Friday, December 29, 2017

Last Post and Goodbye for Now!

Dear fellow readers,

I've been blogging here for 10+ years (I started in April 2007!) and I've written about 1,000+ books that I've read. I started this blog as a way to keep track of the books that I read, and to hopefully point you all toward some good books.

I was doing some reflecting on the last year and thinking about what I want in my life for 2018, and a very clear thing that came to my mind was that it's time to take a break from this blog. I'm still gonna keep reading (of course!!) but I'm going to track my reading via Modern Mrs. Darcy's printables and Reading Challenge.

Thank you very much for reading along with me, for your comments and recommendations, and for your time! It's been fun!

There's a possibility that I'll be back in a different format, but not sure about that. I'm gonna leave that door open for myself to decide later.

But for now, I'm gonna say Goodbye and Happy Reading to you all! Thank you!!


PS: I'm linking to my two most favorite posts from the last ten years.

Ask a Librarian!

Football For Dummies

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

A Hollywood actress fakes her own death and ends up in Scotland where she hides and marries.

Overall, I liked the writing, but I never really liked the husband very much. So, meh.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

City Mouse by Stacey Lender

A family moves from New York City to the suburbs and discovers what suburban life is like. Is it really for them? This was one of those fast easy reads that's good for the weekend. Funny and witty. Kinda reminded me of that Real Housewives of X show. Oh, warning: it's a bit raunchy in some sections.

Friday, December 22, 2017

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Another Agatha Christie mystery that kept me on my toes. A cozy read for the winter.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

If you need some motivation and encouragement to live out of who you really are and to just go for it, this is the book for you. There are numerous areas in my life and professional work in which I shrink back and this book gave me some kicks to stop doing that!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Another re-read: Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki

Just noting that I re-read Goodbye, Things yet again. This book is really striking a chord in me. Because now I am also listening to the audio book on my commute. It's inspiring me yet again to get rid of things.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Book of Hygge by Louisa Thomsen Brits and The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

I was recovering from a medical procedure earlier this fall. I knew that I was finally feeling better when I came down one Sunday morning and told Boomer that I was ready to move some furniture.

These two books provided some inspiration for the furniture moving. Hygge is a Danish word that can be loosely translated to "cozy." So I'm trying to increase the cozy in our house. Still working on it.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Business and in Life by Leo Babauta

I've been seeking out more books on minimalism and living with less.

Babauta tackles how we live and how to achieve our goals and get rid of the excess that distracts us. A pretty fast read with some very practical tips.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown is another really, really good book on figuring out what we want to focus on in our lives.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Morningstar: Growing Up with Books by Ann Hood

Ann Hood writes a short ode to the books that shaped her. An easy read.

It prompted me to think about the books that shaped my life as well.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

I just discovered Agatha Christie within the last several weeks when my friend, Grace, mentioned that reading some Agatha Christie was making her happy. Wow! I can't believe I've lived so long without reading Agatha Christie. What a treat!

I am thinking of seeing the movie now.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand

Winter Solstice is the surprise fourth book following the Winter Street trilogy. What a welcome surprise and satisfying end!

I read the Winter Street trilogy when I was at home recovering during the fall. Thanks to Boomer who made numerous trips to the library to check out books and who could remember the order of books in this trilogy. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

16-year-old Aza starts investigating the disappearance of a local man in order to receive the $100,000 prize.

I love how John Green tackles mental health and grief and loss in a way that is heartfelt and non-stigmatizing.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

This is fiction and in the format of a diary of a woman who quits her job and moves back home to care for her ailing father.

When I read a book and I find details that don't make sense (like sliding a piece of pizza under a door), I find myself getting skeptical.There were a few moments like that in this book.

Overall, an okay read, but hum.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

One of my favorite classes in high school was a Humanities/Art History class. I was looking forward to reading Isaacson's Leonardo da Vinci but thought I'd be on the wait list for months until I could get it. I was so surprised to see it just sitting on the shelf in the New Book section. I spent the next couple of weeks devouring it. It's 624 pages, so not a light book to lug around. What a fun and educational read!

Monday, December 4, 2017

It Won't Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching by John Rademacher

My mom and sister are both teachers. And I am soooooo glad that I am not. Totally not me. And this book confirmed this for me. Hahahah. Well, I actually didn't need any confirmation.

Don't get me wrong. I totally admire teachers and everything they do for their students.

This would make a great gift for a teacher. But maybe not such a great gift for someone who is considering teaching.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

I love eating sourdough bread. However, baking it sounds so intimidating, so I'll leave that to my neighbor, Rebecca. :)

This book is about a sourdough starter! Well, it's about Lois, who is an engineer at a San Francisco start-up who inherits a sourdough starter, and that's just the beginning.

Quirky and fun, but really only a so-so reading experience for me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides

I've read everything by Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex, The Marriage Plot, etc.) and I was thrilled when a book of short stories came out. Yay!

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Party by Elizabeth Day

Trippy. Not very amiable characters. But somehow I could not put it down.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Trespasser by Tana French

Join Detectives Moran and Conway on a murder investigation that is much more complicated than it first appears to be.

Thank you to Grace for recommending this book, and then for encouraging me to continue when I got stuck about 75 pages in. Glad I continued reading!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

It's funny how you gotta read a book at the right time. I had read all of Sittenfeld's books except for Sisterland. When I first picked up Sisterland years ago, I couldn't get into it. I gave it another try and loved it.

Kate and Violet are twin sisters. The book opens up with a small earthquake rocking their hometown of St. Louis. The sisters both has psychic abilities but have chosen different ways to handle it. Violet publicly predicts that another earthquake is coming. Kate stays focused on her family. An exploration of sisters and choices and what bonds us together.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand

I needed one more Elin Hilderbrand book as I was at home resting up earlier this fall.

Dabney is the island's matchmaker but she's going through her own romantic turmoil. There's actually some depth and heart to this story. An easy (but also kinda sad) read.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Winter Series by Elin Hilderbrand

I mentioned awhile ago that I was pretty focused on home and family life there for a good month or so. I wanted something to read that was warm and cozy, and luckily I found the Winter series by Elin Hilderbrand.

Usually, Hilderbrand writes sunny, breezy summer stories about characters on Nantucket. So it's nice to have a winter series. I read all three of them (Winter Street, Winter Storms, and Winter Stroll). And a fourth one, Winter Solstice, was just published so I'm on the waiting list for that.

So if you're looking for a cozy read this fall, consider the Winter series. Light-hearted but not, and they are page-turners.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This book takes place in the upscale community of Shaker Heights, Ohio. When Mia and her daughter, Pearl move in though, they don't really fit in.

Oh wow, this book covers a lot. Teens, class, parenting, adoption. I could not put it down.

Highly recommended.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Futures by Anna Pitoniak

A boy-meets-girl story set in New York. Well, it's much more than that. Evan and Julia meet as undergraduates at Yale and move to New York after graduation. Evan gets a job at a hedge fund and Julia works at a non-profit. The financial meltdown hits....and things start to unravel.

This was an above-average read for me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

I think I've wanted to like Elizabeth Strout's work. I hear podcasters rave about her writing. I've read a few of her books, and I'm always left with...meh.

And once again...meh.

Monday, October 23, 2017

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Sam and his little brother, Riddle, are orphans of sorts when they are welcomed into Emily Bell's family. A story about family and the friends who become family.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss

Oh my gosh. This was a tough book to read.

Marissa's husband, Harvey, was diagnosed with ALS and this is the story of how she, her husband, and their three sons handled it all.

Devastating and sad. Not really redemptive either. But some things you just get through, I guess.

Sometimes Boomer will randomly pick up one of my library books and read it. He picked up this one and I warned him, but he read it in one sitting. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Owen lives in the basement apartment and Lucy lives on the 24th floor. They meet when their elevator stalls. Owen moves to California and Lucy moves to London...can they stay connected?

A fast YA read.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

Nina Riggs wrote this as she was dying from cancer. It was sad, raw, honest....did I mention sad?

It hit a little too close to home as I am very aware that it's almost been a year since my beautiful friend died from cancer.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

This was recommended to me by several parents of twenty-somethings as well as a few twenty-somethings themselves. Even though the 20s are long gone for me, it was actually super helpful to put some kind of developmental frame on what needs to get done in your 20s so that you're not entering your 30s or 40s lost....

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Re-read: Paris in Love by Eloise James

I don't even know how many times I've read Paris in Love. Whenever I want a fun pick-me-up, I check it out from the library and re-read it. Just noting that I re-read it yet again. It was thoughtful, fun, and plus she's in Paris. Always reminds me of being in Paris with Boomer and we got lost looking for the Eiffel Tower. Boomer kept saying, "It should be around here somewhere..."

Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage by Jo Piazza

A fun and funny memoir, self-help, and travel book all rolled into one. As a newlywed, Jo Piazza travels around the world trying to figure out what makes marriage works. I was a bit skeptical about this one at first, but somehow it worked and ended up being a pretty fun read.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy

A memoir of an interesting and complicated life. A fast read but was only a so-so read for me.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Wow, this is how far behind I am in posting! I read this in the early summer and jotted down a note about the book: "A fine summer read about a movie star and her many marriages."

Well, it's not summer anymore, but this would make for a fun fall read too. It's kinda gossipy though.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg

Hi there! Phew! A lot has been going on in our family and home life, and it's just been in the last week that I've been able to think a little bit beyond our home. 

I am about 20 books behind, so I am gonna try to catch up by continuing to give you shorter posts each day until I'm caught up.

After reading Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In, I was a bit conflicted. You can read about my torn feelings here. Option B is about her experience of grief after her husband suddenly dies while they are on vacation. I liked Option B so much better. It was like hearing from a different Sheryl Sandberg, and I'm sure she is very changed after this devastating experience. She comes across as much more human, kind, and compassionate. She, along with Adam Grant, offer insights into grief and very practical ways to care for yourself and others.

One important thing I learned was to not say, "Just let me know if you need anything!" to someone going through a tough time. Offer something concrete. This was so helpful. So I texted my neighbor who is going through chemo right now to say, "I have banana bread for you. Can I bring it over? Or just leave it on your porch?"So much more helpful.

Monday, September 25, 2017

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

I first heard about this book by my high school Humanities teacher. I saw it on the library shelf and checked it out. At 856 pages, this is not a lightweight read. And, as the title says, it's a tragedy. A tragedy about Clyde Griffiths and his desperate desire for success and social acceptance.

About 1/3 of the way through the book, I looked up this book on Amazon. The reviews generally had the theme of "Why did I read this book?" Aw man, I should have paid more attention. Because at the end of the 856 pages, I was also bemoaning the fact that I had read this book. It's quite the downer.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Aviva Grossman is an intern who has an affair with the congressman she's working for, and then she blogs about it as well. Whoops.

A fast, enjoyable read but I'm not raving about it. But it made for a decent weekend read.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France by Craig Carlson

When I lived overseas, I would argue that Grandma's Kitchen, a restaurant downtown that served up American classics (hamburgers, milkshakes, pizza, pie), was "the happiest place on Earth," not Disneyland. Going to Grandma's Kitchen was a tremendous treat, something that I looked forward to weeks in advance (it was about 45 minutes away so I didn't go very often).

Pancakes in Paris is a memoir about how Mr. Carlson opened up an American diner in Paris. Oh, the struggles of a business owner! Kinda stressed me out, but the whole concept is so fun. A fun, easy-peasy read.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham

Heather becomes pregnant, and her boyfriend never wanted to be a dad. But, they come together after their baby is born sick.

A fast-moving read of the journey of their daughter and their relationship.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Reread - Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki

Just noting that I read this again. Loved it and am getting rid of lots of stuff. It's amazing how physical things can carry so much emotional weight. So shedding some emotional stuff as well. Goodbye, shame! :)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal

A whimsical celebration of life.

Loved it, and was saddened when Boomer told me that the author had died earlier this year.

I will go back and re-read her other book, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

A young adult novel told in verse about a family, basketball, and supporting each other through good times and bad. I read this in a couple of hours.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
in manga form!

Teaches the basics of the KonMari method of tidying up in a super-fun way (even Boomer read it and then KonMaried his closet!).

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

Janey Sweet tries to lose weight by trying all sorts of exercise regimens.
Meh, just okay.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi

Remember: we're trying to catch up so keeping things short and very to the point!

The story of Padma's life so far.
Ugh...I liked her and her decisions less and less as the book went on.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I've got a backlog of books to catch you up on, so I am going to post a little bit more frequently and also keep the posts shorter than usual! I'm gonna try for two sentences. Here we go!

Two unlikely teenagers meet and fall in love at a very inopportune time.

Loved the ending and immediately asked Boomer to read the book (he did and even stayed up late to finish it!).

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

16-year-old Will is blind, and starting his first year at a mainstream high school. It doesn't start off so well, but soon, he's made some friends. He even starts liking a girl, Cecily. Then, he's offered the chance to have some life-changing surgeries that may restore his sight. Learning to see is more challenging than Will expected, and he has to confront even more how people relate to each other and judge each other based on appearances.

A sweet book. I stayed up late to finish it!

Thank you to Nannette for recommending this to me!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Single, Carefree, Mellow by Katherine Heiny

This is a collection of short stories about singleness, dating, marriage, and affairs. It was fun because some characters made repeat appearances throughout the book.

A good book to check out of the library.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Jacqueline is an elementary school teacher. She thought her marriage was so-so but one day, a police officer shows up to tell her that her husband has died in a car accident in Maui. He was supposed to be in Kansas on a business trip. But that's not it. He was with a lady who also died in the car accident.

Not the most well-written book, but definitely a page-turner.

Another good candidate for some fun summer reading.