Monday, January 2, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? for January 2, 2017

It's Bout of Weeks week! Also known as the week in which I try to set aside all else and read as much as possible. (Bout of Books happens three times a year, and it is a great experience. I always get so much reading done and the other participants are lovely to chat with. Click here to learn more.) So, since I'm trying to read as much as possible and get a jump-start on my reading challenges, I have lots of books to talk about, for both kids and adults.

Yesterday, I kicked off the year by reading The Family From One End Street by Eve Garnett, which I have known about for years and finally found on It was a great realistic story about growing up in a working class family in England in the 1930s. The book won the Carnegie Medal in 1938, which makes it a perfect fit for this month's Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge topic, Award Winners. I also read four vintage picture books that we own but I had never touched:  I will be counting those toward the Picture Book Reading Challenge.

I'm also reading The Windy Hill by Cornelia Meigs (again, from OpenLibrary because I like seeing a scan of the original book rather than the reformatted text and illustrations of the version available from the University of Pennsylvania). This one will count for Old School Kidlit, Newbery Through the Decades, and the Newbery Reading Challenge, though Newbery Through the Decades is the reason I'm reading it now, since this month's focus is on the 1920s. I've actually been surprised twice now by how accessible these books from the 20s actually are. I loved both Downright Dencey and The Trumpeter of Krakow, and this one is proving better and better as it goes on.

My other current read is an adult cozy mystery for the Craving for Cozies Challenge: Read and Buried by Erika Chase. This is the second book of the series, and I like it well enough, though I feel a little lost when there are references to past events as it has been months since I read the first book. But I like the main character, Lizzie, who is a reading specialist, and so far I have no idea who committed the murder, which is not always the case when I read cozies. It does have a similar plot to the first Books by the Bay mystery, A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams, but I can't blame the author. There are only so many book-themed mystery plots to go around.

On my list for the rest of the week are...
  • Love Walks In by Samantha Chase, which is the second in her Shaughnessy Brothers series. For the most part, I like the character development in Chase's romances, but I wish more of them avoided premarital sexual relations. There is never anything so explicit that I feel I shouldn't read it, but I read romance for the characters, not the sexual content, and I prefer Debbie Macomber's almost entirely sex-free books. 
  • Over the Hills and Far Away by Lavinia Russ. My husband and I recently read her collection of essays, The Girl on the Floor Will Help You, and I loved her wit and strong opinions about children's books. Some of the same events and details she relates in Girl on the Floor make their way into Over the Hills and Far Away and I'm looking forward to finishing it in the next few days.
  • The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon. I have wanted to read this for a long time, and it turns out to be a Carnegie Medal winner, so I'm hoping to get through it in time to review it for the Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge this month. Hopefully, I'll zip through it as part of the read-a-thon this week.

  • House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton. I read this in middle school and definitely didn't understand it that well, and have been meaning to re-read it for years. I still have to track down our copy, but it's an Edgar Award book so if not this week, then definitely before the month is out.
  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We own this entire series and I have never read all the way to the end, so I might take that on this year. This will be a nice quick book to have on hand for the end of the week when I want to up my Bout of Books numbers.
  • Betsy Byars books. I love Betsy Byars and her books are usually around 150 pages and easy to get through in an hour. I have a lot of them on my to-read shelf on Goodreads, so I might use this week as an excuse to cross a few of them off the list. 
What are you reading this week? 


  1. I keep thinking I should try doing the Bout of Books, but it always seems to fall on bad weeks for me! Oh well....

  2. Oh, those classic kidlit titles sound fascinating! As a history major I always preferred to learn about the everyday lives of everyday people, rather than kings and queens. That's the kind of real life stories I love, so these sound perfect for me, too!

  3. I hope you get a lot of reading done for the Bout of Books! My son has been reading through some of the Little House books and I just checked out a picture book for my toddler that is based on that series.

    Have a great week!

  4. I believe I own a copy of House of Dies Drear - I will have to find it and read it too! :)

  5. I'd love to participate in Bout of Books sometime... you've got some great books ahead. Enjoy!