Tag Archives: read

Recent Reads

I don’t always write book review about every book I read, no matter how hard I try. So here is a list of books I’ve recently finished, with a little blurb about them and why I would recommend them to you! (If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen these titles throughout the last month!)

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I heard about this one on a podcast (listen to it here! It’s Pictures and Pages, No. 3.) and immediately knew I needed to order it – and order it I did! Then I read it in less than a week. It’s a beautiful example of writing, with all the emotions and big feels you could want (any other Enneagram type 4’s?!) packed into an atypical post-apocalyptic story. Most books on the topic are young adult-driven, but this wasn’t as “easy read” as many of them are (not to say it was difficult). There were more surprises, more intricately-woven characters and connections than just a book written for teenagers and weird love triangles.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This does happen to be a book that is often thought of as “children’s literature”, and I definitely read it first as a child. But a writer I love (Annie F. Downs) said she was reading all of L’Engle’s books this year, and I thought I’d try to join her since I had set a pretty lofty – for me in this life stage – goal of reading 25ish books this year. I am trying to read some of the books I’ve bought in the past, instead of only buying new ones (I know I just said I bought Station Eleven – that was an exception!) so I started with the only L’Engle already on my shelf! It’s beautifully written, a creative story representing a fight against darkness and sin. It also falls loosely into the sci-fi category, including time-travel (or wrinkling) and some strange occurrences therein.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. This book was a part of Oprah’s Book Club, so you know it’s good. Written by a gal who grew up in a missionary family in China, she has a unique perspective of how life worked for a traditional Chinese family in the late 1800s-early 1900s. It was eye-opening from a cultural and historical perspective (assuming it’s pretty accurate) but also a neat story, spanning the entire lifetime of a rural farmer. This is an example of a book someone gave me to read that I didn’t get around to for a couple of years.

Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger. I have long loved Catcher in the Rye, and so when I spotted this one on my shelf (I think it was my Hubby’s) I had to read it! It is lovely prose, mostly just an ongoing conversation between siblings Franny and Zooey. There are incredible examples of where stream of consciousness takes us, and lots of big words I had to look up – which I consider to be a good thing!

The next book on my list (which I just started yesterday!) is The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, I also read her bookHag-Seed: The Tempest Retold last year. She’s become a favorite of mine.

What are you reading right now? What should I add to my list for the year?! Bonus points if you will let me borrow it!!

20 Reasons to Read to Your Kids Every Single Day

This post originally appeared on Perfection Pending.

Sometimes, I’m trying to do 100 things at once. I’m cleaning, cooking, reading, giving advice, trying to keep myself healthy, saving my children from disaster… you know, just the regular stuff. But every once in a while, one of my kids wanders up to me with a book in his hand, or interrupts me while I’m getting some work done to ask if I’ll read to her. If I possibly can, I say yes. I drop almost anything to read to my kids. Why? Why is it so important to me that I would read to my kids any time they ask?

Because I love reading.

Because they love reading.

Because reading is for every age.

Because reading makes them smarter.

Because reading means you have to slow down.

Because reading to them won’t last forever.

Because reading is a pleasure that can transport them to another world.

Because reading is a way to connect with them.

Because reading opens their eyes to new experiences, ideas, and points of view.

Because reading is a joy that begins early.

Because reading is fun.

Because reading to them means getting a snuggle, too.

Because reading is something I can do with all of my kids at the same time.

Because reading creates time together.

Because reading makes them laugh.

Because reading makes me laugh.

Because reading makes me cry.

Because reading helps them learn about emotions.

Because reading to them turns into reading with them.

Because reading with them turns into them reading to me.

I’ll drop anything to pick up a book and read with my children. That time with them is special, and fleeting. I know from my years of teaching that almost any age of children love to be read to, but I also know that when they get older and busier, that time becomes harder to carve out. So right now, while they’re little, while they bring me books while I’m folding laundry, I’ll read to them. I’ll gladly let the laundry wait to have a snuggle and a book with my kids.

Research has shown that reading to children for at least 20 minutes every day can increase their reading abilities early on, increase their exposure to language and larger vocabularies, improve their attitudes towards reading for school, and increase their likelihood to graduate from high school on time, and go on to receive a higher education degree. Those reasons should be enough for parents to spend the time with their kids reading each day, but when you couple that with extra snuggles, quality time, and getting to hear their cute (or let’s be honest: hilarious!) thoughts on the stories and characters? I’m sold. My kids have the best questions and silliest ideas after we read books together. I would never want to miss out on that. I get to peek inside their minds for a minute when we discuss what the books are about. I get such good opportunities to talk with them about things we would never think of to say. Reading with your kids is a great way to get to know them a little bit better. Don’t miss out on it. It makes a difference for all of you.

Summer Reading List 

One thing I’ve always loved about summer is that there’s a little more time for reading. And when I say reading, I really mean reading for pleasure. I’ve always been a reader (thanks for passing that on to me, Mom!) and summer just feels like a good time to do it a lot. Even now when I’ve got three kids and WAY less free time than I’ve ever had, I feel a surge of hunger for books.

That being said, I’ve compiled a list of good summer reads if you’re looking for a new one. I’ve read all of these books, and loved them. Some are new, some not so much, but all great reads. Let me know if you’ve read these, or if you have suggestions for my summer reads this year!


One Mother to Another: This Is Just Between Us. My friend Melissa Mowry, who writes at One Mother to Another, wrote this book. It’s a collection of stories from her own life with two boys, and it’s amazing. It came out less than a month ago, and already has amazing reviews on Amazon. Check it out on your e-reader, too!American Wife, by Curtis Sittengren. I read this book several years ago, and the story still haunts me. It’s about an unlikely woman who becomes First Lady, and her struggle to stay true to herself and support her husband at the same time. So good!

Girl on the Train. I know this one is a little older (I was late to the game reading it last summer) but it’s still great. If you don’t normally jump on the “new, trendy book train”, you should make an exception for this. 

Deep Cries Out. Written by another writer I started reading online, Kristen Lavalley (whose blog inspired me to start my own) this is a 30-day devotional for moms in the trenches. They’re short, but deep and life-giving.

Yes Please. Amy Poehler’s memoir is still one of my favorite things I’ve read in the past few years. She’s hilarious, and I love her on screen and on the page. LOVE YOU, AMY!

Divergent. I know- young adult literature. But sometimes, you need a book (or series!) that sucks you in, keeps your attention, and isn’t so complicated to read. It’s a great vacation read! AND I always like to read he booms that movies are based on. Which leads me to…

Lord of the Rings. I’m actually reading this right now. It’s my third or fourth try, but the first time I’m actually enjoying it. Tolkien has always been laborious for me, but for some reason, this time I’m flying through and totally enjoying myself. So if you’ve tried and failed at LOTR in the past, I encourage you to give it another shot!

Well there’s a nice little list for you. What are you reading? Should I read it, too?!