Monday, April 23, 2018

April Reads

April was a busy month on the book front and I read some excellent ones! I did have to return some to the library before I got a chance to read them, but I'm back on the wait lists and had plenty to keep me reading. AJ got me a subscription to Book of the Month Club for my birthday (more on that later, it's pretty fun) and I haven't read one of those yet so needless to say, my "to read" list is growing and growing....just how I like it. Let's dive in!

1. Achtung Baby by Sara Zaske:  This was a fun parenting read. I read Bringing Up Bebe (French parenting) a while ago and last year I read Beyond Happy (Amish parenting) and The Year of Living Danishly. This is such a fascinating sub-genre of literature and this particular book was all about the German art of parenting written by an American mom who moves to Germany. I don't subscribe to any one form of parenting (you do you, mama) but this one featured great tips for encouraging independent play and self reliance. I learned how important "open ended" play is and why it's so wise to teach problem solving. These practices also impact my teaching career too. Any other "international" parenting books I should check out?

2. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen: YOU GUYS, this book blew my mind! I went into this one knowing there was a "twist" and the book jacket even said "assume nothing" but this one got me! This story is very similar to Behind Closed Doors, The Couple Next Door, and The Last Mrs. Parrish. It's thrilling, suspenseful, and even if you think it won't "trick" you, it just might! I couldn't put this one down.

3. Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman: Did you really think there would be a new tell-all about the Bachelor that I wouldn't read?! This one was super fascinating. It read much like the author's "thesis" that while yes, the show is trash and it's totally manipulated, scripted and outlandish, it's still worth watching. This book does not sugar coat the behind the scenes drama and masterful editing that goes into each season (I know, I know, about a dozen people have told me I need to watch Unreal. I promise it's on my "to watch" list), but it doesn't make us viewers feel bad for eating it up. We believe in love, damnit! And watching it unfold for over a decade on Monday nights is just fine...Even if you're a feminist.

4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: Ok, I'm calling it now: This one might just be in my top 3 for 2018. If you have a book club, this one would be the perfect selection. This novel follows two families in a wealthy suburb--the landlords and their tenants. This book dives into cultural issues, adoption, class and gender issues, teenagers, mental health, motherhood, and more. It was just jam packed with thought provoking content and unfolded like a well-written drama. This one is more literary than what I usually pick up but it was refreshing change of pace. You will not want to put this one down, there's a reason the wait list for this book was over 200 people. The characters are some of the most richly developed ones I've read in any book lately.

5. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine: THIS BOOK IS CRAZY! In a good way. Once I finished reading this I wished I was still in school so I could spend my days writing a research paper about how modern men are portrayed in contemporary fiction (A blog post about this is stewing in my head because there's just a lot there to discuss! I'm thinking I need to carve out some Starbucks writing time in the next few weeks because I really want to dive into this!). Basically if you're a fan of psychological thrillers, you will like this one. It is definitely rated R but it's also deep and thoughtful. I'm glad I didn't read this one right after The Wife Between Us because they are very similar.

6. Mindless Eating by Brad Wansink: After some intense/heavy reads, I decided I needed some more non-fiction this month. This book was recommended by another blogger and I really liked it. It is full of wonderful facts and information but in a very enjoyable, easy to read fashion. After reading this, I immediately moved the caramel candies I keep inside my desk to a cabinet on the other side of the room and I am starting to use our smaller "dessert" plates for dinner instead of the monster dinner sized plates we have. I am also starting to ask myself more often, "Am I hungry or am I eating at this time out of habit?" This one is definitely not a "weight loss" book (and it doesn't claim to be), but it brings up really fascinating points relating to food psychology (and why we can demolish a popcorn mega tub in one sitting....guilty as charged).

I also began Melanie Shankle's new 100 day devotional this month, Everyday Holy. I am really enjoying it. I found that I am more likely to do my devotional time if I leave it at the dining table downstairs and I can read while I sip my coffee in the mornings.

And my read aloud for spring in my classroom is always Charlotte's Web. My mother in law (a former elementary teacher) bought me the special read aloud edition and it is so good. My kids love gathering around the big book with pictures they can see. And my voice always breaks when I get to this line......Oh Charlotte, you slay me every time.

April was one of my favorite book months to date! Happy Reading!

Savor Your Sparkle,

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