Thursday, June 1, 2017

Books I Read in May

You guys, I'm not positive, but I think I've hit a new all time low as far as books finished in a single month. At the end of last month I was in the middle of two books I was really enjoying, and in the entire month of May I managed to finish one of them! ONE! SINGLE! BOOK! In the whole month!

This is so embarrassing.

I've been scratching my head and trying to figure out why it was such a bad reading month, and the truth is, I'm just not sure. But here are some possible theories. First, it was a busy month. We bought a house (more on that later). We had a flurry of good-bye parties and social engagements. We packed up our apartment and moved to a new state (moving is the. worst. thing. ever!). And I spent the last week traveling. So things were pretty busy.

But I've had busy months before, and still managed to fit in a little more reading time, so I'm trying to figure out what else accounts for the slump. I was especially looking forward to the travel time, because I had five separate plane flights in which to read, and I thought for sure I was going to knock out some books there. But then, I was traveling solo with a lap baby who needed lots of attention on all those flights, so I think I ended up getting a total of thirty minutes of reading done in the air.

Honestly, I think that sweet baby is the major culprit for most of the reading slump. She has become extremely efficient on the nursing front. We're down to about five minutes a session which is barely long enough for me to check my phone before she's demanding to be burped and on with her day. So that precious reading time is all but gone. And I was trying to remember when I used to read, before nursing when there were just the two kids. I remember I used to read in the afternoons and listen to audio books while doing the dishes. Somehow, with three kids, that time just doesn't seem to exist anymore (not that there aren't still dishes to be done, it's just my husband seems to be doing them more because I'm occupied with one or the other of my needy children).

I think the real problem is that we just haven't settled into a good routine yet. The baby's nap schedule is still all over the place, so my days just aren't predictable right now. And then of course, we moved. Nothing more disruptive to one's routine than packing up and moving. Without my solid routine in place, I'm struggling to find my reading time. It doesn't help that I'm just exhausted all the time (once again, the baby's fault, I just can't get her to drop that pesky 4 AM feeding) and I'm in this brain-foggy place that makes focusing and mental activity (like reading) difficult.

Anyway, it's probably a combination of all these things. Hopefully this next month is better. Now, without further ado, let's get around to talking about that one solitary little book I finished. At least it was a really good one.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

In my further defense, this was quite a long book. But you guys, it's totally worth all the hype. This really was such a good book. I can't count how many times I've heard it compared to Unbroken, with most people saying that Unbroken is better. And yeah, when one is the story of a guy who nearly dies in a plane wreck at sea only to be rescued by the Japanese enemy and sent to a POW torture camp, the story of nine college boys who win an Olympic medal seems tame by comparison. But I think I fall on the side of people who think that this book is actually better (not that it has to be a comparison, they are both extremely good). At the very least, I found this to be a more enjoyable reading experience, because it was so inspiring and uplifting (whereas Unbroken was quite a depressing slog for most of it). Brown is an extremely talented writer. I was just amazed at his ability to imbue these rowing races with drama. I was on the edge of my seat through every single race description, especially the final one when I knew the outcome! It was just really, really good writing, and a very inspiring story. I highly recommend.

Have you read it? Agree or disagree about the comparison to Unbroken? Any other thoughts?


  1. I just found your blog, and I'm definitely going to be following along, as I love finding new book blogs whose tastes resonate with my own! And while it's always sad to finish fewer books in a month than you'd like, you're right in saying that this isn't just any book that you can knock out in a day or two---that is on meaty book! (I've tried to read it but didn't get into it far enough before I had to return it to the library. I must give it another chance, I think!)


    1. Hi Torrie, thanks for joining in here! Always wonderful to meet new bookish friends. I do recommend you give this one another chance, it's long but definitely worth it. And I think I'll enjoy following along your blog as well (we seem to have some house-buying/moving situations in common right now :).

  2. Oh I'm so glad you loved this book! I also liked it more than Unbroken, and I'm always a little surprised when the two get compared to each other. It must be because of the WWII backdrop and the narrative writing style, but I feel like the similarities end there.

    1. I think it also has to do with how they both were published relatively close, so people were just reading them both at the same time. But yes, this was definitely a wonderful read, and I'm glad I finally got around to it.

  3. I never compared the two books but I guess I can see why people would make that comparison. I loved them both separately for different reasons. My friend and I were talking about this book and she brought up a great point that she felt the pace of the book was the same pace of their rowing. It starts off in a sprint, then they get into a rhythm and slow down, and then push fast through the end. I never thought it that way but I could totally see how it works. Glad you loved it!

    1. Oh my gosh, you're friend's comment is brilliant! I can totally see that (and it probably explains why my own reading pace slowed a bit in the middle there). You're right, both Unbroken and Boys in the Boat are entirely good in their own right, for different reasons.