Book Reviews

A Reading Recap: What I Read in the First Quarter

March 29, 2013

I’ve accepted that I will just not be reading as many books this year. In past quarters, I’ve been up in the thirties. This time, I barely hit twenty. I blame my children (they don’t read my blog anyway).

Still, I feel like I’ve been reading more books that I quite enjoy because I just don’t have the time to give to books that don’t engage me. And I’m pleased with what a wide variety of books I’ve read here – food books, history, historical fiction, middle-grade, a couple of YA books, a few audiobooks, and adult non-fiction. Not bad for twenty books.

  • Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
  • I’ve meant to write a review of this book for the past year. But I have not, so just know that it’s excellent. Enough so that I’ve read it twice.

  • Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love, edited by Anne Fadiman
  • This was a bookclub book. I had heard of NONE of the authors and only two of the books they wrote about. And pretty much none of the essays made me want to read either the books or anything by those authors. I kept going back to the table of contents to see how many of the 17 I had left to read. Needless to say, not my favorite book.

    • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
    • I know everyone loved her Between Shades of Gray book, but I was only somewhat enamored with it (truly, my most clear memory of it is that I cleaned the toilet while listening to it). This one, though, I devoured in a weekend. Who doesn’t want to read about the daughter of a prostitute in post-WWII New Orleans?

    • The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan
    • This book renewed my faith in YA lit. I love a good boarding school book. Also, how many books have YOU read with a love triangle featuring an albino boy? (That’s what I thought). A full review will come at some point, hopefully. But I make no promises.

    • Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
    • I almost gave this book up a couple of times, but in the end it was rather charming. Still, probably not worth the long early slog.

    Anyone read anything good lately? Consider this the very low-key version of “Tell Me What to Read.”

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  • Reply RA March 29, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I read Bomb last weekend on your recommendation and loved it. Thanks for the suggestion! I am starting to think that I should read history books intended for middle schoolers because that is my retention level for history. Oh, and Wonder! I really enjoyed that, even though I was weeping at one point. In my car. On the way to work.

    My recent favorite is The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande. Its main focus is medicine, but the ideas can be applied broadly. The most interesting section for me was the part about the Miracle on the Hudson, and how checklists helped make that happen. I also really liked Writing About Your Life, by William Zinsser, and Born Round, by Frank Bruni (another NY Times restaurant critic!).

    • Reply Kayla @ Freckles in April March 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      I love Atul Gawande! I didn't know he had written another book. Just requested it from my library. Have you read his other two? I loved Complications.

  • Reply Tina's Blog March 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    You know your quarterly reading recaps are one of my favorites posts of yours. I love getting new reading ideas. I've already reserved a few that you mentioned. Thanks!

  • Reply Carrie Jo March 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I've read a few good YA titles lately:
    For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
    Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (although I'm sure you've heard lots about this one).
    and The Girl of Fire and Thorns (which wasn't as fantastic as the other two, but was unique in YA in that the fantasy was tied heavily into a religious system, and I didn't find it offensive [and I am religious]).

    I agree with you that I expected Reached to be so much better than it was. It was better than Crossed, but only by a little bit. I don't know if I've ever loved only the first book in a series until this one.

  • Reply smalldog March 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    I always love your lists, my To Read file always gets bigger afterwards. I read The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and really enjoyed it. And I still want your opinion on The True Meaning of Smekday.

  • Reply Saskia March 29, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Have you read Wildwood (Colin Meloy)? I thought that was done pretty well.

  • Reply Katie March 29, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I am listening to The Willpower Instinct now and I agree with you – a cheat sheet tattoo would be very helpful! I guess I will have to settle for my notebook.

  • Reply Zoe March 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Have you ever read the Spud series by John van de Ruit? They are amazing! Hilarious and sweet and sad and fun. Lots of ands! Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend them.

  • Reply Kayla @ Freckles in April March 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Just requested a bunch of these from my library.

  • Reply Emily March 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley.

  • Reply Emily March 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Also, have you read Edenbrooke? If not… you must.

  • Reply Katie March 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I just picked up "Prince of Foxes" again. It reminded me why I love reading Samuel Shellabarger books. His worlds are just so awesome, and they actually existed! Best historical fiction ever.

  • Reply Amy March 29, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I'm kind of patting myself on the back right now because I also read 20 books this quarter. Never in a million years did I think I'd read the same number of books as you, so thanks for slacking off so I could feel good about myself! 🙂

  • Reply Kayris March 29, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Funny….I also decided to do a quarterly book post instead of monthly like last year. My post will probably go up next week. But I read two mysteries by Amanda flower that I loved. maid of Murder and Murder in a Basket.

  • Reply Lexilooo March 30, 2013 at 12:05 am

    I'm reading The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood right now and really enjoying it!

  • Reply Holly Hoffman Spears March 30, 2013 at 5:38 am

    "The Fault In Our Stars." Totally worth your time. I also liked "The Language of Flowers." Neither have perfect happy endings, but surprised me with their depth and I really really liked both of them…

  • Reply april March 30, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I'm a long-time fan of Ruth Reichl's books, but they all have completely different vibes. I loved Garlic and Sapphires the best, I think.

  • Reply Cassandra March 31, 2013 at 1:47 am

    The Fault in Our Stars really wowed me. I had heard so many good things about it, and they were It's one of my favorite books ever.

    I also really liked The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis. Beautiful yet haunting.

  • Reply NGS April 2, 2013 at 12:14 am

    But was it better than Where She Went which was far superior to If I Stay?

    I just finished Curveball by Jordan Sonnenblick. I love Sonnenblick's books so much – I'm really grateful that you turned me on to them!!

  • Reply Audrey April 3, 2013 at 1:18 am

    I also read Garlic & Sapphires and LOVED IT!!!!

  • Reply Angela Noelle of SK April 3, 2013 at 3:43 am

    "Want to Read" list, stocked. CHEERRRRS.


  • Reply Lisa April 5, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    So many thing on here I want to read. I had Happier at home for months and never got to it, and I'm gonna have to PAY for Blood and Sunlight, and I have Bomb but can't renew and it's due TODAY, so will have to get it again later. I really should have just given up on reading lately.

  • Reply Amanda August 11, 2013 at 3:31 am

    Happier at Home is on my to-read list. I LOVED Gretchen's The Happiness Project, and I'm excited to read Happier at Home!

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