What I’ve Been Reading Lately: October 2018

Every month I share quick reviews of the books I’ve been reading.  It’s been a busy month, but I was still able to fit in a bunch of reading time.  What have you been reading lately?

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I loved this sequel to the beautiful The War That Saved My Life.  A powerful story that touches on many important themes (judging others, loss, war, forgiveness) , but does it in an approachable and enjoyable way.  I’m planning to read this aloud to my kids at some point.

The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie

Such an inspirational book for any parent.  It’s full of great information such as WHY reading aloud is important, but not only that it’s encourage and doable.   The lists of book recommendations are a treasure trove.  She goes beyond the well-known, often recommended read alouds (Narnia, Charlotte’s Web, which are delightful and are favorites for a reason) and suggests many books I have never even heard of.  Super exciting for a bookworm like me!

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

I’m not quite sure what to say.  I didn’t love this book.  I liked the characters, the writing was excellent, the story is important and engaging. But I found I was having a hard time following along.   It jumps back and forth in time, and it would always take me a little while to catch up to where we were.  I was confused by some aspects of the story. I don’t want to give too much away, but the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad that was built underground.  It’s an interesting premise, but it just didn’t work for me.  By the end I really wanted to see what would happen, but I never felt like I was fully invested in the book.

Maniac Mcgee by Jerry Spinelli

This was my first time reading this modern classic.  We enjoyed this read aloud and it spurred a lot of great conversations.  Race and judgement are topics that we’re going to have to face often in our family and I want to have these conversations be a normal, healthy part of our lives.  So you’ll probably see a lot of books centered around this topic here over the years.

The Spartan Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins

This was another read aloud for our History curriculum.  It had moments of adventure and a few humorous bits, but over all it was slow-moving and gentle.  It does paint a vivid picture of life in Ancient Greece and Sparta.  None of the kids complained when I pulled it out, so that’s worth something.

Medicine Men: Extreme Appalachian Doctoring by Carolyn Jourdan

This short book was fascinating and fun to read.  It relates outlandish and unbelievable true stories from Appalachian doctors.  It’s like a more modern version of James Herriot, set in rural Appalachia.   I was so delighted by many of the stories that I shared them with my family at dinner.  They listened with mixed horror and humor.  Loved it.

The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame

I’ve never read this short children’s classic.  The kids and I enjoyed it together at breakfast over a few days.  Sweet and funny, we all enjoyed it from the 4 year old on up.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

I picked this book up from the library several months ago because I’d heard it recommended as a favorite from multiple people.  I hate to admit it, but I totally judged a book by its’ cover.  I didn’t love the cover and so this book went back to the library without me ever even opening it.   I am glad I decided to give it a try on audiobook, though.  I cruised through it quickly because it’s just so good. It alternates between the viewpoint of a modern writer and the character in a book she’s writing.  The characters are well developed, the pacing is exciting and enjoyable. This is my favorite book from the past month, for sure.

Head to Modern Mrs. Darcy to see more short and sweet book reviews.