Bookends: July 2013

The first day of each month, I’m posting a summary of what I read the previous month and what I plan to read in the coming month. I would love if this could become a conversation in the comments about what’s on your reading list, too!

May and June were low-volume book months for me, but in July, I was back on my game. It helps that we went on vacation and had 40 hours in the car in which I could listen to audiobooks (kid-friendly audiobooks, but audiobooks nonetheless). Then at our destinations, we had family and pools and fireflies to help occupy the kids while I had my nose in one book or another. It also helped that I was motivated to avoid The History of England, Volume Five, and so picked up book after book saying, “I’ll just read this one book and then I’ll get right back to Hume and Charles I…”

Avoidance turns out to be a strong motivator for me.

So, here’s what I was reading while I wasn’t reading the 18th-century history of 17th-century England:

Grown-ups’ Books:

The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg (Mean girls, jocks, nerds, and cheerleaders get together for their 40th high school reunion with surprisingly positive results. This is the August selection for my local library’s book club.)

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (In the years leading up to the Waterless Flood that wipes out most of the human species, corporations have taken complete control, commercial interests are king, and people who reject consumerism and like to garden are seen as doomsday cults as they prepare for the inevitable. This book follows one of these cults and how its followers fare in the first weeks after everything hits the fan.)

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (The Sisters Book Club July selection. Sittenfeld’s latest novel about twins, ESP, and fate. My sister and I will eventually post a review of this one, so stay tuned.)

Kids’ Books:

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems (The title kind of says it all. Among all of the picture books I read to my son this month, this one has made the biggest impression on all of us.)

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver (A boy’s father is killed by a demon-possessed bear and the boy goes off to seek his destiny as the savior of the world.)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (first in an obscure series by a previously unknown British writer. It’s about a wizard boarding school or something.)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (little-known sequel to the one about the Sorcerer’s Stone. This one was clearly heavily influenced by Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and later seasons of Bewitched.)

The Moffats by Eleanor Estes (fatherless children in early 20th-century New England who have delightful adventures like losing their last five dollars on a snowy trip to get more coal to heat their house and taking over household chores while they’re under quarantine for scarlet fever.)

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (Newbery winner about a boy and girl who rule over a magical world of their own creation. Chronicles of Narnia meets My Girl.)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming (an account of James Bond’s crime-fighting childhood in an enchanted car)

Currently Reading/To-Read for August

I’m still working on David Hume’s The History of England, Volume V. I’m at the beginning of Charles I’s reign, and I’m having trouble motivating myself to read more. Maybe knowing the ending is hampering me from getting into it.

I’m also reading The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale to my kids (mostly to my daughter; the three-year-old just kind of runs around while I’m reading), and we’re all listening to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time on audiobook during our many car trips through the suburbs of Boston. I’m also kind of working on the audiobook of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, but I set that one aside and forgot where I stopped; I’m not sure if I’ll finish it before it’s due back at the library.

Oh, and I’m reading Leonore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids. I’m about halfway through, and I’m pretty sure I know what I’m going to write in my review.

For August, I’ve got the Sisters Book Club selection, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. Read along with me and my sister by joining our Goodreads Sisters Book Club Group. We’re giving this weighty read a little more time, so it will carry me through August and September. I’ll also still be chugging away at the Hume. With any luck, I can use The New Jim Crow to avoid reading The History of England, Volume Five (and vice versa) and maybe actually get through one of them. And if I finish the Hume, I’ll pick up something else from my Cavalcade of Classics…but that’s a big “if.”

For kids’ books, the possible to-read list is very series-heavy. After we finish the books we’re on, I’m pretty sure we’ll read The Middle Moffat (second in Eleanor Estes’ Moffats series and one that I hope will help my daughter answer the question she had while visiting her aunts and uncles: “Mommy, what’s middle-child syndrome?”) and probably The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and maybe Enna Burning (the sequel to The Goose Girl). I’ll read Spirit Walker (sequel to Wolf Brother) on my own because my daughter’s already halfway through it and will probably finish it by bedtime tomorrow.

What have you enjoyed reading in the past month? What’s on your to-read list for August? If you blog your answer, please post a link in the comments (and/or link back to this post, if you’re so inclined).

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