A Reading Recap: What I Read in the First Quarter

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.

I thought that, after how bad the middle book in this series was, the last book would be awesome. I was wrong.

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.

I kind of need a cheat sheet of the main ideas in this book tattooed on my arm.

This was EXCELLENT. Some similarities to The American Way of Eating, but I liked this better. Someday I may get around to writing about this book (I kept renewing it in hopes I do so, but I never did).

This was just a fun little mystery novel, but I’m surprised by how often I find myself thinking about it still.

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.

This book was just so ridiculously good. Go read it.

After a slow start, this book grew on me. But it’s no If I Stay.

Fun, interesting non-fiction. Kind of a cross between Malcolm Gladwell and Gretchen Rubin (although, to be totally honest, I like both of their books a bit better than this one).

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?

I’ve mentioned how much I like this one, right? A very worthy Newbery title.

I will never think about that atomic bomb the same way. And all my friends probably wish I would stop talking about it. Too bad.

Part of the middle of this book rubbed me the wrong way, but overall, I thought it was really interesting and quite useful. I feel like I take responsibility for how I use most of my time more than I did before.

I’d never even heard of her (long-time restaurant critic for the NYTimes), but I loved this book. Also, every recipe I’ve tried of hers has been fabulous. So, you know, I am a fan for life. Her pancakes with 12 tablespoons of butter? Amazing (as they darn well better be).

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.

Not as good as Bringing Up Bebe, but interesting and made me crack back down on Ella’s eating (she probably wishes I hadn’t read it).

There were a few interesting bits, but overall, I just find that I have a hard time getting into Pink’s books.

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.

This woman can write. It’s not quite as good as Moon Over Manifest, but. . . what is? I just really loved reading this.

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

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  1. 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!).

    1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Hello:)
    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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! 🙂

  9. 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.

  10. "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…

  11. 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.

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

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

  13. 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!!

  14. 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.

  15. 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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