September Reads and October Book Goals

I read seven books in September. They ranged from horrible to excellent. I hope October doesn’t have as many stinkers in it.

The Summer Games by RS Grey. This book is not good. Don’t read it. I give it 0 out of 5 stars.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. This book is about Family, country, culture, jihad, and loyalty. It was a fascinating read. I highly recommend checking this book out. If you read it, let me know what you think of the ending (I thought it was perfect). I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman. This book has all of the darkness of the other Backman novels I have read, without any of the light. It was depressing. Incredibly depressing. It felt like reading a bleak January day. I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry. This book was about as deep as you would expect it to be. After reading Home Fire and Beartown it was perfect. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, which I was not expecting. It was cute and did not require much thought. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Today Will be Different by Maris Semple. Maris Semple wrote Where’d You Go Bernadette. This book is interesting, but not nearly as good as Where’d You Go  Bernadette. It’s fine, but don’t bother. I don’t even remember enough to write a good description. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Wow. This was a good book. It’s about a screen legend and her five decade long career. It’s a novel that is written so well I found myself wanting to look up photos from the events that were described only to remember that it was fiction. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

PS From Paris by Marc Levy. This book could have been a fun, predictable read. It was not. It managed to be rather dull. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

In October I have lofty reading goals. I have two new books coming from Book of the Month Club that will be added to the stack. My guess is Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend will also be in my to read stack next month.20181001_2128032161792347868377888.jpgWhat are you reading this month?

July Reads and August Goals

I hope you are enjoying the start to Labor Day weekend. Our weekend is packed with a party, a movie, football, shopping plans, and a cheese & wine get together. When we’re not busy I plan to be reading or knitting.

In August I read 7 books. Here’s what I read:

Me by Katherine Hepburn. This book was a wonderful read. It felt like I was hanging out with her over a cup of tea or glass of wine and she was sharing stories from her life. This is a book I’ll be recommending for years. It has earned a place in my top five books of all time list. I give this book five out of five stars.

How to be Champion by Sarah Millican. This book was a recommendation from someone on Instagram. Admittedly, it was an odd choice, as I had never heard Millican’s comedy before (I have watched it now, and it is very funny). Even having no idea who the heck this woman is I enjoyed the stories of her life, and her progression from office worker to comedy headliner. I give this book three out of five stars..

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. This book is about a woman who spent the perfect week with a man and then he vanishes. I really enjoyed this book – it was a romance novel without being predictable. I give this book four out of five stars.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. This book is just what I’ve been wanting to read lately – a nice book. A sweet book. It wasn’t deep, but it was good. I do wish there was a companion cookbook, because the food they made sounded delicious. This was our book club selection this month, and when it’s my turn to pick next I will probably suggest we read the sequel. I give this book three out of five stars.

Not So Nice Guy by R.S. Grey. This is a mindless romance novel. I mean that as a compliment. There are days when I want to read but I don’t want to think. This isn’t a literary masterpiece, but it is a fun read. I give it two out of five stars.

Craeft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts by Alexander Langlands. I had high expectations going into this book. I love the idea of the connection between mind, heart, head, and hands when creating something. I love that there is meaning behind the creation of something. There were parts of the book that I really enjoyed, but in the end, I don’t care how you make quick lime. I don’t have interest in the creation of ponds. I think I would have liked the book more if it were illustrated, as I often didn’t have the ability to visualize what he was talking about. I give it two out of five stars.

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle. I have a confession. I cannot relate to characters who live in fiscally irresponsible manners. It’s why I hate the Shopoholic books. Spending recklessly and not living within your means gives me the heebie jeebies. I can’t relate to it. That, which is a very small part of this book, kept me from relating to the main character. I honestly think that is the only thing that kept me from loving this book. The book is about a woman who shows up at her birthday dinner to find the five people on her list of people living or dead she would share a dinner with. It is a very interesting premise, but fell flat with me. I give this book three out of five stars.

My stack of books for September is too ambitious. 20180901_095033419160309995429006.jpgI’m 80 pages into Beartown. I am enjoying it, but it’s pretty depressing. I loved the other Fredrik Backman books I’ve read, and they started out dark too. I have yet to read more than 25 pages in one sitting, which is much less than I normally read.

I’m having a hard time getting into books that require thought at the moment. I even skipped Book of the Month Club this month because nothing spoke to me. I think it’s this time of year. At least I hope it is, because when fall arrives I hope I’m back to reading good books.

What do you do when you’re in a reading slump?

July Reads and August Book Goals

I read seven books last month. It was not a month full of books I think you should run out and get.

A Beautiful Work in Progress by Mirna Valerio. This book is by the woman behind the blog Fat Girl Running. I loved her blog. I did not love the book. It felt disjointed and awkward. I give it two stars out of five.

Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West. This book did the unthinkable: it had me rooting for a fictional high school basketball team. I loved every character in this book. I want there to be a TV show about this town, or several more books about the characters. I loved this one. I give it five out of five stars.

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. I had heard remarkable things about this book, so I was excited to pick it up. I was drawn into it and couldn’t put it down. I finished it in one day. That being said, I have no idea how I actually feel about this book. I can’t get my head around it. I give it three out of five stars.

Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven. Life advice from a Navy Seal. This book is full of good advice. None of it is rocket science. It would be a good gift for any graduate in your life. I give it three out of five stars.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan. Like Sing, Unburied, Sing, I had high hopes for this book from the author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Perhaps my high hopes are what kept me from loving this novel about a robotics programmer turned bread baker. I thought the book was fine. It did get me thinking about making sourdough again, but other than that it left me uninspired. I give it two out of five stars.

Out of My Mind by Sharon M Draper. This is a Young Adult novel about a girl with severe Cerebral Palsy. I usually like reading YA novels, but I felt too old to be reading this one. I think I would have loved this book if I had read it in Jr. High. I give this one two out of five stars.

In The Footsteps of Sheep: Tales of a Journey Through Scotland, Walking, Spinning, and Knitting Socks by Debbie Zawinski. Well, thanks a lot, Debbie, now I want to walk and camp across Scotland meeting sheep and knitting.  I give this book four out of five stars.

This month I have a big stack of books to get through. Not pictured are the two books I ordered from Book of the Month Club this month.20180802_1244303648055488055510932.jpg

What are you reading this month? Do you have any good book suggestions?

June Reads and July Book Goals

In June I read nine books. All I wanted to do with my down time is read. I have so many books to recommend this month.

Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World by Christina Rickardsson. It isn’t often that I read a book where the sexual assault of a child is not the worst thing that happens to the protagonist. This book, about a girl growing up in the slums of Brazil until she moves to live with her adopted parents in Sweden, is incredibly depressing. I dreaded each chapter, because something awful was going to happen to her. It makes me wish I was doing something to help the children of Brazil. I would only read this one if you want to be horrified. I give this book two out of five stars.

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey. This book was surprisingly interesting. I do not agree with the decisions James Comey made, but I believe he thought he was making the best decision possible. I do not envy his position. I have much more respect for him after reading this book. I give this book five out of five stars.

So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta. True confession: I will read any book written by a Parks and Recreation cast member. This book was very funny. Reading it filled me with joy, and as I had just finished Comey’s book when I picked this up it was exactly what I needed. I give this book four out of five stars.

Everyone Is Beautiful by Katherine Center. I picked this book up because I enjoyed How to Walk Away (by the same author) so much last month. This book is predictable in a good way. It was a sweet. story about a marriage and personal growth.  It was like a cup of hot apple cider on a crisp fall day – comforting  after a rough day. I really enjoy how Katherine Center writes. I give this book three out of five stars.

Your Dad Stole My Rake by Tom Papa. I had high hopes from this book, a collection of humorous essays by a contributor to the show formally known as Prairie Home Companion. There were parts that were funny, but his attitude towards gender turned me off. I gave this book one out of five stars.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I have no idea how Celeste Ng creates a story so rich and believable you live both in the story and in your real life until you finish the book. She did it with Little Fires Everywhere and with this book. I will be picking up every book she writes. It is wonderful read about the death of a biracial student in the late 70s. Just trust me. I can’t describe it in a way that makes it sound excellent. I give this book five out of five stars.

Knitting Ephemera: A Compendium of Articles, Useful and Otherwise, or the Edification and Amusement of the Handknitter by Carol J. Sulcoski. This book was basically a bathroom book for knitters. If I ran a B&B for knitters it would be on the bedside table. It’s fine. Not worth picking up if your library doesn’t have a copy. I give it two out of five stars.

Calypso  by David Sedaris. This is the best book of Sedaris essays I have read yet. I like it more than Me Talk Pretty One Day, and I did not think that was possible. I like the older, heartfelt Sedaris. I give this book four out of five stars.

The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age by Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD. This book is fabulous. I would like the parent of every child my kids ever come into contact with to read this book and put its principles into action. I am pretty sure that isn’t going to happen, but it would be nice. I have several post it flags in the book for me to return to as issues arrive and as the kids get older and have more access to media. I will happily talk your ear off about this book, so shoot me a message if you would like more information. I give this book five out of five stars.

Here is my to read pile on my nightstand:

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I hope to make a major dent in this stack this month, as I feel like I’m posting the same books over and over. We’ll see if I get distracted by a library binge or I stick to this.

What are you reading this month?

 

May Reads and June Book Goals

In May I read seven books. I think I needed to make up for slacking in April. I am so excited to share these books with you, as there are some great ones in this list.

Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed out loud at a novel before, but I certainly did with this one. This book is about a close neighborhood in LA and the aftermath of one woman’s infidelity (and yet, somehow I guffawed at it). I loved this book, but I will not be sharing it with my mom because there is a lot of swearing in it. If you don’t mind salty language I would pick this one up. I give this book four out of five stars.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity. This book is about a 29-year-old woman, newly pregnant, married to a man that she adores who wakes up after falling at the gym. Only she’s not – she’s 39, a mother of 4, and going through a messy divorce. She has forgotten the past ten years.  I loved discovering along with her how much her relationships had changed. Time changes us all, and not necessarily in good ways. I give this book four out of five stars.

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. Oh my gosh there is so much more to Trevor Noah than being funny but not being Jon Stewart. He grew up under apartheid in South Africa and faced more challenges than anyone should. He had to be hidden – his mom was black and his dad was white, which was illegal. He sold pirated music. Oh, and his step-dad shot his mom in the head. I learned a lot from this book, both about South Africa and Trevor Noah. I found it incredibly enjoyable. I give this book four out of five stars.

Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House by Michael Wolff. I wish this book were a political satire. I’m glad I read it. I give it three out of five stars.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. After reading Fire & Fury this fit the bill – cute, fun, and light. This is about a woman who hates her co-worker. Or does she? It’s full of clichés. It’s predictable. It’s not deep. There are times when that is the kind of book you want, and in that genre it is perfect. I give it five out of five stars.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This reads like an epic poem about the experience of being black in America. I liked it, but it totally felt like homework to me. I give it three out of five stars.

How to Walk Away: A Novel by Katherine Center. This book, like The Hating Game, was a wonderful distraction after Between the World and Me. It is about a woman who gets engaged to her dream man and breaks her back in an airplane accident all in the same evening. Yet it is cute and fun. I can’t explain why, just trust me on this. I enjoyed this one enough to pick up another of her books at the library (I’m currently reading James Comey’s book, so I”m going to need a light novel after that). I give it four out of five stars.

This is the stack of books for me to read on my nightstand: 20180601_1232211529518086.jpg

I will probably be adding some more mindless reading to the pile. Easy novels are perfect to read a chapter of here and there while the kids play.

What are you reading? What should I add to my list?

Book Club

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Last night my book club met for the first time since February. We all finished the book back in March, but life got in the way of the three of us getting together. Between the three of us there were two international trips and one trip to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. We had a lot to catch up on.

Our thoughts on the book, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal, were positive. We all enjoyed the book, but also found it slightly discombobulating. You would be reading a dramatic story about a woman teaching in an immigrant community in the UK and then BAM! an erotic blurb was thrown in.

At the end of the night, the book doesn’t really matter. What really matters is having a dedicated evening to catch up with friends. They are amazing listeners. They give me good advice. I always leave book club with my spirit elevated, and not just because of the book inspired signature drink.