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What I Read 2019: January and February

What I Read 2019: January and February


At the beginning of January, I took a look at my very long to-read list and requested a TON of books from the library. I wasn’t expecting all my library holds to come in at exactly the same time but they did. I had a serious stack of books by my bed for two months. Since I really wanted to read all of them (spoiler: I didn’t) I’ve been reading like a mad woman the past two months. I’ve also been listening to tons of audio books. I like to listen to non-fiction and classics on audio. It’s been a nice way to start off the year, although I have to admit I like a bit of silence. Between reading and listening so much my head has been full. I’m ready for some of my own thoughts to have space and quiet to percolate again as I read and listen at my normal rate for a bit.

Books I read:

How to Not Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn

I LOVED this one book. The title serves as a summary. It’s funny, relatable, and helpful, even if “hate” is not the adjective that you would use in this title. Also, it made me laugh out loud. 

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Where and who is the Clockmaker’s Daughter and what happened at the house on the river that summer that changed everyone’s lives so drastically? Another Kate Morton page turner with more touches of the supernatural and more loose strings left untied than I’ve seen in her other novels. Neither of these are bad things. 

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

What happened at the barbeque that was so impactful to all six of these adults and their marriages? A page turner with deeper themes about marriage and relationships. I recommend.

Winterhouse by Ben Guterson

I really enjoyed this middle-grade novel about an orphan girl solving a mystery in an idyllic setting. I recommend and I’m excited to read the sequel.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Ed is getting strange messages that lead him to other people who need his help, but who is sending them? This is such a surprising and interesting literary idea. Highly recommend.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Five brothers, a dead mother who loved them so, a father building a bridge, and the brother Clay who ties them all together. Highly recommend, I’ll be reading this again to enjoy the artistry of language and style and to further disect the symbols throughout.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Three different time periods, three loveable woman, family secrets, learning the truth, feeling the love. I highly recommend this lush and lovely book. 

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Women in Afghanistan from the 70’s through early 2000’s who find themselves and their love for each other despite the worst possible circumstances. I recommend, but it’s heavy and heartbreaking and traumatic. If you’ve read The Kite Runner by this author, expect similar tragedies. 

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Girl with a crazy dad moves to the Alaskan wilderness in the 70’s and learns to survive so. much. crap. I recommend this, but buckle up because but it is loooong. 

Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Girl gets turned into an ogre by Lucinda, the same fairy who makes Ella from Ella Enchanted obedient. I would recommend it if you’re an Ella fan, but it’s no Ella. 

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

The Danish Resistance in World War II heroically helped most Danish Jews escape to freedom. I highly recommend this and knew literally nothing about the Danish resistance before reading it.  

A Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

A coffee table read about that was so fun and easy and perfect for winter. I recommend.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

The story of a cranky, loveable old Swedish Man who will probably remind you of Ron Swanson. Highly recommend; I read a lot of good books these two months, and this was my favorite, and one of my favorites that I’ve read EVER.

 Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Super unrealistic Jewish teenage girl who just happens to have the same skill set as James Bond pretends to not be Jewish so she can go to a Nazi school to spy. Also there’s a pedophile in there somewhere. I don’t recommend this one despite the fact that so many people on Goodreads gave it 4 stars. I couldn’t connect with that girl or that story.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Jane Austen obsessed (or maybe just Mr. Darcy obsessed) woman spends three weeks in pretend Jane Austen world immersed in her own inner dialogue of indecisiveness.  I am not the prime audience for this because I have never gotten the draw of Mr. Darcy, but I would skip it because of the excessive boring inner monologues. 

The Minimalist Kitchen by Melissa Coleman (cookbook)

Tips on keeping a minimalist kitchen plus really yummy recipes. This cookbook is worth buying and please make the Quinoa Bibimbap bowls STAT.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith

If you like farmhouse style but also minimalism, this book is for you (Mom, I think you would really like this one). Worth a quick read.

Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney

This book felt like the first few years of Pinterest and seemed dated. Design Sponge is a quality website but I would stick to the website and skip this book.

Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home

Lots of pretty pictures, not much text. I would recommend this for purely aesthetic inspiration. 

The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living by Nathan Williams

Some interesting homes, some interesting essays, and some self-righteous essays. I didn’t finish the essays and not many of the photos inspired my current home situation so I would skip it.  

Audiobooks I listened to:

Zero-Waste Home by Bea Johnson

About living a life with zero-waste! Lots of practical tips for those of us wanting to decrease our waste. Rather than being preachy she is very encouraging to everyone to start taking what steps they can that are practical for their life. Recommend.

I’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel

I enjoyed this book and her reading stories. It was a quick and easy listen.

168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam

Tips about how to get more done in the 168 hours we have each week. Honestly, all I remember about this book is that she and I have different philosophies about what counts as a healthy dinner and that we agree that being a mom doesn’t mean you should spend all your time cleaning. She had TONS of suggestions for all areas of life, I just don’t remember them. Interesting that I read a book about doing MORE with your time and doing less. (See below).

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

His parenting philosophy is when you keep things simple, your kids can go deeper into them. He talks about simplicity at home and in schedules a lot. I loved this and learned a lot and it is a parenting book I would recommend.

The Year of Less by Cate Flanders

I didn’t finish this one. I was expecting it to be more about minimalism but it turned out to be a memoir of all the crap that happened in her life and how she worked through it.  

At home in the World by Tsh Oxenrider

I loved this memoir about traveling the world with three small kids. I have a lot of new places to visit on my list now. One of my favorite books I listened t.

Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl

A biography about his time as a Jew in concentration camps in the Holocaust and how it relates to his theories as a psychiatrist. I just listened to the part about his experience in the Holocaust and gave up on the theories. It’s interesting and there was also some interesting criticism on it, but all in all trying to make meaning out of whatever circumstance you are placed in doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

One of my favorite books from this batch of books, the founder of Nike tells it’s origin story. I was shocked at how well-written it was. Apparently Phil Knight is more than just a good businessman, he’s also a good writer and storyteller

The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah McKenzie

I LOVED this book with strategies for reading to kids and great book recommendations. Re-ignited my enthusiasm for reading aloud to my kids. 

The Illiad by Homer

I’ve never read this classic before. It was….gory and violent and so foreign from our world today. Interesting all the same. I read it because it’s mentioned frequently in Bridge of Clay and I was intrigued. 

30 books!!!

Read any of these? What did you think?

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