Book Chat

May 2017 Reading Log

May is always a big month, full of birthdays and graduations and weddings, and this year seemed especially full, with my 30th birthday looming at the end of it. In my reading life, I devoured a few non-fiction parenting books and then completely forgot how to read for most of the month, until I got to browse a bookstore (solo! Best birthday treat) and got all fired up to read again. It’s funny how the droughts always seem to last so long, but if I actually look at my Reading Log, I never go too long between books. And that’s why I track my reading! It’s easy to feel discouraged when it seems I never have time to read… and then I look back and realize that isn’t true. Cheers to another year of reading!

Speaking of which… who says you have to make changes at the beginning of the year? Even though it isn’t January, I felt like changing up the rating system for my monthly Reading Logs. I’ve always used grades A-F but I’ve been handing out a lot of A’s that have started to mean “I liked it” rather than “I loved it,” so I think a 5-star system will work better. I thought about making the stars something cute and book-related, but in the meantime I made this little graphic as a placeholder and it stuck. Until something more creative crosses my mind, this will have to do!

May 2017 Thoughts

Finished:

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead


Start date: 1/16/2017
Finish date: 5/24/2017
Source: Newbery Challenge
Genre: Children’s Lit
Format: eBook
Stars: 3 stars

What a fun, clever middle grade mystery! Time travel, TV game shows, Madeleine L’Engle, and city life are all woven together in this well-written novel. This would probably have blown my young mind trying to figure out how the time travel pieces fit together if I’d read it in grade school, but as an adult it was easy to see it all coming a mile away. Still, the characters were well written and life in 1970s New York City offered a compelling point of view.

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater, by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett

Start date: 4/28/2017
Finish date: 5/4/2017
Source: Library
Genre: Nonfiction (Parenting)
Format: Library book
Stars: 2 stars

There are a ton of websites out there about Baby-Led Weaning (or baby-led solids) but sometimes I prefer a book to just lay out the information I need without all the opinions that go along with online resources. This book does the trick but I wouldn’t call it a necessary read; in fact, I’d probably tell a friend to just Google it, and you’ll be fine. There’s a lot of repetitive information and a ton of testimonials that are easy to skim through, along with some good nuggets about the practicalities of starting BLW and how to make it successful for your family. My biggest takeaways are just to be relaxed about it, include baby in family mealtimes, and let her go at her own pace. There’s no need for schedules, stages of food, or bland flavors, and so far it’s worked great for us.

Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems, Richard Ferber, MD


Start date: 5/4/2017
Finish date: 5/10/2017
Source: Alphamom Smackdown Advice column
Genre: Nonfiction (Parenting)
Format: Library book
Stars: 5 stars

I haven’t read a ton of parenting books, but from the few that I have read, I’ve come to realize that they’re mostly fluff. This book is devoid of fluff. It’s crammed with research, very thorough, and at times I would’ve appreciated a few cutesy bullet points or testimonials, but it’s already over 400 pages long! Explaining the science of sleep and the accompanying research-based solutions was very comforting to me. I felt like I was in the capable hands of a non-judgmental expert, and that allowed me to trust the plan when I put it into practice, even while I doubted if it would actually work. We decided to start sleep training when Amelia was 7 months old, and the Progressive-Waiting Approach worked for us… in just 4 nights!

Full review here!

Talking as Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything in Between), by Lauren Graham


Start date: 5/10/2017
Finish date: 5/23/2017
Source: MMD Challenge
Genre: Memoir
Format: Library book (Audio)
Stars: 3 stars 

The audiobook version of this memoir is definitely the way to go; if you love Lauren Graham, you’ll find her rambling stories funny and charming, but if the fast-paced inside jokes of Gilmore Girls annoy you, then you can definitely skip this one. I checked out both the book and the audiobook from the library, and I’m glad I did; listening was the best way to appreciate the nostalgic moments (as well as Lauren Graham’s singing and other cameos), but it would’ve been super annoying to keep hearing references to all the photos included if I didn’t have a physical copy close by. I guess there’s an accompanying pdf containing photos, but who wants to look that up, especially if you’re listening on the go? The stories felt a bit disjointed and you could tell it was written in a rush (she even mentions the book being on a “crash schedule” which I’m all too familiar with from my small press days… it basically means it came together last minute) but as an audiobook, it just felt like a long Behind-the-Scenes podcast episode. Worth a library check out, but IMO there’s no need to buy it.

I Love You, Spot, written and illustrated by Eric Hill

Start date: 5/12/2017
Finish date: 5/12/2017
Source: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Genre: Children’s Lit
Format: Board book
Stars: 2 stars 

Cute, but nothing noteworthy. I never read Spot books when I was little but my MIL says hubby loved them, so maybe I’m missing something? I might be overthinking it, but I wish gender stereotypes weren’t so ingrained even in simple stories like this one, like Spot’s mom wearing an apron, baking heart-shaped cookies, and the fact that pink is her favorite color (of course); there’s nothing wrong with any of that, of course, but haven’t we moved on from these stereotypes by now?

The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook: 130 Recipes That Will Help Your Baby Learn to Eat Solid Foods – and That the Whole Family Will Enjoy, by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett

Start date: 5/14/2017
Finish date: 5/25/2017
Source: Library
Genre: Nonfiction (Parenting)
Format: Library book
Stars: 2 stars 

I checked this BLW cookbook out from the library at the same time as the other book, and I’d argue you could read either one, but if you want some meal ideas too, I guess I’d recommend this one. You would do just as well to Google it, though, because this book mostly just reiterates that you can serve your baby whatever the family is eating. There are some good ideas for making food more baby-friendly, and I made copies of a few pages, but the whole point of BLW is that you don’t need to make any special food for baby, so a cookbook is pretty pointless.

No Scrap Left Behind: 16 Quilt Projects that Celebrate Scraps of All Sizes, by Amanda Jean Nyberg


Start date: 5/22/2017
Finish date: 5/22/2017
Source: Crazy Mom Quilts blog
Genre: Nonfiction (Quilting)
Format: Paperback
Stars: 4 stars 

I love the Crazy Mom Quilts blog, and she is the queen of scraps, so I treated myself to her second book. I really like her style, which is colorful and scrappy and falls somewhere between traditional and modern. The quilts are organized by size and shape of your scraps, from squares, strips/strings, triangles, all the way to the tiniest of snippets. The quilts that really stand out to me are: June, Scrap Happy Rails, Slopes, and Mini Nines. Can’t wait to make a dent in my stash and tackle one (or a few)!

Kindred Spirits, by Rainbow Rowell

Start date: 5/25/2017
Finish date: 5/25/2017
Source: Rainbow Rowell’s blog
Genre: YA Short Story
Format: eBook
Stars: 3 stars 

I wouldn’t say this short story is anything super special, but Rainbow Rowell always has a way of sucking me in with her characters and dialogue. Teenagers waiting in line for the new Star Wars movie is ripe for self discovery, and that’s exactly what you get. I wouldn’t normally shell out $2 for a short, but the purchase benefitted ACLU so I didn’t mind.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3), by Jenny Han

Start date: 5/27/2017
Finish date: 5/27/2017
Source: Jenny Han’s Instagram
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Hardback
Stars: 3 stars 

Such a satisfying conclusion to a sincerely sweet YA trilogy. I was so happy to be back in Lara Jean’s world for a few hours, catching up with old friends. This series makes me so nostalgic for high school; I think it’s because Jenny Han captures that feeling of having all the time in the world, while realizing that change is always right around the corner. I love Lara Jean’s family dynamics, and her high school experience rings a lot truer for me than most of YA books/TV/movies. But if I look at this book by itself, without my love of Lara Jean and events from the first book that set it in motion, there’s not much character development or plot, or even a love letter gone wrong to tie it into the first two books. It’s a quick read, and a fun conclusion if you’ve already read the first two books, but I wish there was a little more weight to it.

Still Reading:

Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4), by Marissa Meyer


Start date: 3/29/2016
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult
Format: eBook

 I finally picked this up again after over a year; I’m determined to finally finish this series! I loved the first three (and a half) so much, but I have a huge problem with putting off the last book in a series – I don’t know why!

Waking Gods (The Themis Files #2), by Sylvain Neuvel


Start date: 4/26/2017
Source: Modern Mrs. Darcy blog
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Library book

I put this library book down and I’m not sure I’ll pick it back up again. I liked the first one and was eager to start the sequel but there are so many other books out there that I want to read… so it may go back to the library unfinished.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson

Start date: 4/26/2017
Source: What Should I Read Next? podcast
Genre: Non-fiction
Format: Audiobook

A deep dive into public humiliation on the internet is interesting stuff, but super depressing; I’m not sure I have the stomach to keep going with it. I think it might be the author narration that’s throwing me off; sometimes it’s a slam-dunk when the author narrates (like Lauren Graham in Talking as Fast As I Can) but sometimes it changes the tone (like Amy Schumer in The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo) and becomes off-putting. In this case, it feels too self-deprecating, and I think a different narrator could bring the same weight to the seriousness but perhaps land the jokes better. Either way, I’ve got about 5 hours left and Im not sure if I’ll listen until the end or give up.

Books read in May: 9
Books read in 2017: 31
Still reading: 3

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of May, the fifth 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 amazon.com.

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5 thoughts on “May 2017 Reading Log

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