In Which I Fall Woefully Short: The 2017 Book List

Here it is! My final book list of the year. I am so sorry to have slacked so much on my monthly book posts, but here’s the whole shebang in all its glory. If you recall back to this time last year, I set two goals.

1.) Read 52 books-Didn’t happen (finished 51 books. *twitch*)

2.) Finish both Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenges (finished Reading for Fun, did not finish Reading for Growth)

I’m pretty annoyed that I didn’t finish either goal. It was a busy year, yes, but still. To come SO close? That smarts a little. Technically I guess I really did finish more than 52 because I counted the entire Beverly Cleary Ramona series as 1 book (read aloud to my children), but let’s not mince technicalities, Lindsay Partridge. *twitch*



Alright, enough whining. So, thoughts on what I read this year. I feel like I read more diversely that is typical for me, and I’m very happy about that. There are several books on this list that I never would’ve picked up in previous years, but this year I had the mindset of reading things beyond my comfort zone that I thought would help me to see a different perspective. That mindset served me very well, as those are some of my favorite books from this year.

I’m also happy with how much fiction I read this year. For years, I barely read fiction and thought it just wasn’t for me anymore. Boy, was I wrong. Boy, was I reading the wrong fiction.

Anyway, I have a lot of thoughts and words about this list that I will save for another (imaginary, given the frequency of my posting) post. Here’s the list for now.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these, and see your own lists!

1.) Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton-Kindle-1.3.17
2.) What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkamp-kindle-1.4.17
3.) The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben-audio-1.17.17
4.) 11/22/63 by Stephen King-library-1.19.17
5.) First Women by Kate Brower-library-1.25.17
6.) Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham-kindle-1.27.17
7.) Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson-kindle-2.8.17
8.) Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple-kindle-2.15.17
9.) Different by Sally Clarkson-paperback-2.21.17
10.) Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance-audio-2.24.17
11.) Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleaves-library-3.3.17
12.) A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny-kindle-3.12.17
13.) The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner-library-3.14.17
14.) Wonder by R.J. palacio-kindle-3.15.17
15.) The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead-library-3.25.17
16.) The Lake House by Kate Morton-kindle-4.5.17
17.) The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood-kindle-4.17.17
18.) So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson-kindle-4.30.17
19.) At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider-kindle-5.7.17
20.) Peter Pan by JM Barrie-5.8.17-read aloud to Gus
21.) Homer Price by Robert McCloskey-audio with kids-5.10.17
22.) The Mothers by Brit Bennett-kindle-5.13.17
23.) How to Talk So Kids Can Learn by Adel Faber-kindle-5.17.17
24.) Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons by Lorne Landvik-library-5.27.17
25.) Lab Girl by Hope Jahren-audio-6.1.17
26.) Who Thought This was a Good Idea?  By Alissa Mastromonaco-audio-6.20.17
27.) This is how it always is by Laurie frankel-kindle-6.24.17
28.) Jackie’s Girl by Kathy McKeon-audio-7.4.17
29.) Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me by Ian Cron-kindle-7.11.17
30.) The Nine of Us: Growing Up Kennedy by Jean Kennedy Smith-library-7.17.17
31.) 20 and Counting by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar-audio-7.21.17
32.) The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion-library-8.1.17
33.) Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Larson-library-8.8.17
34.) How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp by Shawn Smucker-kindle-8.8.17
35.) The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion-library-8.17.17
36.) Born a Crime by Noah Trevor-audio-8.17.17
37.) Trim Healthy Mama by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allyson-mine-8.22.17
38.) The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines-audio-8.23.17
39.) The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Fenollera-library-8.30.17
40.) Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker-audio-9.18.17
41.) The Restless Flame by Louis de Wohl-own-10.2.17
42.) Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin-10.9.17-kindle
43.) Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner-11.13.17-own
44.) The Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary-11.13.17-audio with the kids
45.) Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris-11.24.17-library
46.) Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence-11.28.17-library
47.) Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager-11.28.17-audio
48.) Revelation and A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor-11.28.17-library
49.) A Brutal Telling by Louise Penny-12.2.17-kindle
50.) The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Ruben-12.6.17-library
51.) Reading People by Anne Bogel-12.29.17-bought




Summer 2017 Book List

Ok, no time for chit chat-there are books! Since this covers the whole summer, the list is much longer than usual. Some books were more memorable than others, so in the interest of time, commentary will be brief on those. What are you reading? Any thoughts on these? Love hearing from you guys.

  • Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?  By Alissa Mastromonaco
I listened to this on audio and really enjoyed it-it is read by the author which is always a plus to me. Word of caution, lots o’ swearing and some adult content, but nothing too intense. Mastromonaco worked for President Obama way back before he even decided to run for presidency, so her ‘from the beginning’ perspective was interesting. This book is more of a how-to-climb-the-professional-ranks book for women more than a political memoir, but plenty of behind the scenes content as well.
  • This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel
This book has received a lot of buzz and raves and that is what led me to check it out. It is the story of a family and a child working through gender identity. I thought it was interesting and gave me some insight into a world I don’t know very much about, but honestly, the writing was pretty lackluster. The dialogue was often trite, the author obviously had an agenda but she really beats the reader over the head with it, and it just really fell flat for me. I’m still glad I read it for the perspective, and it’s a quick and easy read, but don’t go into it expecting stellar writing.
  • Jackie’s Girl by Kathy McKeon
This was another audio book and it was fantastic-the reader has a beautiful Irish brogue! This is a memoir written by a personal assistant to Jacqueline Kennedy. It’s also an immigrant story, and a day in the life story from 1960’s America. It’s interesting, well written, and a different perspective on one of the most famous women in the world.
  • Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me by Ian Cron
A coming of age story written by a man with severely dysfunctional parents. He struggles with faith (he is raised Catholic) and an alcoholic, abusive father.
  • The Nine of Us: Growing Up Kennedy by Jean Kennedy Smith
I was on a Kennedy kick this summer. This book was just a fun, interesting read from the last surviving Kennedy sibling. I love stories about big families (personally invested, haha) and this one was sweet and lovingly done. I loved getting to ‘know’ Rose and Joe from the perspective of one of their children.
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
What a fun book! A highly intelligent man (not diagnosed with Asperger’s/high functioning autism, but think Sheldon from Big Bang Theory) sets out to find the perfect wife. Funny, sweet, interesting, well written….this is a good, easy read.
  • Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Larson
Here we go with the Kennedy’s again. Look, I just had to know more about Rosemary after the first 2 books. This gave interesting insight into the life and treatment options available to individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout the 20th century, and how health care evolved.
  • How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp by Shawn Smucker
A memoir about a family traveling cross country for several months with their young children in an RV. The writing drove me bonkers (very show-offy) but it was a cute story and I finished it just to see what sights they saw and what happened.
  • The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
I just had to pick this up after loving The Rosie Project so much. It was similar to the first book but just didn’t have the same heart. Still, it was a fun read about Don and Rosie settling in and growing up together.
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
The audio is read by Noah and it is fantastic. Easily one of the most important books I’ve ever read on racism, poverty, apartheid, black culture, Christianity…on and on. Just read it. You must. But be warned, lots of language and some very graphic, disturbing scenes.
  • Trim Healthy Mama by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allyson
What can I say, I’ve birthed 5 babies. I loved the book and found it extremely well researched and interesting, and I’m down 9 lbs so far and really enjoying all the recipes,
  • The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines-audio
This was another audio book read by the authors. The hosts of “Fixer Upper,” I was curious about how they started out and grew to such fame. Their back story was pretty interesting, and the book is short and sweet.
  • The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Fenollera
This was a book club book and it was fantastic. Easily one of the best books I’ve read this year, and will probably go on my all-time favorites list. You read it and decide if it’s a love story, a conversion story, an ode to faith, a manifesto against busy living, or something else entirely. Lovers of classical literature will really enjoy the references, and it will inspire you to go back and reread Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. Such a lovely, gentle, but very thought-provoking read about a woman and her encounters living and working in a village that is quite out of the ordinary. Special shout-out to homeschoolers, you will enjoy the lifestyle descriptions!


May 2017 Book List

Well THIS post is a bit tardy. Sorry about that. End of pregnancy, childbirth, and a newborn have taken over life around the nest lately, but hopefully I can click-clack out a few thoughts before returning to the recliner with this little love.


So, the books.

This book was written by the blogger and podcaster behind The Art of Simple.  It chronicles the round-the-world, 9-month long journey Tsh, her husband, and 3 children took a couple years ago. It’s full of reflections on world cultures and seeing the world from a child’s perspective, descriptions of incredible sounding food and exotic locales, but also day-to-days of settling into a new culture, even temporarily, with a young family. There are even some great travel tips. I really enjoyed this book and recommend finding Tsh on Instagram so you can go back and look through her photos from their year of travel. We enjoy traveling with our kids and look forward to doing it more and more, especially now that we have the Party Bus (12 passenger Sprinter) to accommodate all that a family of 7 entails. It’s a quick read and a great pool-side escape that isn’t fluff.
I read this aloud to my oldest son (7 years old) over the course of this month and we both really enjoyed it. We were familiar with the Disney version, but I don’t think I had ever read the original text. The vocabulary was rich but full of context so that he was not overwhelmed and didn’t have to stop me for explanation very often. It is not drastically different from the Disney version, but definitely a bit darker with subtleties only adults would pick up on as is the case with most classic children’s literature.  This made a great read aloud as well with chapters that were a good length-10-15 minutes, which is about my limit at 8pm!
The kids and I listened to this on audio in the car this month and enjoyed it. It definitely held my oldest son’s attention the most. My girls would tune in and out of it, but it didn’t grab them the way the Little House and Ramona audiobooks have. That being said, if your kids enjoy the Ramona books, they will probably like this book because it is also a charming glimpse into 1950’s suburbia with a protagonist who has a heart of gold, often oversteps, and finds himself in hijinks.
Wow, this book was incredible. I heard a lot of buzz about it on the What Should I Read Next? podcast and finally picked it up, and I’m so glad I did. Fair warning, this book deals with abortion, and I almost put it down at that point seeing as I was 9 months pregnant and all. However, the author did a beautiful job of showing how that one “choice” continued to impact those involved and spread to a wider and wider circle of people, over time. Mostly, this is a compelling coming-of-age story of race, tragedy, and female friendship.
Keeping this brief…parenting book….you can skim it or just read the cartoons in every chapter and get the gist. Nothing too revolutionary but good reminders mainly about how to effectively communicate and create an empathetic environment.
A story of friendship that starts in 1960’s suburban Minnesota and follows the group of friends for 40 years as they raise their families. This was a fun, easy read that reminde me of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

This was my audiobook for the month. Of note-if you also listen to the audio, I recommend speeding it up to 1.25x. Jahren has a slightly lethargic reading pace. This was an autobiography of a scientist (botany) and professor, and her journey through academia. It is also her story of dealing with severe bipolar disorder. It is a fairly easy read and not overly dense on the terminology and scientific explanations at all, and Jahren’s love of nature really shines through and encourages the opportunity to look at the natural world around you differently.


April 2017 Book List

April in Maryland turned out to be beautiful this year, a lot nicer than May is shaping up to be so far, and so my reading took a hit in garden-planting, sun-seeking endeavors.

Image result for book with flowers

I only have 3 books to share with you this month, sorry about that, but they were good ones, at least.

I’ve really enjoyed all of Kate Morton’s books, but this one might be my favorite. It’s a page-turner centered around a family on an English country estate and a decades-long family mystery. I don’t think I’d call this a mystery in the traditional sense, and you can probably figure out the ending pretty early on, but it’s still fun to take the journey with the characters and see how everything wraps up. Just a word of caution, however, it has a *very* tidy ending that may annoy some people. The imagery and descriptions of English summers is beautiful in this book. A few trigger warnings: the story centers around the loss of a young child, and while it is heart-wrenching in the beginning, I think it’s well worth soldiering on. Overall, I think this is a great book to curl up with on a rainy summer day.
I alternated between audio and Kindle for this book (hurray for Whispersync!), though I think the narrator was good and added to the story. I just grew impatient and can read much faster than listen! Anyway, this book was slow for me and I often had to make myself pick it up and keep going so I could finish already, but I ended up feeling glad I’d read it….if that makes any sense? It centers around a young boy who seems to have high-functioning autism (though I don’t think that label is ever used) and his relationships with a few adults, and how those relationships intermingle and grow in his absence. It also tells the life story of 104-year old Ona Vitkus, and offers some fascinating insight into aging. There is some heaviness and sadness in the story, but mostly it is a story of friendship and family.
Shame seems to be a buzz word in the last few years, maybe stemming from Brene Brown’s popularity? This is another perspective into the world of shame, centering around social media shamings. So often there are disclaimers on social media posts, “No judgement, please!” etc. because it is unusual at this point to see comments that don’t judge or even outright insult even the most benign posts. Ronson tells the story of several people who were publicly shamed via social media, mostly Twitter, and how they dealt with the aftermath. This is a great read to better understand intellectual property and also the mindset that allows us to say things ‘anonymously’ on the internet that we would *never* say in a face-to-face encounter.
On the docket for May:
Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis (book club)
Tsh Oxenreider’s new book, At Home in the World
Something great on audio? I’ve been plugging away at Hamilton for quite awhile, but need to break it up a bit.

March 2017 Book List

March turned out to be the month of very little listening to audiobooks and emotionally challenging reads. So, here’s an image that includes some of my favorite spring flowers (hyacinths) before we dive into the heavy stuff.


So pretty. They smell like heaven, if you can find some and get a whiff. Now, shall we?

The writing in this book was phenomenal. Cleaves is a master with dialogue and whitty turns-of-phrase. I absolutely adored this book and highly recommend it for any Anglo-philes, WW2 readers, or even anyone who would enjoy a glance at life in London during the 1940’s. Though there is a lot of tragedy (it’s a war book, no skirting around that) there is also so much humor and love. While anything having to do with wartime can be difficult to read, there was really only one passage that I would describe as gruesome or gory, and that is probably 2/3 of the way through the book when the German pilot crashes. That’s not a spoiler, don’t worry, and you’ll see what I mean when you read it. But please do-read it, that is.
2.) A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny (only $2.99 on Kindle as of 4/2/17)
I started reading Louise Penny’s books last year after hearing them described as murder mysteries that really just use the murder to probe the human psyche. I’ve also heard that this book, #4 in the series, is where she really hits her stride and I’d have to agree. This is a great summer read, as all her books (that I’ve read so far) rely heavily on seasonal themes and this one takes place in the heat of the summer. If you’re new to murder mysteries and are squeamish or very sensitive to violence as I am, you will probably enjoy these books.
I picked this up after hearing several podcasters rave about it. It’s the life story of a woman who grew up in a polygamist (fundamentalist Mormon) community. It was very interesting to get the insight into a different and often secretive religion and culture. There were many parts that were sad and difficult to read because of widespread abuse and neglect that seemed to be rampant in their community, but overall it was a fairly quick, enlightening read.
Wonder was my Young Adult pick this month, as I’m trying to read at least one YA selection each month. We’ll see how that pans out. This book was fantastic, and I intend to purchase a copy to keep on hand for my kids when they are older. It is told primarily from the perspective of a boy named August who was born with a rare medical facial deformity, which he refers to as “mandibulofacial dysostosis”, more commonly known as Treacher Collins syndrome and a cleft palate. The story also shifts perspective to August’s sisters and friends as well. It’s a great read for a kid’s perspective on disabilities, bullying, friendship, and adolescence.
The Underground Railroad was the biggest challenge of the month for me. I had to re-read almost every page in an attempt to hopefully absorb all that Whitehead was trying to convey. The writing is masterful, certainly what you’d expect from a National Book Award winner. It tells the life story of a woman born into slavery in Georgia, Cora, and her experience with the Underground Railroad. This book is so different from anything I’ve ever read about this era, however, because of how Whitehead reimagines the UR as an actual train. I don’t think I’d classify this book as dystopian, but there are definitely elements. It can be very violent and gruesome, as the institution it describes would dictate, but it is so very worth reading anyway. Just be prepared to take your time with it and really process. This is one I’d love to chat about, if any of you pick it up!
In process:
Audiobook-The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood (only $4.95 right now!)
I’ve heard such good things about this book, but I’m having a hard time getting into it. The narrator is fantastic and I suspect this is a book that is better on audio, but it still has been slow going for me. Hope to have a review by next month!
The Lake House by Kate Morton-I’ve read almost all of Kate Morton’s books and this one is probably my favorite so far. I’m about 2/3 of the way through, so maybe I’ll feel differently with the ending, but so far I love it! It’s a great mystery/romance/coming of age/character study.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen– First classic of the year. Confession: I’ve never actually read this whole book. I know. I KNOW. I’m trying to fix that this year, ok? I’ve started it soooo many times. I’m going to do it, guys. Keep me accountable.

February 2017 Book List

February turned out to be kind of a light month for reading. I’m not really sure why, but I suspect “Victoria” may have been a factor…

Well, here’s what I did finish.

Image result for reading a book on the beach free picture
Gods in Alabama-I started this while we were on our trip to Florida thinking it would be something light, and it sort of was. While the overall subject matter ( a personal tragedy of a teenage girl growing up in small-town Alabama and how it influenced her adult relationships) was on the heavier side, the writing was funny and light, and even insightful at times. I’ve started one other book by Joshilyn Jackson and abandoned it, but decided to give this a try anyway. I think it would make a good easy read for vacation or the pool, but if you are highly sensitive, this may not be a light read for you. It may have some strong emotional triggers as well.
Today Will Be Different-“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” was near the top of my favorites list from last year, so I was eager to read more by Maria Semple. I really loved “Today Will Be Different,” as well for many of the same reasons. Semple is hilarious and dry and writes motherhood so honestly and well. Her character development is really impressive….you go on quite a journey with her female protagonists and they turn out to be not at all who you thought they were in the first few chapters. This is a particularly poignant sister story as well.
Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him-The subtitle says it all for this book. I enjoy reading parenting theories and methods, but I don’t always make it through entire books. This one was very different because it is written in alternating voices by Sally and her son, Nathan, who is now a successful adult. Nathan was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Oppositional Defiance Disorder as a child, and this is their story and reflection on his childhood. They are very honest about some difficult periods for both of them, but also share a lot of information about what worked well to manage Nathan’s behavior but also, so importantly, to improve his quality of life. This is the missing link in a lot of books for me. There is a lot of focus on managing behavior and improving the parent’s life, which, arguably, also improves the child’s life. However, I really appreciated Sally’s perspective on looking at the WHY/root cause of Nathan’s behavior and feelings, and how their family could accommodate and offer appropriate replacement behaviors when necessary. I highly recommend this for anyone with a challenging child, for whatever reason, even if he or she does not have letters assigned to them.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis-This book has received a lot of press lately because it was named by the NYT as one of the “6 Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win.” That was a factor in why I wanted to read this, but I was also curious and hoping to understand more about poverty and America’s working class. Charlie and I started this as an audiobook on our road trip but had to abandon it quickly because little pitchers have big ears and the hillbillies in this story swear quite a bit. I finished it on my own eventually and really loved it. The first part is interesting just as a family story, but Vance does not leave many breadcrumbs early on to his later success. Charlie’s big question after listening for awhile was, “Ok, so this guy went to Yale, but what has he actually done of merit in his life?” I think Vance may have done this intentionally, but it is a little maddening so-spoiler alert- after growing up in a very unstable, poor home, Vance enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2012. His description of how the USMC changed his life and self-worth is the real meat of his story, and it is fantastic. He also champions for educational reform and placing a higher value on military service, vocational, and on-the-job training programs as alternatives to college-a cause very near and dear to Charlie and I both (RJP Memorial Fund).
Ok, that’s it for me this month. What are you guys reading? What have you loved recently?

January 2017 Book List

Image result for public domain book imageJust to reiterate my reading goals for this year, I’m hoping to read 52 books and complete the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge: Reading for Fun (MMD 2017 Challenge). That works out to a book a week, and is usually pretty on-target for me. This month, I managed to finish 6 books as of Jan. 27…I’m posting a little early because we are leaving on a trip and I wouldn’t want you to have to wait with BATED BREATH until the second week of February. See, I care about you fellow readers, I really do. Anyway, here’s what I read this month, some quick thoughts on each book, and what I’m planning to read/listen to on our upcoming trip.

1.) Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton-read on Kindle
I really loved this book and Glennon’s story. I’ve never read her blog or followed her on social media, and I honestly hadn’t even heard of her until the media storm around her in the fall. However, I read a brief review that this book is her memoir of addiction, depression, and mental illness and it piqued my curiosity. All of those topics are near and dear to my heart, as they are for way too many people. I was impressed with how real and raw her description of spiraling into a deep depression read. I’m pretty sensitive and censor my media consumption carefully, and there were definitely some triggers in this book, but overall, I could  handle it and enjoyed it.
2.) What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkamp-read on Kindle
Several bloggers that I follow rave about this book, and it’s a pretty quick read. I am very much not a morning person, but I really wish I were and this book had some good tips and ideas. Life changing? Not for me. Not even all that memorable. But I could see how it could provide some great strategies for some.
3.) The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben-Audio book
I love, love, love this book and re-read it every year or so. I especially love Gretchen Ruben’s books on audio because she reads them herself. I am a devoted listener to her podcast, Happier, and I’ve incorporated SO many of her resolutions and strategies into my daily life over the years. It is extremely practical and actionable. I highly recommend this along with her other books, Happier at Home and Better Than Before.
4.) 11/22/63 by Stephen King-hardback from library
I’ve had this checked out for a few months and never got around to reading it. I kept hearing how good it is, but I’ve never read any Stephen King and I was really nervous about it because I’m a pretty sensitive soul. I had a hard time putting this book down, and I carried it everywhere with me even though it’s HUGE-almost 900 pages. Definitely a page-turner, it is a time-travel story that centers around the Kennedy assassination. If you read it for nothing else, read it for the glimpses into daily life of 1950’s and 1960’s America.
5.) First Women by Kate Brower-hardback from library
I picked this up on a whim during a quick trip to the library on Inauguration Day. It was really interesting, and I love reading about life in the White House. It was a little repetitive in parts, and I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Margaret Truman’s book First Ladies, but it was still worth reading and I like that Michelle Obama was included. It piqued my interest about our former first lady, and I found I really know very little about her.
6.) Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham-Kindle
If you are a Lauren Graham fan, this book is written exactly how she, or her characters I suppose, speak. This will either be endearing and awesome, or it will drive you crazy. It drove me crazy. It was still interesting to get the behind-the-scenes peaks at Gilmore Girls and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, but I’m glad this book was pretty short and quick to read. (Sorry, Lauren! I still love watching you act!)
So what’s on my list for February?
We have a long road trip coming up and Charlie and I always look forward to a good audiobook or two while the littles binge-watch Disney Nature DVD’s. When the kids get tired of DVD’s, they love a good audiobook as well.
Here’s what we are planning on listening to:
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance for us
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle for the kids (and us, let’s be honest)
For my personal reading, I’m hoping to read:
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
Different by Sally Clarkson
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (book club pick for the month)
Let me know if you’re reading or have read any of these, and your thoughts!!
 Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy!! February Quick Lit Link Up
Image result for quotes about reading

The 2016 Book List

I’m just going to kick it all off and lay it all out there with the simple truth/confession: I love books. I love to read. Audio, Kindle, hardback, shampoo bottle in the shower….it doesn’t matter. If it has text, I will read it. I’m not saying this is a good trait, it just is.

love-of-books However, I’d noticed that reading was becoming less and less of a priority for me over the last several years, and I really missed it. In college, I worked at Barnes and Noble and simply devoured books. The world (and time) was my oyster. Wife-and motherhood changed all that. I started tracking my reading a few years ago to see how  many books I was actually finishing in a year. Nothing fancy, I just created a document in Evernote. The main reason I selected Evernote was because I like it and wanted to use it more and needed stuff to put in it. I also liked the idea of having my documents available everywhere I went via internet. So, Evernote it has been. Tracking seemed to have a positive effect on my reading life. The first year I tracked, 2013, I read 12 books. In 2014, 34 books. In 2015, 37 books. I was starting to notice myself having anxiety about what to read next, how to make sure I was reading quality stuff and not just fluff (but at least a little fluff, still), and realizing that I never got to a book I’d heard about and really wanted to read. So, in 2016 I added The Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge (12 suggestions for categories of books to read) and I also set the goal of reading 52 books, or a book a week if you’re a mathemagician like me. I ended up actually reading 57 books in 2016, and also kept an Evernote doc on books I abandoned and books I’d like to read. I’ve always added interesting books to my Amazon wish list, but this document gave  me the opportunity to add notes on where I heard about the book and WHY I wanted to read it, because more than once I had no idea why in the world something was on my Wish List. So. All that to say…here’s my 2016 book list. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these.

Goal 1: To complete the MMD 2016 Reading Challenge.
Goal 2: To complete 52 books, audio, print, or read aloud to the children.

MMD 2016 Reading Challenge:

1. A book published this year – First Comes  Love by Emily Giffin
2. A book you can finish in a day- Wishfull Drinking by Carrie Fisher
3. A book you’ve been meaning to read – The Girl on the Train
4. A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller – Me Before You by Jojo moyes
5. A book you should have read in school – Jane Eyre
6. A book chosen for you by your spouse, BFF, child, or sibling – BIG,  FAT, FAILURE!
7. A book published before you were born – Wizard of Oz
8. A book that was banned at some point- Gone with the Wind
9. A book you previously abandoned – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
10. A book you own but have never read – 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
11. A book that intimidates you-The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
12. A book you’ve already read at least once: On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins -1.18.16
2. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell-1.25.16
3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes -1.28.16
4. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand  (audio) 2.1.16
5. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee-2.16.16
6. The Astronaut wives club by lily Koppel-2.24.16
7. Little house on the prairie-audio-2.26.16
8. Jane Eyre – Charlotte bronte-3.6.16
9. Life in Motion by Misty Copeland-3.25.16
10. Hands Free Life by Rachel Stafford-3.25.16
11. Still Life by Louise Penny-4.2.16
12. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson-4.12.16
13. Hank the cowdog-4.12.16 (read aloud with gus)
14. One Plus One by Jojo moyes 4.13.16-audio
15. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown-4.16.16
16. Let’s pretend this never happened – jenny lawson-4.19.16
17. A fatal grace by Louise penny-audio-4.21.16
18. Is everyone hanging out without me? By Mindy kaling-4.23.16
19. A Full Life by Jimmy Carter-Audio-4.25.16
20. the secret keeper by Kate morton-5.3.16
21. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton-5.5.16
22. Let it go by Karen ehman-kindle-5.14.16
23. Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle-kindle-5.16.16
24. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary – read aloud-5.24.16
25. The Gratitude Diary by Janice Kaplan-audio-5.26.16
26. Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr-5.31.16
27. Inside Out and Back Again-Thanha Lai-6.1.16
28. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen 6.14.16-kindle
29. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson-kindle-6.18.16
30. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum-audio-6.23.16
31. Love Does by Bob Goff-6.27.16-kindle
32. Rising Strong by Brene Brown 7.4.16 audio and text
33. Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman-7.12.16-text
34. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton-7.24.16-kindle
35. The Secret of the Shamrock by Lisa Hendey-7.26.16-read aloud with Gus
36. First Comes Love by Emily Giffin-8.7.16-hardcover
37. For the Love by Jen Hatmaker-8.8.16-hardcover

38. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple- 8.20.16-kindle
39.On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder-8.31.16-audio book with kids
40.7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker-8.31.16-Kindle
41.The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen-9.4.16-Kindle
42.Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson-9.7.16-Kindle
43.Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary-9.8.16-audio with the kids
44.The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh-9.14.16-libray book
45. Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary-9.19.16-audio with the kids
46. Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary -audio with the kids-9.26.16
47. Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary -10.6.16-audio with the kids
48.the Year of living Danishly by Helen Russell-audio/kindle-10.19.16
49.The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy-10.24.16
50. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell-10.29.16
51.The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney-11.5.16
52. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr-11.18.16
53. The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny-12.5.16
54. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty -kindle-12.14.16
55. The Rise of the Rocket Girls by Natalie Holt-audio-12.20.16
56. Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand-kindle-12.23.16
57.Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher-kindle-12.28.16