2015 First Quarter Reading

30 Books to Check Out

This has been a pretty good quarter for me, reading-wise, with 29 books to my name. It’s helped to listen to a boatload of audiobooks and also have a lot of nursing time.

I’m also currently reading ten different books, so maybe it’s time to start finishing books instead of picking up new ones.

Here’s what I finished in January, February, and March.

first quarter reading report 2015

  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (full review here) – I think about this book at least once a week. It was just so fascinating (once I slogged through the druggy days which I found mega-dull). Also, the fact that my new iPhone battery won’t hold a charge for more than half a day makes me think about Apple a lot. . .
  • The Mother Daughter Bookclub by Heather Vogel Frederick – This was fine, but not as good as I was hoping, and I’ve had no interest in reading subsequent volumes.
  • Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story by Ben Carson – I WANTED to like this and some of it was quite interesting, but it was a little too self-aggrandizing for me, I think.
  • An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – I loved Relish, and I think she’s a super talented artist, but this one wasn’t terribly memorable to me. I blazed through it while waiting for my gestational diabetes blood draw and it kept me entertained.
  • Atlantia by Ally Condie – Not as good as Matched, not as bad as the second two books in that trilogy. Make of that what you will.
  • Conversion by Katherine Howe – I really enjoyed the modern parts, but had a hard time following the historical Salem Witch Hunt parts.
  • Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel – This book about soldiers coming back from Iraq and struggling to adjust back to civilian life was really fascinating, but also unbelievably depressing and filled with swearing.
  • Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin (full review here) – Of course I loved this. And I think it might be my favorite of her books.
  • No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Youre Child’s Developing Mind by J. Daniel Siegel – Lest you think my children are perfect angels. . . .this book has helped me think more about how we deal with tantrums and other discipline issues. I wish I had a paper copy to refer to.
  • Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian – I have meant to read this book for AGES and then when I was desperate for an audiobook, I noticed the library had an available copy and I flew through it. Totally fun YA, although a little darker and grittier than Jenny Han’s normal stuff.
  • All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending by Laura Vanderkam (full review here) – Bart probably wishes I hadn’t read this because I’ve felt significantly less frugal since reading it. On the other hand, it doesn’t ruin my day when he spends $2, so . . . maybe he’s glad I did.
  • The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming – Really interesting and just sad. I listened to it and it was an excellent audiobook.
  • Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead – I listened to this one too (I’m noticing this was a heavy audiobook quarter for me – probably because I was working SO MUCH before Star was born so I could take a few weeks pretty easy after her birth) and I’m totally perplexed why people love it so much. Just depressing and sad to me.
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg – Another audiobok – this one was much better. It definitely wasn’t as useful as Gretchen Rubin’s habit book, though.
  • Rework by Jason Fried – This was super short and I can hardly remember any of it.
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – I’ve read all three of Stephanie Perkins’ books and this was by far my favorite.
  • Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West (full review here) – You already know I loved this one. Why are the Presidents and First Ladies so endlessly fascinating?
  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen – This felt like going back to the glory days of Sarah Dessen – I think this was her best in a while. Full review coming when the book is released in May.
  • Dinner: The Playbook: A 30-Day Plan for Mastering the Art of the Family Meal by Jenny Rosentrach – I’m not sure you can really even count this as a book because it was at least half cookbook, but hey, I make the rules around here. I just made a recipe from it this week and it was terrific. Plus, it was a good boost to get me back in the dinner making saddle after weeks of my mom and friends making dinner.
  • Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt – It’s no Love That Dog, but it was just a fun read written in various forms of poetry.
  • Fire with Fire by Jenny Han  and Siobhan Vivian – After Burn for Burn, I just blew through the rest of the series.
  • Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian – There was one bit in the ending that totally made me sad, but it was definitely a good end to the series.
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass – After Burn for Burn, I needed more fun YA to listen to, and this fit the bill perfectly.
  • The Elite by Kiera Cass – Seriously, series are the best on audio because you can just keep listening and listening and listening.
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown – I’m strongly working on making my life less busy and doing more of the things I want to, and this book was really motivating and inspiring.
  • The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica N. Turner  – I liked this book, but I also feel like I’m already pretty good at making time for myself and using my time efficiently and making my hobbies and interests a priority.
  • Half Magic by Edgar Eager – My mom started reading this with Ella and I finished it with her a few weeks after my mom left. This is one of my all-time favorite children’s books and I loved reading it again.
  • Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life by Shauna NiequistBread and Wine was definitely better, but these were nice essays to read when I was nursing for a few minutes here and there.
  • Forty Ways to Look at JFK by Gretchen Rubin – I finally got my hands on a copy of this, thanks to the Duke library and it was tremendously good. I loved learning more about JFK and I read huge sections aloud to Bart. Gretchen Rubin is just a very talented writer.

And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!


Go ahead and link up your quarterly reading with Dana and me. I promise to come check them out! And the button is below the link-up if you’re inclined to add it to your post:


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  1. You've turned me into a major library fan!! Love your blog so much…. I even showed my hubby… And he's s a fan too cause your frugal, organised, and never waste an item out of your fridge…. (I don't let him read your blog now :p ) Anyway thanks for being so real and inspiring. I'd love you to do a post on making family memories on a budget because you have the sweetest family

  2. I thought An Age of License was pretty bad, like, mostly priviledged drivel. But her next one, Displacement, is amazing. I loved it. Sadly I have a lot of ups and downs with Knisley! But I adore her art always.

  3. I think my goal in life is to maybe read half the books in one quarter that you do. Do magic tree house books read to Kyle count?

  4. So glad that you liked Isla. My sister reviewed Atlantia for our blog, and your comments sound exactly like hers. I never finished the Matched series because I perished in the wilderness during book 2. Wasteland Wanderings frequently do me in.

  5. I have taken your advice and checked out audio books. Now Janni, not quite 2, even asks for them when we're in the car!

  6. I love your quarterly reading list. I'll be posting/linking mine tomorrow (after I get everything linked to my reivews). 🙂

  7. I downloaded Fire with Fire to listen to but was having a hard time getting into it. I didn't know it was a Book 2! Now I'll skip it and go back to the first one first. The Selection series was really The Bachelor with princesses, but I really enjoyed it.

    I'll probably pick up Atlantia because why not, and I've never read any Gretchen Rubin so I'll check her out. Thanks! I'm reading The Magicians series right now.

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