Thursday, April 30, 2015

Books I've Read - January-April 2015

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Each year the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has a "One Book" community read program. Everyone in the community is encouraged to read the same book and participate in book discussions, clubs and events surrounding the book. This usually takes place in April, during National Library Week. The book was leaked a bit early (or I found out about it early) and for 2015, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will be that book. I thought I'd go ahead and get a jumpstart. And boy, I'm so glad I did! I loved it! It pulled at heartstrings, tempted me to keep reading, evoked laughter and tears - a great first book of the year. I am going to enjoy being part of "One Book" this spring and look forward to the discussions and events that will occur.

The Read-Aloud Handbook
by Jim Trelease

I read this for work, but figured I'd add it here. This is a great book for parents. It's good for teachers and librarians, too, but if you're a parent of young kids (and I guess older kids, too!) you should read this book. It speaks of the rewards, benefits and importance of reading aloud to children. There's a whole section on books that lend well to being read aloud. The data is astounding. I so desperately want my kids to have a love for reading, so I plan to read aloud to them for as long as possible. I remember my 7th grade English teacher reading "Where the Red Fern Grows" aloud to us and I enjoyed it immensely. I read aloud to David all the time. He and I both listen to audiobooks to and from work. I really don't think you can ever get too old to have someone read to you. :)

*An aside: If you're looking for a fantastic audio book, try out the Harry Potter series. The series itself is one of my favorites (of course), but Jim Dale does a phenomenal job narrating and creating voices for each of the characters. He does 134 different character voices for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix alone! Amazing!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman

What an intriguing book. I now think I might be obsessed with Neil Gaiman just a bit. I knew he was popular and was always interested in reading something of his. This was a great starting book, I think. I was captured from the start. It's nice and short (under 200 pages) and had just the right blend of sci-fi/fantasy, intrigue and valor. Well done, Neil Gaiman.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie

Sad, yet hopeful. This YA story made me laugh, but the overlying story is very serious and touches on topics of racism, class, drinking problems, abusive parents, making something of yourself, defying destiny, etc. I think it was a poignant story, well-written and thought-provoking. Worth the read, for sure.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon

This book was very strange. I was a bit bored at first, but it got somewhat more intriguing toward the middle of the book. The most fascinating part is that this story is told from the perspective of a boy with autism. Having worked with and known folks with autism, it was incredibly realistic and well-done. However, I wouldn't recommend it. It was just sooo slow.

Hollow City
by Ransom Riggs

Here is the sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Because I didn't start reading this one directly after the first one, it took me at least 50 pages to get into this one. But once it took hold of me, I was hooked for good. I just found out that there's a third book coming out in September - I love me some sequels!! Anyway, this one was interesting and tied things together a bit more, I think. I liked it.
by Tina Fey

This one had been on my list for quite awhile but I kept shoving it under the pile. I wish I hadn't. Tina Fey is fantastic. Plus, I listened to this one on audiobook and hearing her voice speaking her written word was way better than if I had read it on my own. Please do yourself a favor and listen to this book. I'm confident that your local library has it. :)

Happier at Home
by Gretchen Rubin

I love, love, love this! I'm kind of obsessed with happiness these days. I love the way the author thinks, the way she organizes her chapters, the things that are important to her and the way she approaches a challenge. There were so many insightful and helpful things for me in this book.  After checking Gretchen Rubin's books out at the library and starting to read them, I turned right around and purchased them so that I could make notes and highlight, if that tells you how much I enjoyed them!! I read this book first because I had it on audio and could devote more time to it, but upon completion, I immediately turned to her first book, The Happiness Project. Her newest book - Better than Before - just came out about a month ago. Hoping to pick it up soon.

The Happiness Project
by Gretchen Rubin

This was fantastic. I don't know that it's for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. I have gleaned so many insights and great ideas from these words. More than ever I am thankful for the happiness that surrounds me each day. This book is full of ways I can continue that happiness in my life and offers new things to try.

Dot Complicated
by Randi Zuckerberg

This is worth the read. Our lives are incredibly different than they were just a few short years ago, thanks to technology. This book put some things into perspective and shared some great tips and advice on how to manage the tech/life balance. I plan to dedicate an entire post on JOMO which she touches on, but she also ties tech with love, family, career, etc. It's tough to balance it all, but she lays out some straight forward advice on how to do just that.

Yes Please
by Amy Poehler

Oh my goodness. I loved this book. Vulgarity aside, Amy Poehler is hilarious and surprisingly insightful. I wrote a whole post for this book.

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

This was a great book on parenting and how to communicate with your children. It felt a bit hokey at times, but it had some really great information and techniques that I'll certainly use with my own children. I also picked up their book called Siblings Without Rivalry that I plan to read soon. My kids are fairly patient and loving toward one another (as far as siblings go) but I'm sure there will be moments in the future that I'll be glad to have read that book.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
by Gabrielle Zevin

I started reading this because I really enjoyed The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. These two are completely different books. This is most definitely a Young Adult novel and geared toward such. It was a good book and I enjoyed it - nice and lighthearted, easy to read and not too challenging, which was a nice change of pace. Interesting story, and sweet, like young love can be.

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