.  But there are some great anecdotes about the Disney and Pixar movies I love.  What was most fascinating to me is that someone suggested The Princess and the Frog not be called that because boys wouldn’t go see a movie with “princess” in the title (or any girl’s name).  Whoever was making the big decisions stuck to their guns, but in fact, the movie got great reviews, and tanked at the box office.  And so Tangled became Tangled, not Rapunzel.  And Frozen is Frozen, not Elsa and Anna.  Fascinating!

Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight: Another page turner, and though I could see the ending as it drew nearer, I’d still recommend it.  The story pieces together what happened to a high school girl, Amelia, who jumped off the roof of her fancy private school.  It struck me as Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars.

With Malice, by Eileen Cook: In the same vein as the book above, this one looks at a girl who wakes up from a car accident with no memory of what happened.  And it turns out she is being accused of murdering the passenger in the car, her best friend.  Again, a fairly predictable plot, but a fun read nonetheless.

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion: I had seen this book recommended in so many places and was happy to finally get through it.  Which I did in just a couple of days.  It’s such a cute and quirky read about a man, who the author implies has Aspergers, and his search for the perfect wife.  He creates an extensive questionnaire to find the best possible suitor, and then meets Rosie, who, of course, meets hardly any of his qualifications.  And yet.

Summer Reading

Summer is always a season of reading for me, and this summer, it seems like there are so many great books on the horizon.  Here’s what I’m hoping to get to.  I have a ton of these titles on hold from the library right now, and I promise to swing back and keep you posted on what pans out.

Reading on the beach | #lyoness | Travel now: https://www.lyoness.com/branche/travel:

(All titles best enjoyed with an ice-cold glass of Joy the Baker’s summer water.)

My favorite thing to do in the world! Lie on the beach with a book in one hand, a drink in my other! ☀️:

Modern Lovers, by Emma Straub – I loved The Vacationers, and I bet this will be equally fabulous.  Straub has a way of writing about people today that makes you feel like she’s rolling her eyes at us, while smiling at the same time

The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney – This has been all over Instagram because the cover is so darn beautiful.  Modern Mrs. Darcy says this is “a rare bird–a literary page turner.”  I can’t wait.

Opening Belle, by Maureen Sherry – Reese Witherspoon bought the rights to this one, so I’d better get started before it becomes a movie.

The Island House, by Nancy Thayer – I read The Guest Cottage last year solely because the girl on the cover looked like she could be me.  And I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Looking forward to breezing through this one, and pretending I’m on Nantucket.

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante – Have you heard of the series?  I hadn’t until my aunt mentioned it, but then it started popping up everywhere.  I wouldn’t have picked this up otherwise, but I’m interested to get my hands on it. Now I’m next in line for the first book, and realizing if I like it, it’s going to be a couple months before my number comes up for book two.  Should have thought of that ahead of time.

Here’s to Us, by Elin Hilderbrand – I’m going to confess something, and I hope you won’t judge me.  I’m not a huge Elin fan.  I love the beach, I love chick lit, and I have nothing but sweet, sweet love for Nantucket.  I’ve started a bunch of hers, but they haven’t held my interest.  My hope for this one comes in the form of Jess, one of my favorite bloggers, who wrote some recipes for the books.

In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume – This one came out last summer, which means you might be able to score it without having to wait at the library.  I am a huge fan of Blume’s Summer Sisters, and hope this novel for adults holds me just as much.

*Speaking of which, Reese is turning Big Little Lies into an HBO series.  I flew through it in a weekend about a month ago.  As someone with an in-depth knowledge of an elementary school, I found it hysterical in that it’s not too far-fetched to think something like what happened there, could actually happen.  I’ll leave it at that, and tell you I hadn’t loved any of Liane Moriarty’s books until this one.  I adored it.  Time to try What Alice Forgot.

(picture one and picture two)

2016 Reading Challenge

Last year, I took PopSugar’s reading challenge.  Didn’t finish.  Didn’t care.  It wasn’t really about trying to fill in each of the categories as much as it was about seeing how much what I was reading was or wasn’t particularly varied.  PopSugar came back with a reading challenge vengeance in 2016, and I am, of course, along for the ride.  We’re just over halfway through the year, and I know I promised you a summer reading post, and I really will get that to you, but first, here is how I’m doing.  I’ll be back at the end of the year with a final update on this list.

BOOKS.:

(source)

And as always, you can keep up with my reading as it happens on Instagram.

  1. A book based on a fairy tale
  2. A National Book Award winner
  3. A YA Bestseller
  4. A book you haven’t read since high school
  5. A book set in your home state
  6. A book translated to English
  7. A romance set in the future – Happily Ever After, by Kiera Cass
  8. A book set in Europe – Echo, by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  9. A book that’s under 150 pages
  10. A New York Times bestseller – The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey
  11. A book that’s becoming a movie this year
  12. A book recommended by someone you just met – The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey
  13. A self-improvement book –Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes
  14. A book you can finish in a day – Tales from the Back Row, by Amy Odell
  15. A book written by a celebrity – I Feel Bad About my Neck, by Nora Ephron
  16. A political memoir
  17. A book at least 100 years older than you
  18. A book that’s more than 600 pages
  19. A book from Oprah’s Book Club
  20. A science-fiction novel
  21. A book recommended by a family member – Accidental Saints, by Nadia Bolz Weber (recommended by my Pops)
  22. A graphic novel
  23. A book that is published in 2016 – When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalinithi
  24. A book with a protagonist who has your occupation – American Housewife, by Helen Ellis
  25. A book that takes place during summer – Summerlost, by Allie Condie
  26. A book and its prequel
  27. A murder mystery – Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty
  28. A book written by a comedian –
  29. A dystopian novel
  30. A book with a blue cover – After I Do, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  31. A book of poetry – Booked, by Kwame Alexander
  32. The first book you see in a bookstore
  33. A classic from the 20th century
  34. A book from the library – My Year of Running Dangerously, by Tom Foreman
  35. An autobiography – Life in Motion, by Misty Copeland
  36. A book about a road trip
  37. A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with – A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park
  38. A satirical book – A Window Opens, by Susan Egan (not true satire, but it pokes some fun at suburban life in all the right places)
  39. A book that takes place on an island – The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
  40. A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

And the stuff I’ve read that doesn’t fit these categories:

Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave; Peace, Locomotion, by Jacqueline Woodson; Stella by Starlight, by Sharon Draper; Swimming Studies, by Leanne Shapton; Small Victories, by Anne Lamott; George, by Alex Gino; I Remember Nothing, by Nora Ephron; Sparkly Green Earrings, by Melanie Shankle; Little Victories, by Jason Gay; Maybe in Another Life, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

February Reads

Whilst hanging out among friends a while back, one mentioned she loved reading, but hated finding new books to read.  You know in TV shows, when you hear a screech sound, like a record player coming to a complete halt?  (Does anyone even understand that reference?)  Because that’s what happened when she made that comment.

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I’m all about the hunt for the new greatest book.  Maybe in part because it’s such a rare find.  The more I read, the less likely it is that this book will be one I remember over so many others.  But I’ll read anything in my path in the name of finding greatness again.

The particular comment got me thinking that maybe there are others who feel this way too.  That reading is wonderful, but finding the right book to read is a chore.  In that case, let me gently point you toward Anne Bogel’s (aka, Modern Mrs. Darcy) new podcast, What Should I Read Next?  I’ve been listening, and I love it.  In it, she asks her guests to name three books they love, one they hate, and what they’re reading now.  Based on their responses, Anne gives a couple of suggestions for future reading.  I’m loving the diversity of books guests have mentioned so far, and more than anything, I’m loving the suggestions and new to me titles.

With that in mind, I’m bypassing telling you what I’ve read, and what I’m reading this month, because, dear readers, to be honest, neither is incredibly interesting at present, and I’m giving you a nice long list of what I want to read next.  If you, like said friend, hate the threat of having to search for new reading material, take a look at this list, and see what strikes your fancy.

Want to Read

From Episode 6, with Tsh Oxenreider:

The Little Book Store of Big Stone Gap, by Wendy Welch – because Anne recommended it on one of her podcasts, and it sounds like it is made for me.  It’s a memoir (you had me at hello) about a couple who leave their high powered jobs behind in the name of renovating an old white house in order to open a bookstore there.  Or basically, it’s about people living out Sous Chef Lauren’s and my life-long dream.

The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle – because Tsh mentioned it in conjunction with a school her son is attending.  Tsh didn’t go into specifics, but it sounds like this school (and excuse me, where are you, and can I work here and send my kids to you?) requests that parents read certain books in conjunction with their children’s educations.  First of all, LOVE.  Second of all, this book sounds so interesting, because to hear Tsh describe it, it sounded like a parenting book, and one toward which I was about to nudge my husband.  But then, to look it up on Amazon, it sounds like just a general non-fiction book (with perhaps huge implications for the raising of children).  No matter what it is, count me in.

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin – because I love books that mention books.  When Tsh mentioned it as a story she loved, I was intrigued because of the premise, but upon looking it up, was surprised to see that it was written by the author of a YA book I enjoyed about ten years ago.  This sounds different from my usual picks, but I figure it’s worth a shot.

The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton – because I’ve heard enough about her at this point, that it’s time I read one of hers.  If I’m not mistaken, this was one of those Target picks that caught on like wild fire, a la Sarah’s Key.  (If you’re not familiar with the influence of Target’s book picks, take a look here.)  Kate Morton has gone on to write many other novels, but this seems like the place to start.

From Episode 5, with Deidra Riggs:

These is My Words, by Nancy Turner – because it’s about a young girl’s coming of age as she travels to Arizona between 1880-1900.  I love stories of people traveling west, and am fascinated to see how this one plays out over 20 years.

Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jaqueline Woodson – because I started it last year and never finished.  I didn’t hate it, I just did that thing I do sometimes where I get distracted when I hit the middle of a book, and I never come back around to it.  It’s a memoir in verse, and it seems to have caught some attention outside of the kid-litosphere, which is a place in which I love setting up camp.  I don’t remember being particularly taken with the verse aspect of it, but there’s something about it that seems to have hooked people across a more broad range of reading worlds, so it’s worth revisiting.

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd – because Anne mentions that Oprah is a fan, and do I ever need another reason to check something out?  But here’s the thing.  I did not love Secret Life of Bees, and I actively disliked The Mermaid Chair.  But here’s the other thing.  This story sounds truly compelling.  Enough that it’s worth checking out from the library.

 

 

January Reads

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I fell off the reading bandwagon in the fall, dear readers, but with a 2016 resolution to read every day, and a GORGEOUS engineer print of Elise’s goal tracker, I am back in the game.  Here’s what January held…

Just Read

The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey, because a couple of parents I hold in high esteem recommended it.  I have been talking about it with anyone who will stand still.  I did find that when Lahey is writing about kids who are ages her kids have actually been (it seems like her older child is in middle school) that I liked those chapters better.  Her chapters about older kids seemed like laundry lists of things she decided would be good to do, but were less road tested.  But the bottom line of the book is that kids need to “fail” and that doesn’t actually mean catastrophe, and in fact it means learning, and again, I tell you, there is a nugget of wisdom in this book for anyone with any kind of child.

After I Do, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, because I liked what I started in Maybe in Another Life, and this one has a very Miranda and Steve in the Sex and the City Movie premise, and it was available to download right away through my library.  I read it in a day over my winter break.

Reading:

When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalinithi, which I bought, which I never do, because I didn’t want to wait for it to come in at the library.  Because everyone is talking about it, and because I loved Being Mortal, in the way it made me think about things people don’t often enjoy thinking about in an un-unenjoyable way.  It’s more about his being a neurosurgeon than I realized, and there are some parts I’m having to skim through (one part in particular about a pulsing brain that I wasn’t ready for), but as it nears the end, it’s breath-taking, dear readers.

Want to Read

I Was Told There’d Be Cake, by Sloane Crosley, because The Skimm told me to read The Clasp, which is also on my list, but that led me to this one, which seems truly up my alley.  If for no other reason than the title alone.

My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout, because Cup of Jo is reading it.  I never read Olive Kitteridge, despite having checked it out from my local and beach libraries, probably multiple times.  This makes 0 sense, but there you have it.  Anyway, this one looks intense, and yet still like a quick read.  It’s on hold.

Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo, because LOL.  Because I persist in my on-going quest to be the kind of person who is a minimalist even though I will never be a minimalist?  Sure.  That’s why.