Side Note: I had every intention of posting this two days ago, but it has waited in its sad draft state, untouched, due to a stomach bug from Hades sweeping over my home, husband, and children. It’s been a “slap on some deodorant and call it dressed” kind of week. And with that mememorable image, here we go!
Last year, I read 61 books. My English-major self was disappointed in this number before my mom commented that I’d read more than a book a week (I may have “cheated” and read a graphic novel or two…they still count!). Of course, this tally doesn’t include the 237ish children books I read approximately 12.45 times each (a rough estimate).
I blame my newly minted mom-of-two status for the measly 19 books I’ve read in 2017. Who knew it would be so hard to hold a bottle, wrangle a wiggly baby, and read to a toddler — all while checking my phone and trying to sneak in a few pages of my novel? It’s a conundrum, really.
My ultimate mom super power would be reciting a children’s book and turning the pages while simultaneously enjoying my own book. That would be the end-all.
And so, I’m giving you my top five reviews of my 2017 list thus far. They aren’t all necessarily five-star books in my opinion, but depending on your mood and preference, you may want to take a glance. Additionally, if you’re ever looked to for entertaining party conversation, you can pass these along, or you can announce you need more ranch dip to escape. It’s up to you.
Instead of simply numbering, I’ve decided to give superlatives. Speaking of superlatives, I received “Most Intelligent” my senior year of high school. It was a small class.
Like any normal human, I keep track of my books using GoodReads. I like to look back and see what I’ve accomplished (and, apparently, brag about it to everyone…hello, reader!)
Most Masculine Read: Red Rising by Pierce Brown
For fantasy and sci-fi fans, is there anything better than a well-crafted fictional world? This trilogy snuck up on me. While I enjoy fantasy, science fiction isn’t my typical fare. The three novels, Red Rising, Golden Son, and Morning
Star, are fairly masculine in nature, and the violence level is higher than my norm, but not gut-wrenchingly so, if that makes sense. The first book heavily leans on The Hunger Games, but becomes more original as the story progresses. The conclusion of Morning Star left me reeling, but in such a good way. If you’re going to go for it, put on your big girl panties and read all three.
Most Magical Read: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
I’ll first confess my love of all things Marissa Meyer and her series, The Lunar Chronicles. She loves taking a classic fairytale (the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland in this case) and reworking its best parts. This story is a magical romp through Wonderland as a prequel to Alice’s arrival. I loved the other-worldly touches that felt completely at home in Wonderland. This story has it all — a girl with a dream, a mother to thwart it, an intriguing, handsome love interest, an enchanting setting, and a darkly satisfying ending.
The Read that Caused the Most Actual LOLs: Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan
If you have a toddler, have had a toddler, or have seen a toddler screaming through a grocery store, you’ll appreciate Bunmi Laditan’s main claim to fame, The Honest Toddler. This is her first novel, and I’d give it three out of five stars. In Confession, Ashley Keller is a hot-mess of a new mom. She has contracted every issue, every guilt, and every vice of a successful-businesswoman-turned-stay-at-home mom. Ashley idolizes a famous mom blogger who seemingly has it all together with her perfect body (She recommends losing the baby weight in 10-15 days post-partum — a standard that I obviously uphold), five gorgeous children, and dream life.
I found Ashley too self-centered and, frankly, exhaustingly terrible at nearly everything in her life. It was cute and humorous for awhile, but kind of pathetic in the end. For example, her husband is struggling with his business and confesses their financial struggles to her. She soon “accidentally” purchases $10k in designer furniture. Mind boggling.
Anyhow, there were some real nuggets of mom-truth, from wearing a daily rotation of “clean” yoga pants to never living up to Pinterest’s standards. I found it relatable and, for the most part, enjoyable. It’s a decent book to give to your mom friend on her birthday.
OK, this post is getting lengthy. I’ll try to be shorter-winded.
Most Meaningful Read: The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller and (wife) Kathy Keller
I realize this is a more serious, mature-adult read, but it’s been an important addition to 2017 for our marriage. Our pastor (we’re good, ol’ Southern Baptists for those not in the know) taught a study on this book in the spring, and, since we can’t resist a good Tim Keller book, we signed up.
It’s a strong read for those married or unmarried. Our society puts so much emphasis on finding true love, but, in a true sense, finding self-centered happiness. But what if that’s not the purpose of marriage? I’ve never bought into the “soulmate” idea, so this was right up my alley. I tend to be more realist than romantic, but I think that fits with the day-to-day grind of an actual marriage. Whether you’re a Christian or not, I think this book has a lot to offer about the purpose and realities of marriage.
Most Unique Autobiography: The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling
Have you heard of Lindsey Stirling? Or, rather, have you heard Lindsey Stirling? She’s described as an electronic and dancing violinist. How’s that for an interesting résumé entry? Her story winds through her childhood and early career, touches on her heart-wrenching encounter with America’s Got Talent, and openly shares her struggles with an eating disorder. She seems like a truly genuine, passionate, quirky woman, and I, who mostly reads only fiction, loved reading her story.
We’ve been familiar with Lindsey since I first played one of her music videos for George when he was about 18 months. He would then ask for “violin” every night before bathtime. Needless to say, he received a battery-powered violin for his second birthday. Go head, get lost in her videos. I may or may not have done this in my cubicle at my last job…
Do you have any great books to share? I keep a constant list of to-reads, just in case I ever find myself with too much free time (…?).