Everyday Life, Reading, Reviews, Young Adult

August Reading, Part 2, and A Tiny Rant Against Autumn

There’s a crispness in the air that I despise. Yes, I said despise. Sorry, Fall and Football lovers. I love summer and I cannot lie. I do not like cold days. I do not like the mess of leaves all over the back yard, and all the raking…raking…raking. I don’t like watching the summer flowers die. I don’t like heavy clothing and jeans every day.  But really, the biggest problem of all is that my family is not taking our one and only beach vacation until mid-September. Summer, please stay until then!

However! I am trying to conjure up happy memories of hot chocolate and books by a warm fire. Maybe if I start a Fall reading list, I’ll let go of my morbidity towards Autumn. If I can keep finding as many good books in the Autumn months as I’ve found in August, the coming season will be pretty swell.

Here are the books I finished this month.:

1. Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier

Cybele's Secret (Wildwood, #2) The sequel to Wildwood Dancing, but not nearly as great. Still, a pretty good read, especially if you’re a fan of the genre. Marillier is one of  my new favorite YA authors.

2. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Read my reviews (yes, there are two of them) here and here

3. The Artist’s Daughter

I really liked this memoir. Read my review here

4.  Slash Your Grocery Budget & Eat a Whole Foods Diet With Aldi by Carrie Willard

I read a slew of nonfiction this month. I consider it a slew, anyway. The main reason was that Ella came down with a stomach bug on Sunday afternoon and I couldn’t leave her side without her getting upset. So while she dozed, I read all the free e-books I’ve been downloading to the Kindle app on my phone. I find these free books on moneysavingmom.com, but I usually download them and then forget about them. I was grateful to have them this weekend, though.

Slash Your Grocery Budget was a great book for people who shop at Aldi or are considering shopping at Aldi. It includes menus and recipes—features that equal awesomeness in any nonfiction book. I haven’t actually tried any of the recipes yet, but I plan to. Look for this book to show up in my next Saturday Cooking feature.

5. A Simpler Season by Jessica Fisher

With the chill in the air and the impending hours watching football, I’m feeling like now is a good time to start planning some projects for Christmas. Last Christmas I had all kinds of ideas and hardly any of them got done. I’m okay with that; my kids were 3 and 1, we had a nice holiday season that was not as stressful as usual, we celebrated what mattered. Still, I’d like to be a little more involved in the details this year. A Simpler Season was a good starting point for me to think through those some of those details. Will you still find me in Target two days before Christmas? Probably. But hope springs eternal.

6. How to Eat A Cupcake by Meg Donahue

A departure from the norm for me, but in a fun, not-too-terrible, romantic comedy kind of way. Read my review here.

Now I’m working on East of the Sun by Julia Gregson. For school with Ella, we’re reading In Grandma’s Attic. I can’t tell you how much I am loving re-reading my favorite children’s chapter books with Ella. We tried The Bobbsey Twins, but it was a little wordy for now. Maybe in a year or two. I actually never liked those books much, but they seem cute to me now.

Tell me what should go on my Fall reading list! I need a long, cheering list to console me over being robbed (robbed!) of summer.

Nonfiction, Parenting, Reading, Reviews

The Artist’s Daughter

If you’re a part of a Mother of Preschoolers (MOPS) group, chances are good you’ll be hearing about The Artist’s Daughter in the coming months. I am helping to start a MOPS group this Fall and so I had the privilege of reading the copy that came with our coordinator’s welcome package. I thought it was a great book, and I can’t wait to discuss it this spring with our MOPS group. (MOPS Plug: If you’re in South Carolina and interested in a MOPS group, let me know!)

The Artist's DaughterThe Artist’s Daughter is a memoir by Alexandra Kuykendall. Here’s the description from Goodreads.com:

“When Alexandra Kuykendall became a mother it was the beginning of a soul-searching journey that took her into her past and made her question everything she’d experienced–and a lot of what she hadn’t. The only daughter of a single, world-traveling mother and an absent artist father, Alexandra shares her unique quest to answer universal questions: Am I lovable? Am I loved? Am I loving?

In short, moving episodes, Alexandra transports readers into a life that included a childhood in Europe, a spiritual conversion marked more by questions than answers, a courtship in the midst of a call to be with troubled teens, marriage and motherhood–and always, always, the question of identity. Through her personal journey, women will discover their own path to understanding the shape of their lives and a deeper sense of God’s intimate presence within it.”

I was surprised at what a page turner this book turned out to be for me. Kuykendall writes with such honesty and infuses a desire to change and help others change in her writing. I related to her as a person, even though her family situation is nothing like mine. The importance of accepting yourself, embracing your identity, and relying on God in parenting is a key component to the memoir. Kuykendall also writes about how important her support system (a MOPS group) is to her parenting journey. I don’t want to say too much because I hope you’ll read this one for yourself! If you liked Jeanette Walls’s memoirs The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses, you’ll like this one, too. It doesn’t contain the stunning situations or details Walls’s memoirs include, but it is a well-written memoir about a daughter coming to terms with a parent as she becomes a parent herself.

 

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