Is everybody out of school yet? My kids finish up this Friday, but we’ve all pretty much mentally checked out around here. If we can just hang on for four more days!
Since today’s the last day of May, I’m posting what I’ve been into and up to this month, and as usual, linking up with Leigh Kramer.
Books I Read:
You can see what I read in the first half of May by clicking here. And here’s what I’ve read since then:
The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwarz
Scientific research books like this one always intrigue me. There was lots of interesting information here, and I love learning about how the human brain works. As you can tell from the title, this one’s all about how and why we make the choices we do, and how having more choices isn’t necessarily better. I liked the topic, but the writing was on the dry side, with few personal anecdotes or compelling storylines to make it more relatable. Oh, and a new edition would be nice. With all the mention of technology, this book is completely outdated. 3/5 stars
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
This might just be the perfect novel. Britt-Marie is an irritating 63-year old with an obsession for cleanliness and a penchant for taking everything literally. She ends up in a small town where she worms her way into the hearts of the community there. The more you read about her, the more your heart will soften. This book is about the importance of community, and how loving others helps heal the wounds we carry. I adored this one. 5/5 stars
So much insight here into the idea of listening. This is non-fiction reading for every Christian who desires to live a spiritually mature life. My copy is completely dog-eared and highlighted, because McHugh shares tons of wisdom and new ways of looking at old problems. And he’s quite humorous, so the book’s not stuffy at all. An important read. 5/5 stars
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
Gush. I LOVED this novel. It has a little bit of everything: suspense, well-written characters, interesting plot, romance, and — of course –murder. It’s not exactly a retelling of Jane Eyre, although it borrows elements from the classic novel. I found the character of Jane Steele to be one of the most complex literary figures I’ve encountered in a while, and I enjoyed every single page of being inside her head. By the way, the Audible version of this book is absolutely superb! Make sure you add this one to your summer reading stack! 5/5 stars
The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
A psychological thriller with good writing and an interesting hook, along with a fast-moving plot. Unfortunately, it was just okay for me. Lots of action to keep you turning pages, but not as thrilling as I’d hoped it would be. 3/5 stars
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
This historical novel tells of the Roman defeat of the Jews at Masada in 70 C.E. It’s told from the perspectives of four women. While historical fiction isn’t my favorite genre, I was intrigued by this novel since I know little about the period in which it’s set. But while Hoffman’s writing is superb, the story just didn’t hold my interest as much as I’d hoped it would. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. 3/5 stars
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
This was the first novel of Butler’s that I’ve read, and I’ll say this: she’s a gifted writer. Beyond that, I wasn’t impressed. I usually love post-apocalyptic literature, but this one had little new or exciting within the plot and quite honestly, I got bored while reading it. The premise of starting over with brand new creation stories was a nice hook, but it fell flat in this book. Margaret Atwood’s MaddAdam Trilogy is a much more exciting treatment of a similar topic. 3/5 stars
Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen
I love Anna Quindlen’s writing, so this novel did not disappoint. It’s a short, easy read about small-town living, the inevitable march of progress, and the relationships that make up a life. It took me a while to get into this one, but once I did, I didn’t want to put it down. 4/5 stars
How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life by Nicole Cliffe
People Are Expendable: My Root Struggle with Church by Ed Cyzewski
Real or Not Real? by Addie Zierman
It’s Here! The 2016 Summer Reading Guide by Anne Bogel
My Own Most Read Post:
What I Watched:
One show. One show only. Please don’t take my show away.
And that show would be. . .
The Walking Dead.
Yep, we’ve been binge watching like crazy. Okay, I have watched a couple of Outlander episodes, but right now I’m obsessed with The Walking Dead. We just finished up Season 5 on Netflix, and immediately purchased Season 6 on iTunes. So we’re almost caught up with you diehards who’ve watched since the beginning.
If you can handle the gore — which Eric and I find practically comical — this show is so fantastic. And incredibly addictive.
Other Stuff I’m Into:
1. All the end of year performances
I have musical kids and I’m a musician myself. Which means May is sort of like December when it comes to all the concerts, recitals and miscellaneous performances. We’ve been super busy, but as of this week, we’re officially done with all the performing for a while!
I get this sweetener at my local Sprouts grocery store, and I love it in my morning coffee! You can get it on Amazon, too!
3. Our little trip to Austin
My oldest son, Kyle, participated in the State Solo Contest over Memorial Day weekend, so we took him and my daughter to Austin and left the other two boys at home with grandparents. Austin’s a fun place to go, and it’s not terribly far. My husband went to the University of Texas back in the day, so he likes showing us around, and we all LOVE the food.
No surprise, I ate too much while I was there!
Here’s a photo of Sara and me at The Salt Lick Barbecue joint. This is before we ate, so we are still smiling. After the all-you-can-eat ribs, brisket and sausage, we were, let’s say, slightly more bloated. We kind of just rolled out of there.
On the way back from Austin, we always stop in West, Texas for some kolaches from the famous Czech Stop. Yes, it’s a gas station/bakery all in one. I was going to take a picture of the kolaches themselves, except they all got eaten. Oops.
Kolaches are delightful bread rolls with fruit and cream cheese filling and they are soooooo delicious. Mmmmm.
And that pretty much sums it up for this month. It’s been a busy one, for sure.
What about you? What have you been into and up to? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!