Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer Reading Recap

we get *VERY* excited about the library
Oh, hello there.  I've been a little busy lately with guests and hanging out with my four best friends who love to talk at me  

I'm gearing up for back to school (hallelujer) and back to blogging and reading regularly.  It'll be my first time with all four kids in school and I'm excited about the possibilities.  

But that's getting ahead of myself.  

Summer can be a tricky time for reading.  There's  a lot of laundry and dishes, no reliable schedule, and kids talking (did I mention kids talking yet?  because they do...they talk all day).  There have been weeks that have passed this summer without a single page read and I try to be understanding of that. 

clothes that were washed, dried, folded, unfolded, washed, dried, folded...on and on, forever and ever, amen.

Summer can also be an excellent time for reading.  Sitting poolside (if no friends are there, of course), lazy afternoons, and staying up late because you don't have to get up early in the morning.  Weeks have been spent finishing books and reading together, quietly, as a family.  

a few minutes without friends
Sidenote:  I often have the experience of taking a book to the pool optimistically and then running into a friend and not being able to open the book once and then going home frustrated and exhausted.  Is that just me?  Anyway...

Instead of breaking this post out into a bunch of posts, I'm going to try to keep it concise here and go through what I've been reading lately.  So, here goes:

Raymie Nightengale

Love.  love.  love.
DiCamillo had me at the cover art.  My mom was a baton twirler so that aspect of the story drew me in.  Raymie is a middle schooler whose life has just been turned upside down.  She devises a plan to set things right again and meets two girls along the way.  I felt like I was in the south when I read this.  The simple but profound sentences and the short chapters helped me fly through this middle grade novel.  I will definitely be forcing my girls to read this and probably sending a copy to my mom.  

Moone Boy

I also loved this middle grade book.  Chris O'Dowd (of Bridesmaids fame) wrote this and stars in the series on Amazon.  I have been enjoying the adaptation as much as the book.  While reading this in the allergist's office, I would often burst out in laughter.  Martin Moone is 12 and struggling.  He is considered an idiot by everyone and is bullied at school.  He decides to get an imaginary friend but has difficulty imagining anything.  I would highly recommend this to 8th grade boys and adults who need a good chuckle.  Check out my more detailed review and giveaway! here.  

The Irresistible Revolution

As much as I burst out laughing over Moone Boy, I burst out crying over this one.  This tugged on every one of my empathetic heartstrings.  Claiborne is a self proclaimed ordinary radical who urges contemporary Christians to examine their lifestyles and beliefs in light of what Jesus really says.  It was hard, but worth it.  I found this book because of Jen Hatmaker and felt similarly about her Seven and Interrupted.  He draws heavily from Mother Teresa, whom he lived with for a summer,  Martin Luther King Jr, and of course, the Bible.  This wasn't depressing at all.  I would call it enlightening, inspiring, and difficult to stomach at times.  His controversial beliefs don't come off as preachy, but more, "this is what I'm thinking, but I accept that not everyone thinks the same thing."  This is a very refreshing take for Christian non-fiction.  

date night for nerds ie me and my husband

I'm getting back into the grown-up fiction genre now at the end of August.  I'm currently reading The Woman in Cabin 10 and am considering giving Les Miserables a go this fall.  I have a VERY deep tbr (to-be-read) list of fiction so I will throw myself into that for the remainder of the year.  

What has been the best thing you've read this summer?  Or, is it impossible for you to read while kids are out of school and the sun is shining?  What's on your TBR for fall?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Love That Boy

Ok, so today I'm talking about Love That Boy, which I just finished.  But, because I wasn't a huge fan of the book, I'm also going to talk about Book of the Month Club.  

The book details the real-life experience of a father and son going to visit various presidential libraries, locations, and even a few presidents themselves.  Tyler, the son, has asperger's and his father is slowly coming to accept that fact and how this diagnosis will change their lives.   

I wanted to love this book.  I'm a big fan of parenting books and I thought this one would come off much less heavy handed on the didactic advice.  While that was true, it still didn't live up to my hopes.  The story and research didn't weave as seamlessly as I would have hoped and some of the author's connections seemed a bit of a reach.  

That being said, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with a child who is being diagnosed with asperger's or adhd.  Though I can appreciate the lessons Fournier shares about his parenting journey I thought some of them were pretty obvious.  

That's my spiel about the book...but, the way I found the book was through my book of the month club membership.  I love it.  

As a reader, I'm often getting recommendations thrown at me from various friends and family.  Sometimes these pay off big (Lonesome Dove) other times, not so much (Shogun).  Book of the month club is a subscription service that is curated by people in the book world and one celebrity that changes from month to month.  I always feel like I'm getting a book that should be pretty good or have a sufficient amount of buzz around it to make me feel like I'm in the know.  

This time, the book wasn't my favorite, but I'm ok with that.  You always have the opportunity to skip a month if none of the choices look good to you or you don't have any time to read.  

I love getting my book box with a monthly surprise: a twisty straw, a ring pop, or even just the super sweet bookmark that comes in each book.  Also, you can add two more books to your box for just $9.99.  

I'm not being paid to say any of this.  I'm not getting any free books (sadly).  I just love this service and want to tell my fellow readers about it.  

Being in a book club is fun because you have to stretch your reading genres and themes.  This kind of serves the same purpose and since I'm not currently in a book club I have the time to read my botm pick.  

Let me know if you're a botm member and what your recent picks have been.  This month I'm getting The Woman in Cabin 10 and All the Ugly and Wonderful Things.  I'll let you know what I think about them soon!

Next up I'll be writing about Moone Boy, a mother-daughter book club pick.  <----Oops, I lied about not being in a book club.  I guess, I'm not in a book club with adults...