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Whatcha Readin’?

On my recent reader feedback poll, someone asked for an occasional post about what I’m reading, and giving you all the chance to share when you are reading.

Done and done.

I’m linking books on Amazon, but I highly encourage you to check out your library first.  Because libraries are freaking awesome, and one of the best features of our society.  They’re also whoa-fully underutilized.

Physical and e-books

  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd:  This was recommended to me when I was at an industry fair last month.  We had a lot of downtime, and spent a good 30 minutes discussing books, favorite authors, and recommendations.  This book tells the story of a slave and the family who owns her, in Charleston in the early 1800’s, and how their lives are intertwined by fate and society.
  • Herbie’s Game by Timothy Hallinan:  I’ve written about Timothy Hallinan’s Junior Bender series before, and how much I love the previous three books (Crashed, Little Elvises, and The Fame Thief).  Junior Bender is a thief in Los Angeles who somehow keeps getting mixed up in solving mysteries.  The premise sounds a bit silly, but the stories are fascinating, and the writing is whip smart.  LOVE this series in a way I haven’t loved a series in a very long time.
  • Smart but Scattered: the Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential.  This book breaks down the executive skills a person can possess, and how to focus on the skills we’re strong at, and how to develop the ones where we lack strength.  If you end up buying this book, do not buy the Kindle or e-reader version.  There are lots of tests you take throughout, and it’s helpful to be able to flip back to see your results.   You take a test on your kid’s abilities, as well as your own.  I never had Troy take the test, but I have a strong feeling of where his strengths and challenges lie.  Jack and I are strong in most of the exact same executive skills, which is why certain activities we do are so easy for the two of us.  We have very different weaknesses, and that explains why there are things my kid does that drives me up the wall (his weakness is the opposite of my strength, so something that comes easily to me but not to Jack is hard to relate to).
  • Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults: I would say this book was somewhat helpful in how to react to Jack’s seemingly premenstrual mood swings, but mostly the book was a huge snooze fest.
  • The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison.  Jonathan is a Puget Sound author and writes about our region.  This is the fictional story of a down on his luck good-hearted loser who takes a course on caregiving because he is broke as a joke.  He starts taking care of an early 20’s  gentlemen who has disease I can’t remember the name of, and they end up going on a roadtrip with loads of issues, crapfests, and laughs.
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  This is the story of the run up to World War II from the viewpoint of multiple people, including a few kids in their teens.  It’s hard to explain, but the story is good.

Audiobooks (I have well over an hour commute, and I get pretty much unlimited free downloads on to my old ipod from the library)

  • I started the Harry Potter Series last summer, and it took me until just this last month to finish them.  I can’t believe my nerd ass never read these before.  I loved them!  And finally understood a bit more of what my dorky friend Anne was always talking about.
  • Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (who is really J.K. Rowling).  This is the story of a veteran in London who becomes a private investigator, and takes on a case examining a model’s suicide.  If you like character-driven stories, this is a good one.  It’s a bit slow, but it all is for a purpose.
  • The Silkworm, also by Robert Galbraith.  This book focuses on the same detective investigating the disappearance of an author in the UK.  It was recommended by Nancy Pearl, the former head of the Seattle Library who makes book recommendations around lunchtime every week on our local NPR station.  And I dutifully write down every thing she says because that bookworm knows her stuff.
  • World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstier.  The story of a small town in upstate New York after peak oil has occurred, and basically the world has gone to crap.
  • The Witch of Hebron by James Howard Kunstier. This is the second book in the World Made by Hand series, and it is a total snoozefest compared with the first book.  I’m still going to check out the third book, because I wear a hair shirt when it comes to punishing myself with finishing up a series.

 How about you?  What are you reading these days?

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12 comments on “Whatcha Readin’?”

  1. Read the Potter books and Mockingjay–both were well written and kept me reading long past time to turn out the lights. I’m your basic mystery reader, anything by Christie and of course, Sherlock Holmes ( And yes, the tv shows with Cumberbatch and the silly movies with Downey–and the PBS series of Poirot.) Loved the Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries and the series has gorgeous clothes and sets. The author has other series that are equally good. Ben Tripp wrote a nice book with fairies and highway men! Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James was excellent, and so was the PBS movie, nicely done. Recently read a new series that wasn’t too bad, John Gaspard uses a magician as his detective, not great but certainly readable. I’m currently reading At Home by Bill Bryson, about how our modern houses came to be. A little dry but interesting.

  2. Keeping the Feast/Paula Butturini: A true story of triumphant living in the face of a loved one’s overwhelming depression.
    Cyrano de Bergerac/Edmond Rostand: I read this every winter because it is one of my favorite stories of true and unselfish love.
    Holy Bible/Holy Spirit: A few chapters every day makes the difference in every area of life.
    Trixie Beldon and the Secret of the Mansion/Julie Campbell: A mystery set in the Hudson River Valley (I am a kid at <3).
    Every Louis L'Amour in my Dad's collection one at a time.
    A Southerly Course/Martha Foose: I bought this at Hastings and fortunately it was on sale, but I knew the minute I saw the cover on this beautiful cookbook that I was willing to pay retail price; glad I didn't have to!
    Where is Joe Merchant/Jimmy Buffett: Action and adventure in the sunny Caribbean is the perfect antidote to being housebound by the weather.
    A Wreath for Rivera/Ngaio Marsh: Inspector Alleyn struts his stuff in this English whodunit. (I found 14 of Miss Marsh's books at the Goodwill for 1.49 @ and I bought them all, though I have devoured them and sadly have only two remaining).

  3. Anything by Jasper Fforde, I have just finished the third book in the Last Dragon Slayer series. Fforde is like nobody else, with so much fun and fantastic detail, that even on a third read I still find new things. The first time around you need to hang to the storyline, so lots of detail doesn’t sink in. A good place to begin is the first book in “Thursday Next” series called “The Eyre Affair”.
    If you liked Harry Potter, you will love this, totally different and for adults(apart from the Dargon Slayer series) but ohmy, you are in for a treat!

  4. I love, love, LOVE the Harry Potter series!
    I actually have The Casual Vacancy sitting on my nightstand, waiting for me to give it a second try. I couldn’t get into it when it first came out. I had borrowed to from the library. Now my daughter has a copy she picked up for $3 at the thrift store (another great book source!), so I am going to try again.

    Lately, I have just been reading books with the six year olds that I babysit. They read The Book With No Pictures ( which is really cute. We are currently working through a Robert Munsch collection (

  5. I am currently reading book #8 in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood: A Novel. Romance, history, time travel….it’s all in there. The books are very well written and thus far I haven’t found any inconsistencies in the series.

    The last 3 books I have read are:
    The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw. WWII stories about the young men and women that served our country, in and out of the armed forces. I am just amazed by the tenacity of this generation.
    Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories and Recipes from the Great Depression by Clara Cannucciari & Christopher Cannucciari. I actually found this book in Homemade Mondays…can’t remember which site. If I read an excerpt that I enjoy from a book or article, I CANNOT not read the entire book or article. Sigh. Clara is a straight shooter and I love the style this book is written in.
    GI Brides: The War Time Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love by Duncan Barrett & Nuela Calvi. Sensing a pattern here? LOL This book is the true story of 4 women and what they endured, gained and lost by choosing to marry and move to another country. Nuela Calvi’s grandmother is one of the brides.

  6. “Late Lost and Unprepared” is actually better with lots of tips.

  7. I’m reading Washington, A Life and Mordoc the greatest Elephant ever. Just got The Day the Angles Fell and order the new Laura Ingalls biography. Looks like ti have to wait on finishing the laundry! I have reading to do! 🙂

  8. I just read and finished 4/19 and 4/20 by Lisa Heaton. This is a Christian author that just blew me away. It is a novel but the way it is written and the story board involving the lives of the three main character makes you part of their lives and there journey with God. Great books, great story, I recommend it highly.

  9. Love this idea of sharing books! I need to check out The Silkworm. I read the other book by fake JK Rowling and thought it was decent but sorta slow. I read The Casual Vacancy (also by her) and hated it! Oh well. I’m trying to get my mom to mail me my Harry Potter books (left them when I moved out 8 years ago) because I want to reread them. I am re-watching the movies though! It’s a Date Night thing because my husband is a nerd too.

    I’m trying to work my way through Clive Cussler and David Baldacci books. They’re easy reads and entertainment for me.

    I had been only reading in the evenings but your post on “smoke breaks” encouraged me to read when I need a break at work. It’s been keeping me sane! Thank you!

    I also just started The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. So far, so good but I’m only on chapter three.

    • We love Cussler and David Baldacci here; truly escapist reading! I have told myself “no more book purchases until I read at least half the books in the house”, which should keep me busy for a couple of years. The truth is we are all voracious readers, but since I have entered into the lovely phase of womanhood known as Menopause I have trouble concentrating on what I am reading, so am much slower at it. On the upside, I now savor books instead of devouring them.
      A side note: No one ever tells you that when you reach Menopause that you will completely lose your mind and live with flop sweat for an undetermined period of time that could easily run to 10-12 years. I have found this to be unutterably delightful …!

  10. Anything by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Trying to get through their last two right now. Their Pendergast series is addicting. You don’t want to leave that world when the book is over and can’t wait for the next installment.