Red panda in the cherry blossoms.
March just flew by over here. We’ve got next year’s schooling sorted–my oldest moved up the waiting list to get a seat in his first-choice STEM magnet high school program. High school! He was just a toddler. My youngest will be switching to the local Montessori school, where she’ll get an age-appropriate amount of both recess and independence. (The local public school doesn’t provide enough of either, in my opinion.) I read more books this month than I did in either January or February, which I’ll chalk up to ending the month with flu-like symptoms and being unable to focus on sewing much, and also I didn’t need to abandon any books I began this month. As always, books I really liked have an asterisk, but if it’s on the list, I liked it enough to finish it, and I don’t finish books I don’t like because why. Reading isn’t an endurance test, it’s something I do for fun.
You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz *
Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout*
Pax, by Sara Pennypacker*
Husband and Wife, by Leah Stewart*
All the Houses, by Karen Olsson
The Opposite of Everyone, by Joshilyn Jackson*
The Beast Side: Living (& Dying) While Black in America, by D. Watkins
The Portable Veblen, by Elizabeth McKenzie
George, by Alex Gino*
The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr*
Liquid watercolors, ready to go to class Thursday afternoon.
So far the first week of March feels an awful lot like February, but at least there’s sunlight shining through those jars of liquid watercolors, right? It’s taking more effort than usual this year to combat the seasonal blues. February contained lots of sewing, which is not a bad way to cope. There was also reading. As always, books marked with an asterisk were especially enjoyed, but if a book’s on the list, I liked it well enough to finish it, which isn’t always the case.
My Year of Running Dangerously, Tom Foreman
The Watsons Go To Birmingham–1963, Christopher Paul Curtis *
The Girl From the Garden, Parnaz Foroutan *
Did You Ever Have a Family, Bill Clegg*
Happily Ever After, Jen Meyers
The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer *
My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout *
Seventh Heaven, Alice Hoffman *
My daughter’s snowman.
My number of books read this month went down, by design. I wanted to be more balanced between consuming and producing; less reading, more making. My making list for January is pretty good, and I still read, so it’s working out so far. Asterisks denote books I particularly enjoyed, although if I finished a book, I enjoy it enough. (I gave up on one 100 pages in recently–it’s almost 400 pages long–because I just couldn’t take it anymore. It needed a better edit. It felt so self-indulgent on the author’s part, like he killed no darlings.)
This Must Be the Place, Kate Raccula (an accidental re-read)
The Sandcastle Girls, Chris Bohjalian *
Summerlong, Dean Bakopoulos
Shocking Paris: Soutine, Chagall, and the Outsiders of Montparnasse, Stanley Meisler *
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay
In the Unlikely Event, Judy Blume *
The Art Forger, B. A. Shapiro (for February book club)
December sunset seen through my kitchen window. End of year. Et cetera.
I never posted November’s list, so here they are together. I’ve made it through an entire year of keeping track of what I read (!!). The grand total is 111 books, so you know where all my spare time has gone this year, and then some. Hmm. I might be more productive if I didn’t read so much. Something to think about. You can see every month’s list by clicking on the reading category tag.
Primates of Park Avenue, Wednesday Martin
The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska, Eileen Curtwright
How to Start a Fire, Lisa Lutz *
The Children’s Crusade, Ann Packer *
A Better Man, Leah McLaren
Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand *
The Daylight Marriage, Heidi Pitlor
The Bishop’s Wife, Mette Ivie Harrison
Still Life With Breadcrumbs, Anna Quindlen *
Oranges Are the Only Fruit, Jeannette Winterson
Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer, Rick Riordan
Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell *
The Obituary Writer, Ann Hood
The Boston Girl, Anita Diamant
Days of Awe, Lauren Fox *
Eight Hundred Grapes, Laura Dave
The Marriage of Opposites, Alice Hoffman *
Bastards, Mary Anna King
Attachments, Rainbow Rowell
Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick
We finally live in a trick-or-treating neighborhood after more than a decade, so we had some fun decorating for Halloween.
Fewer books than normal this month, I think. I abandoned more than one, for various reasons, and A Little Life is more than 700 pages. I didn’t even realize that when I requested it via Overdrive, and it’s a perfect use of a Kindle, in my opinion. I fell asleep reading it one night when my husband was traveling, and if I’d done that with the hard copy, I probably would have injured myself. Anyway, here’s October’s list–and honestly I’m amazed I’ve continued to keep track through ten whole months–with, as always, books I particularly liked marked with an asterisk.
The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston
Life and Other Near Death Experiences, Camille Pagan *
The Wave, Todd Shasser (handed to me by my eldest, so of course I read it)
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Jeanette Winterson *
A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara *
Who Do You Love, Jennifer Weiner
Two Sisters, Mary Hogan
The Death of Santini, Pat Conroy
Have you read anything good lately?
I thought this month would end up a little lighter on books, but I see I read ten. This surprises me only because I learned, this past month, that our library system has loads of digital magazines available to borrow. Using the Zinio for libraries app, I always have a magazine or two loaded into my phone. It’s been fantastic–and free. I love libraries.
So, books read in September, with, as always, an asterisk next to ones I really liked. (Although if I can’t stand a book I don’t finish it, so if it’s on the list, I liked it enough to read it.)
Bookends, by Jane Green
The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kennedy
How to Write a Novel (A Novel), by Melanie Sumner *
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson *
The Yokota Officers Club, by Sarah Bird *
In the Language of Miracles, by Rajia Hassib
David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell *
What a Mother Knows, by Leslie Lehr
The Writing on My Forehead, by Nafisa Haji *
The Rumor, by Elin Hilderbrand
Speak was given to my 13yo by the middle school librarian, and when he was done, he handed it to me. Another mom in the neighborhood saw me reading it and felt it was highly inappropriate for the librarian to give it to my son without asking me, because it deals with rape. It’s a YA novel and these situations happen to kids whether we want to think they do or not. I had no problem with my son reading it, and I like that he handed it to me to read, knowing I would and we could talk about it.
A sweet book playhouse/reading nook behind the Annapolis Bookstore.
I’m a little late with this, but here’s what I read in August. Again, books I particularly liked are marked with an asterisk. I didn’t include the books I abandoned for one reason or another. (Life is too short to read badly written and/or dull books.)
Housebreaking, by Dan Pope
Very Good Lives, by JK Rowling
The Sweet Spot, by Christine Carter, PhD
The Beautiful Struggle, by Ta-Nehisi Coates *
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
Reunion, by Hannah Pittard *
The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion *
Fly Away, by Kristin Hannah
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates*
Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline *
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison (re-read) *
Crossroads of Should and Must, by Elle Luna
The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd
(Sometimes I feel like I should annotate these lists a little beyond starring the ones I really liked, but it’s always thoughts on ones I wasn’t that impressed with, so I end up going with the adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” So I don’t.)
July looked a lot like this.
July was for reading–sixteen books on this month’s list. It contains some fluff, but it’s got balance to it overall. As always, books I particularly enjoyed are marked by an asterisk. In the order I read them, here they are:
All the Single Ladies, by Dorothea Benton Frank
Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of Innovation, by Ann Marie Thomas *
Flora, by Gail Godwin
The Matchmaker, by Elin Hilderbrand
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee * (re-read)
Death Comes For the Archbishop, by Willa Cather *
Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa
The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri *
Best Friends Forever, by Jennifer Weiner
Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger * (re-read)
Judge This, by Chip Kidd
The Wednesday Group, by Sylvia True
The Daughter, by Jane Shemilt *
The Shell Collector, by Anothony Doerr
The Listener, by Rachel Basch *
Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older *
I’ve also been inspired by some maker-type books, too. I’m going to try to get back to more regular posting in August, because I’ve been experimenting here and there, in between the reading and general stew-pot weather-induced lethargy. However, this computer is also lethargic (it’s the oldest laptop in the house) and I don’t always have the patience for it. So we’ll see how it goes!
One of the first things the kids and I did in Maryland was get library cards.
I’ll post about moving and settling in soon–June was such an exhausting month, it’s going to take me a while to recover. In the meantime, here’s June’s reading list. I actually managed to read, even when between libraries (that’s when I read the Hincapie book, which the kids and I gave to my husband last year–it definitely got me in the mood for le Tour!). As always, books with an asterisk are ones I especially enjoyed.
How to Be A Woman, by Caitlin Moran *
The Memoir Project, by Marion Roach Smith
Van Gogh: A Power Seething, by Julian Bell
A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler
The Art of Communicating, by Thich Nhat Hanh
The Loyal Lieutenant: My Story, by George Hincapie and Craig Hummer
Election, by Tom Perrotta *
Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng *
The Wishbones, by Tom Perrotta
This is how I’m trying to keep this move organized.
Things are intensifying around here. June means the last three weeks of school, with its attendant events; my husband going back and forth between Maryland and Rhode Island while I stay with the kids up here; 18 doctors/dentist appointments for me and the kids between now and June 18; and the Monday after school ends, our house is getting packed out. The next day, I drive down to Maryland with the kids and the cat and wait for our household to be delivered. Our closing is supposed to be that week too, but that’s still not, um, finalized. (I hate real estate transactions oh yes I do.) The adults here have begun saying July like a mantra.
Well, onto the reading list. I’m amazed I’m reading anything, except I can’t fall asleep without it. I’m including two nonfiction I only read partially, and as always, anything I really liked is marked with asterisks.
Rocket Girl, by George D. Morgan
First Frost, by Sarah Addison Allen
A Small Indiscretion, by Jan Ellison
The Empathy Exams, by Leslie Jamison–I read about 2/3 and then, frankly, tired of the author’s voice.
The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy **
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast **
We Were the Kennedys, by Monica Wood
Craftivism, ed. Betsy Greer–partial, flipped through and read what was interesting to me
A Field Guide to Getting Lost, by Rebecca Solnit **
By the time I post another reading list, I’ll be doing it from Maryland!