Books of the week – January review

I’m technically a month into my #booked365 challenge. I read a day ahead of when I post on IG for a few reasons, the main one being timing. Having done these book a day challenges for a few years, too often I’m finishing up a book at 11 or even closer to midnight for the day which doesn’t leave time to really post about it. Now, I read a book and take a fun picture so that when I have a few minutes the next morning I have time to post my thoughts before moving on to my next book. So far this has worked swimmingly. Have I read my book for January 31? I have and for the purpose of summing up the month I’ll include it here, even though I won’t review it until tomorrow. I’m sure none of you care, but it makes me clear on what I’m doing in case I forget later, lol.

January reads (minus 4 audio books, 1 book I loaned my mom, and 1 movie).

I felt quite accomplished adding finished books to this pile! My favorites for the month would be my top 2 this week (look below!) and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi, The Falconer by Elaine Clark McCarthy, and Good Citizens by Thich Nhat Hanh

I read 8 picture books (7 non-fiction, 1 poetry), 7 mystery/thrillers, 6 non-fiction, 4 fiction, 4 kids books (3 non-fiction, 1 fiction), 2 historical fiction, 1 humor book.

I started with a pile of ‘intended’ books for the month and read 10 of 13, not so bad!

For February, Black History Month, I’ll be reading a book by a person of color everyday. If you have a book I should definitely read, let me know!

Books read this week and my thoughts, listed in the order I liked them best…

Strange Planet by Nathan W Pyle was just what I needed. I laughed out loud at the antics of these alien creatures and their take on how we humans exist in the world. It won the 2020 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Humor.

Insightful, funny, and sweet – this is a keeper, which means I’ll have to buy my own copy since I checked this out of the library. Can you guess what he’s describing here? Plant liquid partially digested by insects and then stolen? Seriousness cloth? Personal star dimmers? Either way, make sure you give this one your time.

Razzi likes to cuddle when I’m reading so that’s how he ended up here just after I finished Girls Like Us by Christina Alger. I loved this mystery/police procedural/psychological thriller! It’s slow, but worth the dive into the head of FBI agent Nell Flynn and the atmospheric Suffolk County area. It was a dark book and I loved it. Perfect for the cold, snowy days of winter.

Nell returned to Long Island to bury her father, her only family left since her mother was murdered when she was 7. He had been a drunk homicide detective and their relationship had been strained her whole life. What she finds is suspicion. Nell could feel something was off and when a childhood friend asks for help she finds herself looking at Pandora’s box.

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler is a quick, under 200 page satisfying little story. Micah, a bachelor in his 40’s, has a girlfriend he likes and a job that he’s good at and allows him to be his own boss. He’s known to his loyal and loving family as ‘finicky’ and that’s just the way he likes it. But one day a boy shows up at his place claiming that Micah is his dad.

As with most things Anne Tyler this was quirky and worth the read.

My view last night as I met with the book club ladies (@bonniesjourney ) to discuss The Engineer’s Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood. This historical fiction novel is based on the life of Emily Roebling, the woman who helped design and complete the Brooklyn Bridge during a time when it really wasn’t allowed. In the second half of the 19th century the country, including her brother and husband-to-be, was fighting a Civil War. After the war Emily married Washington Roebling who was building bridges with his father with their sights set on a monumental bridge in New York.

I loved so much of this book but had real issues with a few points. I liked having the beginning take place during the Civil War, the details of how the bridge actually got built, and the suffragette movement of the time. These were all well done. Emily herself was a complicated woman, especially for the time, and I respected her strength. I’m very interested in learning more about her and her very prominent role in a man’s world.

Historical fiction is always tricky because of the fiction part. Sometimes I’ll get to the end of a book and feel as though I’d been hoodwinked. In this story Emily begins an affair of sorts with PT Barnum. He’s a crucial player in much of this book. Only there is zero evidence that Emily either had an affair or knew PT. It was too much of a stretch for me, but most of my other book clubbers weren’t as bothered by it.

What do you do when you have 30 minutes in the sauna? Why read about Robert Frost, of course! Papa is a Poet by Natalie S Bober and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon is a nice introduction to the poet. The story is told from the perspective of his daughter, Lesley, and the thoughts and memories are taken directly from the diary she kept as a child.

The story’s focus is their farm in New Hampshire (surprise, surprise, our state this week) where Frost is a farmer and an unpaid poet. It contains lines from some of his poems throughout. After the story there’s more information and real photos as well as quotations and 12 of his poems. It’s a nice introductory picture book. I had to use a different book for a more complete summary of his life, but this was my favorite of the two. 40 pages.

I wish I had a photo of our August homeschooling bookshelf, because it looked quite different than this January homeschooling mess 😆. The materials I’m using for the week are always on our table ready to go, so this is where I come to get what I need for the week and to file papers (ha!). Why am I showing this embarrassing picture? I picked up today’s book thinking I was going to read it for Gage only to realize I might be the one to benefit the most 😬

How ADHD Affects Home Organization: Understanding the Role of the 8 Key Executive Functions of the Mind by Lisa K Woodruff starts with best of intentions and has some good ideas, but, ultimately, it felt incomplete. Woodruff does a good job of summarizing 8 executive functions by how she understands them through clients in her home organization business. She offers a few tips on how to train yourself to get past these issues, but her suggestions always seem to rely on going to her podcasts (she lists several specific episodes at the end of each chapter) or Facebook group. Just jump straight to her podcasts and save yourself some time.

12 thoughts on “Books of the week – January review

  1. kaysreadinglife says:

    That is quite a stack of books, Stacy! Good for you! I’ve got GIRLS LIKE US on my Kindle and as I’m trying to ‘clear out’ some of my shelves, I’ll check and see if I can get the audio and do a read/listen of it soon. I’m moving through books quickly using that method (read/listen). It’s working for me right now and so I’ll continue until I get tired of it. Then I’ll likely catch up on podcasts again. 🙂

  2. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says:

    I love seeing that huge stack of books. There’s a group (Nerdy Book Club?) that does book-a-day every summer, so I always try to do that then. But all year? Amazing. I love the idea of reading a book by a person of color every day in February. If you haven’t read these (or even if you have) I recommend two picture books by Jacqueline Woodson, The Other Side and Each Kindness.

    Did you know there is a Stranger Planet, too? It’s almost as good as Strange.

    Rednead was a comforting story. Anne Tyler’s characters are quirky but also completely real. I love your photo.

  3. Diane says:

    You are awesome with your book a day commitment and you are doing so well – one huge stack of books there. Both me and my daughter swear we have ADHD (her more so than me). I never realized it until my 60s but I am easily distracted and have always been a procrastinator as well.

  4. Gofita says:

    I also enjoyed Stamped. I read that one aloud with Gabe. Strange Planet looks really good! I’m so inspired by all you’re doing this year from homeschooling Gage to reading a book a day! I just live vicariously through you.

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