Monthly Recaps

April & May 2017 Reading Recap


I tackled 10 books over the past few months! I meant to get this recap up yesterday and then tonight I was distracting trying to choose a book club book for August… But here we go! I missed an April recap so you get two months worth of mini reviews from me for the price of one šŸ™‚ What a deal!

April 2017

  1. Anne of Green Gables
    by LM Montgomery

    AnneofGGClassic kid lit first published in 1908 and set in Nova Scotia. This book has sold over 50 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages- if you haven’t heard of it I would be shocked! The story follows an orphan, 11 year old Anne Shirley (Anne with an e!), who is mistakenly sent to and then adopted by middle aged siblings, Matthew and MarillaĀ Cuthbert. Anne grows up, gets into all kinds of scrapes, makes great friends, and is just generally adorable. This is the first time I’ve read this- I laughed, I cried, I couldn’t get enough of it! An INSTANT favorite and I can’t wait to read more of the series. I listened to the Rachel McAdams read audiobook and it the most enjoyable audiobook I’ve ever read- she was an absolutely perfect narrator. I’m also looking forward to watching the Netflix series Anne With an E as soon as I’m caught up on other shows… (foreshadowing).

    Favorite Quote:There were so many- but I remember particularly loving this one:

    “Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them- that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”

    5 stars5.0/5.0

  2. Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear… and Why
    by Sady Doyle

    trainwreckNon-fiction social commentary on the media and how women are portrayed in it. Published in 2016. The most interesting parts for me were the historical pieces about Charlotte Bronte, Sylvia Plath, etc. We read this for book club, and what I said at our meeting was that I feel like a bad feminist for not liking this book… but I feel that there are better books on this topic out there and really struggled to finish this. I will say the book has made me think twice about women bashing that takes place and how the narrative surrounding these women’s lives can twist and turn on a dime.

    Favorite Quote:

    I honestly don’t have one… sad


    1.5 stars1.5/5.0

  3. The Nest
    by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

    the nestContemporary adult fiction published in 2016. I was wary at first because this book seems to be pretty divisive on Goodreads, Amazon, pretty much everywhere- people either love it or hate it- and I admit it took me awhile to get into. I knew I was digging it when I started using the kindle app on my phone to keep reading when I wasn’t driving (I primarily listened to this on CD from the library). Definitely has some raunchy parts and highly unlikeable characters. I actually felt there were too many characters, some of which I did not really care about, and I found myself not paying as much attention until the stories I was interested in came back on. I do appreciate a good epilogue though, and the occasional “neat & tidy” ending as well.

    Favorite Quote:

    “She was open to love, but she was best at managing her own happiness; it was other peopleā€™s happiness that sunk her.”


  4. In the Lake of the Woods
    by Tim O’Brien

    lake of the woodsY’all this was just not my thing. A mystery/war story published in 2006 about a failed politician whose long held secrets come out at the worst possible moment. In the fall out of his failed campaign, he and his wife retreat to the north woods, but then she goes missing and everyone assumes he did it. I didn’t like any of the characters and while I’ve never beenĀ freaked out by gore and violence before, this just made my stomach turn. I only read it (and finished it) because it’s a make up book club book and I’m still shooting for that perfect 100% completion rate. That said, I’m sure there are people out there who love this and think it’s a great book. I am just not one of those people.

    Favorite Quote:


    1 star1.0/5.0

  5. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
    by Alan Bradley

    sweetnessatthebottomWhew! We made it out of the woods! This absolutely charming “cozy” mystery from 2009 is the first of the Flavia De Luce series (great… another series to add to my list already containing Inspector Gamache and Anne… when will I ever find time?). The main character, Flavia, is a pre-teen chemistry wiz who turns detectiveĀ after a dead body mysteriously appears in her backyard. Flavia works to solve the case before her father takes the fall for the murder, playing pranks on her older sisters along the way. Loved it!

    Favorite Quote:

    “As I stood outside in Cow Lane, it occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.No … eight days a week”

    4 stars4.0/5.0

May 2017

Most of these I haven’t even reviewed on Goodreads yet- I’m a little behind on my book bookkeeping… So these will be mini-mini reviews!

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale
    by Margaret Atwood

    handmaids taleFinally picked this up after hearing from several people that it is their favorite book of all time. While I’m not 100% on that bandwagon, the book is very good. I liked it better than 1984, and totally understand why both of those books are returning to relevance given current events in our country. The Handmaid’s Tale, published in 1985, takes place in a dystopian society where women are not allowed to work or hold property. Instead they are given roles- the main character Offred is a Handmaid (essentially a women only kept for breeding). The book chronicles Offred’s life as a Handmaid and what she remembers of life from before. Currently watching the show on Hulu and I think they’re doing a good job bringing this to life!

    Favorite Quote:
    “Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”

    4 stars4.0/5.0

  2. Swing Time
    by Zadie Smith

    swing timeI really really wanted to like this book, and while the characters were very well developed (complex and detailed) I just could not get into the story. Published in 2016, Swing Time is the story of two young brown girls who love dance growing up in London- one naturally talented who ends up dancing professionally and the other not so talented who ends up becoming the assistant of an international pop star. Normally these themes really speak to me (female friendship, coming of age stories, feminism, social justice), but I agree with other reviewers who said there was so much going on that none of the topics really received adequate attention. I would try something else by Zadie Smith- I did enjoy herĀ writing style, just this particular story wasn’t my cup of tea.

    Favorite Quote:
    “A truth was being revealed to me: that I had always tried to attach myself to the light of other people, that I had never had any light of my own. I experienced myself as a kind of shadow.”

    2.5 stars2.5/5.0

  3. The Four Agreements
    by Miguel Ruiz

    four agreementsI read this book because it was part of the inspiration for Warrior Goddess Training, a book I absolutely loved earlier this year! While the advice in this book was good, and I will still use some passages for meditation, it didn’t speak to me the way Warrior Goddess did.Ā The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best. Overall great advice- but not the paradigm shift I experienced with Heatherash’s book.

    Favorite Quote:
    “You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”

    2.5 stars2.5/5.0

  4. Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi

    homegoingOh this book. Just read it. Please just do it. This book, another 2016 historical fiction novel, is beautiful and heart wrenching. Homegoing starts in eighteenth century Ghana and follows two half sisters as one marries an English slave trader and the other is captured and shipped to America. Each subsequent chapter follows their decedents’ paths, one half of the family in Ghana and the other in America. I was worried that spending one chapter with each character would not be enough time, but the tales are so intimate and well told and satisfying that I did not mind at all. This is a wonderful book that I will recommend to many for years to come.

    Favorite Quote:
    “We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing?, Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there you get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.”


  5. Lincoln in the Bardo
    by George Saunders

    lincoln in the bardoI can easily say this new release is one of the most unique books I’ve read in my entire life. George Saunders hilarious first novel took a small nugget of history, Abraham Lincoln’s mourning following the tragic death of his 11 year old son Willie, and creates something truly unforgettable. As history tells us, Lincoln returned to the cemetery alone following the funeral processions during the day. Saunders introduces the concept of the bardo, essentially the Tibetan take on purgatory, so that the ghost of Lincoln’s son, while attempting to return to regular life with his father, interacts with several other colorful spirits intent on not moving on. The characters are wonderful and hilarious, my only hang up is the chapters that are completely comprised of citations and references to letters, newspaper articles, etc. These broke up the flow of the book for me and I kind of tuned them out. Beast of Booktopia and I listened to this on our way up north for Memorial Day Weekend (it’s only about 7.5 hours total), and the audiobook is truly something else. Featuring 166 narrators including Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Megan Mullally, Bill Hader, and Keegan-Michael Key, it has been compared to a theatrical experience rather than an audiobook. Again, I almost wish the “citation” chapters had been read by the main narrator instead of by 80 different people, but either way this was excellent. Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally apparently already have a movie in the works. I have already recommended this impressive book to two other people. I will probably go back and read a physical copy someday as well, just to see what that experience is like.

    Favorite Quote:
    I wish I could just paste the last third of the book here but alas that would be excessive…
    Only then (nearly out the door, so to speak) did I realize how unspeakably beautiful all of this was, how precisely engineered for our pleasure, and saw that I was on the bring of squandering a wondrous gift, the gift of being allowed, every day, to wander this vast sensual paradise, this grand marketplace lovingly stocked with every sublime thing

    4 stars4.0/5.0

WOW! I don’t know if I’ll ever do a double recap again… this was a lot! Have you read any of these? What did you think? I can’t wait to hear about it, but until then…

ā€œOff to the cupboard with you now, Chip. Itā€™s past your bedtime. Goodnight, loveā€¦ā€

4 thoughts on “April & May 2017 Reading Recap

  1. Looks like you’ve been reading some good books! ‘The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie’ looks like someone I would definitely enjoy. It sounds like a fun read! I was sold on that quote about heaven being a place where libraries are open eight days a week šŸ˜› Someone after my own heart!


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