Embracing the summer reading slump {Quick Lit with Modern Mrs. Darcy}

Embracing the summer reading slump {Quick Lit with Modern Mrs. Darcy}

The Martin {Quick Lit with Modern Mrs. Darcy}

I realized something about myself recently.

Every year I blame my summer reading slump on some circumstance: pregnancy or travel or having a toddler running around.

But I’ve realized the summer reading slump is just that—a seasonal slump that happens regardless of circumstance. It’s time to embrace the slump and just accept that I read much more in the cooler months when there are football games on TV and blankets to snuggle under and the sun sets earlier than I do in the warmer months when there are pool days and work projects and more family activities.

It’s been three months since I’ve shared a list of the books I’ve read, and I’ve finished a total of eleven books in that time (and three of those have been in the last two weeks!).

That’s why I’ve never met my Goodreads Challenge to read 100 books in a year—although I’m well on my way to hitting 75 this year, especially since I’ll have a newborn to cuddle for the last two months of the year—and I think I’m okay with that, as much as I’d prefer to be a more consistent reader.

Here’s what I did read (linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy!):

The Invention of Wings: With Notes by Sue Monk Kidd

The Invention of Wings: With Notes by Sue Monk Kidd

I think this may be one of the best southern fiction slave narratives that I’ve read. It’s a beautiful, heart-wrenching story based on historical events and the lives of the first female abolitionists in the U.S., and I appreciated that Kidd didn’t try to make the main character appear perfect in the face of slavery within her home but gave her a realistic struggle with the norms she’d grown up with.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

My great-grandmother suffered from Alzheimers before her death, and I remember visiting her in the nursing home while she talked about people and events from far in her past. Alzheimers has always been one of my greatest fears, and this story was a beautiful look at the struggle of a woman who is at the top of her career as a university professor when early-onset Alzheimers begins to steal her memories. But it’s also a story about the love of family in the face of the unimaginable. Not a happy story by any stretch, but one worth reading nonetheless.

The Heir byKiera Cass

The Heir (The Selection, Book 4) by Kiera Cass

I gave this book three stars on Goodreads, and that was generous. I loved the first three books in this series (not as high literature, but as fun, easy reads), and the series probably should have stopped there. This one was just silly, repeating many of the situations and characters from earlier books but without any character development. I was looking for a fun, easy read, but it just left me unsatisfied.

Trafficked: My Story of Surviving, Escaping, and Transcending Abduction into Prostitution by Sophie Hayes

Trafficked: My Story of Surviving, Escaping, and Transcending Abduction into Prostitution by Sophie Hayes

I don’t know whether sex trafficking is a growing problem today or just one that is finally being put into the spotlight, but as the mother of four girls, I’m keenly aware that many prostitutes are not there by choice and that even middle class girls are being trafficked today. Other reviewers questioned whether this story could possibly be true and why Sophie Hayes didn’t simply run away, but I found this memoir to be realistic and her reaction to the psychological games her captor played (“I will hurt your family…”) to be understandable.

Astonish Me: A novel by Maggie Shipstead

Astonish Me: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries) by Maggie Shipstead

I wouldn’t say I loved this book, although it is very well written and really interesting, but I learned more about the world of ballet than I could have imagined!

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley

Sometimes it’s challenging to review books knowing that other people are reading those reviews! I really liked this book, but it’s not one I’d recommend without any caveats. There are many references to intimacy between the main characters, but I actually thought most of the scenes were lovely descriptions of marital intimacy and not particularly graphic, so they didn’t bother me. However, there are also scenes between lesbian lovers, and while they’re still not overly graphic (and only found in the first couple of chapters), I’d hesitate to recommend this book without acknowledging those. Overall, however, I found the storyline intriguing from start to finish, and I kept reading because I was never sure what would happen next or where exactly the author was taking us!

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel by Tom Franklin

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel by Tom Franklin

This may have been my favorite book of the past few months. I liked the first three-quarters of this book, but I loved the ending. It’s heartbreaking and thought-provoking and sad and awful and beautiful all in one.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

Although I started reading this one last month—and read the first few chapters really quickly—I found myself discouraged by the prospect of “tidying my whole house once and for all” and set it aside when life got busy. However, Anne recently shared her tips for the life-changing magic of tidying up for kids, and it feels a little more realistic once again, so I hope to finish this one this week.

Amos Fortune, Free Man

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates

One of my goals over the next couple of years is to read through all of the books used in the early Classical Conversations Challenge levels (7th and 8th grade) so that I’ll be able to discuss them with the girls when they get there. (We still have a couple of years, but I’m trying to be realistic about my reading habits!)

Although I truly can’t fathom the horrors of slavery—and I honestly think we only scratch the surface when we try—I love that this story focuses on the strength of Amos Fortune and his quests for freedom and finding his sister.

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir

I avoided this book for along time because nothing about it appealed to me. But after reading yet another raving review, I finally picked it up, and I was sucked in from the first page. Highly technical (and known as hard science fiction because it includes so many scientific details), the story has the potential to be dry and boring, but I really liked the main character—despite his love of crude language and f-bombs—and I found the book exciting throughout. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie with my husband!

How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp by Shawn & Maile Smucker

How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp by Shawn & Maile Smucker

I love memoirs, and I was excited to read this one as we begin making plans for our own RV adventure. But what I love about memoirs in general is the stories themselves, and I felt like this one tried too hard to make the connection between their experiences on the road and important life lessons, and I would have rather just read about the details of their trip and made the connections myself!

***

What have you read recently? Do your reading habits follow a seasonal pattern?

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. This is quite a list for someone in the middle of a slump! 😉

    Love reading your updates, as always.

  2. I’m in a slump too, which is why I never meet my reading goals either. This year, however, I had a really productive first few months, so I have time to catch up once summer ends. I just started “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” (CC reasons also) last night. I find that when I’m in a slump, a very good book for kids can help restart the momentum. I’m remembering that last July I used “Carry on, Mr. Bowditch” for the same reason. My (non-reader) husband just picked up The Martian. He’s a science guy so I think maybe he’ll finish this one. Thanks for sharing your reads!

    1. Same here with the children’s literature. My first book this year was Little Women which got me kickstarted on reading for the last few months and I just started Anne of Green Gables to push me through the summer. I remember The Witch of Blackbird Pond and feel a reread is now in order!

  3. I have to ask why you feel it would be necessary to inform people about a lesbian love scene, especially if there are also heterosexual ones and none of them are very graphic.

    1. The same reason I informed them about the heterosexual ones…because some people prefer to avoid them altogether. 🙂

    2. I’m still thinking about this, and I’m surprised by the idea that I did something wrong by including that information. If there was gruesome violence or tons of curse words (as in the case of The Martian) or graphic sex scenes, I would also point those out (and do).

  4. I’m glad you found Trafficked as…what’s the word…it isn’t entertaining certainly, engrossing, enlightening? Anyway, that book truly moved me. It’s easy to sit in our comfortable homes and question why these girls don’t just run away, fight back, etc. It’s the mind games that are truly terrifying.

    I have hit a slump now too. I’m not quite as motivated to read as I was earlier in the year. I’ve read 50 books so far this year (with a goal of 75). Recently I have finished:

    The Lunar Chronicles (1-3) by Marissa Meyer. I think Cinder was the best so far, and I felt that Cress was longer than it needed to be, but overall I’ve enjoyed them.

    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I didn’t really like this book. I think the plot is really engaging, but I just didn’t much like the main character. And I really wanted his friend (whose name escapes me) to have a happier ending 🙁

    The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. Loved it! I listened to the audiobook narrated by Edward Hermann which was a very good choice.

    Looking for Alaska by John Green. I have to admit I am not the biggest John Green fan. For the type of book he writes – teen angst, pain and suffering – he does it very well with good characters. I just can only take so much of that before I need something more cheerful.

    The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Very thought-provoking.

    A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. There were parts of this book I really loved, but there were also several places I just had to skim…

    Currently I am reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and I’m listening to An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon on audible.

    1. I think Lunar Chronicles may have been my favorite “fun” series so far, although I agree that Cinder was by far the best!

  5. How smart to read the books coming up in CC. It will be so nice to have that prior knowledge in more ways than one, I would think. Thanks for your reviews- I hadn’t even heard of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. 🙂

  6. I haven’t read Still Alice yet! This fall for sure when my bookclub reads it but I just read her newest book Inside the O’Briens and really liked it. And I’ve been hesitant to read The Martian since it in no way appeals to me but there are so many great reviews! Good luck with the reading slump! It’s no fun but it seems like you’ve read some good books in the meantime!

  7. You read so many good ones! I think it’s funny to see Crooked Letter Crooked Letter starting to pop up a bunch of places. I randomly bought it off of Amazon after college (lived in a big city and pretty much only worked and slept), but it was one of the few books that I did read. I loved it, too!
    I keep seeing The Martian places, too, and nothing seems to appeal to me either – I am not one for Sci-fi – but maybe I should add it to my list anyway!

  8. I really liked Amos Fortune and Still Alice. Haven’t read the others.

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