Halfway There

2 Jul

reading challenge

I almost included Bon Jovi lyrics.  Almost. 10 points if you name the song,

Anywho, June is over. How did that even happen?  2013 is halfway over, which seems cray-cray but looking back, we’ve actually gotten a TON done.  Including reading. I’ve read 18 books thus far, with a goal of 34 by the end of the year. That’s 2% ahead of schedule–I love being ahead of schedule…that rarely happens anymore. 🙂

reading challenge snapshot

So, if you’re still looking for a few good beach reads (take me with you, please!), or just looking for a few good laughs, tears, or angel-demon love, here’s what I’ve been reading.

Parenting Books


How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Like the title suggests, the book explores how character building and character education lead to more successful outcomes than academic goals.  For far too long, children have been looked at as input x and y will come out; that is, drill vocabulary and sight words, and your child will score high on his SAT’s.  Obviously, that’s not the case, and there’s many factors influencing outcomes for kids. I especially liked that there was an emphasis on bonding with your kids and treating them with respect without being preachy.  It was  reminiscent of Jonathon Kozol’s Savage Inequalities, and a little Freakonomics-ish.


Honest Toddler Review

Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting

If you haven’t read Honest Toddler, go right now. No seriously. Go, come back later.  I think we could be good friends in real-life.  I looked forward to this book all year, and it didn’t disappoint.  Though, I am a bit disappointed that I talked about writing a book like this a couple years ago.  Always one step behind…


crappy pictures

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures

Another blog favorite.  Check it out.  I read this book after reading I Just Want to Pee Alone, and I loved this positive tone of Crappy Pictures over Pee Alone: yes, parenting is hard, but it’s hilarious and totally worth it.


I Just Want to Pee Alone: A Collection of Humorous Essays by Kick Ass Mom Bloggers

Again, I just thought this book came off negative.  More of like, kids are horrible, stay away.  Although the first essay was hilarious, like can’t catch my breath pee my pants hilarious, the rest of the book left something to be desired.  I really felt like a lot of authors wished they hadn’t had kids or resent their kids, and that’s never a good place to be.


Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic

If someone asked me to describe my child, I’d just hand them the title page of this book. Nailed it! I read this back in February, which I shall now deem “the dark days”, and I think I almost cried in relief while reading: you get it, you really get it.  There’s a line in the book that says something like, “Do people often describe your child as Dennis the Menace?” Yes! Yes, just today that happened actually.  Matthew often gets compliments about his behavior, development and people question why I’m so tired and stressed, but I swear to God I feel drained at the end of the day, like I’m parenting 10 times harder than I should need to be. Does that make sense? No? This book isn’t for you. Yes, you feel me? This book will help!


Montessori Madness: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education

Yes, we’re those parents. You know, the one’s who stressed out about schools before Matthew was born.  The good news is that we’re open-minded.  The bad news is that we’re no closer to a solution.  But we like the idea of Montessori.  The idea.  Not so much the cost, the sense of elitism, or the way it is implemented in most “Montessori” programs.  Did you get all that?  It doesn’t really have anything to do with the book, but if you’re in the same boat as us, this book provided an interesting perspective.


Raising Boys: Why Boys are Different And How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-Balanced Men

The title pretty much sums up the plot of this book. Ha! Lots of talk about how boys are different than girls (duh!), research on what they need to make them happy and successful.  I highlighted a bunch in this book, and was really inspired by the fact by when Matthew hits 7-12, he won’t really need me much anymore and will latch on to Eric. Huzzah! 🙂


NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

I talked about this book here.

Random Non-Fiction Books


I’ve read numerous reviews on how hilarious this is.  I needed a few good laughs.  I think I was short-changed a bit.  I didn’t really find it that funny.  It read more of a defense against her decision to do Sarah Palin on SNL.  Maybe I’m not liberal enough or funny enough to “get” it.


Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think We Do

Most of the book was interesting.  I think the problem was that too many of the studies outlined in the book have already been talked about in mainstream media, such as the study where the soup bowls were continuously filled up from under-the-table tubes, and *gasp* people kept eating.  This study always made me chuckle because pretty sure if my bowl kept refilling, I’d keep eating, too. Mostly because I’d think I’d gone crazy or something.  But there were a few helpful tips spread throughout.


The Milk Mem0s: How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business With Babies-and How You Can Too

Again, disappointed with this book. I thought it was going to be chock full of inspiring moments and tips for new moms, but alas, there was such literary greatness as, “I brought in a box of tissues, help yourself”. Aka, not very helpful, not very inspirational, and very generic in what could have a been a very personal and encouraging book.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

This book got a bit long and winded at points, but I found it really interesting.  Probably because I’m an introvert.  And like the author, I’ve trained myself to be able to give kick-ass presentations, speak in front of large crowds, heck, I’ve even sung and acted, but put me in a room and tell me to talk to people, and I freak.

Fiction Books

Blackberry Winter

Why would one read a book they know is sad? Because they’re gluttons for punishment.  If you haven’t heard about this book yet, you’re probably not reading your blogs close enough or scouring your Pinterest boards with a discerning eye.  Back in March, Eric and I went out for the evening and stayed in a hotel to celebrate my birthday.  What did I do for fun?  Shave my legs and read this book.  Which resulted in crying all night.  This would not have happened pre-baby. Now? Now I cry at commercials and random facebook posts.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book, but you’ll snuggle your littles ones a little closer at night.


Daughter of Smoke & Bone & Days of Blood and Starlight

Ahhh! These books are so good.  This is not normally something I’d read, but after reading this review, I decided to give it a shot.  I think I read both books in two days. I just found out the 3rd book in the series, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, has been pushed back to April 2014. Scroll down to the comments here to see how I feel about that. Definitely some of the best books I’ve read in awhile.


Calling Me Home

I just finished this and I would say it’s good. Just good. Which isn’t a bad thing. It started off a little slow for me, but picked up by the middle.  It was also a predictable, but again, that’s not a bad thing.  I really enjoyed just being able to sprawl out in bed a night and read a few chapters at a time without feeling riveted to stay up until 2am reading.

Home & Life Books

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love

Like their blog, lots of good ideas here.  And it looks cute and trendy sitting on the coffee table. 🙂


Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life: The Quick Start Guide

Lots and lots of little ideas to get and stay organized.  Since this is an e-book, there’s lots of links to blogs, inspiration pictures, and products.  At only $4.99, it’s a quick read and I found a few new blogs to follow out of it.  Also written by the blogger behind Modern Parents Messy Kids.


I haven’t decided what to read next…any suggestions?  Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

I'd love to hear what you think! Leave a comment below.

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