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March & April Titles // 2018

Whelp, March was a  sad reading month!  We were working hard to do a lot of school before Spring Break, Ani competed in the Science Games, had family out of town, and then a girls' trip after that. I chose to listen to about 139 podcasts on my flights rather than read, so there went 8 hours of 'free' reading time. April was a bit better, with some quick titles I'd heard a lot about or books I'd wanted to read for awhile, along with a book club book.

*Prayer by Timothy Keller - This was a book I read with my small group of women that I meet with weekly. It's an academic read with excellent points and information I had no past history with. On the whole, however, it just wasn't a book I was ready to read at the time. I highlighted quite a bit of gold nuggets, but I found it quite dry. I've read Keller's books before and know he is an excellent teacher and communicator, this was just wasn't for me at this time.

*Reading People by Anne Bogel - Bogel, aka Modern Mrs. Darcy, came out with a book all about differences of personality typing. Honestly, this was not something I thought the book would be about because her career does not dwell in this type of research.  I found it interesting enough--I liked the anecdotes from her life and felt that I came away with understanding the enneagram--but it wasn't a book I'd buy for my personal library. It's about a very niche subject-personality types-which aside from business-minded folk and those who love to research (I'm an INTJ, so yes, that's me), I can't see many people enjoying this book just for the heck of it. It was well-written, though, but I hope next time she writes it'll be a memoir.

*A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett - This was our book club's May pick, and I loved it. The book is a memoir about a Canadian woman who was taken hostage (along with an Aussie friend of hers) in Somalia and about her experience there. The book is absolutely stunning in it's writing and self-awareness; the detail is fantastic. There are, of course, extreme and graphic horrors that have happened to Lindhout while she was in captivity, so the darker parts of this book may not be for everyone. I'm looking forward to talking about it with my book-ish friends, and would easily give it a strong 4 out of 5 stars.

*Crossover by Kwame Alexander - This was a YA novel written in verse that I had heard about multiple times from the Read Aloud Revival podcast. It was always recommended as "a book about basketball that's not really about basketball" and being as I was an avid fan of Friday Night Lights--I totally get it. You don't have to be into the sport to understand the complexity and love the characters of the story. This book is very short and because it is written in verse-almost every poem is less than 1 page--it's a super fast read. I don't want to give away too much but there is bravado verse that could easily translate to Slam poetry, excellent character development (with so few words!) and excellent metaphor throughout. This is easily a 4 out of 5. Loved it.

*In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It by Lauren Graham - I had only seen Lauren Graham's new book on Mae Whitman's instagram feed for maybe 5 minutes before I put it on hold at my local library. When I got it--BOY! was I surprised. This book is under 100 pages and was written as a spinn-off of a high school graduation speech Graham gave. It's more of a fun little graduation gift that really hits home the 'don't worry about it' mantra-good for any anxious high schooler or college-goer (or not!) but as for someone trying to enjoy a book, this is not that thing. Fun, one sitting, meh overall.

*Dyslexia is My Superpower by Margaret Rooke - This book I saw on the Dyslexic Advantage website (I love their blog on famous people who are dyslexics). It's a compilation of interviews of over 100 children world-wide talking about their dyslexia; the challenges and the positive. I really enjoyed it because I can see so much of my own child in some of these kids and honestly? It reinforced my homeschooling mindset because I have not had to uncomfortably advocate for my kid or deal with confidence issues because (they've) been told they are stupid and/or lazy. Sigh. So many of these kids are highly resilient, and it's great to see their drawings and 'superpowers' put in the limelight as well. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who thinks they (or a family member) might have dyslexia.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st St by Karina Yan Glaser -  This was also a YA middle grade novel I'd heard about a lot from the Read Aloud Revival podcast, and I just needed a few fun little reads this month to give my brain a break. I love middle grade novels and truly, some of the best writing in all of literature can be found in this little niche. It's hard to believe this book is a debut novel. This book is about a large multi-racial family who is getting kicked out of their beloved brownstone in Harlem, and how the kids try to butter up the ole' Biederman (landlord) before Christmas so they don't loose their home. It's warm, cute, well-written, and full of mischief -- even the building itself gets in on it! I really enjoyed this. I can't wait to see what else Glaser writes; I'll definitely pick it up.


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