Book Chat

March 2017 Reading Log

March seemed like a full month, even though nothing major happened and I can’t pinpoint exactly what made it feel that way. Maybe because it was full of transitions: winter to spring weather with snow one weekend and 80 degree temps the next, figuring out some medical stuff with a new infusion schedule, thinking about going back to work when an unexpected opportunity came up, Amelia becoming more and more active as she learns to sit, roll over, grab, and eat solid food, and the list goes on! It’s true that the only constant in life is change; I’m lucky if I get a few good books in too!

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log

March 2017 Thoughts


The Underground Culinary Tour: How the New Metrics of Today’s Top Restaurants Are Transforming How America Eats, by Damian Mogavera

The Amateur Librarian // February 2017 Reading Log
Start date: 2/18/2017
Finish date: 3/5/2017
Source: Blogging for Books
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Hardcover
Grade: B

Even though most restaurants operate on a 6% profit margin, the restaurant business is one of the last major industries to use data analysis; that’s where author Damian Mogavero comes in. He brought foodies and code writers together to invent a software program that analyzes data so that restaurants can predict what their customers will order, when the busiest days and times of the week will be, and a host of other critical details, extremely accurately. Using his software, the “New Guard” of restaurant owners use data to analyze and tweak their businesses instead of relying on gut and intuition to make costly decisions. I probably eat out as much as the next person, but I’ve never worked in the food business and I wouldn’t consider myself a foodie; these days, especially, we don’t have the time or money for fancy restaurants, and we were never very adventurous even when we did eat out more often. If you own or plan to invest in a restaurant, the promise of the subtitle would draw you in, but the causal consumer probably isn’t interested in a deep dive into data. And since the author is the creator of that software, there’s a certain inherent sales pitch that might bother those hoping for some applicable advice. You can tell the author is passionate about his product and the food industry, but even though the food trend predictions and anecdotes were entertaining enough, the subtitle promises more than the content delivers.

Full review here!

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

The Amateur Librarian // February 2017 Reading Log
Start date: 2/19/2017
Finish date: 3/25/2017
Source: Friend (Sommer)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Library book
Grade: B+

This retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale combines two genres I don’t read often: fantasy and romance. There’s a magical world of fairies coexisting alongside humans, but with a twist: the fairies are hedonistic warriors and the main character is no damsel in distress, but a strong-willed huntress fighting to break a powerful curse. The beginning felt bogged down with setup and dragged for me, but it got interesting about halfway through and then I raced to the end. I read this on my friend Sommer’s recommendation (and it officially fulfills the “Book recommended by someone with great taste” category of the MMD Challenge) and I love the way she describes the romance aspect: “a bit smutty (but in a good, consenting adults way rather than anything that makes you feel gross reading it).” She said the second one is even better, so I’ve got it checked out of the library now; this is one of those instances that I’m glad there are three more books in the series, with another on the way!

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer

Start date: 3/5/2017
Finish date: 3/31/2017
Source: Need a category for “Saw it online and/or Pop Culture”
Genre: Memoir
Format: Library book
Grade: B

I checked out both the hardcover and audiobook from the library, and this is one of the rare instances where I don’t think having the author narrate is necessarily a bonus. Schumer’s narration felt very subdued, especially compared to her brash standup persona, so even the funnier bits felt somewhat underplayed; when I read it in my head, though, it seemed funnier. (Plus, there are photos in the physical book, if that matters to you.) Most of the essays were pretty standard and expected: the childhood background, the girl-power/love your body messages, the sexual antics she’s known for in her standup, the hard work that goes into being a comedian. But there are a few that stand out and make this worth a read; my favorites are her tales of the many (many, many) jobs she’s held and her experience with an abusive boyfriend. This collection of essays felt a bit disorganized and probably wouldn’t make my Top 5 of the Comedian Memoirs list, but Schumer’s frank personality shone through and made it an entertaining read.

Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants, by Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis

Start date: 3/11/2017
Finish date: 3/11/2017
Source: Blogging for Books
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Hardcover
Grade: B+

First off, this book is beautifully designed and full to the brim with gorgeous photography. I loved how it’s organized first by season, then by plant, so you could have a continual harvest throughout the year. The projects are practical for the most part, and a few might convince me to add those plants to my garden, like elderberry to infuse honey or lemongrass to make a salt scrub, but a few projects seemed way too simple, like adding edible borage flowers to a salad or making an arrangement out of apple branches. I can easily find those ideas on Pinterest, surely there must be something more creative? The 47 plants included go beyond the average range of herbs and vegetables that I’m familiar with, which makes for an interesting variety, but ultimately ends up more aspirational than practical for a beginner like me.

Full review here!

I Love My Daddy Because…, written by Laurel Porter Gaylord and illustrated by Ashley Wolff


Start date: 3/16/2017
Finish date: 3/16/2017
Source: Imagination Library
Genre: Children’s Literature
Format: Board Book
Grade: A

A winner from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, this board book has the clever idea to explore the world of animals within a child’s concept of fatherhood. Simple phrases show that animal fathers take care of their young too. I’ll let it slide that mothers do the same actions to show love and let Dad take the spotlight for once. I love the extra features like labeling all the animals featured as well as the Spanish translation, which will keep this book in our collection for a long time. Great addition to Amelia’s growing library!

ABCs of the Web: An Alphabet Primer for Young Developers in Training, written by John C. Vanden-Heuvel Sr. and Dr Andrey Ostrovsky MD, illustrated by Tom Holmes

Start date: 3/31/2017
Finish date: 3/31/2017
Source: Sam
Genre: Children’s Literature
Format: Board Book
Grade: A

Of course Sam couldn’t resist this board book for Amelia… she’ll be a coder and gamer before you know it 🙂 I have a vague understanding of most of these terms so I loved how they were simplified into words even I can understand. I’m all in for the colorful illustrations and clever concept.

Even blogging got a little love:

W is for WordPress.
Blog with W.
Build with W.
What begins with W?

WordPress is a blog program to show what you can do.

Still Reading:

Portrait Revolution: Inspiration from Around the World for Creating Art in Multiple Mediums and Styles, by Julia L. Kay

Start date: 3/30/2017
Source: Blogging for Books
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Paperback

An online portrait party, where artists make portraits of each other in a variety of different mediums, is one of those only-on-the-internet-only things that manages to make me smile. I’m taking my time ingesting this one, and it’s fun!


Books read in March: 6
Books read in 2017: 16
Still reading: 1

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of March, the third month of 2017. I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

The Amateur Librarian is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

4 thoughts on “March 2017 Reading Log

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