July 19, 2016

Life // What I've Been Reading

Though I've always loved reading, work and digital distractions had me leaving new books to languish on a shelf for months, sometimes years. I really fell off the wagon (more like "fell off the library cart") after H was born. Recently, he's become increasingly more excited about reading and his newfound love of books has rekindled the spark for me, too.

For my six 2016 New Year's Resolutions, I set #4 to read at least one (non-children's) book a month. I'm pretty on track with that goal and I thought the height of beach/poolside reading season might be a good time to share some of what I've recently read. Hopefully I can also use this post to solicit your recommendations for what I should read next!

1. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson
I actually received the full Millennium Trilogy as a Christmas gift back in 2011. I have no idea why it took me almost 4 years to start the series, but I finally read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo this past November. I then picked off this book and its predecessor, The Girl Who Played With Fire, in January and February. A common complaint for this series is that all three books move somewhat slowly in the beginning, but I think they're worth the extra effort. I'd recommend sticking through the deliberate character/plot building to more thoroughly enjoy and understand the nuance behind the faster moving "action" portions of these books.

2. For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
I accidentally left my first copy of this book in a United seat-back pocket on a layover in March and should have taken that as a sign from the reading gods. Instead, I picked up a copy from our local library and slogged through the final 300+ pages a few months later. I spent the remainder of the book waiting for the magical moment when I'd finally connect with story. A war novel, a revered author, a literary classic - this book had so many ingredients needed to make a delicious story, but sadly I spent 480 pages trying not to spit it out.

3. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
Ahh, this was a tough one for me. My love for To Kill A Mockingbird runs too deep for me to objectively critique Watchman as a stand-alone novel. I was excited to catch up with Scout and the gang, but found myself wanting to catch the first train out of Maycomb after I was halfway through the book. One good thing that came out of this experience? I'm no longer sad that Lee's list of published novels is so short.

4. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
So. Many. Tears. I'm not usually a sappy love story kind of gal, but this book kept popping up on a bunch of recommended reading lists so I finally broke down and put in the library hold request. After picking it up, I let it sit on our kitchen counter for about a week, then devoured it in a day and a half. This book is a good contender for a comfortable beach/pool/camp chair - but our family room's sectional suited me equally well if you're in need of a rainy weekend read.

5. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
Overall this was an entertaining story, but I often cringed at the protagonist's actions and had difficulty respecting her character. Though I typically consider book versions to be superior to their movie counterparts, I'm curious to see this one on the big screen. I wonder if Hollywood made "Rachel" any more likable than she was in written form. I'd also just like to shove some popcorn in my face.

6. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
I had a fun time convincing the librarian that yes, indeed, I wanted to request a hold on *gasp* a Young Adult novel. After that little exchange, I quickly learned my username and password to request holds via the online reservation system. Now I can proudly read age-inappropriate materials without navigating a stare down by Judgey McJudgerton, librarian extraordinaire. On to the book... Despite a somewhat annoying writing style, Liars redeems itself by being a great story with an even better twist (and lots of golden retrievers).

Currently reading:
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple*

*What should I read next? Please post your recommendations below!


  1. It's definitely hard to get back on the reading wagon post kids, especially when they want you to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear 1 million times each night ;) But, now that my boys are older I am back on full force! I love seeing what my friends are reading as well as sharing what I've really enjoyed. I have to say my favorite this past year is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I am really partial to WWII books and this was an amazing read. PS: I really enjoyed Bernadette as well!

    1. Awesome - thanks for the recommendation, Jody! And I hope all is well with you and your fam (I also can't believe how big the boys are!!!).
      -M :-)

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  3. I echo your thoughts about Harper Lee and the Dragon Girl trilogy. I have the newer 4th book of that by a different author and can't get into it even though I'm happy to see the characters again. Just finished The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah recently and loved it completely. Read with kleenex!

    1. Thanks so much for the recommendation - just added The Nightingale to my Goodreads list! And thanks for the info on the 4th Millennium book. I was pretty leery about it being written by another author :-/