Fall Reading List

2015-09-01_0004This summer was magical.  It felt like such a break…the boys went to camp while we were in Rhode Island (4 hours each morning where they were both out of the house…hello new world!!!) and in Michigan they ran wild and free with friends and relatives around to lend a helping hand.  In addition to lots of crafting time (see here for proof) I also had ample time to read.  There’s nothing quite as indulgent as curling up with a good book by the pool or lake.  It is one of those true summer luxuries, and I was sure not to take it for granted.  I thought I’d share some of the books that I’ve enjoyed this summer in case you are looking for a good fall read.  I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading lately as I know I’ll need some good books to unwind with once the fall activity level ramps up!

The Nightingale: I saw this book everywhere, from the NYT Bestseller List to every bookstore window that I passed.  Initially I wrote it off as another “it” book that would fall short of my expectations…that is until I downloaded a sample chapter on my Ipad (that’s right, I’ve made the switch).  I immediately purchased the book and hardly put it down for the next two days.  It is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story set in France during WWII.  I loved the strong female characters who were forced to make sacrifices both for their family and the greater good.

The Silent Wife: I categorize this as a beach read- mystery, suspense, murder, an unraveling marriage and a Chicago setting (which I loved).  It is an easy read but kept me thoroughly entertained.

All the Light We Cannot See: BEST book of the summer, without a doubt.  Again, I was hesitant to pick it up because I get a bit tired of books set during WWII (they can start to all blend together after a while), and this had so much buzz that again, I wondered whether it would live up to the hype.  However, it far surpassed my expectations, and I was taken in after the first few pages.  This book is so well written, and completely transports you to another time and place.  The characters are incredibly memorable, which lends such a fresh view to the WWII theme.  If you read one book this fall, read this.

2015-09-01_0002The Good Girl: I can’t recall now how I found out about author Mary Kubica, but I was immediately drawn to her writing style.  This reminded me of Gone Girl, a mystery that centers around an intriguing female character and ends with a twist that you’ll never see coming.

Pretty Baby: Kubica’s second book, released just this summer, is another psychological thriller, this time centered around a women who takes in a young homeless mother and her baby.  I read this in a few days and found it hard to put down.  The main character’s emotional states are so complex and unstable (and the author captures it all so well) that it makes for an intense read.

2015-09-01_0001My favorite author, without a doubt, is Jhumpa Lahiri.  I have met her twice at book signings, and I own a copy of every book she’s written (and they are all signed with a personal message…fan girl!).  I hadn’t reread her short story collections in many years, and this past week, I was feeling like I needed to revisit her writing.  Each night, I read one story, and they are so breathtakingly beautiful that my heart kinda aches afterward.  But in a good way.  If you’ve never read her writing, I highly suggest starting with Interpreter of Maladies.

2015-09-01_0007These are the three books that I’m hoping to dive into this month:

Kitchens of the Great Midwest: I read the sample of this book and instantly wanted to read more.  That’s always a good sign.  This has been marketed as a book about food and the foodie culture, with plenty of humor.  Sounds like fun!

Tinkers: My friend Kellen recommended this book, and I have it downloaded already.  I’m looking forward to it, though I have no idea what to expect after reading the synopsis.

The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood: I’m dying to read this book after Felicia recommended it on her post about motherhood and craft, however I am having trouble finding an affordable copy.  It’s outrageously expensive on Amazon, and our library doesn’t have a copy.  The search continues…

2015-09-01_0003Finally, I just have to share with you that Vijay is finally at the stage where he is loving chapter books.  We read a chapter or two together before his nap, and another before bed.  He often begs me to read another chapter at some point during the day…I LOVE it.  I cannot even tell you how much I love it.  My mom read to us every night until we were approaching our teen years.  I believe it is such a sacred and important ritual.  The fact that Vijay loves books as much as I do is simply the best.  Vik is doing his best to keep up…but we still read a few simpler books for him each night too.  Here’s a few we’ve been enjoying lately, and I’d really love to hear any suggestions you have:

My Father’s Dragon (first in a series of three): These are short chapter books with illustrations throughout, which makes it easy for young readers to follow.  The stories are magical and feature an adventurous young boy who helps to free a baby dragon.  What’s not to love!

Charlotte’s Web: A classic, obviously.  If you can find an addition with illustrations throughout, it can help young readers follow along, and will hold their attention for longer.

Homer Price: This is a collection of very endearing and old fashioned stories, by legendary children’s author Robert McCloskey, about a boy named Homer Price growing up in a small town.  Certain stories were a bit over Vijay’s head, but he loved the story about Homer’s pet skunk and the story about the doughnut machine.  Vijay enjoys stories that are pretty tame, without too much drama, and without any villains or scary events, so this book about everyday life in a small town was perfect.

2015-09-01_0008Above, Vijay at 10 months: It makes me laugh that way back in the day I used to worry about whether Vijay would ever be into books.  Basically, I worried we had a meathead on our hands 😉  I worried about a lot of things then.  Man how things change!  So little worries me now about the boys compared to that “new mom anxiety.”  Is he on weight?  Is he getting enough milk?  Is he walking on time?  Is he talking on time?  Now my only concern is more along the lines of “Can your brother still breath while you have him in that headlock?”

Your thoughts on “Fall Reading List

  1. Grest books choices! I was able to find a kindle digital copy of The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood for $12. Definitely worth the read to get a varied amount of perspectives on how other artists approach the challenge. I, too, struggle with having too many interests and not enough time; juggling my desired family life (I have two little boys) with my creative desires. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog over the last few years. And our whole family loves Little Bites!

    1. Thanks for that tip, Laurel. I hadn’t thought to look for it as an e-book (duh!). I’m really anxious to read it…it seems like this topic has really been on my mind lately and I am interested to read other mother’s perspectives.

      And I am thrilled that your family is enjoying Little Bites! Thank you so much for letting me know- I really love hearing feedback!

  2. All the Light We Cannot See was one of the best reads for me this summer, as well! Initially, I borrowed a copy from the library, but as soon as I finished it, I went out and bought a copy of my own. Now I’ll have to check out The Nightingale!

  3. I recently finished The Good Girl and really enjoyed it also. I saw Pretty Baby and look forward to reading it soon. Thanks for the other book reviews!

  4. That Nurture article of mine was all about reading with children – been meaning to send you a copy and will do so next week 🙂 My kids LOVE chapter books and we devour them all together. It’s one of my most favourite things to do (and theirs). I bet it won’t be long before Vik is keeping up right along side Vijay. Will send you lots of recommendations next week – I’ve got to get myself organised for my blissful weekend now… one more sleep – The Craft Sessions here I come!!! Woot woot xo

    1. I would love to hear your chapter book recommendations Xan (and of course read your article!)- I have a feeling we like the same reading material when it comes to our children. I’m thinking of you right now at The Craft Sessions and it brings such a smile to my face. xoxo

      1. I’m back and sooo full to the brim with all things wonderful… I LOVED my weekend at The Craft Sessions – so incredible! I’ll be sharing a post about it soon.

        As for books though… I promised I’d pass on some recommendations 🙂 I’m rather a fan of reading the children’s classics to my babes but we intersperse them with more recent chapter books too. You may have to wait a bit with some of these titles as they are probably more suited to slightly older children but you’d be surprised at how riveted your boys will get even if they do not understand every bit. Quite often I stop for a moment to explain something – especially with the classics and some of those titles are more to Evie’s liking than Noah’s so your boys may prefer Noah’s favourites.

        So, here we go…
        – Enid Blyton books, especially The Magic Faraway Tree and The Adventures of the Wishing Chair (Kate Winslet also does a wonderful audio reading of The Magic Faraway Tree) – The Secret Garden – the Little House Collection (I love these as I always pick up little homesteading tips) – Alice In Wonderland – The Wizard Of OZ – Tom Sawyer – Anne Of Green Gables (Evie’s fav) – Old Mother West Wind (loved!) – The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill by Aust. author Dorothy Wall and another Aust. author called Anna Branford does a delightful series with her Violet Mackerel books. Noah has absolutely adored the two Luke Lancelot books by Giles Andreae, those are “The Golden Shield” and “Treasure of the Kings” – one follows on from the other and incorporate the story of King Arthur into the life of an every day modern family. He has also loved The Tomtes series by Brenda Tyler, although they are not chapter books, but we have collected all three. We’re currently alternating between the Beast Quest series (we’re up to book 5 in the second series!) and the gorgeous Chain of Charms series by Kate Forsyth (you might need to wait on that series for just a bit until Vik is a little older). I’m also keen on Oliver Twist and Treasure Island but my kids aren’t overly interested in those two yet.

        We’re also pretty hooked on audio books and The Magic Tree House Collection by Mary Pope Osborne is one I am certain your boys would love! We also have the complete audio set of Beatrix Potter which is great for 5 minute stories stretching all the way through to one hour long stories. And more recently I’ve got onto Children of the Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren (downloaded through Audible) and also Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C Wrede (another Audible download) – my kids are loving both 🙂

        I’m sure I’ve forgotten some here but that list offers some great titles. Enjoy xo

      2. oooh… a quick update from my comment below. I just remembered that Vijay prefers tame books. Definitely the ones we are currently reading (Beast Quest and the Chain of Charms series) would be stories to hold off on (better for when they’re closer to 7 or 8). There is nothing too hard core in them but they do have nasty characters and scary bits xo

  5. Thanks for your book recommendations! They are always a favorite post of yours for me to read. I think that Jhumpa Lahiri is my favorite author as well. I love, love, love her books. Currently I’m reading Girl on the Train — which you may really enjoy. I also just finished Paper Love which was very touching.

    I love reading to my boys, too. Currently we’re on a Roald Dahl kick. My boys are a tad bit older than yours but Dahl is not to be missed. We recently listened to Charlotte’s Web in the car on a long trip. Hearing EB White narrate his story is awesome. I cried and cried at the end.

    1. Hi Maggie, I did read Girl on the Train this past year and I liked it, though I wasn’t sure it lived up to all the hype. I’d be interested to hear what you think. It was entertaining, but not earth shattering, if you know what I mean. I just added Paper Love to my queue. It sounds fascinating.

      I am planning an audio book post soon. We’ve been listening non-stop to Winnie the Pooh stories in the car and my boys are OBSESSED. I am looking for other great audio book recommendations, and I will be sure to add Charlotte’s Wed. I had no idea EB White narrated it…how cool. Look for that post soon!

      1. Hi Christine. I agree with your analysis of Girl on the Train. Entertaining, yes, but not amazing. It’s my book club’s choice this month and I’m looking forward to what the girls have to say about it!

        Just added My Father’s Dragon to my read aloud list for my boys. We recently started The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. If your kiddos haven’t seen the movie yet, I highly recommend reading the book to them first.

        One last thing. Loving Little Bites. My sister surprised me and sent it to me right when it came out in July! Keep up the good work!

  6. Thanks Christine! I love your recomendations and just downloaded all the ones I haven’t already read. Glad you had a good summer at beautiful Torch, sorry we didn’t have a chance to see you.

  7. LOL about the headlock. You have most definitely embraced your role as a mother of boys. It is such a joy and I would take throwing the football in the house, chasing each other on the roofline, and wrestling like puppies when they each weigh over 100 pounds any day vs. slammed doors, drama, and tears. Or so my friends who raised daughters tell me.

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