Here we are at the halfway point of 2016. Instead of reiterating how fast the month went by, let’s reflect on how fast the entire year has gone by!
2016 has been a big one, and finding out that I was pregnant so early in the year has made it seem like the Year of the Baby. Some days I forget I’m pregnant at all (crossing fingers and toes and knocking on wood that things continue to go smoothly) and other days it feels like I’ve been pregnant forever and it’s completely overwhelming. Some things have sped up – there’s a new urgency to decorate and travel and buy things and get settled while we still have time; and other things have slowed down – in purging and organizing everything in sight, I’ve also trimmed down my bookshelves and piles of library books and patience for books that I’m not loving.
I haven’t hit a reading lull like this in several years, yet here we are. Reading still keeps me sane so I hope it never falls by the wayside completely, but for now I’m in a transitional time of life and so are my reading habits. So much is changing so quickly, and that sums up 2016 at the midway point!
June 2016 Thoughts
Start date: 2/17/2016
Finish date: 6/13/2016
Genre/Format: Memoir / eBook
Beautiful writing, but I have to admit it became a slog to finish. After receiving a grant to live in Rome for a year to write his next book, Anthony Doerr’s journals became this memoir chronicling the four seasons he, his wife, and their infant twin boys spent there. My problem with published journals is that rambling thoughts on architecture and Roman philosophers don’t always translate into a riveting plot. And while Doerr was spending hours admiring fountains and researching the trees outside his studio window, his wife was running ragged taking care of two babies, so much so that she was hospitalized for exhaustion and dehydration. But of course a journal doesn’t always reflect reality, and I’m not saying he wasn’t an involved father or that he wasn’t entitled to spend his paid writing time however he saw fit, but it was hard not to grow impatient with him at times. I think Doerr’s fiction would be beautiful without the nagging thoughts about reality vs journal musings, but I had a hard time appreciating it in this memoir.
Start date: 5/21/2016
Finish date: 6/25/2016
Genre/Format: Young Adult / Hardcover
This brand new YA release had a lot going for it: vetted by Parnassus Next (and signed!), beautiful cover, endorsed by a favorite YA author (Jenny Han), and an intriguing plot promising love, drama, and teens with nothing to lose as their small town disappears under flood waters. Maybe it was just overhyped, but I struggle to find anything I actually liked about this story. The characters weren’t especially compelling, the main character made a lot of immature decisions without convincing motivation, the action dragged, and the love story was barely interesting. YA is certainly a broad genre, but usually I can connect to the emotions or at the very least a fast-moving plot, but this one was not for me.
When I was in elementary school I remember this book being promoted at the library but it seemed too depressing to pick up… and I was probably right, ha! I was still avoiding it 20 years later until I realized that it’s written as poetry, and then it suddenly felt more approachable. The story is powerful, but tough. Coming of age during the Depression and the Dust Bowl is bad enough, and then there are the inevitable series of terrible tragedies to make it even worse. I might’ve cried. And I might’ve been a wee bit relieved when it was over. I can understand why it would win the Newberry with the historical context, free verse structure, and emotional punch, but it’s not exactly a tale I want to read again and again. For a dose of plucky prairie children, I prefer Sarah Plain and Tall.
Start date: 3/29/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Young Adult / Library book
Still reading. For some reason I haven’t been able to race through this one like I did the first three books in the series. It hasn’t helped that I keep starting and stopping – the audiobook narrator was great but I had to return it to the library, and the same thing happened with the print version of the library book, until finally I broke down and bought the eBook. Sigh… I’m sure I’ll finish it eventually but right now I’m stuck about halfway through.
Start date: 5/14/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Nonfiction / Paperback
Still reading, but honestly I haven’t made much progress. I’m sure once I get further in it will seem more compelling, but right now I’m just not itching to learn more about a sinking ship, however important it was at the time.
Still listening to this retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the servants’ point of view. Loving it so far! I alternate between audiobooks and podcasts on the morning commute, so it always takes me a super long time to get through an audiobook if it’s over 10 hours long.
Still Reading. I’m not quite on the same page as the author when it comes to her religion and entertaining philosophy, but I can appreciate a good essay on a life well-lived. Good reading for long lines when I only have a couple minutes to spare.
Start date: 6/19/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Memoir / Paperback
Picked this up on a whim and got sucked right back in. One of my very favorites!
Start date: 6/25/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit / Hardback
What a sweet surprise in the mail from Sam! The illustrated edition is gorgeous and I’m savoring each page. In fact, I’ve been reading a chapter every time I eat a snack, and at the rate I’m snacking these days I’ll be finished in no time…
Books read in June: 3
Books read so far in 2016: 36
Still reading: 6
So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of June, the sixth month of 2016. I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?
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