I always start January with great reading intentions. I've finished reading everyone's "best of" list from the previous year and I've perused my own shelves, noting the books that I somehow bought last year and missed reading. My "want-to" list for 2014 is already ridiculously long ... I just keep getting sidetracked from the reading by the children that need feeding and educating.
So far in January, I've tackled:
- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I can't remember who's reading list from 2014 I found this on and I wish I could. For my first book of 2014, this one wasn't a winner for me. The story was interesting - a man walked across England to see a friend of his who was dying of cancer. Obviously there is more to the story than that, and it might have been an interesting read if I hadn't constantly been shocked by the amount of bad language in the book. That's one of those red flags for me that really turn me off what I'm reading so I can't give this book a good report, even if it had an interesting premise. I was sent a copy of the sequel, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, to review, and to be honest, I'm not terribly excited about cracking the cover based on the first book if the language is the same.
- The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein. Last year, both the N's and I read the first book by this author, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, and loved it! A really great mystery for my girls (5th and 3rd grade) with literary references scattered throughout. (I think my friend Amy may have reviewed it, but her blog isn't coming up for me right now so I can't link it). N1 has already read this new book with me, and though we didn't love it as much as Mr. Lemoncello's Library, it was still fun.
- Home is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson. Of what I read in January, this one is by far the winner and best I read. Sophie writes the blog, Boomama, and it is one of the blogs that I have been reading for just forever. Her funny style of writing is some of my very favorite, and when her first book, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet came out a couple years ago I promptly read it, sighed deeply with great joy when I finished it, and then turned around and read it again. I compared her sweet stories about her family as reminiscent of my beloved Mitford series by Jan Karon and if that isn't one of the highest complements I can bestow on a book, I don't know what is. : ) This book is no different, but instead of spending most of the time sharing about the wonderful relationship she has with her family, she talks about her relationships with friends she has had over the years and this book struck such a huge cord with me on the importance of community and friendship. I also resonated so deeply with her stories of her walk with the Lord. She also has some deep and honest comments about her stint with stirrup pants in the 80's that could have been written about me. (If you are a child of the 80s there are so many references that will have you rolling. All the laughing aloud was really quite disturbing to my kids.) I really can't recommend this book highly enough. I'm already looking forward to my reread, but I'm trying to pace myself. : )
In my "currently reading" stack, I'm winding my way through The Voyage of Dr. Doolittle by Hugh Lofting, Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson, and Sweet Tea Revenge (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs. (Sometimes I'm just in the mood for a nice clean mystery! It might be time to pull an Agatha Christie off the shelf.) I've also got a couple of read-alouds with the kids in process but hopefully I'll have something worth saying about them later this week. : )
PS. Sophie's first book is free on Kindle right now if you want to snatch it up!