September Show Us Your Books

Our chief homework supervisor

Our chief homework supervisor

We’re back to school now, and I can already feel my reading life shifting. Luckily I had a great reading month in August to sustain me through all of the notices to be read and forms to be filled out ahead.

Here are my top nine from last month:

Best In Show (It’s a Tie)

A Better Man by Louise Penny - I love this series so much that I left my house after my bed time to be around other people. If you know me, you know this is a huge deal. See my book launch report here.

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag - This reminded me of a more feminine version of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. (I mean that in a good way; I didn’t really like The Road.) It starts slow, but then sucks you in. Not everyone liked the ending, but I did, a lot. I got an ARC from William Morrow, and my full review is here.

Sweet Romances Perfect for Hot Days

The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali - This is the story of two Iranian kids who fall in love, but it’s also more than that. It’s about the revolution, living with mental illness, and what it’s like to move to a new country. It’s great as an audiobook.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer - I’m a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings, and this was no exception. I just didn’t know it was part of a series, and was frustrated when a whole new set of problems started right at the end.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys - A story about the daughter of a prostitute in 1950’s New Orleans. Hi-jinks ensue. An entertaining and easy read.

Non-Fiction For Fiction Lovers

Furious Hours by Casey Cep - This was about a series of suspicious deaths in Alabama told from the points of view of the suspect, a lawyer, and Harper Lee. I found it fascinating, and wanted to know more about each part, but could see why the author couldn’t give it to me. In a weird way the inability to tell the full story made me appreciate the Harper Lee section more. You’d have to read it to understand, and I suggest you do.

Dead Presidents by Brady Carlson - I visit a lot of presidential historic sites, so this book about traveling to presidential graves was right up my alley.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson - I almost never recommend the abridged version of anything, but for this and A Walk In the Woods those are the only versions the author reads himself, and it adds so much.

I Finally Finished This Damn Book

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - This is a good book, a classic. It’s themes are still relevant today, and I’m glad I took time for a post high school re-read. But man, is it slow in parts.

Life According to Steph

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Writing Prompt: Hebert Hoover and The Duke of Windsor Bromance

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In the 1950’s and 1960’s Herbert Hoover and The Duke of Windsor both lived in the Waldorf Hotel in New York City, and from what I read they were good pals. I would love to be a fly on the wall as the two disgraced leaders talked about their lives.

This is the historical fiction book I would love to read, but no one has written yet. If you write it please send me an ARC!

Background Reading:

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My Top 5 Reads of 2019 (So Far...)

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In 2018 I suffered a major reading slump that I didn’t come out of until somewhere around September. In 2019 I started reading again in earnest, and have read some really great ones this year. Of the 91 books I’ve read so far this year, these are the top five. I’m interested to see what will still be on my list at the end of 2019.

In no particular order…

50 Great American Places by Brent D.Glass — This book is solely responsible for bringing back my wanderlust and the many miles I’m planning on putting on my car this summer.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Graphic Novel) — I love that so many classics are being turned into graphic novels. I finished this and immediately handed it to my 11 year old history lover.

Betty Ford by Lisa McCubbin - You know when an intro makes you cry you’re in for a good book. I picked this up because Betty Ford and I have a neighborhood in common, but ended up being so impressed by Ford and what she accomplished in life. Highly recommend.

Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice McFadden - The most hopeful book about child slavery you will ever read.

the sun and her flowers by Rupi Kaur - Once I started reading this I couldn’t stop. I never thought of myself as a poetry person, but this book proved me wrong.

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My Back To School Reading List

I used to love going back to school as a kid. Even now when I only get to put my own kids on the bus I get a big sense of anticipation. I just feel like conquering the world, you know? Even my reading changes. No more breezy summer reads - I'm ready for something deeper. Hence my back to school reading list.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk

How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Richard Nixon: The Life by John A. Farrell

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

What happened when I tried to do a read-a-thon

Since I joined Litsy I've been reading about all sorts of intriguing book clubs and read-a-thons. I decided it might be fun to try the 24 in 48 read-a-thon, and since I live near DC I had a 3 day weekend for the Inauguration. The essence of the thing is you should spend 24 out of 48 hours reading. I figured since I had an extra day that weekend I could spend it reading.

Here's what happened:

Saturday:

4 am - My plans were dashed almost right away when I found out I would have to work on my 3 day weekend. Still I gave it a go with 103 minutes of audiobooks and programming before the kids got up.

7:30 am - After the kids were fed and the husband left for the day I spent 90 minutes reading on the couch

9 am - We had a ton of errands to run, so I spent 40 minutes in the car in between listening to audiobooks with the kids

1:30 pm - Husband is back home, we eat lunch, and putter around. I listen to more audiobooks while I clean, and spend some time on the couch reading a guide book. This amounts to 127 minutes.

5 pm - I cuddle in the bed downstairs and read out loud to the kids for 50 minutes.

6 pm - Our day is over, no one is hungry for dinner, and the kids are settled in with Minecraft. Now is when the real reading starts. I read for an estimated 300 minutes before I fall into a deep sleep and don't wake up again until the next morning.

I ended my read-a-thon though I realized that I probably needed sleep more than reading, and gave up tracking my reading time on Sunday. Still I enjoyed what reading I did do. By forcing myself to sit and read, I had a renewed energy the next day. Sleeping 13 hours might have helped too...

Books I read at least part of:

There's another read-a-thon in July. I think I'll do it again.

Have you ever done a read-a-thon?

Note: my computer keeps changing read-a-thon to read-a-thin. I wish!