Quick Lit: What I’ve Been Reading Lately

I’m joining Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy to share what I’ve been reading lately.

Girl Waits with Gun

I was delighted to learn when I was about 75% finished with this book that it is based on a true story.  I loved the spunky, full of life Kopp sisters, the bravery they found in the face of danger and the evolution each of the sisters goes through as the book unfolds.

Loot by Jude Watson

I’d call this book Ocean’s 11 for kids.  It’s a fast-moving, fun, side-with-the-thieves kind of book. March is a boy who has joined his father, a career criminal, around the world for various “jobs” his whole life.  We get to join March on his first solo job and the adventures and discovery of true friendships that happens along the way.

Being Mortal  by Atul Gawande

A lot of people lump this book in the same genre as When Breath Becomes Air, and they are fairly similar. Being Mortal is much more of study of the act of aging and how little dignity and freedom is afforded to the elderly in our current social system.  If you have elderly or terminally ill loved ones, I highly recommend that you read this book. It’s a great jumping off point for discussions and helped me understand more deeply what my own loved ones are facing.

Trumpet of the Swan
Somehow I had never read this children’s classic.  We read it together as a family.  And I must say that it’s not at all what I was expecting.  In my mind I thought it was going to be a much more serious book.  But no, It’s actually about a swan with a trumpet. While there were lots of silly events that had us all shaking our heads and making hilarious (to us) comments, in the end we all enjoyed the book.


I found Columbine absolutely fascinating. The author, Dave Cullen, paints a very different picture  of the killers than the stereotype ingrained in my mind. Through their journals and videos intentionally left behind, we learn about the boys who committed such a horrible act of violence and why they did it.  And it’s different that what you expect.

Boy by Roald Dahl
I’ve always adored Roald Dahl.  His children’s books are among the best of the best.  I read the memoir of his adulthood years ago, but just discovered this book about his Childhood experiences.  It was so fun to pull back the curtain into the experiences that formed his imagination.  It’s very easy to see where some of his characters came from, especially the horrid adults we come into contact with through his books.  Several times I found myself laughing out loud and marking passages to share with my husband because Dahl puts on paper so charmingly the thought processes of a child.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
My big kids and I have slowly been working our way through the audiobooks (read by the incredible Jim Dale) together.  Ellie has read all the Harry Potter books multiple times and likely has them memorized.  But Ethan is experiencing them for the first time.  It’s important to me to be part of this for him, but reading them aloud is not something I can do right now.  We read aloud a lot each morning for school, but by the time afternoon rolls around I can hardly keep my eyes open if we sit down to read.  I have been known to fall asleep while reading aloud before.  My voice trailing off into nonsense words until one of the kids elbows me to wake me up.  Audiobooks are a great solution to this problem.  We listen while I nurse the baby or while the little ones are sleeping and we all work on our own quiet projects.

Barefoot and Balanced

Loved this book about the importance of time outdoors for children of all ages.  It’s packed full of interesting scientific studies and practical tips to help kids have the time they need outside on a daily basis as well as ideas to help adults actually spend time outdoors with their children.  I think I’ll be re-reading this one for inspiration periodically in the future.

Up from Slavery
I have mixed feelings about this book.  I was inspired by Booker T. Washington’s story and the way he overcame his childhood begun in slavery and became a well educated and prominent educator and leader. However, at the time this book was written, “separate but equal” was considered a really great system and while that was certainly a major step up from how black people had been treated, it still makes me sad to remember that it was not all that long ago that my sweet black son would have been unable to use the same entrance, drinking fountain etc. as the rest of our family.  And for that matter, he would not have been able to even be a part of our family.  I can’t imagine my life without his sweet smile and destructive tendencies, and it hurts my heart a little to think about it.

The Wonder
Love. Love. Loved this book.  It did take me a little while to get into, but the story was so compelling once I got into it that I couldn’t put it down.  You know how some stories sound really strange if you describe them out loud? That’s how I feel about this one.  I’ll leave my description vague and just say that it’s about love, loss and a mystery. That could be just about any book ever written.  But trust me, you should read this one.

Surprised by Joy
This memoir of C.S. Lewis’s younger years and his return to faith.  It followed much the same lines as Boy (above).  I was horrified at the conditions in the British boarding schools that both authors attended.  The stereotype of abusive headmasters certainly seems to hold true in both of their cases.  I felt like very little of this book actually dealt with Lewis’s faith, just the last little bit turned to his conversion and the way he became a Christian.  But it was still fascinating to read.

What have you been reading lately?