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Third Quarter Reading

This was by no means the best book reading quarter of my life, but after last quarter’s 14, a solid 18 books is making me feel pretty happy.

Not to mention the fact that I really read some excellent things this quarter, and my Kindle and Overdrive accounts are currently bursting with books I’m really looking forward to reading.

It’s too bad when it takes you until September to hit your reading stride for the year, but better late than never.

  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
  • I read this with Ella and somehow it was one of those classics I’d never actually read before. I think I’d maybe read the first chapter years and years ago, but other than that, it was all new to me. To be honest, it was fun enough but not a favorite for either of us. 

  • One True Loves by Taylor Reid Jenkins (full review here)
  • This was just such a perfect summer read and nothing feels more extravagant to me than staying up hours past my bedtime reading (if that doesn’t tell you how quiet and non-exciting my life is, I don’t know what will). 

  • Time at the Top by Edward Ormondroyd
  • My mom ordered this for me last year after Gretchen Rubin recommended it as one of her monthly book picks, and it took me FOREVER to finally pick it up. When my mom came this summer, she read the first chapter or two to Ella and then we finished it together, and both really enjoyed it. I mean, when do I not love time travel? 

  • Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (full review here)
  • I’m so HAPPY to have finally read this book, and I got a lovely copy as a birthday gift, so now I even own my own copy so I can refer back to it whenever I want. 

  • Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • I’d never read anything by Curtis Sittenfeld, despite having meant to for the past. . .decade. But I’ll admit this one made me not want to bother. It’s a retelling of Pride and Prejudice and the first half wasn’t bad, but the second half just tanked for me. 

  • Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • This wasn’t as good as One True Loves, but it definitely was an enjoyable and fun read. If you have a vacation coming up, this is a good pick. 

  • When We Collided by Emery Lord
  • I haven’t read a lot of young adult this year, but I blazed through this one. It was pretty good, but some of the plot points were a little difficult for me to swallow. 

  • Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • Writing about 9/11, especially for an audience that wasn’t even born when it happened, takes some serious skill, and she has it – this book is excellent. 

  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (full review here)
  • I still think about this book all the time. So engaging, interesting, heart-breaking, and gripping. Definitely worthy of its best-seller status. 

  • June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
  • For some reason I was thinking this was the same author as A Hundred Summers, and when it was available just before a road trip, I checked it out. Different author, but definitely an interesting storyline. I stayed up several nights working on a jigsaw puzzle so I could listen to more. Would I race out to recommend it? Not likely. But was it a fun listen? Absolutely. 

  • The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook by Ellen McCarthy
  • I’ve meant to read this for ages, and finally checked out a copy and blazed through it in about two days. It’s so fun to think about marriage and relationships and weddings, and she had lots of great stories, good advice from people with great marriages (and failed ones), and it’s a quick read. 

  • Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail 
  • Sometimes I get advance copies of books and they sit around for months and months. This one came and I’d finished it within two days of its arrival. I mean, a middle-school version of Cyrano de Bergerac? How could I resist? It was filled with likeable (and not) characters, believable scenarios, clean, and just so sweet and fun. I loved every second of it. It doesn’t come out until February, but once it does, it’s totally worth reading. 

  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  • This book has changed my life. At least for the time being. It’s helped me rethink so many of my bad habit patterns, helped me be more focused on my children, more productive during my work times, and more ruthless about cutting out things that aren’t improving my life. Full review coming soon, because I cannot stop talking about this book. 

  • Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
  • This is a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew where the dad is a researcher in danger of losing his most-beloved assistant because his visa is about to expire, so he convinces his daughter to marry him. Surprisingly charming. 

  • Bunnicula by James Howe and Deborah Howe
  • When I was checking out books for my Halloween book list this year, I thought it’d be fun to read a Halloween-themed chapter book with Ella too, and this was a perfect pick. We both loved it and sped through it in less than a week. Perfectly spooky without being actually scary.

  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • I couldn’t remember almost anything about this book from when I’d read it as a child, so it was really delightful to experience the whole thing again when Ella and I read it together. And Ani listened to a LOT of it and I was really impressed by how much of it she retained. So sweet, charming, and classic. Also, I got so choked up multiple times during the last couple of chapters.

What great things have you read recently? I’d love to hear – my book queue could always use more titles in line!

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  • Reply flourgirl October 5, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Sorry. Looks like Vinegar Girl and June got duplicated somehow. Which one did you think was meh, or was it both? Love reading your reviews. Your reading taste seems to be more in line with mine than most reviewers. Plus, love the kid's books reviews. Thank you!

    • Reply Janssen October 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      Fixed now! Vinegar Girl was a quick, fun read. It's the first thing I've ever read by Anne Tyler!

  • Reply Kara October 5, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    You have to read The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. It's an absolutely fantastic middle grade book that came out this year

  • Reply diana October 5, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    I actually read about 1/3 of these in the last few months too!

  • Reply Kimmie Merkley October 5, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Great list of books! I'm really interested in Deep Work and think I'll have to check it out next time I'm at the library. I recently finished Mudbound by Hillary Jordan and found it really thought-provoking.

    I also blogged about a few books other books I've recently read. You can find it right here:

  • Reply Sara T. October 6, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    I was so looking forward to this post! Thank you! I love these quarterly-reading updates and in general I've discovered loads of great books through your blog. What about the book you're holding in the picture, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes?

    • Reply Janssen October 6, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Still working on it!

  • Reply Emma Manolis October 7, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    I was underwhelmed by Eligible. So much so that it ended up becoming a DNF. I had read some previous Sittenfeld and didn't really enjoy it, so I'm not really sure why I thought this one would be any different.

    I'm looking forward to getting my hands on One True Loves! Any book that makes someone stay up past their bedtime is a book that excites me! There aren't many books that make me do that these days.

  • Reply Feisty Harriet October 7, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    "Heidi" really is the best book ever. #biased


  • Reply gabbi bump October 12, 2016 at 3:29 am

    Please, please try "American Wife" by Curtis Sittenfeld! It is NOTHING like Engaged — it is absolutely wonderful and amazing, and I really genuinely think you would adore it. It's in my top five favorite books ever.

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