What I Read: April & May

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

As we head into summer I'm looking at my goal for 2017 (to read 60 books) and feeling a little daunted. Can I make it? Does anyone else polarize between having a pile of books you want to read nonstop and then feeling kind of meh about reading in general? Summer can be tricky for reading, especially when downtime (aka child-free moments) are scarce.

Luckily I never stray far from my reading roots. Do you have any tips for getting out of a reading slump? Meanwhile, here is what has been occupying my days (and nights) the last couple months. Feel free to leave any must-read recommendations in the comments.
  1. Paper Wishes - This debut middle-grade novel is set during WWII, where a young girl and her family are sent to a Japanese internment camp during one of the darker periods in American history. In the relocation she is separated from her beloved dog and subsequently copes by developing a sort of selective mutism in the camp. I especially appreciated the moments of hope scattered throughout this book. 
  2. The Song from Somewhere Else - Clearly I'm on a middle-grade kick, and although I don't read every ARC publishers send me, this one felt like a twist on a story that would resonate with pre-adolescent kids. I'll admit that parts of the story confused me and definitely required a willing suspension of disbelief. But overall I liked the friendship Nick and Frank developed and thought maybe more stories should involve non-romantic relationships between a boy and girl. 
  3. Small Great Things - My first Picoult novel and one that engrossed me from the start. Chapters alternate between the three main characters, unraveling a story of race and hate, grief and resolution. Talk about a range of emotions and an awakening to my own privilege. No doubt this would spark a fascinating book club discussion. 
  4. Desert Solitaire - A book that was frequently referenced during my undergraduate days at Utah State University I finally managed to read thanks to a recent girls' trip to Southern Utah. Not only is Abbey one of the great writers of our time, his prose is both accurate and intoxicating in describing the dessert landscape of such a lonely and lovely part of the country.  
  5. The Girl Who Drank the Moon - The acclaimed Newbery winner obviously needs no introduction, still I was surprised by how well the story and characters were woven together. This was certainly a genre outside my comfort zone, but it was so well done I had my husband read it as well. 
  6. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - What a delight to return to this chapter book a decade since I purchased it in graduate school. It reminds me of a hero's journey meets The Velveteen Rabbit and is perfect for introducing toddlers and preschoolers to longer books. 
  7. Be Frank With Me - Easily one of my favorite audiobooks to date. Thank you Hoopla for the recommendation. Mimi is a wealthy author, living in somewhat obscurity after her one-hit-wonder, when she takes on Alice Whitley as a live-in assistant, whose primary charge is Mimi's young, eccentric and on the spectrum son, Frank. Heartwarming is certainly an apt description for this enjoyable read. 
  8. A Year Full of Stories: 52 classic stories from all around the world - (Still reading.) We started this book as a family at the beginning of the year and have kept it at our dining room table to read during dinner. It's a gorgeous collection of folktales and legends from around the world, each read on a day that coincides with a certain holiday or festival. Truly, a must for any home library.


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