Book Lists Book Reviews

Third Quarter Reading: July – September 2018

Every quarter, I look at the number of books I’ve read and I think, “I was SURE I read a lot more than that.”

I used to feel like I needed to apologize for it, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that my current reading life just isn’t going to look like my reading life of 2009 when Bart traveled a ton, I was done with work by 3:30, had an hour-long daily commute, and no children.

No wonder I could read 200 books a year back then!

Anyway, this quarter these are the books I read:

There Are No Grown-Ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story by Pamela Druckerman

I liked parts of this (other parts dragged), but I forgot about it almost immediately once I finished it. Not even remotely as good as Bringing Up Bebe.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

I read this one because it was getting so. much. buzz. and I was completely engrossed by it. It’s not the happiest story, about a young African-American couple living the dream in Georgia until the husband is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit and locked away for years and years, but it was gripping.

My Oxford Life by Julia Whelan

I love Julia Whelan as a narrator (she’s the reader for Educated and The Great Alone, as well as about fifty million other books), but this is her first book she’s written herself. I wasn’t sure what to expect in this novel about a girl that goes to Oxford for a year as a Rhodes scholar, but I’ll tell you what, this wasn’t quite it.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

This is SO not my normal kind of book (and I’ve actually never read any other Meg Wolitzer books), but I got a free audiobook of it and ended up listening to it on one of our long drives. It was actually pretty fascinating.

Folded Notes From High School by Matt Boren

It’d been too long since I read a YA book and this one was pretty fun on audio with different voices for each character. It’s had some comparisons to Mean Girls and they’re valid.

A True Home by Kallie George

I loved this first book in the Heartwood Hotel series, and it was so fun to read with Ani. (Full review here)

The Greatest Gift by Kallie George

As soon as we finished the first Heartwood Hotel, we jumped right into the second. It’s just as charming if not more so.

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza

I was underwhelmed by The Knockoff, but this one was completely gripping and I blazed through the whole thing in one airplane ride.

The Midnight Gang by David Walliams

It took us the whole dang summer to read this one (it was one of the books on my personal summer reading list). This story about a bunch of kids in the hospital ward with a scary matron was definitely reminiscent of Roald Dahl like all the blurbs promised, but it didn’t feel QUITE as magical to me. More like it was trying a litttttle too hard.

Vox by Christina Dalcher

I knew basically nothing about this book going in except that it took place in modern-day America and all females were now restricted to 100 words per day. It’s a cool premise, but I felt like it wrapped up in about half a second.

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel

I was a little worried about this one because I’m not usually an essay fan, but I LOVED this book. My favorite thing I read this quarter for sure, and I’m already holding a spot for it on this year’s Book Lover’s Gift Guide.

Better Together by Kallie George

The third Heartwood Hotel book. This is reminding me that I need to request the fourth one from the library!

Pippi in the South Seas by Astrid Lindgren

I grabbed this off my in-laws’ bookshelf (it’s basically like living in a library here – I don’t hate it) and the girls and I just laughed our way through the whole thing.

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders

I’d forgotten that I’d put a hold on this one months ago and it finally came up on Libby. I blazed through it in a few days and it was a fun read.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

This was my third read of this, but it’d been more than 9 years since I last read it and it was SO fun to listen to this with the girls. Just as good as I remembered. (Full review here

I’d love to hear what you’ve read and loved (or didn’t love!) in the last couple of months!

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8 Comments

  • Reply Tina Ristau October 4, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    I read a ton of books this summer, but now that I’m back at school/work my reading has slowed way down. I hate that my job is getting in the way of my reading!

    Because you love a good non-fiction book, I want to recommend Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America by Alissa Quart. I am loving this one.

  • Reply Gaye A. Vaterlaus October 4, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    I am like Tina and now that I’m back at work my reading consists of Read Aloud with my students and I work hard to do our Book Group books but not much more. It’s so hard to keep up with reading, podcasts and religious studies as well. Yikes…BUT the last quarter doesn’t look too bad, thanks to summer! Some of the books I enjoyed may have come from your recs and if they have – thank you!!
    Book Group reads – The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (Loved it!) The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Loved it!) Endurance: A Year in Space and a Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly (Skipped some of the raucous chapters and stuck mostly to his experience on the Space Station)
    Personal Growth fun – The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg (my SIL and I read this together to talk about it and it has stuck with both of us. So intriguing.) Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing by Kristen Hadeed (Taking chances, risks and perseverance but the leadership skills were nothing new, just a new package)
    Just Because Books for Summer fun!! – A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold (I liked it so much that I read it to my students this year and they loved it.) Enginerds by J. Lerner (Pretty-darn-boy-funny ) Spoon by Amy Krause Rosenthal (I love this and I miss her!) Chopsticks by Amy Krause Rosenthal (not quite as endearing as Spoon but still fun) Now That You Mention It by Kristen Higgins (can’t even remember it – yikes) Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling (I really enjoyed this MG book! Set in Scottsdale at a rundown wild west park the main character is a preteen girl who is full of pluck and fun yet has no arms!) Front Desk by Kelly Yang (MG immigrant book that I adored)
    Thanks for asking…in hindsight it was a good reading quarter!! (PS – hope you’re enjoying living where the leaves change – – the clouds here are gorgeous this week and it actually feels like heaven, in the 80’s. Maybe it really is fall!!)

  • Reply Diana October 5, 2018 at 8:07 am

    I did enjoy The Knockoff (and was thrilled to find a hardcover at the library sale for 25 cents last fall) but also liked Charlotte Walsh…I know it was fiction but eye opening to the behind the scenes of politics! Once I started reading e-books on my phone while feeding the baby, I’ve gotten in a lot more reading! I will miss that when he moves to sippy cups in a few months!

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw October 5, 2018 at 10:18 am

      YES! That is one of my best reading times with a baby!

  • Reply Jess October 15, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Longtime reader here and always open your page first when I’m in need of a new book. So I’m a third of the way through “The American Marriage” and I just don’t know if I can push through. Does it get less depressing at any point?? It’s the only book I’m reading right now and it’s just kind of a downer. Should I try again later??

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw October 15, 2018 at 11:44 am

      Oh you’re so nice. To be honest, it doesn’t get less depressing 🙁

      • Reply Jess October 15, 2018 at 12:05 pm

        Good to know! Happy to move on to something else!

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