October Reads

I try to stay current on about 4 or 5 podcasts. And because Gooplet developed an intense passion for the Moana soundtrack over the summer, I have fallen hopelessly behind on all of them. Anytime a noise-making device was on, said device was blasting Moana (make waaaaay, make waaaaay). But. We’re slowly diversifying our tastes, and I’ve even managed to keep a couple podcasts on here and there during the background of our days.

Wonderful mix of Puffin Children's Classics and Puffin In Bloom.


The other day, it was a back episode of What Should I Read Next, and Anne said that she once heard that one of the worst things you can say about a book is “I liked it,” or, “I didn’t like it.” That’s not really what books are for, anyway. Books are for sharing glimpses into other worlds, in hopes that we come to see something, anything, in a new way.

Loved it.

Here’s what I read in October. I think I’m coming out of my slump.

Just Read:

Dear Fahrenheit 451, by Annie Spence – Such a fun book, which I wrote more about here.

Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson – If I was still in a fifth grade classroom every day, there is no way two years would have gone by before I learned about this book. But two years went by, and I didn’t know about it until it started popping up across the Bookstagram feeds I follow. Such a fun story, and I’m sure a hit with elementary schoolers everywhere.

All’s Faire in Middle School, by Victoria Jamieson – This is the second graphic novel by the author of the book before, and is just as charming. I always roll my eyes when I see people posting pictures from the local Renaissance Faire, but this was such a sweet peek at what happens behind the scenes there.


My Glory Was I Had Such Friends, by Amy Silverstein – Oh, this one is beautiful. I find myself alternatively delighted and then frustrated with the narrator, but it’s like what I said above. This book is helping me trying to wrap my head around what life would be like on the waiting list for a heart transplant for a second time. And a quick story. As I sat down with this book–about the power of friendship–I started reading the description of the first friend, Joy. Hmmm, I thought, this Joy sounds a lot like my husband’s boss, Joy. Dear readers, one of the friends the author wrote about is my husband’s boss Joy. He’s always mentioned her utter dedication to friends and family, and there she was, on page nine of this book. What a small world, indeed.

Wild Things, by Bruce Handy – I’m not sure I love this book, but I’m going to keep reading it. The author is coming off as smug to me, but it’d be hard for me to put down any book on children’s literature.

Want to Read:

I don’t know! I’ve got my reading goal for 2018 already percolating in the back of my head, and I wonder if I’m going to spend the last 2 months of 2017 getting a jump-start on that, or if I’ll just see what strikes my fancy next. What have you been reading lately?

Books with Short Chapters

Dear readers, if you’ve been sitting around, wondering why a reading post didn’t go up on the 28th (because you know that’s when they go up, right?), I have to tell you the honest-to-goodness reason. I read nothing in September. Nada. That is so shameful for me. I cracked the cover of The Nightingale, which is on loan from a friend,* and I couldn’t get going with it. And here’s the thing. I’ve been in this too long enough to know it’s not the book in this case. It’s me. I have a dumb game I play on my phone at night while I watch Gilmore Girls. It’s such a mindless habit and I am in. Deep. It’s a hard cycle to break, the post-dinner mindless couch time. A first world problem of the highest order. Whenever I find myself in a reading rut, I reach for books with short chapters. Here’s what I’ve been working on lately.


Read Bottom Up, by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham – I caught this on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Daily Kindle Deals email, and it sounded appealing. I checked out the reviews, and I liked the premise. I swear I read that the authors wrote this book exactly as it’s published – in real time email and text exchanges (though now I can’t find where I read it). It’s so light-hearted and fun; such a quick one to pick up and put down during small chunks of free time

One More Thing, by BJ Novak – Oh, how I love The Office, so I knew this would be a must read. This is BJ Novak’s collection of short stories, and while some fell flat for me, I was surprised at how funny I found some of the others.

Dear Fahrenheit 451, by Annie Spence – The author is a librarian, and she’s writing to her favorite, least favorite books, and everything in between. There’s a letter to Forever, because who doesn’t remember reading that book in a corner, mouth agape? There’s one to a cookbook about dieting for one (cracked me up), and her letter to the children’s section in the public library left me weeping in bed. It’s beautiful.

*I am the worst at reading books on loan from friends. AGOMYR, I know I have like 4 of your books right now, I promise I’ll read them soon! Maybe! Or just return them and buy copies for myself.

2017 Reading Challenge, an Update

Dear readers, when I went radio silent for what I thought was a month, but my dear sister-in-law told me was actually two (gasp), I failed to give you my annual mid-year reading update. I wouldn’t want to disappoint. Here is where I am with the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge. Nothing is linked because dang, that takes a long time. But my guess is if you found the blog, you can figure out where to find these books.


A book recommended by a librarian:

A book that’s been on your TBR list too long:

Confessions of a Slacker Wife, by Muffy Mead Ferro

A book of letters:

An audiobook:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by JK Rowling

A book written by a person of color:

The Hate You Give, by Angie Thomas

A book with one of seasons in the title:

Summer Rental, by Mary Kay Andrews

A story within a story:

This is How it Always Is, by Laurie Frankel

A book with multiple authors:

The Happiest Kids in the World, by Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison

An espionage thriller:

A book with a cat on the cover:

A book written by an author who uses a pseudonym:

A best seller in a genre you don’t usually read:

A book about a person with disability:

A book involving travel:

My Year of Living Danishly, by Helen Russell

A book with a subtitle:

Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame, by Mara Wilson

A book published in 2017:

Windfall, by Jennifer E. Smith

A book involving mythical creature:

Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate (Imaginary friends are mythical, no?)

A book you’ve read before that always makes you smile:

A book about food:

The Wellness Project, by Phoebe Lapine

A book with career advice:

Deconstructing Penguins, by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone

A book written from a nonhuman perspective:

A steampunk novel:

A book with a red spine:

Saving Red, by Sonya Sones

A book set in the wilderness:

Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder

A book you loved as a child:

A book written by an author from a country you’ve never visited:

A book with a title that’s a characters name:

Juniper, by Kelley and Thomas French

A book set during wartime:

The Red Pencil, by Andrea Davis Pinkney

A book with an unreliable narrator:

You Will Know Me, by Megan Abbott

A book with pictures:

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon

A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you:

When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon

A book about an interesting woman:

A book set in two time periods:

Towers Falling, by Jewell Parker Rhodes

A book with a month or day of the week in title:

Sabbath in the Suburbs, by Mary Ann McKibben Dana

A book set in a hotel:

Rose Harbor Inn, by Debbie Macomber

A book written by someone you admire:

A book becoming movie in 2017:

A book set around a holiday not Christmas:

The first book in series you haven’t read before:

A book you bought on trip:

A book recommended by an author you love:

A bestseller from 2016:

Today Will Be Different, by Maria Semple

A book with a family member term in title:

The Mothers, by Britt Bennett

A book that takes place over a character’s life span:

A book about an immigrant or refugee:

The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon

A book from a genre/sub genre you’ve never heard of:

A book with an eccentric character:

A book that’s more than 800 pages:

A book you got from a used book sale:

The Island House, by Nancy Thayer

A book that’s been mentioned in another book:

A book about a difficult topic:

Columbine, by Dave Cullen

A book based on mythology:

Traveling with Pomegranates, by Sue and Ann Monk Kidd

See my plans about the challenge here.

Want to see the books I read that don’t fit into these categories? Let’s be friends on Goodreads.


The Best of Summer Reading

I brought all of these titles to the beach, and, as so often happens, I read almost none of them. I’m such a right-place at the right-time reader, and I can’t decide what to read until I’m finished with what’s in front of me. Here’s my book report for the summer. The best, and only the best, of what I read.


For Kids and Young Adults

Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate – Everyone loves her last one, The One and Only Ivan. I thought it was nice, but not amazing. Which is why it took me over a year to read Crenshaw. Mistake. This book is sweet without being cloying. It’s wonderful.

Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder – Does anyone remember the book, Baby Island, by Carol Ryrie Brink. I want to say it was someone’s favorite book in The Babysitters Club. So I read it in fourth grade, and tried to make myself like it, but I just couldn’t. This book is about an island of babies and big kids, and it’s marvelous. A little Lord of the Flies, too, but none of the craziness.

When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon – Perfect light, frothy, YA read.

Windfall, by Jennifer E Smith – See above.

For Grown-Ups

The Wellness Project, by Phoebe Lapine – I love books like this because they make me stay on top of making healthy choices….for a couple of weeks. Most of what Phoebe did to lead a healthier lifestyle won’t come as a surprise (drink more water, anyone?), but again, these kinds of books always make me try harder to stay the course.

Summer Rental, by Mary Kay Andrews – My neighbor told me she was flying through this book, which is about a trio of high school girlfriends who rent a house in Nags Head for a month. I am a sucker for any book about friends staying in a beach house together, and this didn’t disappoint.

My Reading Life, by Pat Conroy – Pat Conroy is best known for his book, The Water is Wide, about his year teaching students on an island off the coast of South Carolina. I’ve got that bumped up much higher on my list after tackling this book. Some of the chapters were riveting (the chapter about Gone with the Wind was my favorite, and the one about the bookstore where he worked a close second), but by the end I was skimming and racing to finish.

The Mighty Queens of Freeville, by Amy Dickinson – Might be my favorite read of the summer, though not particularly a summer read. Amy spent most of her life raising her daughter alone, and this is her memoir about the town that shaped them. They spent time in DC as well, which was fun to read.

This is How it Always Is, by Laurie Frankel – Lots of people have been talking about this one, and I was happy I read it. I wonder if I would have liked it as much if I wasn’t a parent. That’s where the title comes from – the idea that as a parent, making decisions as best you can, even though the consequences might not play themselves out for years to come, is how it always is.


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?


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.


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



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.


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


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.


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.