Whew, what a busy month! Every weekend in April was busy but I still managed to fit in some fun books. Fortunately my energy is back and so is my reading habit. Enjoying some uninterrupted beach reading was just what I needed! I also realized that having too many half-read books was driving me a bit crazy, so I turned in all my library books, cleared out the To-Read piles sitting around, and I’ve been focusing on finishing one book at a time before starting a new one. Sometimes I like having a half-dozen books to choose from, and sometimes it’s nice to start fresh. Bring on the summer reading!
Apri; 2016 Thoughts
Start Date: 3/10/2016
Finish Date: 4/2/2016
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit (Newbery Winner) / Audiobook
I finally got around to this modern classic and I’m glad I did! The stories of two boys intersect at a camp for “troubled teens” where they have to dig a hole in the desert every single day of their sentence. History meets up with the present as the boys figure out the significance of the holes. I enjoyed the mix of stark reality with the magical realism of fate, and there was a surprising amount of depth too, touching on topics like race that I didn’t expect. I vaguely remember the movie and it seems like a pretty true adaptation – I might have to watch it again some time soon. (Quick tip – if you buy the ebook you can also get the audiobook for an additional $2.99.)
Start date: 3/23/2016
Finish date: 4/13/2016
Genre/Format: Fiction / Audiobook
Quick, entertaining listen recommended by the What Should I Read Next? podcast. Frances McDormand was the titular character in the recent movie version, and also narrated the audiobook – she was fabulous! This Cinderella story of a 1930s spinster discovering a new life of nightclubs and “fast women” was charmingly subversive, although a few old-fashioned sentiments (AKA casual racism) put a damper on any chance of this becoming a new favorite. The movie has been added to my “Must Watch” list.
Start date: 4/4/2016
Finish date: 4/5/2016
Genre/Format: Parenting / Paperback
I’ve been a longtime fan of the Parent Hacks website, probably since searching the internet for babysitting tips in college. These hacks are old-school, non-branded, MacGyver-esque tricks to help solve everything from travelling quandaries to broken gear to entertaining babies and beyond. The release of this book was perfect timing, and it’s probably the first “baby” thing I bought for myself. After reading it through, I bought a couple more for shower gifts – it’s that good!
Start date: 4/8/2016
Finish date: 4/10/2016
Genre/Format: Fiction / Paperback
Quick-paced, darkly funny commentary, and a mystery to unravel: yes please! I’m a fan of novels that vary from a straight narrative, and the collected emails, notes, and letters pieced together a compelling portrait of agoraphobic genius Bernadette from her daughter’s perspective. I spent an enjoyable couple days scarfing this down, and although it might not stick around in my brain for long, it was the perfect beach read.
Start date: 4/13/2016
Finish date: 4/22/2016
Genre/Format: Young Adult / Audiobook
This prequel of sorts was released between the third and fourth books of the Lunar Chronicles, and it’s the perfect placement to delve into the villain Leavana’s backstory. Pretty much anything I say about the plot is a spoiler for the rest of the series, but it does a good job of explaining Leavana’s motivations and fills in a lot of details that aren’t covered in the other books. The Lunar society on the moon is one of my favorite aspects of this futuristic sci-fi series, so I enjoyed reading an entire book devoted to world building. It isn’t necessarily required reading for the series, but it’s definitely heightening my appreciation for the fourth book.
Start date: 4/26/2016
Finish date: 4/26/2016
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction / Hardback
The quirky illustrations that accompany the animal trivia on each page make this book stand out from other similar animal fact books – you can tell it was put together thoughtfully with an aim toward appealing to both adults and children. The facts are fun and interesting, ranging from bodily functions to world records, accompanied by black-and-white line drawings reminiscent of Shel Silverstein. I really loved the understated design, and each illustration feels special. Such a fun book to add to my “picture book” bookshelves, especially now that I have a future animal-lover on the way!
Start date: 2/17/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Memoir / eBook
Still reading. I pick it up from time to time, but it’s not a particularly fast-moving memoir so I’m content to dip in and out. Haven’t picked it up lately, but I’ll get back to it eventually.
Start date: 3/29/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Young Adult / Library book
Still reading. I put this one on pause to listen to the audiobook of the villain’s backstory, then dove back in. I’m almost afraid to finish the last book in this fun series, but at least there is a short story collection after it’s over.
Start date: 4/11/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Memoir / Paperback
Still reading. My mom lent me this book while we were at the beach, but now that I’m back to reading in five-minute chunks during breakfast each day, I haven’t made much progress. I’ve never heard of the Hutterite community, but the author’s story of growing up in a tight knit group and later assimilating into American culture when her family left the Hutterites is fascinating so far.
Books read in April: 6
Books read so far in 2016: 30
Still reading: 3
So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of April, the fourth month of 2016. I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?
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I’m sharing the highlights of my week… five to be exact! Focusing on five little things that made me happy is my way of recapping the week and a reminder to stay grateful.
This is my third year to work on a year-long cross stitch project, and the second year to play along with the mystery stitch-along month by month. Stitching Once Upon a Time in 2014 and Woodland Creatures in 2015 was so much fun – it’s addictive!
In 2016 I’m joining the Pumpkins on an adventure around the world. The fourth stop was Switzerland and I loved everything about this adorable scene, from the boy’s little hat to the swan in the moat to the sheep on top of the mountain. So super cute… and I can’t wait to see where we go in May.
A few progress pics:
The finished blocks so far:
Four months down, eight to go!
Another weekly update on my current Works in Progress
Spring Ring Cross Stitch
My main cross stitch project I’m working on this year is the Pumpkin Passport mystery sampler, but after finishing up April’s block (pics tomorrow!) I couldn’t resist starting a mini project. I’ve had this wee 4″ hoop for a while and it is the perfect size for Alicia Paulson’s Spring Ring pattern. Picking out fabric and floss colors is always my favorite part, and this one should come together quickly.
And that’s about it!
Linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.
Thanks again for all the love and support for the big news I shared last week. We’re so excited to meet our baby girl in October!
My brother was sweet enough to take the pics while we were all at the beach a couple weeks ago. We didn’t know the gender at the time, so we brought two little pairs of flip flops. Then we only needed to choose from half of the final photos
Here’s a little behind the scenes action of the pro (and his many “helpers”) at work!
Thanks again, bro!
The new doors are by far the biggest news in the cats’ world these days (just wait until October… they are in for a rude awakening, ha!) and both Cora and Tali have had their share of adventures so far.
Tali has finally started using the cat doors, but only if we refuse to help at all. If she knows we’ll hold the flaps open for her or open the back door, she’ll wait around for us to do that. If we ignore her crying, eventually she’ll go through on her own. She’s a smart one… in her own way. Once outside, she explores a lot further than Cora does (including houses still under construction), but hopefully she’ll start sticking closer to home once she figures out the territory.
Cora brought us “presents” the first couple nights she spent out hunting, which we promptly disposed of outside. On the third night, she brought in one that was still alive… a baby bunny. We heard it scratching around early in the morning and thought the worst case scenario was that Cora was playing with something dead… but we had no idea it was actually alive and well! Fortunately neither of the cats seemed to hurt the rabbit while it was in the house, they just chased it around the laundry room. After we figured out where (and what) it was, both of the cats seemed to lose interest… I guess one night of play was enough for them. I had to get to work that morning and Sam couldn’t lure it into a cat carrier, but a wildlife removal specialist was able to trap and release it. Whew!
The bunny adventure seemed to curtail Cora’s presents and hopefully that’s the last of the adventures for a while… crossing fingers and toes!
Another weekly update on my current Works in Progress… I’m slowly climbing out of my crafty rut and actually have a couple to share this week
The Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch
In April we’re visiting snowy Switzerland and adding another character to the journey. I love this scene, and after a couple busy weekends I finally had a chance to get started. I even brought it to guild on Saturday, since I’m a delinquent quilter and sat out for the zipper pouch class.
And that’s about it!
Linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.