2016 First Quarter Reading

books i read

My poor book reading . . . when I look at my Goodreads numbers, it’s pretty clear that I’m not going to hit 200 books again until I have no children left at home.

I also got an iPhone in 2011, so maybe I should blame that instead of my children.

I read 21 books in January, February, and March, which means I really ought to step it up this next quarter.

books i read this quarter

I decided that I really wanted to start the year off with some serious, heavy, academic reading, obviously. I thought the Shopaholic book before this one was truly terrible (by far my least favorite of the whole series), but this one, happily, was significantly better.

Reading this aloud to my child has been a highlight of my life. Also, I kind of want my children to play in a loft on pumpkins.

This was fantastic – lots of interesting things and I basically recited the whole thing to Bart as I listened. Also made me feel like it is fine to let your child quit a sport or activity they hate.

I re-read this one for my bookclub (I last read it in high school, I think), and it was just as engaging as I remember. Maybe even more so now that I’m an actual adult.

Oh this was just so fun and funny. Makes me want to go read a bunch of Dave Barry.

This book is the best book I’ve read so far this year. It truly is incredible. If you haven’t read it, you should go get yourself a copy right this minute.

I wanted to like this more than I did – it had some interesting parts, but overall, I felt like it dragged and I’d recommend Salt, Sugar, Fat much more readily.

I am truly astonished by how much people love this book. I didn’t think it was particularly gripping and then when the big reveal happened at the end, I was just fish-mouthed (and not in a good way. More of a “WHY have I even wasted my time with this?” way).

Even though it was a little tidy, it was such a FUN read, and I don’t read many books that force me to stay up way past my bedtime. Time to go read her other two books.

I’ve always thought Jennifer E. Smith comes up with the best plot concepts and then they kind of die out after a bit. This one managed to be good all the way to the end, I thought. And reminded me how much I love a good YA novel.

I loved how much feedback I got on my review of this one – you guys are some serious Bill Bryson fans! I think I’m going to read I’m a Stranger Here Myself next.

I renewed this one SO many times from the library and finally read it. It was just a fun, light read about five different couples and I just thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I don’t know that I’d necessarily recommend this book written entirely in emails, but it was a quick, entertaining read (Attachments is definitely better).

I read this entirely because I loved The One and Only Ivan, not because I have any interest in imaginary friends. And it wasn’t as good as her Newbery win, but it was still quite excellent and extremely heart-breaking.

I heard this one recommended on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s podcast and I’ll admit, I thought it was only so-so. During the first half, I almost gave it up about ten times, but it did get a bit better in the second half.

I thought the first book was pretty fun, and when I happened to see the second one at the library, I picked it up and read the whole thing in a day and a half. Sometimes you just need a totally light-hearted teen read. And it made me want to go listen to some Taylor Swift.

I liked this but I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

I’d remembered this as my favorite of the series, but actually it’s been my least favorite of the four so far. It’s just so dang sad when one thing after another goes wrong for their family. By the time the grasshoppers came and ate the entire crop, I just wanted to sob for them. Also made me glad not to be a farmer.

This won the Newbery last year, and I finally got around to listening to it this last week and it was FANTASTIC. Definitely a worthy Newbery book.

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!

Anyone have anything great they’ve read so far this year? I accept any and all suggestions with gratitude.

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  1. I just finished reading The Nightingale, which I see you're listening too. I'm telling everyone I know to read it because it was so well done, and such a powerful story in today's world and political climate. I really hope you'll do a full review of it. I can't stop thinking about it.

    I also recently listened to Adriana Trigani's "The Shoemaker's Wife" which I also recommend because it was a beautiful story. There were two different narrators, though, and it changed abruptly about half way or so through. The second narrator (the author) just wasn't nearly as good. The change was a bit jarring. Still, worth a read or listen.

    Another one of my favorites is The Brother's K by David James Duncan. A story about family, brothers, baseball. The writing is spectacular, and I think the book is undersold.

  2. Wait, I thought you read Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics during this quarter also. I promise I'm not stalking you… I just made note of it when you added it to Goodreads because I had just barely finished Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library.

    1. I don't know how that happened! It seems to have added them both to Goodreads at the same time (it copied my review of the first on to the second), so when I noticed it, I deleted the second one. I've only read the first one 🙂

  3. Ugh, I'm in a reading slump right now. I feel like nothing's really working for me lately (any tips for getting out of a slump??). Two books that I have read this first quarter that stand out are Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (totally gorgeous) and Manhunt by James L. Swanson (I listened to this one. It's all about the hunt for Lincoln's assassin. Totally gripping, even though I knew how it ended. I was gasping out loud at parts!).

    And I just loved what you said about reading Little House with your daughter as being a highlight of your life. I SO know what you mean! When I read my childhood favorites to my boys, I feel like I'm introducing them to old friends of mine. 🙂

  4. I feel alarmingly responsible for you not liking The Dorito Effect! I'll have to read Salt, Sugar, and Fat to see how much better it is!

  5. I love posts like this, so so much!!! (Also, I'm glad the weird FB comment plug-in thing is gone…it was…not my favorite.)


  6. I felt the same way about The Lake House. I really enjoyed it while reading but the whole plot and the "coincidences" of the ending where a little over-the-top.
    I've been wanting to read The Gift of Failure.
    The best book I've read recently was The Light Between Oceans.

  7. I always check to see what you've read or are reading. I read 20 books during these three months, but in the past two I haven't been able to find one and stick with it. I'm not loving anything. I'll definitely check some of these out.

  8. I love reading my childhood favorites to my girls too. Reading The Little House series and the Sarah Plain and Tall was a huge highlight of my life too.

    Have you read "A Man Named Ove"? Such a beautiful book.

  9. Completely agree with you on Everything Everything. Maybe my expectations were too high because of all the praise, but I thought it was pretty standard. Not bad, not amazing, just normal. Also, I'm making a metaphorical list of "worst YA parents" and the mom is a real contender.

    Did you take Dr. Tate's World War I and Modernism class in London? If so, I have a recommendation for you. I just finished Priya Parmar's Vanessa and Her Sister. It's about the Bloomsbury Group, and I really loved it even though all their relationships were a total mess. My only caution is that the ending feels a bit incomplete. (But, really, how do you create a conclusion to novel about the lives of real people if you don't want to write a book that goes to the ends of their lives?) I listened to the audiobook, and would definitely give it a thumbs up.

  10. Personally, I feel like the only other Kate Morton you need to read is The Secret Keeper (which I know you've already read). I don't even remember the other ones, except for The Forgotten Garden, which is just weird.

  11. I also loved The Crossover! One I read in February that I really liked was "A Death-Struck Year" by Makiia Lucier–all about the Spanish influenza in Portland, Oregon way back when. (It's a YA novel.)

  12. I loved When Breath Becomes Air, The Lake House was enjoyable but slow in parts, I lreally enjoyed Dumplin (listened to it) and We were Liars (what an ending!) Just started The Guest Room Book by Chris Bohjalian and it's very good (I loved Midwives, which I read years ago.)

  13. I read some of the books on your list, and I would like to read When Breath becomes Air", but I am not sure to read a book like that just yet. I may keep it in my list for a while.

  14. "My Name is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout, and Sarah Pennypacker's "Pax." (oh, you thought Crenshaw broke your heart? Pax moved me more.)

  15. I am also graduate student and this article tell me how to study in first semester and how to complete your syllabus thanks for share it

  16. I look forward to your book recommendations and love them. Might I suggest indicating which you listened to and which you read? I love audiobooks and reading the physical book, and it is nice to know as you review how you "consumed" it.

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