What I’m Reading Now (12/11/17)

I experienced my first Southern snow in a long time this past weekend and it was only a few inches, but dang, it did some damage! It was super wet and heavy and we lost some good sized tree limbs. Our neighbor had a tree pretty much split in half.

I’ve also been working on some fun, new things for 2018…mostly tools and strategies to help you (and me!) pick better books! After my run with hyped books this year, my reading life is screaming at me to figure out a better way. I’m working on some actual tools to help you do this and figuring out how I’ll generally work this theme into Sarah’s Book Shelves next year.

If you’re looking for gifts for the book lovers in your life, I posted my Best Holiday Gifts for Book Lovers 2017 guide on Black Friday! I’ve got you covered with book recommendations, the gift for book lovers that keeps on giving, and bookish gifts that aren’t books. Best of all, you can get all this stuff without leaving your couch!

Hosted by The Book Date.

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link).

Favorite Instagram Post
Follow me sarahsbookshelves

The Ardent Biblio’s Literary Lifestyle Day 8: Favorite⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Did you expect to see any author other than Pat Conroy in a post of mine titled “favorite”?!⠀ _⠀ ⠀ THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE: a great book (one of my all-time favorites) by a great author (also one of my all-time favorites) given to me by a great friend. I’m constantly pushing Pat Conroy on my blog readers and Lords is my very favorite of his books (so, go read it if you haven’t already!). Thanks, @annestokesbowman, for stocking my shelves!⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #theardentbiblioreads @theardentbiblio #bookstagram #bookgram #bookworms #instabooks #bookblogger #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction #buildsarahsbookshelves #patconroy #lordsofdiscipline

A post shared by Sarah’s Book Shelves (@sarahsbookshelves) on

I finished reading…

Rules of Magic, Daring Greatly

The Rules of Magic
by Alice Hoffman (October 10, 2017)
I am not a reader who normally likes anything related to magic, paranormal, or fantasy, but The Rules of Magic was an exception. The magic is not hokey at all and makes what is ultimately a story about love and family more fun and unique. It’s also got some mystery, tragedy, a family feud, and a bit of history about the Salem witch trials and New York City. It’s an unconventional kind of historical fiction, which is the only kind of historical fiction that appeals to me these days. 
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (September 11, 2012)
I’ve heard so many raves about this life improvement book (I hate the term self-help) about confronting your vulnerabilities. People say it’s life-changing. That’s a lot to live up to and I think there was just too much hype going into this one. Her ideas made sense, but I definitely didn’t feel any life-changing “aha” moments. Also, I listened to it on audio and the narrator drove me nuts.

I’m currently reading…

Grist Mill Road by Christopher J Yates

Grist Mill Road
 by Christopher J. Yates (January 9, 2018)
My first 2018 release! And, I was thrilled that this would be my first because I adored his debut novel, Black Chalk, and have recommended it to everyone under the sun. I’m about 25% through and it’s dark and awesome so far. The opening will open your eyes for sure. 

Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

The Nix by Nathan Hill

The Nix
 by Nathan Hill (August 30, 2016)
After reading the prologue, I thought I’d love this book. And, I did really like Hill’s writing style (other than his excessively long tangents). But, the story really meandered and the thing is just so dang long. A 700+ page book has to really wow me if I’m going to devote the time to it and, while I liked it alright, it wasn’t enough to keep me going until the end. DNF at 40%.

Upcoming reading plans…

For the rest of the year, I’ll be alternating between backlist books and 2018 new releases…unless library holds throw a wrench in my plans, which I’m sure they will despite my efforts to proactively manage them (via suspensions). So, possibly…

Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides
 by Jeffrey Eudenides (April, 1993)
Believe it or not, I’ve never read this modern classic (though I have read Middlesex and The Marriage Plot). Annie Spence couldn’t stop raving about it in her memoir about books, Dear Fahrenheit 451, so I figured I should see what all the fuss is about. Plus, it’s short.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading Ann Patchett’s essay collection, which is now a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick!

Two Years Ago: I was reading the Beatriz Williams that turned me off of her books. 

How was your reading week?

Get Weekly Email Updates!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Tara wrote:

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed Rules of Magic; what a treat, right? Also, the narrator of Daring Greatly is HORRIBLE; I’d already read the book, but found the audio on sale one day and then decided to listen to it as a refresher…I had to stop listening. Brene Brown does her own narrating on the newer ones and that is so much better. Hope you enjoy Grist Mill Road (keep me posted!) and I’m so glad you’ll read The Virgin Suicides!!

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Oh good – so glad to hear I’m not the only one who hated that narrator! She was the worst!

      Well, trying to read Virgin Suicides, but library books keep coming in…will hopefully get to it soon though b/c it’s so short.

      Posted 12.15.17 Reply
  2. Beth F wrote:

    We haven’t had any snow to speak of. I miss the big snow storms we used to get. I’m still on the fence about The Nix. Looking forward to learning about your changes.

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
  3. Too bad about The Nix. I loved the writing and the author is great, but it did drag in a couple spots… still a great read for me though. Annie Spence made me add The Virgin Suicides to my list, too. short books are a plus in December!

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I did love Hill’s writing…just wish the editor had taken a cleaver to some of that gamer stuff…ugh!

      Posted 12.15.17 Reply
  4. I’m happy to hear that you liked Rules of Magic. I wasn’t sure if you would or not.

    Can’t wait to talk Grist Mill Road with you. I’m at 62% now and can’t wait to get home from work today and dive back in. (Of, course I have a long meeting after school today..Ugh. I just want to read!)

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
  5. Wendy wrote:

    Still making my way through Litte Fires Everywhere. So good! I’ll put Grist Mill Road on my to read list.

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Little Fires is one I feel like I could recommend to anyone who loves literary fiction…even not knowing much about their reading taste.

      Posted 12.15.17 Reply
  6. I’ve read and loved several books by Conroy…I think my favorite was Prince of Tides…probably because of the issues in the book.

    I’m curious about Grist Mill Road.

    Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your new books. Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Prince of Tides was gorgeous, right?

      Posted 12.15.17 Reply
  7. We got some snow here too but very little of it stuck so there was no damage. We haven’t had snow in December since 2010.

    Hoffman is hit or miss for me so I always hesitate to pick up her books. I’ll think about The Rules of Magic.

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I think Rules of MAgic is the only one hers I’ve read?! I kind of can’t believe that…but I think that’s right. If I’ve read anything else by her, it was ages ago.

      Posted 12.15.17 Reply
  8. Kathy Martin wrote:

    I tend to avoid books that are really hyped. I figure they don’t need me to publicize them as so many others are. The Rules of Magic sounds good to me because magic, fantasy, and paranormal are some of my favorite genres. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I’m just out for good books…whether hyped or not. If I love a book, excessive hype doesn’t bother me. But I do really get angry at it when the book flops for me.

      Posted 12.15.17 Reply
  9. Interesting. I don’t usually go for paranormal books either, but Rules of Magic caught my eye. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I’ve seen generally positive reviews, so I’m optimistic.

    I haven’t read Daring Greatly, but I listened to Rising Strong on audio last year and felt similarly about it. I recently read Braving the Wilderness (hard copy) and I liked it much better. I suspect part of the reason is because it’s so relevant to what’s going on in our country right now, whereas I didn’t really understand how to practically apply the principles taught in Rising Strong.

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
  10. Hmm you’ve made me interested in reading The Rules of Magic. Wow I didn’t know snow could do that much damage to a tree. Shows you how much I know about snow!!

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
  11. renee wrote:

    I”m looking forward to comparing thoughts in Grist Mill Road with you! My friend is giving me her copy of Rules of Magic so your positive feelings about that have me excited

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
  12. Grist Mill Road is still on my wishlist. Come see what I’m reading.

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
  13. Gabby wrote:

    The Virgin Suicides is one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. I hope you enjoy it too!

    Posted 12.11.17 Reply
  14. Sarah R wrote:

    I didn’t realize you moved out of the suburbs of NYC! I live outside of Milwaukee and we have only received a dusting. It’s crazy the south has more snow than we do!

    I’m reading Black Dahlia Red Rose and really liking it. I just wish everyone would leave me alone so I can finish it! Such is life in December!

    Posted 12.12.17 Reply
  15. Catherine wrote:

    So pleased you liked Rules of Magic! It’s definitely one of my favorites for the year.

    I can’t believe you already started Grist Mill Road!! I’m such a weirdo about reading too far in advance of release- maybe because I’m not disciplined enough to write the review right away and then I forget things when it is time to write. Excited, though, so many sophomore efforts are flops.

    Posted 12.13.17 Reply
  16. Lauren wrote:

    Anxious to hear what you think about Grist. I didn’t like Black Chalk as much as you did, but he has a certain darkness I like and I’ll keep reading his work for sure. Bummed to hear The Nix didn’t work for you. I haven’t had a chance to pick that one up yet, but it was on my list. Maybe I’ll try the audio and see if that holds my interest.

    Posted 12.15.17 Reply
  17. Andrea wrote:

    OK, this is good to know about The Nix – I have been on the fence about it for the longest time! May keep putting it off…
    I can’t wait to read The Rules of Magic- got it in my BOTM box

    Posted 12.15.17 Reply
  18. SO sorry to see you didn’t like The Nix! It was kind of all over the place, perspective-wise, but I can see not committing the time to finish such a monster book you’re not totally loving.

    Posted 12.18.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I’m glad I tried it! And I loved the central story and his writing, I just got frustrated with all the tangents and especially the gamer stuff. If it had been under 500 pages, I wouldn’t have DNF’d it.

      Posted 12.18.17 Reply

Get Weekly Email Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive all new blog posts in one weekly email. Plus, news of special updates and offers!

You have Successfully Subscribed!