what we're reading {september edition}...

we had our family road trip at the beginning of this month.
in preparation for that, i made a trip to the new-to-us library i've mentioned in previous posts and stocked up on a crazily, insanely huge pile of books.
of course, as fate would have it, i ended up not reading as much as i thought i would while we were traveling.  there were so many fabulous sights to see, in addition to the fact that paul and i enjoy using travel time to brainstorm and scheme and plot and plan about our future hopes and dreams.
i still ended up squeezing in quite a bit of reading before our trip...
and not so much since we've been back home.

austyn has read voraciously this month, and colton's read quite a bit, also.

here's what we've been reading...

erin's pile {and no, i didn't read all of these}--the tragedy paper by elizabeth laban.
i've enjoyed several YA reads in the past year or so, and based upon a recommendation wanted to give this one a try.
while the storyline was enough to capture my attention despite the YA theme/language, the ending was such a let-down {after such a strong build-up throughout the book} that i was thoroughly disappointed.  
it's nothing to write home about, in my opinion.

atonement by ian mcewan.
i gave this book a little over 16 pages...which is probably about 15 pages more than i should have bothered with.  i can't really offer a fair review...it just simply wasn't for me.
i found the language and style of writing very difficult to follow.
i'm actually disappointed that i didn't like the book...i've heard/read such rave reviews about it...
am i missing something?

one thousand white women: the journals of may dodd by jim fergus.  
as the title suggests, this book is written in journal-style.  though i wouldn't rave about it as much as many of the people who recommended it to me, it was an entertaining read.  i love the fact that i finished the book feeling like i had learned a bit about the native American culture and customs.

still alice by lisa genova.
i can't really say that i loved this book.  but i certainly didn't hate it.  and i would wholeheartedly recommend it.  but it's just one of those that, because of its deep, gut-wrenching subject, you don't really come away saying 'oh, i loved that!'...if that makes sense.
this book will stick with me for a long, long time.  and that makes it a winner...in my book.  {har-har.  book pun, there.}

the language of flowers by vanessa diffenbaugh.
when i finished the last page of this book, i wanted nothing more than to flip all the way back to page one and immediately begin re-reading it.
very few things can top a book that educates while it entertains.  even better is a book that completely shakes your preconceptions to the core.
this book is all of the above.  
i will never look at flowers or the foster care system the same again.  ever, ever, ever.  
i highly recommend this read.

half broke horses by jeannette walls.
ugh.  i wanted to like this book.  i was supposed to like this book.  hey, i was supposed to love this book.
but i didn't.
in all fairness, i'm not a big fan of collections of stories.  
this book reads like a collection of short, mostly-true stories about one woman's life.  
i spent the entire book thinking that it was just about to get good.  except it never got there.
the overall feel is dark {and that was another turn-off for me} and very matter-of-fact.  
i read mostly fiction for a reason...i enjoy fiction.  therefore, a fiction book that is written to sound/feel/read/smell/taste like a non-fiction book?  meh.  not for me.

the silver star by jeanette walls.
i actually read the silver star before half broke horses because it looked more interesting to me.
the characters, while riddled with faults and failures, were likable enough, if for no other reason than that their shortcomings always seemed to be accidental.
still, though, like hbh, i constantly found myself expecting the book to go somewhere...and it never did.

night road by kristin hannah.
this is your typical "something horrific happened and she spends the entire book {years and years} agonizing over it and then, three pages before the end it all changes."
i realize i'm being a bit ambiguous there...don't want to spoil the ending in case any of you want to read it.
all in all, a decent mindless read, if you're looking to just toss away several hours.  
a friend of mine called it "mature chick lit."  hit the nail on the head.

stardust by neil gaiman.
disclaimer: i am not a fantasy fan.  
that said, i couldn't put this book down.  and it wasn't even that the book was that great.  
but it had a certain element to it that pulled me in to where i had to know what happened.
if i were into the fantasy genre, i believe this would probably be tops on my list.  if.

what i'm reading now:
i'm several chapters into moon over manifest,
a few chapters into bel canto,
and a page or two into gone girl {and have received very mixed reviews on it}.
and all those other books you see in that pile up there?
they're in my "to be read" pile.  we'll see.  i'm kind of doubting it.

{if you need to refresh your memory on ages/reading levels of my children,
feel free to refer back to July's post.}
austyn's pile--austyn dragged through book 8 of the ranger's apprentice series for the longest time, and then quite literally flew through the final four books in the series.  i really can't say enough about these books.  i've read all but the last two {they weren't out yet when i read the first ten} and they're on my "re-read list."  if you have a reluctant reader, i'd wholeheartedly suggest that you give these a try.  {more info on the series here and here.}

now that she's done with the RA series, austyn's moved on to the hunger games.  she's already finished books 1 and 2 and is currently reading mockingjay.  i read all three of these books a couple years ago.  to be honest, i had originally planned to wait a few more years before allowing austyn to read them; however, she has a very good grasp of the more mature subject matter in these books and we have very open lines of communication between the two of us.  when she finished the RA series, she asked if she could start the hunger games and i agreed.

for school, i told her that she had to read either a biography or a children's classic.  her first choice was master detective allan pinkterton {a bio} and now she's on to her second book of the school year, the ballad of lucy whipple.

colton's pile--colton continues to enjoy the magic tree house books.  although i've found that they're technically below his reading level, i don't worry about that too much.  those are the books he reads in his free time...personally, i'm just glad he's reading!!!
on a recent trip to the library, he picked up peter and the starcatchers by dave barry and ridley pearson.  it's a higher reading level than he usually reads for leisure, but he's enjoying it.
atlas of the presidents is a vintage book {i found at goodwill} that he chose for his school reading.  {this is his reading assignment, separate from his daily social studies work.}  every day he reads two or three short 2-3 page blurbs about each president and then watches a youtube video with corresponding information about each president
finally, he uses the lego ideas book as a reference.  we've cut way back on the amount of new legos coming into the house this year, and it's been for the best.  rather than constantly opening new sets, building them, and subsequently setting them aside and forgetting about them, it's forced the kiddos to exercise their creativity, building sets and figures from components that they already own.

that's that.
lots of books around here.  sometimes, the piles of books threaten my sanity just a bit.  and then i remember...they could be video games or obnoxious music or noisy toys or a myriad of other annoying kid-things.
i'll take stacks of those any day.

shoot me your recommendations any time, please.
i promise not to mention your name if i hate the book.
how's that for a guarantee?



  1. Bel Canto is one of my absolute favorite books ever! Ann Patchett at her best.

  2. I want to read Bel Canto! And what a great reads list. Can I tell you that you should also read Peter and the Starcatcher? I loved it. It's actually a play now, too, and I saw it when it came to town-- so fun!

    I am reading through Liane Moriarity -- her characters are super flawed and human and deal with some stuff that makes me think, but she also writes in a way that totally absorbs me. I recommend What Alice Forgot.

    1. i've actually seen "what alice forgot" several times while at the library and have thought it looked like a good book.
      will have to check it out now!

  3. The Reading Promise is great! You'll LOVE it!

  4. I loved Bel Canto so much. It stirs up some deep emotion in you. But I wasn't a fan of the ending. It felt abrupt.


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