This picture of Hadley is one of my favorites, and it recently popped up in my Facebook memories. She’s verrry serious about her reading. Thankfully, both of my kids enjoy reading…especially Hayden, but if Hadley gets into reading a series (like The Babysitters Club), she loves to read at bedtime.
This month I read four books. I enjoyed them all, and each one was very different. I read suspense, comedy, inspirational, and heartfelt…and the inspirational one was my favorite by far.
The Art of Racing in the Rain
I thought The Art of Racing in the Rain was a great read. Of course, I knew it would tug at my pet lover’s heartstrings, so I kind of read it with my guard up. Besides the thoughts and actions of the pup Enzo, there’s also drama and illness within the main characters. Along with Enzo’s love for the family, the reader sees Denny, the main character, do whatever it takes to help his family.
To be honest, it did take me some time to get used to reading from the point of view of the dog…as he has some random thoughts, but once I continued reading, I didn’t find it distracting anymore. I had a friend ask if the ending was sad, and well, as a reader, you are there for Enzo’s journey through life. Therefore, I tried to prepare myself and I left the book feeling what I already know: dogs know what their owners need and are unselfish with their time here on Earth. I’d definitely recommend this book, and I’m curious how the movie is in comparison.
I had been on the library wait list for The Mother-in-Law for quite some time. When it arrived, I read it in a few days. I’ve read at least one other book by Sally Hepworth: The Family Next Door, and this book had the same vibe. All of the characters’ relationships with the main character Diana are different and the reader sees those relationships evolve throughout the story. Like most families, the connections and relationships are complicated and when money is involved, those relationships become even more complicated. It was definitely a good read with an unexpected (in my opinion) twist.
Bread & Wine
This book was suggested by one of the book clubs I’m in (but failingto attend). I’d never heard of it before, but I will go out on a limb and say that it’s a book that was life changing for me as I now view friendship, food, and faith in a different way.
I know food can bring people together whether it’s making a feast of appetizers for the Super Bowl, baking cookies to welcome a new neighbor, or bringing soup to a sick friend. But…the way the author, Shauna Niequist, weaves the importance of food to build relationships, soothe the soul during the ups and downs of life, or offer condolences to a friend was so powerful. Her reminder of the meaning and importance of communion while forgiving sins was also so heartfelt and inspiring.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book included:
(On making changes in your life…) “Healthy people in your life will respect those (choices). And the unhealthy people in your life will freak out, because you’re making a healthy choice they’re not currently free to make. Don’t for one second let that stop you.”
(In regards to parenting…) “It’s our job to let them grow up, to let them become big and smart and grown-up, but it’s so tempting to keep them little forever, or at least to try.”
“That’s what shame does, though. It whispers to us that everyone is as obsessed with our failings as we are…”
“When you offer peace instead of division, when you offer faith instead of fear, when you offer someone a place at your table instead of keeping them out because they’re different or messy or wrong somehow, you represent the heart of Christ.”
“We live in a world that values us for how fast we go, for how much we accomplish, for how much life we can pack into one day. But I’m coming to believe it’s in the in-between spaces that our lives change, and that the real beauty lies there.”
And I could go on. And on. And on.
This book provided an inspiring and positive outlook on life, food, relationships, and faith. I purchased it on my Kindle, and that’s my only regret. I wish I had a hardback copy to keep on hand as I know it’s one of those books I would turn to throughout my life in good times and in bad….and I know I’d make a recipe or two! (She shares so many good ones!)
Can you tell which book was my favorite this month? 😉
You’ve Been Volunteered
When Laurie Gelman wrote her first book, Class Mom, I couldn’t wait to read it…and I loved it! The main character is named Jen, from Kansas City, and she’s very sarcastic. What’s not to love?! #itcouldhavebeenme When friends ask me what humorous book I would suggest, I always mention Class Mom.
So, needless to say, I was so excited to see that Gelman had written a second book titled You’ve Been Volunteered that I immediately requested it from the library. After a month or so on the waitlist, I finally picked up a copy of it a couple of weeks ago and read it pretty quickly. Jen’s son Max is now in third grade, and she’s class mom again. Her emails are hilarious, and some had me laughing out loud. In this plot, there’s still some family drama and her older daughters need some of her attention as she tries to juggle their needs with the needs of her aging parents. I didn’t find this book as good as Class Mom, but I would still recommend it…I just thought there were some random plot elements that seemed odd. Where I’d say Class Mom was a 10/10, this one is more like 7.5/10.
After movie night on Friday, followed by a late dinner and even later bedtime, I peeked into Hadley’s room and found her reading her newest Babysitters Club book, Boy Crazy Stacey that she bought at the book fair. Some of the BSC books have now been turned into graphic novels which has been perfect for Hadley. My two proudest accomplishments with my kids are the fact that they are generally kind and that they love to read. #myworkhereisdone right?!
I hope you enjoy at least one of these books. What have you been reading lately?
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