2015 Reading: First Half
Jul 13, 2015
I made a goal to read 65 books this year. At the end of June, I'd read 30. That means I'm behind, and I hate being behind (why do I do this to myself? why does an arbitrary number like 30 have to carry so much guilt with it?).
But I've read some truly amazing books during the last six months (as well as a couple of really awful ones), so overall I'm very happy with the year so far.
Here's the rundown (titles are linked to my full reviews):
1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, 6/10
Kind of a depressing start to the year. An engaging, but ultimately disappointing, read.
2. Nancy and Plum by Betty MacDonald, 7/10 (readaloud)
From the author of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, this is a sweet story about two orphan sisters who outwit their mean boarding house mistress.
3. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, 10/10 (audio)
There are times when I'm convinced I must not belong to the same species as some other people on this planet. This was one of those times.
4. A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack, 2/10
The more time goes by, the less I like this book (and I didn't like it to begin with).
5. Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary, 8/10 (readaloud)
For the "Guts! Guts! Guts!" scene alone, this is worth reading.
6. El Deafo by Cece Bell, 7/10
My enjoyment of this book was tainted by the fact that it won a Newbery Honor. I really liked the book, but the whole time I was reading, I just kept thinking about how impossible it was for the text to truly stand on its own.
7. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, 8/10 (readaloud)
The boys and I blazed through this book. They loved it just as much as I hoped they would.
8. Henry and the Paper Route by Beverly Cleary, 7/10 (readaloud)
This story is a nice glimpse of what life was like in the 1950's. I wish my boys still had the option of delivering papers as an after school job.
9. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, 10/10
I went into this book with looooooow expectations, and wow, I've never done such a complete turnaround. Who knew poetry and basketball went together?!
10. MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths by Janet P. Penley, 8/10
Not going to lie--this was a tedious read. But it's one that now, months later, I'm still thinking about. It helped me get a clear grasp on personality typing (and caused me to type just about everyone I know).
11. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough, 6/10 (audio)
This one was far easier to read/listen to than MotherStyles, but it hasn't stayed with me at all.
12. Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl, 7/10 (readaloud)
At first I didn't know what to think about the fact that the whole book centers around the illegal poaching of Danny and his father, but it's growing on me.
13. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, 7/10
I liked it, and it definitely helped me purge my clothes and books, but to call it "life-changing" would be taking it a bit far.
14. Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery, 7/10
I love Emily, but Teddy is no Gilbert Blythe, which means I could never love these books quite as much as the Anne books.
15. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, 8/10 (readaloud)
My kids now want to dress up as characters from Oz for Halloween, so I'd call this one a success.
16. The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall, 9/10
A little more melancholy and emotional than the first three in the series, but I loved it. It's fun seeing the Penderwick sisters growing up.
17. Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes, 8/10 (readaloud)
I was talking to my neighbor a couple nights ago, and he mentioned that many years ago their dog was stolen out of their backyard. I was shocked. I thought that kind of thing only happened in books (specifically, this book).
18. Middlemarch by George Eliot, 7/10 (audio)
This book had its slow moments, no question, but overall I'm very happy to have read it. Even though it isn't my favorite book of all time, I can see why it is for many people.
19. Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin, 9/10
I'm an Upholder all the way. Habits make me a happy girl. I'm still thinking about this book.
20. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Changes the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown, 7/10 (audio)
This book helped me recognize the good vulnerable moments in my life, but I'm still not exactly sure how to have more of them in the future (in other words, it wasn't as applicable as I would have liked).
21. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, 8/10
One of those books where I felt like I needed to bookmark or highlight or write down every single quote because there was so much truth in it.
22. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff, 7/10 (readaloud)
Loved this spin on the Rumpelstiltskin story. So did my boys.
23. The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter, 8/10
I had no idea there was so much controversy surrounding this book. It tainted my opinion a little, but overall, I still really enjoyed it.
24. Poppy by Avi, 8/10 (readaloud)
Despite this story falling second chronologically in the series, I have strong opinions for why you should read it first.
25. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos, 2/10
I disliked this book on so many levels and for so many different reasons.
26. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, 6/10
There were things I loved and things I hated, and that made this a complicated book for me.
27. Poppy and Rye by Avi, 8/10 (readaloud)
I landed on the perfect voice for the sweet-talking, superficial beaver, Mr. Canad, and the memory still pleases me. "Well, bless my teeth and smooth my tail . . . "
28. Lessons From Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott, 6/10
I read this book for the bit about the ten-item wardrobe, but I think the most memorable thing ended up being that I now feel completely okay with my preference to wear very little makeup.
29. The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling, 9/10 (readaloud)
I don't know that my kids have ever laughed so hard at a book before. Completely delightful, and we will remember it forever.
30. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest For Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown, 10/10 (audiobook)
This will go down as not just my favorite book of the first half of 2015, but as one of my favorite books of all time. Absolutely riveting.
And that's it! I'd love to hear about your favorite reads of 2015 so far!