What I Read Last Week

This was a challenging reading week for my 100,000 pages in One Year Reading Challenge, but I still managed to complete 7 books. In addition to those 7 books, I read 7 pages in Simple Abundance and 7 chapters in The Long Winter.

1. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World by Penny Colman -

Let's just ignore that Susan B. Anthony has such a stern look on her face that I feel like I'm about to be sent to the principal's office.

This book covers a great deal of the history of the suffrage movement, but it's told through the lens of the friendship between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. I'm fascinated by the subject of the suffrage movement, so I've read quite a few books about Stanton and Anthony, but this one was my favorite. I think it would be a good choice for someone who knows nothing about the history of the suffrage movement and is looking for a good starting point. But the author manages to bring a freshness to the subject, so it was still quite enjoyable for someone like me who has read a great deal of books about suffrage.

2. Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine -

I read half of this week while waiting at the lab to have blood drawn (try to control your jealousy about how exciting my life is) but I spent the entire time I was reading it feeling confused. I have no idea why I bought this book. I bought it online, and I don't remember the description ever mentioning that it was a book for children who want to write. I spent half of the book thinking This advice is kind of simplistic. Does the author think I'm 10-years-old? As it turns out, yes, the author does think I'm 10-years-old. Sadly, this is not the first time I've read a book and thought, Why did I buy this book? It makes no sense for me to have bought this book. Maybe it's time to stop having 2 a.m. insomnia-fueled book buying sprees.

I didn't enjoy the book very much, but that was my own stupid fault for buying the wrong book. I think if I had actually been 10-years-old while reading it, I would have loved it. So if there's a child in your life who likes to write, I would recommend this book.

3. Wake Up Call by Amy Avanzino -

Wake Up Call is a novel about a woman who has a head injury and wakes up to find that she's lost five years of her memory. She's no longer living the big-city, fast paced single life that she remembers, but is now a married mother of three who is stuck in a life she doesn't remember choosing. If you're thinking this story sounds familiar, it's because Lifetime has done a movie with this same plot about 16 times.

The book has some flaws (a tendency to paint all single people as shallow and focused on the wrong things, which is a huge book pet peeve of mine, and the overused amnesia plot device) - but I still enjoyed the book. It wasn't the best Chick-lit book I've ever read. But it was a good solid read. I would give it 3.5 stars.

4. How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber & Julie King -

I'm always trying to improve my Aunting skills, so I like to read as many childcare books as I can. But I read them because they are useful, not because they are interesting. I normally approach them the way I would read a dishwasher instruction manual, as a necessary evil that I must suffer through in order to get the information I need. But, this book was actually interesting to read. It was amusing, informative and honest. Most of the parenting books I've read act as if their advice will work at all times. They share conversations in which parents have tried out the techniques they're recommending, and by the end of the conversation the child always sees the error of their ways and everyone lives happily ever after. But this book is honest and real. They admit that sometimes the first technique you try won't work, and they give troubleshooting advise for other things to try when the first one fails. They also acknowledge that when a child is really tired, they're incapable of reasonable thought and that there's not much you can do. Some people might find it frustrating that they admit they don't have all the answers, but I love the honesty. Anyone who has tried to reason with a nap-deprived toddler knows that there are times when all you can do is hunker down and pray for daylight (or in this case, hunker down and pray for bedtime.)

5. Naked by David Sedaris -

I originally read this book about 12 years ago while I was on vacation. I didn't remember much about the book, other than that I kept making my sister read passages that I thought were funny and that we both ended up laughing until we cried several times. I always find it fun to go back and read books I read when I was younger to see if I still feel the same way about the book. I'm sad to say that I was a little disappointed this time. There were several parts at the beginning and the end that I thought were really funny. But I didn't enjoy the middle part. I realized mid-way through reading this book that I only enjoy the parts where the author is interacting with his family. Those interactions are the cream of the book, and the rest felt like filler.

6. A Month of Sundays by Ruth White -

This YA novel is about a girl named April Garnet (whose parents owe her an apology for giving her a stripper name) who spends the summer at her Aunt and Uncle's house. While there, she attends a different church every week with her Aunt.

I had some reservations about this book (which was another one I bought in a middle of the night book spree), because I was expecting the book to feel too preachy. I've read a lot of novels about God/religion/Christianity and for every good one I've read, there have been 5 more that made me feel like I was trapped in an elevator with Ned Flanders. I am happy to report that this one was not annoying. I didn't love it, but I did like it enough that I'm not sorry I read it. And there were several surprise twists that I did not see coming.

7. Please Don't Eat the Daisies by Jean Kerr -

I really love old movies. And recently I discovered that a lot of the old movies I enjoy were based on books. So now I can combine my love of old movies with my love of reading!

The movie Please Don't Eat the Daisies, starring Doris Day, was based on this book. For those of you not familiar with the movie, or this author, Jean Kerr was the author Erma Bombeck cited as her inspiration. She was one of the first women to write humorous tales of motherhood.

I loved the first third of the book. It was witty and charming and delightful. Then there was a really odd middle part that I didn't enjoy at all. And then it went back to being funny and enjoyable again at the end. Despite the odd middle part, I would still read the book again. I'm just skipping over the middle part next time!

P.S. - I decided to experiment this week with sharing all the books I read in the last week all in one blog post. I don't know if I like it better when they're divided up into 2 blog entries or all in 1. I would love to hear your thoughts, dear readers. Which do you prefer?


  1. I read Please Don't Eat the Daisies many decades ago and loved the humorous essays. The movie had to pull together a story with an actual plot, so much of it had little to do with the book (although I enjoyed the movie, too!).

    1. I enjoyed the movie as well. I have a few more books by Jean Kerr in my to-read stacks and I can't wait to get to them . . . just as soon as I find them (I have about 200 books in my to-read stacks so I have no idea where most of my books are.)

  2. I like this format of several mini-reviews in a single post. I use it for movies and TV shows for which I have some things to say, but which don't merit more than two paragraphs of discussion. Of course I tend to overextend myself regardless.

    I love your voice, and your thoughts on the books you read last week. I laughed repeatedly while reading, but nowhere as hard as with your impressions/experience with book #2. I, too, tend to have late night shopping sprees, but I read so slow that probably never will find out if I bought books in another language, like my mother did with a Kindle book in German not long ago. ;-)

    1. Thanks. I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying my blog! And I'm really glad to hear that I'm not the only one who buys books and then finds out they aren't quite what I thought they'd be when they arrive!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts