Category: It’s Monday! What are you reading?

What I’m Reading Now (7/16/18)

July 16, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 20

Last week was filled with night-time activities, which aren’t my favorite because I love my downtime and sleep. My son had his first swim meet (which was fun, but looong), I had a night tennis match that ended at 10 pm, and we had a storm that knocked out power and A/C, so I didn’t get much sleep over the course of the week…which led to getting a summer cold. I’m hoping to rest up this week.

Last week, I shared my Q2 Go-To and No-Go Book Recommendation Sources (by tracking my recommendation sources using my Rock Your Reading Tracker, I’ve improved my “successful” reading by 43% over last year!) and my July 2018 Books to Read…and Skip.

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My not-so-new-anymore bookshelves got some accessories…including some cool bookends! Incidentally, we do not own an actual dog, despite having dogs on our bookshleves. I love dogs and would like one eventually, but I really don’t feel like taking care of one more living creature right now. The dog will have to wait until my kids are a little more self-sufficient…⠀ _⠀ ⠀ I’ve organized my bookshelves by color and only my very, very favorite books earned a spot (I read on a Kindle, so keeping my bookshelves selective is unexpectedly not that hard for me…I have to purchase hardcovers specifically to go on the shelves).⠀ _⠀ ⠀ On my rainbow shelf are:⠀ – 2 of my favorite books of 2014 (Station Eleven and Shotgun Lovesongs)⠀ – 1 of my favorite books of 2016 (The Mothers)⠀ – And the first Meg Wolitzer I ever read (and loved). She’s since become an auto-buy author for me!Sidenote: Since I took this picture, Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion has been added to my rainbow shelf.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ How do you organize your bookshelves? What are some of your favorite bookends?⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes #shelfie #bookends #bookshelves @riverheadbooks @megwolitzer @britrbennett @aaknopf @emilystjohnmandel⠀

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I finished reading…

what I'm reading now

 

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (July 31, 2018) 
This debut had all the pieces of a great book for me, but it was missing the intangibles. Check out my review for more details.

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner (January 5, 2016) – Audiobook
I liked this memoir by a girl who grew up in a polygamist Morman family in Mexico and Texas…but, I think I read it too soon after reading Educated. They were similar for sure. I’d still recommend it, though, especially if you like fringe religion / dysfunctional childhood stories.

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger (July 3, 2018)
Completely satisfying summer thriller that (shockingly) is not really domestic despite the unfortunate title! It’s set in the world of private Swiss banking. Review coming on Thursday.

I’m currently reading…

Distance Home

 

The Distance Home by Paula Saunders (August 7, 2018) 
Tyler Goodson, Manager at Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA (one of my go-to book recommendation sources) rated this dysfunctional family debut novel set in the American West 5 stars. I thought I’d knock out an August release while waiting for my next library hold to come in…

Upcoming reading plans…

I Am, I Am, I Am

 

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell (February 6, 2018)
I’ve been hearing rave reviews of this memoir that I’ve had on hold at the library for months now. I kept suspending my hold (Did you know you can do this? Find out more here.) because I was drowning in new release ARCs. But, I have a bit of a break in my reading schedule and I think my hold should come in this week.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading an awesome Swedish courtroom thriller!

Two Years Ago: I was reading a book featuring a totally demented psychologist.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (7/9/18) – A Double Shot

July 9, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 17

Welcome back to real life, y’all! At least for me. I was on vacation last week, which was awesome. For the first time, both our kids were old enough to do fun activities, not have to nap, and stay up a little later. We did lots of swimming (including some actual lap swimming for me), beaching, water sliding (the kids, not me), fishing (Team Female won on our boat!), fire-working, and eating. So, you’re getting a double shot of books this week and I’m thrilled to say I actually did get a decent amount of reading done on vacation! Plus, I finished a couple books I’d been reading in small snippets over a long period of time.

Congratulations to Becky Shemeley, winner of my 8 audiobook giveaway in conjunction with the June is Audiobook Month blog tour! Enjoy saving all those Audible credits for a bit!

I also shared my Best Books of 2018 So Far last week. And, I’m 99.9% sure at least a couple of these will stay atop the leaderboard for my overall Best Books of 2018 list come December.

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It’s about halfway through the year and I’ve got some favorite books for you (that means “get out your TBR lists, it’s time to prioritize”)! So far this year, I’ve read 6 books that I’m 99.9% sure will make it onto my overall Best Books of 2018 list come December. And, I’m thrilled with that…especially considering I had very few hands-down, unquestionable winners at this point last year. ⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Overall, this is a pretty wide-ranging list. We’ve got a couple engrossing, character-driven novels, a couple lighter books, a couple memoirs, a true crime, a sports fiction, and a short story collection.⠀ LINK IN PROFILE WITH FULL LIST⠀ _⠀ ⠀ What are your favorite books of 2018 so far?⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes @aaknopf @meghanmacleanweir @megwolitzer @riverheadbooks @tayari @algonquinbooks @camille_pagan #lakeunionpublishing @kellycorrigan @randomhouse @bookofthemonth #bookofthemonth #botm

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I finished reading…

what I'm reading now

 

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris (December 6, 2016) 
I finally finished! I’d been reading this 700 page behemoth for months! But, it’s fascinating and easy to read in little snippets. Basically, Ferris took the highlights from his interviews with the top people in various fields (he’s all over the map with this…business, sports, entertainment, thinkers, etc) and organized them into Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise sections. I highlighted tons and adopted some new routines in my life. I kind of want to listen to his podcast now.
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A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America by T. Christian Miller & Ken Armstrong (February 6, 2018) – Audiobook
Excellent true crime mixed in with a bit of history of rape investigation and would make a great companion read to I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (my review).
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza (July 24, 2018) 
Mini review coming on Thursday.
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Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott (July 17, 2018) 
Mini review coming on Thursday.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Calypso by David Sedaris (May 29, 2018) 
I just love Sedaris’ dark humor and I promptly bought Theft by Finding on audio after finishing this one. Mini review coming soon.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

 

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (July 31, 2018) 
I’m about halfway through this hyped debut set during the Colombian drug wars and it started out great, but slowed down a bit soon after. I’m going to give it a bit more time to pick up before I make a decision.

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

The Incendiaries

 

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwan (July 31, 2018)
DNF at 10%
This debut novel about a girl who gets wrapped up in a cult and the boy who is obsessed with her has gotten tons of pre-release hype (and Annie Jones and Tyler Goodson both rated it 4 stars), but it just seemed weird to me. I kept spacing out and the writing seemed really distant to me.

Upcoming reading plans…

Clock Dance

 

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler (July 10, 2018)
I’ve never read Anne Tyler before, but Annie Jones and Tyler Goodson loved this one…plus, it’s about a dysfunctional family. I’m #1 on the pre-release library hold list, so I’m trying to finish my current book by Tuesday!

was reading…

One Year Ago: I read 2 books told in vignettes…one that worked and one that didn’t.

Two Years Ago: I was on vacation!

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (6/25/18)

June 25, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 23

After a recent hot streak, my reading took a bit of a tumble last week. I almost didn’t finish a single book, but I ended up finishing Baby Teeth right under the wire. Last week was the first with my kids out of school for the summer and adjusting to the new routine was a bit crazy. 

I also shared my Best Audiobooks of 2018 So Far last week. And, as part of the June is Audiobook Month blog tour, I’m hosting a giveaway where you could win 8 audiobooks! Head on over here to enter. And, stay tuned for my Best Books of 2018 So Far (coming tomorrow)…

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The kids are out of school and you know what that means…I’ve gotta find reading time whenever and wherever I can! And, it’s not always in a peaceful, quiet place. Well, let’s be honest…it’s rarely ever in a peaceful, quiet place. I’ve been reading a lot while my kids are at swim practice…and my only issue (at least this week) is keeping all my sweat from dripping on my Kindle!⠀ _⠀ ⠀ How do you fit reading in when the kids get out of school?⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes #summer2018 #summerreading #beachreads #readeverywhere

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I finished reading…

Baby Teeth

 

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (July 17, 2018) 
I’m speechless. I don’t know what to think. I kind of hated it, but it did raise some interesting questions. I need to think about this one more and may write a spoiler discussion post. But, I’m not sure I can recommend it to anyone at this point, but it will absolutely get people talking.

I’m currently reading…

Nothing…I’m caught between books! I finished Baby Teeth about an hour ago and will start my next book later in the evening (after this post is scheduled).

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

What I'm Reading Now

 

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin (February 6, 2018)
DNF at 22%
This novel is told entirely from the perspective of a seven year-old boy, which I found tedious after awhile. I wish we’d gotten to hear other perspectives…like his parents’, etc.

What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan (July 10, 2018)
DNF at 18%.
I was just kind of bored. Nothing was happening and I didn’t care about the characters.

Upcoming reading plans…

The Glitch, Elisabeth Cohen

 

The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen (May 22, 2018)
Tara at Running N Reading liked this light novel about a mother of two with a high-powered Silicon Valley job who thinks she has it all under control and my library hold just came in.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading a rare thriller that I really liked.

Two Years Ago: I was heading on vacation and watching the Olympic swimming trials!

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (6/18/18)

June 18, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 19

Last week, Goodsreads kindly informed me I was 2 books behind schedule for my 2018 reading goal. Well, I’m happy to say that, after this weekend, I’m now back on track! We spent the weekend in the Chesapeake Bay area and I was thrilled to get a lot of reading done (a house without a TV or Internet will help with that)…and do some fun things with my family (my son caught a skate off the dock!).

I also shared my June 2018 Books to Read (and Skip) last week. And, June had some winners!

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I finished reading…

what I'm reading now

 

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (June 19, 2018)
LOVED and reviewed last week!
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Nomadland by Jessica Bruder (September 19, 2017, Audiobook)
I thought the overarching themes of a new class of nomadic, working elderly were really interesting and I was also intrigued by the behind-the-scenes of how Amazon’s warehouses function, but I think this was probably more suited to a long-form article rather than a full length book. Overall, I’m lukewarm on it.

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir (June 19, 2018)
A perfect, easy, but totally intriguing and well-done recovery book from The Great Believers! I flew through it. I’ll be adding it to my 2018 Summer Reading Guide.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

what I'm reading now

 

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin (February 6, 2018)
This novel about a school shooting told from the perspective of a seven year-old boy comes highly recommended by Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books and Michelle at That’s What She Read. I’m only 5% in, so I don’t really have an opinion yet…I’ll keep you posted!

Calypso by David Sedaris (May 29, 2018)
Y’all, I’m actually reading a hardcover book (it was one of my June Book of the Month picks)!! My first of the year if you can believe that. Because it’s a hardcover, it’s not my primary book…I’m reading an essay here and there. The first two essays were right on point.

Upcoming reading plans…

What We Were Promised

 

What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan (July 10, 2018)
Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy recommended this family drama set in Shanghai in her 2018 Summer Reading Guide. We’ll see how it goes…

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was catching up on my Anna Quindlen backlist.

Two Years Ago: I was reading a quirky coming of age novel that ended up on my Best Books of 2016 So Far list.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (6/11/18)

June 11, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 24

Whew! Last week was hectic. We’re in the final two weeks of school and there are lots of events requiring parent involvement. I was out of the house 3 weeknights last week and that’s way more than normally works for me. I also played a ton of tennis last week (which I’m paying for now with a sore wrist and feet). So, I didn’t get as much reading time as I’d have liked. 

But, I am loving the book I’m reading at least and the tennis was fun!

My 2018 Summer Reading List and Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2018 are up on the blog, so check them out to fill your beach bag!

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I finished reading…

Us Against You

 

Us Against You by Fredrick Backman (June 5, 2018)
I loved being back in Beartown, though I didn’t love this one quite as much as Beartown. But, that was a tall order. Mini review coming later this week and I’ll be adding this one to my 2018 Summer Reading List.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Great Believers

 

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (June 19, 2018)
I’m just over halfway through this novel about a group of gay friends in 1980’s Chicago. It’s a hefty read heavily involving the AIDS crisis, but it’s so far shaping up to be an “issue” book where the central focus is the characters…and the issue is an organic part of their lives. The writing is gorgeous and I’m loving it so far.
Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

Upcoming reading plans…

Book of Essie

 

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir (June 19, 2018)
This novel about a evangelical Christian family on a reality TV show was one of my June Book of the Month picks and I think I’ll be in the mood for something light after The Great Believers.

was reading…

One Year Ago: Almost exactly a year before reading Us Against You, I’d finished reading Beartown!

Two Years Ago: I was in the throes of triathlon training and reading a gritty novel set in the NY restaurant scene.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (6/4/18) – A Double Shot

June 4, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 19

You’re getting another double shot of books this week because I was out of town for Memorial Day weekend and didn’t post that day! I did get some reading done on that trip, though!

Last week, I felt myself heading into a reading slump after two DNF’s in a row. Then, I got a last minute approval for the ARC of Us Against You, my most anticipated book of the year! Couldn’t have come at a better time as it stopped the impending slump in its tracks.

If you haven’t seen it yet, my 2018 Summer Reading List is up on the blog! Check it out for something fun, fast-paced / intense, substantive, or a bit different for your beach bag!

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Get your TBR lists ready! Now that summer has unofficially kicked off (Memorial Day is the start of summer in my book!), let’s take a look at some of the books coming out later this summer that I’m most excited about! I’m hoping to add many of these books to my 2018 Summer Reading Guide over the next few months. _ I haven’t read most of these books yet, but almost all of them have been read and recommended by at least one of my most trusted recommendation sources. LINK IN PROFILE _ For my best picks for summer reading that I’ve already read, check out my 2018 Summer Reading Guide (link in profile). _ What book are you most excited for this summer? Mine is Us Against You for sure! * * * * * #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes #summerreading #summer2018

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I finished reading…

What I'm Reading Now

 

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll (May 15, 2018)
Highly recommend if you’re into Real Housewives and/or interested in the behind-the-scenes of reality TV. A dark, wild ride with some crazy personalities! It would make a great beach read and I’m adding it to my 2018 Summer Reading Guide! Mini review to come.
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Tin Man by Sarah Winman (May 15, 2018)
I liked this novel, but not as much as I expected to. It’s quiet, reflective, and the tone reminded me of Our Souls at Night…and pulled at the heart-strings at times. But, I felt a certain distance from the characters and wished Winman had included one main character’s (Annie’s) perspective.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills (July 15, 2014, Audiobook)
I adored this investigative memoir about Mills’ experience living in Monroeville, AL and her friendship with Harper and Alice Lee. The audio plunked me right down in Monroeville and I felt like I got a good sense of the Lee sisters…in an unsensationalized way. Pair it with Episode 172 of From the Front Porch Podcast.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Us Against You

 

Us Against You by Fredrick Backman (June 5, 2018)
The sequel to Beartown (my review) is my most anticipated book of this year! I’m almost halfway through and breathed a sigh of relief to be back in Beartown. This one is more political, more sinister, and more centered on the grown-ups so far.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

What I'm Reading Now

 

Florida by Lauren Groff (June 5, 2018)
DNF at 17%.
Short stories are always hit and miss for me, so I hesitantly picked up this collection. I wasn’t a fan of the first story, did like the second, but the third totally lost me. From the bit I read, it seemed like a very dark, depressing take on life in Florida.

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (June 12, 2018)
DNF at 29%.
I had high hopes for this novel because of its rave reviews and I liked it alright, but I just kept waiting for something to happen. I read the 3 star Goodreads reviews and the main complaint was the novel didn’t have much of a plot. So, I figured things weren’t going to pick up. For a novel like that to work for me, the writing has to sparkle and I thought this writing was just average.

Upcoming reading plans…

Great Believers

 

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (June 19, 2018)
I’ve actually already read the first 7% of this novel set in 1980’s Chicago amid the AIDS epidemic and the writing seems promising! I put it down temporarily when I got a last minute approval for an Us Against You ARC, but am looking forward to picking it back up…especially now that I know Susie at Novel Visits is loving it!

was reading…

One Year Ago: I’d just finished one my favorite books of 2017, but it was also divisive.

Two Years Ago: I was finishing up candidates for my 2016 Summer Reading Guide (which I must have published later in the year back then!).

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (5/21/18)

May 21, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 22

We’re in the middle of a massive multi-day rain storm (schools were even canceled on Friday because of flash flooding)…the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen in my life! I’m just hoping the many very tall pine trees in our yard stay firmly rooted in the ground and don’t end up toppling into our house. 

The good news is…my 2018 Summer Reading List went live last week! I’ve got books in 4 categories: Something Fun, Something Intense / Fast-Paced, Something With a Bit of Substance, and Something Different. And, this year I chose a #1 pick for each category and have a printable cheatsheet you can take to the bookstore or library! Bookmark this post because I’ll be adding new books to the list all summer!

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Giveaway 
In case you missed it on Instagram this weekend, I’m teaming up with Tupelo Style (@tupelostyle) and Richmond Real Estate Mom (@richmondrealestatemom) for a giveaway of The Female Persuasion (one of my favorite books of the year so far!) OR the cute earrings in this picture! Tupelo Style is an online consignment shop specializing in high-end clothing (adults and kids)…they’ll sell your stuff you’re ready to purge and you can pick up some great deals on their Instagram account! I recently bought a cool bracelet for just $10.

Giveaway ends at midnight EST tonight (Monday May 19). To enter, like both Sarah’s Book Shelves and Tupelo Style and tag 2 friends!

WIN A COPY OF THE FEMALE PERSUASION: It’s super dreary today (so much rain that schools were closed…grr), but doesn’t this ensemble just brighten things up?! I love me a fun, coral dress for summer and THE FEMALE PERSUASION is the perfect accessory (because books are what people mean when they talk about accessories, right?!). Check out my 2018 Summer Reading Guide for more perfect summer “accessories” for your beach bags (LINK IN PROFILE)! Photo Cred: @sarahwhitmorephotography _ I want to share a new online consignment shop called @tupelostyle! They’ll sell the stuff you’re ready to purge and you can pick up some great deals on high quality consigned items on their Instagram account. I recently bought a cool gold bracelet with gray stones for just $10 from them! If you love the outfit pictured and want to purchase, head over to @tupelostyle. And, for more details about how @tupelostyle works, check out a blog post from @richmondrealestatemom (link in her profile). _ GIVEAWAY (2 chances to win): To win a brand new copy of THE FEMALE PERSUASION (which is one of my favorite books of the year so far and a featured book on my 2018 Summer Reading Guide, link in profile) OR the cute earrings in this picture… – follow both @sarahsbookshelves and @tupelostyle – Tag 2 friends in the comments section on @tupelostyle. Giveaway ends on Monday (5/21) at midnight EST. * * * * * #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes #resaleshop #designerconsignment #instacloset

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I finished reading…

We Are Gathered

 

We Are Gathered by Jamie Weisman (June 5, 2018)
I thought this would be a light, fun read and a good candidate for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide. It was not at all what I expected and wasn’t right for the Summer Reading Guide, but I liked it! Mini review to come.

I’m currently reading…

Favorite Sister

 

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll (May 15, 2018)
I’m about 25% through this novel about a fictional reality TV show similar to Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise. And, I’m really liking it despite DNFing Knoll’s first novel (Luckiest Girl Alive). It’s chock full of behind-the-scenes reality TV secrets and passive-aggressive sister dynamics. We’ll see how things progress…

Upcoming reading plans…

Tin Man

 

Tin Man by Sarah Winman (May 15, 2018)
This novel about a friendship comes highly recommended by Susie at Novel Visits (she said it’s for fans of The Heart’s Invisible Furies, my favorite book of last year!) and my library hold just came in!

was reading…

One Year Ago: Apparently, I didn’t post anything!

Two Years Ago: I was reading a powerful, underrated gem.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (5/14/18)

May 14, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 27

I hope all the mothers out there had a great Mother’s Day weekend! I spent part of mine on a night away with some old friends and I arrived to find two of them reading Circe! Needless to say, it sparked some discussion…

The summer weather has arrived in Virginia and it’s a welcome change from my old town, where it didn’t really feel like summer had truly arrived until mid June. And, with the summer weather comes my annual Summer Reading List…I’ll be posting it this Thursday, so y’all have plenty of time to peruse it before Memorial Day weekend! And, there are a couple new twists this year!

The first round of personalized book recommendations for our $7/month patrons went out today! If you’d like to get a monthly personalized book recommendation, support the blog on Patreon (more details here). 

Tools of Titans Tip
I’m slowly working my way through Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, a collection of highlights from interviews he’s done with various stars of their fields. It’s chock full of awesome tidbits, so I thought I’d share the most helpful tip I pick up each week. I’ve now moved onto the “Wise” section, which is hit and miss so far.

On Busyness:
This is something I desperately need to take to heart…

“This frantic, self-congratulatory busyness is a distinctly upscale affliction. Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the ICU, taking care of their senescent parents, or holding down three minimum-wage jobs they have to commute to by bus who need to tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s most often said by people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they are addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.”

– From Tim Kreider, Essayist and Cartoonist

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Warning: Unpopular opinion ahead…⠀ _⠀ ⠀ ⭐⭐⭐ 💫 // So many of my best recommendation sources rated this book 5 stars…so, I went into it with super high hopes. But, I thought it was just okay. LINK TO MY REVIEW (WHICH ALSO INCLUDES EDUCATED BY TARA WESTOVER) IN PROFILE.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ I loved the premise of a coed group of childhood friends coming back together in adulthood and secrets being revealed…and it reminded me of Shotgun Lovesongs (which I adored). BUT, the adulthood interaction of The Gunners felt off…all I kept thinking was “this is NOT how my childhood friends and I interact as adults…this just seems weird.” Tickling? Indian wrestling? Did anyone else think this was odd?!⠀ _⠀ ⠀ This plus the incessant revealing of secrets (it felt like a game of whack-a-mole) made the overall story feel a bit contrived. ⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Has anyone else read The Gunners? What did you think? Am I on this island alone?!⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #badassbookbabes

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I finished reading…

How to Walk Away, Circe

 

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (May 15, 2018)
This May Book of the Month selection was everything I normally hate in my fiction (romance, overly sappy, some unbelievable plot elements)…but it strangely worked for me in this case! Mini review coming tomorrow.

Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

Circe by Madeline Miller (April 10, 2018)
I’m firmly in the minority on this one. Did not like it one bit. I felt like it was a battle to get through. Full review to come.

I’m currently reading…

We Are Gathered

 

We Are Gathered by Jamie Weisman (June 5, 2018)
Rebecca Schinsky of Book Riot’s All the Books podcast recommended this debut novel about a wedding told from the perspectives of the various guests. I’m only 15% in and it’s definitely not what I was expecting so far. I’m not sure yet whether that’s a good or a bad thing. We’ll see how things pan out…

Upcoming reading plans…

Favorite Sister

 

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll (May 15, 2018)
I originally thought I’d skip this novel about a reality show that seems very similar to Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise because I DNF’d Knoll’s debut, Luckiest Girl Alive. But, I am a total reality TV junkie and two bloggers I trust (Catherine at Gilmore Guide and Tina at TBR, etc. have said good things about Knoll’s latest).

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading one of my favorite sports novels (P.S. it’s a fantastic summer read!)

Two Years Ago: I’d just finished a quiet novel that made me want to immediately read more of that author’s work.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (5/7/18)

May 7, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 21

I celebrated my 40th birthday this past weekend…though my actual birthday isn’t until later this week. I know many people view 40 as a big milestone…or tragedy…depending on how you look at it. But, I haven’t really thought much about it and haven’t done any sort of big taking-of-stock. I’m just keeping on for now…

I’m putting together personalized book recommendations for our $7/month patrons this week (you can now support the blog on Patreon and get some fun rewards as a thank you for your support!), so sign up on Patreon if you’d like to be included in the first batch of personalized recommendations! And, check out my post for more details about this whole Patreon thing.

Tools of Titans Tip
I’m slowly working my way through Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, a collection of highlights from interviews he’s done with various stars of their fields. It’s chock full of awesome tidbits, so I thought I’d share the most helpful tip I pick up each week. I’ve now moved onto the “Wise” section, which is hit and miss so far.

On Sleep:
Amen, Amen, Amen. Nothing makes me more out of sorts than lack of sleep.

“Ours is a culture where we wear our ability to get by on very little sleep as a kind of badge of honor that symbolizes work ethic, or toughness, or some other virtue – but really, it’s a total profound failure of priorities and of self-respect.’”

– From Maria Popova, Founder of Brainpickings.org

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This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).

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My new bookshelves are finally getting some accessories…including some cool bookends! I kind of wish I could sit in a giant wheel and read all day these clowns…⠀ _⠀ ⠀ I actually have a shelf solely dedicated to @bookofthemonth selections! Here’s just a smidge of it…⠀ – My favorite book of 2017 and possibly my favorite of the past few years as well.⠀ – A book I almost didn’t read because I didn’t like the sound of the premise, but ended up loving.⠀ – And, a fun, easy read that was on last year’s Summer Reading Guide (my 2018 Guide is coming out in mid-May!).⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Tell me about your favorite bookends! ⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #instabook #booktalk #bookblogger #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #amreading #bookgram #bookofthemonth #shelfie #bookends #bookshelves @ahoffmanwriter @doree @johnboyne @hogarthbooks @simonandschuster @littlebrown ⠀

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I finished reading…

Girl Who Smiled Beads, Tiger Woods

 

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya (April 24, 2018)
An emotionally tough, yet powerful read…and a great memoir for book clubs. Mini Review to come.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict (March 27, 2018, Audiobook)
You might think you know a lot about Tiger Woods based on how heavily he’s been covered in the media and you’ve probably heard much of the scoop in this book in little snippets throughout his career, but Benedict puts it all together to paint a complete picture of Tiger as an athlete and a person. It’s a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of an elite athlete in the limelight who has been trained to be a machine, not a whole person. P.S. – Bill Simmons, one of my favorite sportswriters, finished this book in two sittings.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

How To Walk Away

 

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (May 15, 2018)
This novel about a girl who suffers a tragic accident the night she gets engaged was the May Book of the Month selection I was most interested in…and it’s not my kind of book at all (feel-good, romantic, a little sappy). But, I’m about 70% through and have been loving it so far…these elements that usually turn me off are working for me in this case. I’ve heard chatter about the ending, so I’ll be interested to see what I think of that.

Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

Upcoming reading plans…

Circe

 

Circe by Madeline Miller (April 10, 2018)
This re-imagining of the story of Circe, a figure from Greek mythology, is not my usual fare at all, but it’s gotten so many rave reviews from people I trust that I chose it as my April Book of the Month pick.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I’d just read one of my favorite books of the first half of 2017…a translation!

Two Years Ago: I reading one of my favorite brain candy novels!

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (4/30/18) – A Short Version

April 30, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 25

Sorry for the extra short version today! My husband and I took a weekend away last weekend and I’m trying to quickly get a post typed while waiting for our late Sunday night flight to take off! It was a beach trip, so I got TONs of reading done!

Recently, I launched the Sarah’s Book Shelves Patreon page, where you can support the blog financially and get some special rewards (including personalized book recommendations and access to our private Facebook Group) as a thank you for your support! A huge thank you to those of you who have already become patrons!

Hosted by The Book Date.
This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).

I finished reading…

Visible Empire, The Gunners, The Wife Alafair Burke

 

Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard (June 5, 2018)
Despite the very mixed reviews on Goodreads and the somewhat low average Goodreads rating, I really liked this one! It’s not as much about the 1962 Orly plane crash that killed many prominent Atlanta arts patrons…the crash is more of the event that ties together a portrait of Atlanta during that time from many disparate perspectives.

Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman (March 20, 2018)
I liked this novel, but it wasn’t a 5 star read for me like I thought it would be (based on other rave reviews). It reminded me a bit of Shotgun Lovesongs (though I liked that book better), but it felt a little contrived.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Wife by Alafair Burke (January 23, 2018)
Most of y’all know I’m very finicky about thrillers. Especially domestic ones. But, I really liked this domestic/legal thriller! I read it in a day and a half on the beach and it was the perfect book for that reading environment.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Girl Who Smiled Beads

 

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya (April 24, 2018)
This memoir by a girl who escaped from the Rwandan genocide was my April Book of the Month pick and is getting rave reviews. I’m only 15% in, but it’s pulled me in and I suspect will be an emotionally tough, yet powerful read.

Upcoming reading plans…

I have no idea! I have a bunch of library holds that could come in soon and some May releases still to get to.

 

How was your reading week?

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