Thursday, September 4, 2014

Books I Read in August

September already. According to most people, this means summer is over. Everyone's talking about back-to-school and fall wardrobes and stuff like that.

Well, in my Texas neck of the woods, where it's still 90+ sweltering degrees on the daily and no one in this house is changing routines or going back to school or anything (oh yeah, did I mention that I'm taking a leave of absence this semester? You know, with the baby coming in a month, I thought I'd give myself a break from school), it still feels like summer to me. Thus is the life of a stay-at-home-mom in Houston. Eternal summer. That may sound glorious, but when all outside activities involve gallons of sweat and man-eating mosquitoes, it's really quite miserable. Worst season ever, actually. I miss fall in Chicago like no other this time of year.

All of that intro was just to say I feel very justified in pursuing my summer reading wishlist right on in to September. I'm quite proud of the fact that even though I've only finished half of them (and the list was six books long, so maybe I shouldn't be proud at all), I've at least started all of them. That's something, right? So I will keep on reading those books no matter what the calender says about it (I mean really, there was nothing seasonally specific about my summer wishlist anyway, so it matters not at all when I actually read them).

Anyway, on to a recap of the books I read in August (where I actually did finish one of the books on that list)! I thought August was going to be a bust of a month because I started out pathetically slow on the book front (I got sick, I'm pregnant, I started potty training my two-year-old, and whatever other lame excuses I have for just being totally exhausted and unfocused all the time), but I got a little mid-month energy boost and ended up matching my June record of...

3 books!

Ugh. How on earth do I call myself a respectable book blogger? I'm still blaming everything on the pregnancy, and I hope that some time next month, when the baby is out and the hormones have settled, I'll feel somewhat normal again about my life's two greatest pleasures (that would be food first, then reading) which have both been savagely sabotaged by this pregnancy.

Anyway...

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I've been hearing about Rainbow Rowell all over the place for forever now, so I finally picked this one up just to see what all the fuss was about. Plus, I'm a sucker for a good romance and a nice light YA read. But this? Not my thing so much. So yes, I will credit Rowell for quality writing, really great characters, and attention to detail. But otherwise, this book contained too much of the "realistic" stuff I don't care for in contemporary YA lit. I think there is a way to write about the real issues facing teens today without straying into trashy territory, but unfortunately, this one crossed into trash a little too much for my taste. This is not to say I won't ever read Rowell again, but it's not going to be high on my priority list.

On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep by Gary Ezzo

Yay for controversial parenting books! I did not read this one with my first baby, but heard plenty about it on various mommy-blogs, so when I saw it on the SALE shelf at my local library (more on that little gem later) for a mere 25 cents, I couldn't resist picking it up. I'm thinking about doing a whole post about the various parenting/sleep/baby books I've read and what my (humble and personal) opinion is about all this stuff, so I'll spare you my opinions now.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Several of my favorite book bloggers have written about Kate Morton before, so she's been on my to-read list for a while, and I finally got around to this one. In general, I loved it. I thought the writing was smooth and the characters were lovely, but by and far Morton's strongest point was how she structured the plot. It was fascinating, watching the mystery slowly unravel while jumping back and forth between present and past story lines. I was sure I had the whole thing figured out at one point, but then she threw in one final twist that I was not anticipating but that really satisfied everything that previously bothered me about the story. This is not necessarily a deep or profound story, a novel that will stay with me, or even one I highly recommend, but I enjoyed it immensely and will definitely seek out more Kate Morton in the future.