It's book report time! So far I have read 41 of my goal of 60 books this year. According to Goodreads, that's 14 books ahead of schedule, so it looks like it's going to be an excellent reading year for me. The only reading disappointment I had this month was not being able to spend much time reading on our trip to Lake Powell. I had big reading plans, but with a busy, busy 2 year old they didn't quite come to fruition. Still, I was able to finish six books this month.
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Grandma Gatewood's Walk by Ben Montgomery
I am so drawn to true adventure/survival stories. Grandma Gatewood falls firmly into both categories. She was the mother of 11, survived a brutally abusive marriage and was the first woman to walk the 2000+ mile Appalachian Trail in its entirety. And she did so when she was 67 years old, with very few supplies. She went on to hike the trail in full 2 more times as well as several other remarkably long trails. I was inspired by her tenacity, her humility and humor and her ability to overcome both the trail and her trials.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
I still have mixed feelings about Where'd You Go, Bernadette?. On one hand, it was a light, funny, entertaining read with enjoyable and quirky characters. I really enjoyed that it was told through a series of emails back and forth amongst the main characters, police reports, newspaper articles, and other documents. However, the ending left me disappointed. I felt like it was too rushed and left lots of unresolved loose ends. All in all, it's a fun beach read for your summer adventures.
For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
I've never read anything by Jen Hatmaker before, though I've heard a lot about her and the inspiring work she does. I picked this up on a whim when I saw it at the library and I'm happy I did. Jen expertly mixes hilarious essays and deeper faith-filled topics in this book. She talks about everything from spanx to the loss of faith young Christians face and blends it seamlessly. I loved her advice on friendship, on finding your purpose and working hard to achieve it (even if you don't get paid) and on loving and accepting others.
Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde
A grieving father, through a strange turn of events, ends up taking two children he hardly knows on a three month long epic camping adventure across the Western United States. While the storyline was interesting, and I cared about the characters what I loved most about this book was the descriptions of their trip. The trio travels through southern Utah, to some of my favorite places on earth, and they hike trails I've been on many times in my life. I loved reading the descriptions of their adventures and knowing exactly what the terrain looked like and feeling like I was right there with them.
The BFG by Roald Dahl
This has been our family read-aloud for the past little while. I had never read it before, so it was fun to experience it for the first time as a family. As you'd expect from Roald Dahl, it's quirky and silly and a tiny bit scary at times. We all loved the BFG's take on language and have already begun to incorporate some of his words into our family vocabulary. Ethan has been calling me "Your Magister" for days. It's a fun, outlandish tale, best experienced with children. One part, having to do with bodily functions, is especially meant for boys around 7 or 8 years old.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
I read the Harry Potter series for the first time as they came out. Aside from rereading the first book with each of my older children, I haven't read them again since then. This third book was released in 2001, so it's been a good long while since I experienced it. I've decided to work my way through the series again. I feel like I'm reading them in a different way this time than I did the first time around. The first time I devoured the books, dying to know what would happen and to experience the incredible magical world Rowling created. This time I am savoring them much more. The writing is masterful, the story incredibly detailed without losing any of its believability. There is a reason these books are so beloved and I'm excited to read them all again.