What I’ve Been Reading Lately: October and November 2019

What I’ve Been Reading Lately: October and November 2019

Hiya, friends!

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but somehow I forgot to post about the books I read in October. It’s possibly because my oldest daughter and I were on an adventure in Washington DC when I normally post, and it may also be due to the fact that my schedule has been pretty nuts, not allowing for as much reading time as I would prefer.

Pick your favorite excuse, I guess. Either way, I’m excited to share the books I’ve been reading lately with you!

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

This is a beloved children’s classic for a reason. I’ve read this book countless times over the years and it’s just as delightful every time.  We listened to it in the car as a family recently and all of us were captivated. Not an easy feat for such a wide age range (15 years old down to 3). I feel like it is better to read in book form because the text adds so much to the humor, but listening was fun, too.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

This has been on my radar for a while, but I only picked it up recently. Loved the story. It’s very atmospheric and well written.  The characters are so alive, and I love the way the different storylines intertwine.

Scythe by Neal Schusterman

This was recommended by my dear sister in law months ago and  I finally got my hands on it. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, I’d rather let you discover it yourself.  But I will say that my husband and I both read it in a short amount of time. He actually finished before I did, which is kind of unheard of.  The story propels you along quickly, it’s a really interesting premise.  We both highly recommend it.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

I try to read at least one Agatha Christie book each October. Her mysteries are among my favorites.  She paints such a vivid picture without being graphic or disturbing.  She’s the master of cozy mysteries and while that’s not my most common genre, I do love to pick one up every so often.

Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nelly Bly

I read this via the Serial app. Have you heard of it? It’s a great way to break down big books into smaller chunks, as long as the book was written before 1923. The selection is somewhat limited, but more books are being added all the time.

The premise of the book is interesting. A young female reporter feigns insanity in order to be sent to a mental institution so she can uncover the true living conditions there. (Of course at that time in history it was not at all difficult to have a woman committed to an asylum. Which is awful to read about in itself)

 The descriptions were a mixture of horrifying and fascinating. In the end, though, I was hoping for a more profound outcome.  I guess I wished she could have change the situation somehow or at least discussed how to improve it. The ending seemed very abrupt.

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

I’ve been hearing about this book everywhere, and for good reason. I listened to it on our red eye flight to Washington DC and found that I caught the gist of it, but snoozed through too much of the book to consider it actually read.  So I listened to it again throughout the trip.  Love Dani shapiros righting style. And the way she shares her feelings to openly.  As an adoptive mom it made me wonder if our boys will face any of those same emotions as they process  their own origins.

I’ll definitely be reading more from her.

Big Dreams, Daily Joys by Elise Blaha Cripe

I have been following Elise online for years now, and have been so inspired by how well she sets and accomplishes goals. I bought her book to take on a recent trip as a little airplane-reading treat for myself.  I was not disappointed.  Her writing style is real, it’s easy to relate to. She breaks down so well how to accomplish big goals and small ones. 

I highly recommend this for anyone, but especially for those who have big dreams and are not quite sure how to go about accomplishing them.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 

I loved this book! It’s sweet and funny and though-provoking all at once.  If you liked A Man Called Ove, this has a similar feel, though it’s definitely more light-hearted.

A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

I accidentally listened to this out of order (I inadvertently skipped the book right before it). I was about a quarter of the way through at the time, and was unable to get my hands on the previous book right away and I was in the middle of a big closet remodel project and spending a lot of time painting so I was in desperate need of an audiobook. 

All that to say, I kept going with it and I’m not sorry.  What is there to say about the Inspector Gamache series?  It’s very well done, and I can see now why people are so devoted to it. 

And yes, I will definitely go back and read the previous book. 🙂

Make Your Bed: Little Things that Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World by Admiral William McRaven

This is a quick little read based on a commencement address given by Admiral McRaven.  He relates lessons he learned during his years as a Navy Seal and applies them to daily life.  A quick, powerful little book. 

Maid by Stephanie Land

I have mixed feelings about this book.  It took me a long time to get through it, partly because the writing was not great.  I felt like the premise of the book was very interesting, I definitely wanted to finish the book so I could find out what happened, but it seemed like it could have used another round or two of editing. I found myself feeling really annoyed with a lot of her decisions, which didn’t help me love the book, either.

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall

The third book in the Penderwicks series.  It’s a sweet story of four sisters and their relationships.  I feel a kinship with this family, having grown up with a whole bunch of sisters myself.  It’s a fun read and would make a great read-aloud as well.

Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides

My husband and I listened to this on a recent road trip.  It’s a very compelling story, extremely well-told especially for the amount of information it includes.  It was not dry at all and gave us a lot to talk about.  The book goes back and forth between Martin Luther King Jr, and the man who assassinated him.  It includes so much more than I ever learned in school about this time period and the racial tension that gripped the US.  Absolutely fascinating.

James Heriott’s Treasury for Children

I adore James Heriott.  His stories are so heartwarming and perfect for the whole family. We listened to this book as a family and everyone loved it.  Heriott’s stories are moving and funny, his writing style brings you right into his life as a country veterinarian. This version is especially beautifully illustrated.