I ended last year with some very specific goals for myself in 2015. One of those goals was to read more. Instead of waiting until the end of the year to make one gigantic list, I am going to post a monthly book report of what I’ve been reading. And instead of just listing the titles, I wanted to give my two cents while the books were still fresh on my mind. (I am, however, keeping this year’s giant list–sans reviews–here.)
The Midwife’s Confession (Chamberlain)
Wasn’t a huge fan. This book was too unbelievable. I can only suspend my disbelief so much and this book crossed the line for me. Chamberlain also reminds me of Jodi Picoult with her deep stories of illness and loss. I didn’t care for that much in this book either. The basic story line is that two adult women lose a close friend to a suicide only to uncover some very dark secrets involving her work as a midwife; including baby snatching, kidnapping, accidental murder, and keeping these secrets somehow to herself. There were too many cliches, too much that just all resolved itself too neatly (despite being illegal), and it was just overall cheesy!
The Idiot’s Guide to Common Core Standards (DK Publishers)
I don’t normally read “Idiot’s Guides,” but I was curious to get a quick and dirty run down of all of the ELA (English/Language Arts) standards. I like knowing about the educational reform going on in our country as a former high school English teacher, a homeschool mom, and a college English instructor. I’m not against standards. I am against the way big testing, big government, and big money is changing hands despite the detriment it’s doing to our teachers, kids, and schools.
The Year Without Purchase (Dannemiller)
Quirky little book told from a Christian man’s perspective on the journey he, his wife, and two young children took in order to free themselves of stuff and the grip of consumerism and materialism. I love reads like this! I enjoyed all of the memoir-quality details of the good/bad/ugly that their marriage and other relationships endured. As a self-proclaimed minimalist, it was interesting and intriguing to read about decluttering, no-spending challenges, and the spiritual results that came forth during their year.
All the Single Ladies (Frank)
Another DBF classic. Her books are all fairly predictable, but I love the stories she writes. This one is about three grown women who for various reasons find themselves single. They form a strong bond and walk alongside each other through some difficult parenting situations, relationship struggles and through the grief of multiple losses. DBF writes so candidly, with humor, and makes you fall in love with Charleston in every book. When anyone asks me for a good book recommendation, I always suggest DBF! Quick and light reads that make you smile.
Check These Out: One Librarian’s Catalog of the 200 Coolest, Best, and Most Important Books You’ll Ever Read (Sheridan)
This book for me was a pass. I guessed that I’d come away with my own new list of awesome books that I’d want to read, but ended up realizing that this particular author/librarian and I have very different tastes. The book itself was a good idea, and I did like how Sheridan organized her chapters/sections. Don’t waste an hour of your life reading her picks. Just go read something you know you’ll like!
The End of Your Life Book Club (Schwalbe)
Quite possibly one of the best books of my year. Mother (Mary) is diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and son (who already shares a love of reading with his mom) decides that he and his mom will do a book club together. The narratives they read become their stories and their vocabulary for dealing with the looming death of Mary. The serendipitous nature of picking these books allows Will and Mary the chance to grieve their inescapable loss with the bond they share knowing the value of a story. I’m not doing it justice here, but this is such a poignant tale of the value of books, the connections they make in us, and the anchor they can provide. I call this book a blend of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Last Lecture times 100. Add this one to your queue!