What I read last summer...

According to my records, last summer I read thirty books! I was curious to see what kinds of books I spent a good part of my summer with. To be honest with you there are some I must have read really fast, because there are some that I barely remember. Then there are the others. The ones that I can just look at the covers and I am transported back to the sights and sounds of last summer.

We had a few kid free days while visiting relatives in Ohio, so of course I tore through a few books. I get up hours earlier than my husband, and enjoyed the time by drinking tea and re-reading Jurassic Park. I loved this book when I first read it as a teenager, and I still like it a lot now.

My summer reading wasn't all fluff. How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk ended up making a huge impact on how I interact with my kids.

I was stuck at the LaGuardia airport for about six hours last year as part of a business trip, and I had finished my book on the plane. Nightmare! Luckily I randomly bought this Sally Ride biography at a newsstand, and the time passed quickly. Amazing and inspiring.

Destiny of the Republic was a fascinating audiobook that would be perfect for a long road trip, however I clearly remember listening to it when I was doing the mounds and mounds of laundry from my son's sports camp. Another amazing part of history that I didn't know much about.

The ferry ride across Lake Champlain is beautiful, but I couldn't pay a bit of attention because I was 3/4 of the way through Doctor Sleep. A creepy Stephen King book that takes place in New England kept me from paying attention to actual New England.

The accent in the audiobook version of The Boston Girl was perfect. It made you feel like the main character was with you, talking to you, about her time growing up in Boston back in the day. A year after my grandmother died, it soothed something in me to feel like I was listening to the story of someone who would have been about her age.

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How To Escape A Reading Slump

When I go on vacation I usually pack books before clothes. So when I didn't have any ideas of what I should read on my last vacation, and ended up reading The Thorn Birds just because it was part of a reading challenge and long enough to occupy me all week I knew something was off. I was entering a reading slump. I've been back a week, and it's still going on. I haven't had one this bad since I was pregnant, and it took all my brain power just to remember my PIN.

I'm trying not to fret. I'm trying not to push it. But the truth is I can't engage in anything, and I've been abandoning books like no one's business.

This too shall pass. In the mean time, here are a few strategies I use when I'm in a reading slump:

  • Read magazines
  • Read cookbooks
  • Read short stories
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Reading just my favorite parts of my favorite books

What do you do when you're in a reading slump?


How I manage my reading life

I read like it's my job, so there's a fair bit of paperwork and tracking involved.

Back in the day when I saw a book I wanted to read I would just buy it, and leave it in a pile. Then I had kids, and ran out of space and money. Now I am a heavy library user.

My library has a holds limit 50 holds at a time, and I try my best to make it work for me. About 1/3 of it is taken up with books that have a long wait. My library is usually very well stocked, but if something's popular it's not unusual to wait 2-3 months. The other 2/3 is managed so as to try and read my TBR down.

I track my TBR in librarything. I pay a bit each year to maintain my 500+ book list, but to me it's worth it to have something I can sort and tag the way I want. I used to use Goodreads, but the cleaner look of librarything just suits me better.

When I finish a book I track it in three ways. I mark it read and give it a start rating on librarything. I also mark it read here - this isn't strictly necessary, but I like to be able to scroll through the cover images. Plus if someone is thinking about following me, I like to give them a snapshot of my reading life.  Last, if there's any quotes I like from the book I write them down in my paper reading journal.

My journal isn't anything fancy. I use the free printable from Modern Mrs. Darcy. It's three hole punched, and enclosed in a cheap binder from target. I also use my journal to hold any print outs from reading challenges, and my immediate reading list. I pick about 10 books that I want to prioritize each season. The rest of my reading I pretty much leave up to chance and mood.

How do you track your reading?

REVIEW: Why don't they ever get it right? My review of A Window Opens.

I read A Window Opens this week, and walked away frustrated. This book, while having some true moments, reads mostly like some sort of conservative treatise against women in the workplace. It was supposed to be true and honest, but to me it came off as a ridiculous warning.

Look, I know a woman's decision to work is a personal one that needs to take place on a family by family level. However, if you do go back to work, I don't think it will cause your husband to become an alcoholic, keep you so busy that you won't realize when your kids learn to read, or try to prohibit you from sitting by the death bed of a loved one. If any of those things does happen, it's probably a sign that you have the wrong job, not that you can't have one. (You should probably also try some marriage counseling. If you need to leave work because your kid is sick, and no one can find your husband because he's passed out drunk in the basement, that is not the fault of your job.)

I have this frustration a lot. It seems like authors can't write about working moms without having them be either complete screw ups at work, or frazzled messes who can never be depended upon to bring cookies to the bake sale. I'm not saying life is easy over here, or that I have it all together. I'll promise you this though - I know my kids' teachers names, my kids' teachers know my name, my kids knowing how to read would never come as a surprise to me, I made it to two parent teacher conferences this week, and no one has threatened to fire me.

My  suggestion: skip this book.

A Book I Did Like About Working and Caregiving:

It's a graphic novel! Try something new.

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