I faced a big reading stumbling block this month with books that were too bad for me to really enjoy but also too good to stop reading-- does that make sense? I have gotten really good at knowing pretty quickly if a title is something I am never going to finish, but the in-between books are still slowing me down. Maybe I need to be more ruthless? I ended up wasting a couple of days on each one and then stopping.
Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs: YUCK. This books smacks of opportunism and it's just not that interesting. (ETA: I couldn't stop thinking about it, though, so maybe I liked it better than I initially thought?)
Family and Other Catastrophes by Alexandra Borowitz: Breezy and funny but I just didn't actually like any of the characters, and they weren't compelling enough to not like them and still like the book, you know?
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: I mean. Okay. I was entertained by this book. I am not going to lie about that. But there are problems.
Visible Empire by Hannah Pitard: Whoa. Read this one. It's cool.
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy: A great thriller that kept me guessing.
Ghosted by Rosie Walsh: Yes! Tense and entertaining. I read it in an afternoon.
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle: This book is charming and delightful. I loved it, but not enough to read it during the day, so I read a page here and a page there at night-- my fault, not the book's.
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman: I have to say, I read most of this the night before my followup mammogram and in the actual waiting room and a little bit between mammogram and ultrasound. And that's how I knew this thriller was a good one because I was totally into it even though my mind was elsewhere.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara: OH MY GOSH! This book is so scary! And I just loved the way it was written with the memoir pieces stuck in-- a wonderful read but I haven't been falling asleep very easily.
How to Be a Happier Parent by KJ Dell'Antonia: I have been reading articles, interviews, and reviews for this book, and I knew I would love it. But you guys! I LOVED IT SO MUCH. It was great to read practical advice about things that are hard for us right now-- over-scheduling and sibling conflict in particular. But! I also LOVED the general perspective. Basically, she is saying that these are the happy golden days even if they don;t always feel so happy. Instead of beating ourselves up for not savoring the moment, we need to analyze the moment and figure out how to make it savor-able. Most of the time, she argues for natural consequences for the kids and tells parents to chill out. Just because your kids are upset with each other, doesn't mean you have to be upset with them. I LOVED THIS BOOK. We have already tried to make Dorothy a morning playlist to help her get dressed more easily (maybe an early success) and approached Harry's missing schoolwork problem from a habit-formation perspective. I have also realized that Ben is much better than I am at holding the kids accountable for chores (because his standards are lower for success on household tasks, and maybe mine should be, too) and that we need to give our kids more room to fail so they can appreciate external consequences. A great read.
The Clock Dance by Anne Tyler: Oh, to hold a new Anne Tyler and think about the story that is waiting for you! Such a delight. This one is incredible. I stayed up for hours reading it and finished it the next morning lying back on my pillows with a warm cup of coffee, cinnamon rolls in the oven, the house silent. A treat all of it.