Books I Read in July 2017

What a great reading month! I did a lot of listening to audio books, which is why my reading total is so high – 11 of the books I finished were audio titles!

Books Read in July 2017

    Mysteries

  1. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

    So. Good. It’s a story-within-a-story, and the framework is really well done and made for such a fun book. I listened to it, and the narrators did an excellent job. Plus I didn’t figure out either solution (although I had a suspicion about one of them, I couldn’t get the why behind it.)

  2. The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

    An enjoyable follow-up to both Jane Eyre and the biography on Charlotte Brontë I’d recently read. I think it’d have been even better if I’d ever read Wuthering Heights and/or Agnes Grey!

  3. A False Mirror by Charles Todd

    The premise behind this one was absurd, but I do like Inspector Rutledge, so I just kind of nodded and went with the ridiculousness of the setup.

  4. An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd

    Another favorite mystery series because of my affection for the main characters, not because of any individual title. It’s worth starting at the beginning of the series, although it’s not as essential as it would be with other series.

  5. Other Fiction

  6. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

    Lots of potential in this one, and it was a really good book, but missed out on being really great. The narrators are excellent, so as long as you don’t mind lots of profanity (in one section at least), it’s a good one to listen to on audio.

  7. Among Others by Jo Walton

    I’m not even sure what to say about this one exactly – I loved it, and read it in under 24 hours. I liked the idea behind it, the setting, the bookworm main character. And yet, looking at it objectively, it’s not one I can recommend to anyone and everyone. It doesn’t really have all that much action – there’s lots of day-to-day recounting of boarding school events, and tons of science fiction books and authors mentioned. I think it’s a book that’s either going to fit the reader so well that they love it, or leave a reader cold, wondering why on earth there isn’t anything happening.

  8. Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

    Sweet story, but not my type of book overall. I thought it was going to be a historical mystery and it’s a historical Christian romance. I did like the setting!

  9. Nonfiction

  10. On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety by Andrea Petersen

    Really interesting, and well-written. Petersen takes her own story and expands it to give a look at anxiety in general, and various treatments for it. It was a fascinating account.

  11. My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul

    I’d expected to love this one, and certainly to find it more interesting than On Edge. Instead, I found it veering towards boring at times, and unsuccessful at making her story more interesting to a wider audience.

  12. Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman

    Excellent for learning details about Charlotte Brontë’s life (I had no idea she ever married!), although the writing style was dry and at times it was a bit tedious. Read it if you want to know more about Charlotte or her sisters, but it’s not a must-read as a generally-interesting biography.

  13. Kid Lit

  14. Winterbound by Margery Williams Bianco

    Enjoyable, old-fashioned story. I’m keeping an eye out for a copy to add to our library, because it’d be a good one to have on hand for the kids to read in the future.

  15. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

    I would have loved this one as a kid. As an adult, I enjoyed it well enough, and I’ll read it to my kids soon(ish).

  16. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

    Has gotten tons of praise since publication, including winning the 2017 Newbery Medal. And I liked it, but I didn’t LOVE LOVE LOVE it like I somewhat expected to with the press it’s gotten.

  17. Savvy by Ingrid Law

    Fun, with an unusual take on magical powers. It’s the first in a trilogy, and eventually I’ll look for the others, although it’s not a immediate priority. I’ll keep this in mind for my kids to read when they get into middle-grade books.

  18. Cookbooks

  19. Sheet Pan Suppers: 120 Recipes for Simple, Surprising, Hands-Off Meals Straight from the Oven by Molly Gilbert

    So many tempting ideas in this one, especially a couple of the breakfast ideas as I daydream about our upcoming bookclub retreat!

  20. Nigella Fresh: Delicious Flavors on Your Plate All Year Round by Nigella Lawson

    Nothing jumped out at me that I wanted to try, but I adore Nigella’s voice, and love reading her commentary.

  21. Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

    It’s not what I thought it was going to be, and I still want to look at the cookbook I thought I was getting. For a cookbook where the focus is on prepping for five meals on one day, there was very little direction on the order for the meals to be prepped, or ways to make things easier on the cook. It felt very forced as far as making recipes fit into the supposed premise.

  22. The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen by Serena Thompson and Teri Edwards

    Grabbed on a whim from the library shelf, so the fact that I didn’t really like it all that much isn’t too disappointing. It included appetizers, lunch, desserts … but no dinner ideas! And really, dinner is where I want ideas. 🙂

  23. The Melendy Quartet

  24. The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
  25. The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright
  26. Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright
  27. Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright
  28. General thoughts about the entire series: I LOVED IT. How on earth did I never read these books as a child? I would have adored them, and wished I could be adopted into the family, and have their adventures. Great on audio as well. I can’t wait to read them to my kids, or at least introduce them to them, and then let them read all four themselves.

    Rereads

  29. The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson

    The geography on this one confused me, and I got a little sidetracked by trying to understand what on earth Robinson was describing. Eventually I gave up and just enjoyed the characters. I’m still not entirely sure what happened at the very end, but it would be a major spoiler to explain so if you’ve read it recently and can discuss, let me know.

  30. Past Reason Hated by Peter Robinson

    So dated as far as social issues go, and the book itself drags quite a bit. Unless you’re obsessive about reading all the books in a series, this one is completely skippable.

  31. Cain His Brother by Anne Perry

    And another book where the middle drags on way too much. This should easily been edited down by at least 100 pages, to make for a more engaging book. The details get really repetitive. The solution to the mystery is also completely unbelievable.

  32. Not For Me

  33. Plague Land by S. D. Sykes

    I need at least one character to care about in a book, and this one didn’t have any. Despite wanting to like the book – I love the medieval time period, and the premise behind the book – a third son is recalled from the monastery he’s been sent to when his father and older brothers both die from the plague – was intriguing. Alas, the book itself was boring and filled with unpleasant characters. The mystery itself was even a let-down and didn’t make up for the disagreeable characters. .

  34. Work Clean: The Life-Changing Power of Mise-En-Place to Organize Your Life, Work and Mind by Dan Charnas

    Almost preachy in tone, and super repetitive. Would have been stronger as a long article or series of blog posts, but as a full-length book it felt padded.

  35. I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

    Teetered on the edge between amusingly quirky and entertaining, and ridiculously absurd. Eventually toppled off into the absurd side for me. I think I’m too old and cranky to appreciate it.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

New on the Stack in July 2017

Welcome to New on the Stack, where you can share the latest books you’ve added to your reading pile. I’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own post or instagram picture sharing your books! It’s a fun way to see what others will soon be reading, and get even more ideas of books to add to my “I want to read that!” list.New on the Stack button

So. Many. New. Books.

That is not an apology or justification, just an acknowledgment that I have an even bigger stack of new titles than usual, and I love it.

Nonfiction

The Guynd coverThe Guynd: A Scottish Journal by Belinda Rathbone

How did I get it: Bought a used copy since my library doesn’t have it.
Why did I get it: Catherine made it sound irresistible.

Happy Pretty Messy coverHappy Pretty Messy by Natalie Wise

How did I get it: Bought a Kindle copy.
Why did I get it: My friend wrote it and it was a great deal.

The Miracle Morning for Writers coverThe Miracle Morning for Writers by Hal Elrod, Steve Scott, and Honoree Corder

How did I get it: Bought a Kindle copy.
Why did I get it: Hard to resist at $1.99

Nigella Fresh coverNigella Fresh: Delicious Flavors on Your Plate All Year Round by Nigella Lawson

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: While I’m not sure that I’ve every made anything of hers, I love reading Nigella’s recipes.

Drop the Ball coverDrop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I don’t remember where I heard about it, but the concept is appealing.

Sheet Pan Suppers coverSheet Pan Suppers: 120 Recipes for Simple, Surprising, Hands-Off Meals Straight from the Oven by Molly Gilbert

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Love reading cookbooks to get new ideas for dinner.

Salad for Dinner coverSalad for Dinner by Jeanne Kelley

How did I get it: Borrowed it from the library.
Why did I get it: I had the chance to go to the library BY MYSELF and I took the opportunity to browse the cookbook shelf.

Week in a Day coverWeek in a Day by Rachael Ray

How did I get it: Borrowed it from the library.
Why did I get it: Like the concept behind this one.

The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen coverThe Farm Chicks in the Kitchen by Serena Thompson and Teri Edwards

How did I get it: Borrowed it from the library.
Why did I get it: It looked pretty.

It's Ok Not to Share coverIt’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker

How did I get it: Borrowed it from the library.
Why did I get it: I don’t remember who recommended Shumaker’s books.

It's Ok to Go Up the SlideIt’s Ok to Go Up The Slide by Heather Shumaker

How did I get it: Borrowed it from the library.
Why did I get it: Both of her titles were recommended (in a Facebook group? Some post I’m forgetting?)

Fiction

Bright Island coverBright Island by Mabel Robinson

How did I get it: Bought a used copy.
Why did I get it: I don’t remember how I heard about it.

The King of Attolia coverThe King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

How did I get it: Bought the Audible version.
Why did I get it: Love this series!

Kristin Lavransdatter coverKristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

How did I get it: Bought the Audible version.
Why did I get it: It’s been highly recommended, and I couldn’t resist the deal of using only one credit to get that many hours of listening.

The Pilgrim's Progress coverPilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

How did I get it: Bought the Kindle version
Why did I get it: R is doing a Bible study on it, and he wanted a physical copy. I’m reading along with him, as their pace is only one chapter a week.

A Beautiful Poison coverA Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang

How did I get it: Selected it as my free Kindle First title for July.
Why did I get it: It sounded the most interesting to me out of all the available options.

Counted with the Stars coverCounted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

How did I get it: Kindle freebie.
Why did I get it: Interested by the setting.

The Faerie Guardian coverThe Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan

How did I get it: Kindle freebie.
Why did I get it: Worth trying.

Daemoniac coverDaemoniac by Kat Ross

How did I get it: Kindle freebie.
Why did I get it: The description sounded like it could be great.

Salted coverSalted by Aaron Galvin

How did I get it: Kindle freebie.
Why did I get it: I’m intrigued by the premise – a mermaid story for boys.

Two Heads Two Spikes coverTwo Heads, Two Spikes by Jason Paul Rice

How did I get it: Freebie for signing up for the author’s newsletter
Why did I get it: He’s a prolific author, so if I like his style I’ll have lots more to read.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest coverKitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

How did I get it: Borrowed it on audio from the library.
Why did I get it: The author was speaking at a nearby library in July, so I wanted to read his book before going to the presentation.

Magpie Murders coverMagpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

How did I get it: Borrowed it on audio from the library.
Why did I get it: It’s gotten a lot of buzz, so I wanted to give it a try.

An Unwilling Accomplice coverAn Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd

How did I get it: Borrowed it on audio from the library.
Why did I get it: Next in the Bess Crawford series.

The Hanging Valley coverThe Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson

How did I get it: Borrowed it on audio from the library.
Why did I get it: Next in the Alan Banks series.

Past Reason Hated coverPast Reason Hated by Peter Robinson

How did I get it: Borrowed it on audio from the library.
Why did I get it: Next in the Alan Banks series.

A Study in Charlotte coverA Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

How did I get it: Borrowed it on audio from the library.
Why did I get it: Kate made it sound appealing.

The Saturdays coverThe Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright

How did I get it: Borrowed it on audio from the library.
Why did I get it: I’ve heard about Enright for ages, but had never read her before. I finally decided to try her when I saw the first was available from my library on audio.

The Four-Story Mistake coverThe Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright

How did I get it: Borrowed it on audio from the library.
Why did I get it: Had to get the rest of the series.

Then There Were Five coverThen There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright

How did I get it: Borrowed it on audio from the library.
Why did I get it: Next in the series.

Spiderweb for Two coverSpiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright

How did I get it: Borrowed it on audio from the library.
Why did I get it: Next in the series.

The Madwoman Upstairs coverThe Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: My Jane Eyre-inspired reading focus continues.

The Diamond Age coverThe Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: August’s book club selection.

Among Others coverAmong Others by Jo Walton

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I don’t remember how I first discovered this one, but the description sounded appealing.

The Road to Paradise coverRoad to Paradise by Karen Barnett

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Jill mentioned it in one of her New on the Stack posts and I fell for the cover and premise.

A False Mirror CoverA False Mirror by Charles Todd

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Next in the Ian Rutledge series.

Cain His Brother coverCain His Brother by Anne Perry

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Next in the William Monk series.

A Most Novel Revenge coverA Most Novel Revenge by Ashley Weaver

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Next in the series.

Plague Land coverPlague Land by S. D. Sykes

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Jessica made it sound appealing.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon coverThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: It’s gotten a ton of positive buzz.

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You coverI’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Jessica got me to do it.

A Night Divided coverA Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I don’t remember how it came to my attention, but I was intrigued by the premise. It’s not a setting that gets much attention!

Savvy coverSavvy by Ingrid Law

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I think it was Amazon that recommended it to me. 🙂


“New on the Stack” Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share your posts or instagram pictures about the new-to-you books you added to your reading stack last month. They can be purchases, library books, ebooks, whatever it is you’ll be reading! Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to this post – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open until the end of the month.

4. Please visit the person’s blog or Instagram who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs from your linked post or Instagram. (Because on social media or in next month’s post, I hope to feature some of the books that catch my attention from this month.)

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Introducing August’s Book Club Selection: The Diamond Age

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

the-diamond-age

What’s It About?

(Description from Goodreads)

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer is a postcyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson. It is to some extent a science fiction coming-of-age story, focused on a young girl named Nell, and set in a future world in which nanotechnology affects all aspects of life. The novel deals with themes of education, social class, ethnicity, and the nature of artificial intelligence.

Why Was This Title Selected

It was intended as the science fiction title for the year (Dark Matter was supposed to be a thriller; I hadn’t realized how much sci-fi it included.) It’s won multiple awards and received rave reviews, so I trusted it would be a good choice for discussion.

Anything Else to Know About It?

The discussion will begin soon in the Facebook group, and you’re welcome to come and join us.

It’s available in Print, for Kindle or Nook, or via Audible (for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first).

What’s Coming Up Next?

plainsongPlainsong by Kent Haruf

What’s it about? The interwoven lives of a community in Colorado.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.


See all the books we’ll be reading in 2017 here.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

New on Your Stack (Volume 27)

Some highlights from the books from last month’s linkup:


50 Great American Places coverAs soon as I saw 50 Great American Places: Essential Historic Sites Across the U.S. listed in Stacie‘s monthly post I went and added it to my Amazon wishlist. And really, it’s all I could do not to buy it immediately – it’s so exactly the sort of book I loooove and like to actually own. Plus it’s only $7.14 but I’m trying to hold off until next month as I’ve already spent my book budget for July. 🙂

Stacie also reminded me that it’s time to order a 2018 Almanac for my son – he had so much fun reading the one I got him for 2017, and that’ll mean I’ve made a start on Christmas gifts. That’ll wait until August as well though.


Six of Crows coverArwen has SO MANY BOOKS listed for last month, she makes me feel better about the ridiculous numbers I add every month as well. I’m not the only one! 🙂

I’ve added Six of Crows to my library holds list, so I’ll be giving that one a try once my turn arrives. Because it was a Kindle freebie, I grabbed The Faerie Guardian. It doesn’t sound precisely like my sort of book, but I don’t mind giving it a try, as it’ll all depend on just how much romance there is in the story.

And, despite not liking the title AT ALL, I downloaded Daemoniac, another Kindle freebie (love when they have the first in a series as a free download!) Described as Sherlock Holmes meets the X-Files, this could be the best thing ever or a travesty. I’m hoping for the former.

Arwen was full of ideas for how to get free books this month, so I also signed up for author newsletters from Aaron Galvin and Jason Paul Rice, and received copies of their books Salted and Two Heads, Two Spikes.


The Boy is Back coverWhile it is completely not my usual genre, I am soooo tempted by The Boy is Back, because Kate tells me that it’s epistolary fiction! My love for that style of book might be enough for me to read it, or at least give it a try. I’ve already got it on hold at the library.

I’m also somewhat tempted by The Fifth Letter, by Nicola Moriarty, especially because I’ve liked books by both of her sisters (What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies by Liane, and Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn).


Counted with the Stars coverJill got me to download another Kindle freebie – Counted with the Stars. I do like historical fiction, although I’m concerned that this one may skew towards the romance side. I’ll give it a try however, as it’s the first in a trilogy so if I like it I’ll have two more to look forward to reading!


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Upcoming Releases I’m Eagerly Anticipating

Despite having an already-overflowing to-be-read list, I’m always looking ahead at what new books are soon to be released. Here are the ones I’m most excited about that will be releasing in the next six months:

Glass Houses coverGlass Houses by Louise Penny

The latest in the Gamache series, and as much as I tried to slow myself down so I wouldn’t be left waiting for publication, it didn’t work. Hurry up, publication date!! (August 29th, not that I’m counting or anything).

The Four Tendancies coverThe Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin

Rubin’s last book, Better Than Before, introduced the four tendencies, and I found that section was my favorite part in the entire book. I’m eager to read a book focused entirely on that topic.

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place coverThe Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley

The latest in the Flavia de Luce series, which Goodreads says is expected to publish in September, but now Amazon says January. So apparently they aren’t making their original date and have pushed it back, which is a major disappointment as I am ready to read it immediately.

Reading People coverReading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel

Reading + personality = this should be awesome. I thought about applying to be on the launch team for this book since that would have gotten me an early copy. I really should have done that and then crossed my fingers to be chosen.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban coverHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay

I’ve had this one pre-ordered since April, despite already owning the book in at least two other formats. No matter, I want to own all of the books in this new illustrated edition, because it is so beautiful. It’s going to release in October and will be set aside as a Christmas present to me. Thanks husband dear, you gave me exactly what I wanted. 😉

The Yes Effect coverThe Yes Effect: Accepting God’s Invitation to Transform the World Around You by Luis Bush with Darcy Wiley

Co-authored by my friend Darcy (who wrote a wonderful guest post for me ages ago), I’ve been following along with her writing process since she first began the project. So excited for her that the publication date is almost here!

Ride On Will Cody coverRide On, Will Cody! by Caroline Starr Rose

I’ve mentioned my love for her books many times, and I’m excited for another one, especially one that I’m confident my son will love.

The Self-Discipline Handbook coverThe Self-Discipline Handbook: Simple Ways to Cultivate Self-Discipline, Build Confidence, and Obtain Your Goals by Natalie Wise

I “met” Natalie through an online group thanks to my friend Darcy mentioned above. She’s amazingly accomplished and regularly has SO MANY projects going on at a time, so I’m eager to read this.

Sleeping in the Ground coverSleeping in the Ground: An Inspector Banks Novel by Peter Robinson

An upcoming release that I’m actually not quite ready to read, as I catch back up on earlier titles in the series. This series got paused when I had kids, but I’m enjoying getting reacquainted with Inspector Banks and am looking forward to continuing on with him, especially since I haven’t even reached the books where Robinson really starts to shine as an author.

OPne Beautiful DreamOne Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both by Jennifer Fulwiler

I enjoyed Fulwiler’s first memoir, Something Other Than God and imagine that the sequel should be just as enlightening.

The War I Finally Won coverThe War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I thought so much of The War That Saved My Life, and was super excited to hear there’s a sequel to it.

Of Mess and Moxie coverOf Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker

Hatmaker makes me laugh, and think, and laugh some more, so while this isn’t a book that I’m planning on buying for myself, it’s one I’ll be jumping onto the library holds list as soon as it’s available in the catalog.

Renegades coverRenegades by Marissa Meyer

The description for it sounds like it has so much potential, and with how much love I have for Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series I’m trusting the book will live up to its potential. (pleasepleaseplease)

Into the Bright Unknown coverInto the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

I began reading Walk on Earth a Stranger, but quickly paused it when I realized that it was the first in a then-unfinished trilogy. Into the Bright Unknown is the final book in the trilogy, so it’s time for me to go back to the beginning and read the books!

And, a few others that are on my radar as strong possibilities for future reads, including Hello Mornings by Kat Lee, Finish by Jon Acuff, Come and Eat by Bri McKoy, Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore, and Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton.

When You Can’t Get Enough of SHARK WEEK

Sharks fascinate me (and terrify me too; there’s a reason I have no interest in scuba diving), and as much as I rarely watch TV I have been known to dip into the Discovery programming offered during Shark Week.

But what do I like even more than the shows? Reading about sharks from the comfort of my couch. No risk of shark attack there!

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 by Michael Capuzzo

What makes this one especially terrifying is the fact that one of the attacks took place eleven miles inland. That’s right, swimming in a river that far from the ocean itself, thinking you’re safe… (shudder)

In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton

Close to 900 sailors survived the torpedo attack that sunk their ship in the South Pacific. By the time they were rescued four days later, only 317 remained.

The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks by Susan Casey

So. Many. Great. White. Sharks.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

When your life story is so amazing that the time you had to choose between staying in a life raft being strafed with bullets or diving into shark-infested waters turns out to be only a minor anecdote.

Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks by Juliet Eilperin

Disclaimer: I haven’t read this one. I just can’t look away from the cover image.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Homeschooling Update: Looking Back at Second Grade

An overdue look at the highlights of G’s second-grade year. We mostly used Sonlight’s Level B, but did move into level C before the end of the year, pausing for the summer when I reached a good stopping point in the history schedule.

History & Read-Alouds

Charlotte's Web coverHistory is generally something he likes, although he did get tired of Ancient Greece. I think I added too many extra titles on Greece. 🙂 He liked the Vikings, and I think that was his favorite part of the year.

I still do read-alouds with him, and his favorites for the year were: Charlotte’s Web, Henry Huggins, Around the World with Kate and Mack, and Maps & Globes.

He also does his own reading, and his favorite books were the Captain Underpants series (sigh). From his school books, his favorites were The Beginners Bible and Riding the Pony Express.

Language Arts

All About Spelling Level 4G made great reading progress this year. He’s a strong reader, although he still doesn’t like to read books where there is too much text on one page – he likes white space in the margins and some extra space between rows of text. No cramped text blocks for him!

If you ask, he’ll tell you he hates spelling, but then laugh, because he’s joking as it’s one of his favorite subjects. He’s an excellent speller and is proud of that fact. He’s halfway through All About Spelling Level 4, and he’s already asking when I’ll be getting Level 5, and can he finish it and Level 6 next year? I cannot tell you how much I love All About Spelling (although I’ve tried) – if only everything school-related worked so well and so easily.

Handwriting is still his least favorite subject, and there is much moaning about the fact that I make him work on it EVERY. DAY. Clearly, I am the most unreasonable teacher ever.

Math

Math Analogies coverHe’s a good math student and finished two levels of math during the year. He would have been ready to move into level 4 of Math Mammoth about a month before we broke for summer, but I decided to hold off on it and just have him review math facts and do other practice problems, rather than having an awkward break in the new program.

He especially loved the Math Analogies book I grabbed for him almost on a whim – he thought it was fun, and never seemed like school work to him.

Science

Zap! Wile E. Coyote Experiments with Energy coverAnother favorite subject was science – he had a hard time narrowing down his choices for favorite titles for the year (as seen in the long list in the next paragraph). I need to improve about doing experiments with him and hope to next year. M should be old enough by then to not be such a menace and threat to everything while we try.

His favorite science books for the year were See Inside Your Body, See How It’s Made, and the graphic science series including The Science of Baseball with Max Axiom, The World of Food Chains with Max Axiom, and Zap! Wile E. Coyote Experiments with Energy, Thud! Wile E. Coyote Experiments with Forces and Motion and Splat! Wile E. Coyote Experiments with States of Matter.

PE & Extra Activities

Kids Cook Real Food coverHe had a busy year with activities: Taekwondo (he’s a probationary black belt and beginning instructor), soccer, basketball, baseball, and Cub Scouts. Fortunately soccer, basketball, and baseball do not overlap so it’s not quite as crazy as that sounds. It’s busy enough as it is! He also was in Awana, although that usually involved lots of complaining before we left every week.

While he does generally join in when we have an art lesson, he’s not enthusiastic about it. However, he is eager for me to restart cooking lessons, which have been on hiatus for awhile. I just bought the lessons in a print format since one of the biggest challenges I had with it was it being all online or via pdf. I’m thinking the print will make it easier on me.

Overview

All in all, it was a very successful year with him. I do have some changes I want to make for next year, but that’ll be detailed in a future post. Overall, I feel like we had a good routine going, and I’m hoping next year runs as smoothly.


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Quarterly Update on Book Club Books

A look back at the books my two book clubs read for the second quarter of the year, focusing especially on how they worked as discussion titles.

April

The Deliberate Reader book club (TDR) read Dark Matter and my in-person book club, Broadened Horizons (BH) read A Gentleman in Moscow.

While completely different in style and genre, both are amazing for discussion, and I’d highly recommend both. I’m still disappointed that I had to miss the A Gentleman in Moscow discussion, as the novel had so much depth to explore. Dark Matter is almost a perfect book club title: quick and easy to read, and lots to discuss. The only caution I really have with it is the potential for spoilers, as it’s really one you want to read first without knowing what happens in it.

May

TDR read Hannah Coulter, and BH read My Antonia, an inadvertant book pairing that provided me with an interesting comparison between the two. While I enjoyed My Antonia, and it is a recommended title for book clubs by way of being a classic, it actually suffered quite a bit in comparison to Hannah Coulter, which is the one I’d really recommend for book clubs looking for that sort of novel.

June

TDR discussed Uprooted, and BH read Into Thin Air, which provided plenty of contrast between the two clubs for me, after the similarities from April.

Fantasy can be a challenging genre to recommend to those who are new to it, and I find it frequently is somewhat difficult to pick out one title for a book group to read and discuss. In part that’s because the genre seems to include so many series (usually a good thing as far as I’m concerned). However, when I’m looking for a stand-alone title it means I’m excluding many otherwise strong options. Uprooted worked as a discussion title, and if your book group is looking for a fantasy novel I’d say you should definitely consider it, but it’s not one that I’m so enthusiastic about for discussion that I insist you have to use for your group.

Into Thin Air also brings forth similar feelings from me: it has good potential as a discussion title, but it’s not so amazing as one that I’m going overboard pushing for it (as I am with April’s titles).


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Cover Love: True Grit

The “Cover Love” series is inspired by the “Judging Books by Their Covers” series previously run at Quirky Bookworm.

For a book only published in 1968, there were a surprising variety of cover versions:

True Grit Covers

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

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June 2017 Recap

June was another amazing reading month, in large part because of audio books. I pretty much listened whenever I had the slightest opportunity to. While kids play outside is a prime chance – it’s hard to read a real book because I need to keep my eyes on them, so the audio is perfect.

June 2017 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 24
Books Read This Year: 100

Things That Happened
  • Book club – Into Thin Air for my in-person book club and Uprooted in the Facebook group.
  • H received her brown belt (moving her up into the advanced classes with G – hooray!),
    and turned six.
  • A week of VBS & a week of taekwondo camp.
  • Baseball and softball ended.
  • G did NOT pass his belt test (again!) He made a mistake in his form that he had never done during class, and hasn’t done since. So I have no idea what happened there – maybe he got nervous because of the crowds watching?
What’s Cooking
  • Snickerdoodles, making R very *very* happy.
  • G and I also made a fruit pizza one day, and it was delicious. I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next two days as well – yummm!
What I’m Anticipating in July
  • G’s birthday! 🙂
  • Another week of VBS (a different one), and another week of taekwondo camp. Plus Cub Scout camp for G!
  • Hoping to get some homeschool stuff organized – cleaning out binders from last year, getting them set up for next year, etc. I’m hoping R finishes painting the corner on the enclosed porch, so I can move the bookcase in that’s going to hold lots of my homeschool material. Then I can get it off the card table where it’s currently waiting for a “real” home and put that table away. Plus getting the waiting bookcase placed so it’s no longer half-blocking a doorway. The porch has been looking awful while this painting project is happening.
  • Hoping to make some progress with cooking lessons for the kids. They were put on hold before, but this seems like a good time to get back to them.
  • Book club – A Midsummer Night’s Dream for my in-person book club and True Grit in the Facebook group.
Books I Read in June

I shared the list of books I read in a post on Wednesday, and I haven’t even read any new picture books to the kids this month – it’s been all old favorites all month. So nothing new to report!


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