Monday, April 5, 2021

Read-at-Home Mom Report: March 2021 Wrap-Up

My Month in Books

In March, I read 16 books, 8 of which were middle grade titles I chose for #MiddleGradeMarch on Instagram. I gave up audiobooks for Lent, but I did allow myself to finish listening to the Lord of the Rings trilogy since I was already more than halfway through my re-read of the series by Ash Wednesday. Here are the 16 titles: 

Sounder by William H. Armstrong
[reviewed on Instagram]
I'm not a dog person (or a dog book person), but this is a truly beautifully written children's novel about a young black boy whose father has gone to jail, leaving behind his hunting dog who was injured during the arrest. 

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller
[reviewed on the blog]
I set a goal to read three Newbery medal winners in 2021, and since this was the most recent winner, I decided to just knock it off my list. I was really not a fan. 

Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather
[reviewed on Goodreads]
While there are Cather novels I prefer over this one, I still really liked this story of a young music student and her misguided, broken heart. 

The House on the Point by Benjamin Hoff
[reviewed on Goodreads
This is a retelling of a Hardy Boys book. It was fun to read a new take on an old series. 

Sunshine by Marion Dane Bauer
[reviewed on the blog]
This was an ARC from Candlewick Press that wound up being a big disappointment. I couldn't get past the message that it's heroic for a woman to abandon her child. 

The Green Poodles by Charlotte Baker
[reviewed on the blog]
I read aloud this vintage children's novel to my three big girls, and they loved it. It had a lot of, bordering on too many, details about raising and training poodles, but my kids didn't mind. 

Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy
[reviewed on Goodreads]
This was my first Binchy and my favorite book of the entire month. I loved all the characters as well as the central setting of a new heart clinic in Ireland. 

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois
[review coming soon on the blog]
This was another read-aloud with my big girls, and it was a huge hit, even with my 5-year-old who is usually not into this kind of story.

Trace by Patricia Cornwell
[reviewed on Goodreads]
I go up and down with how I feel about this series, but this one was okay, so I'm going to keep reading through them for now, since I own used copies of all the rest of the titles. 

It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville
[review coming soon on the blog]
I first read this in library school before I had Goodreads or a blog, so I counted it as unread on my list of Newbery winners until re-reading it this month. I will post a review soon. 

Death Takes Up a Collection by Sister Carol Anne O'Marie
[reviewed on Goodreads]
This series of murder mysteries starring an amateur detective who is also a nun is a fun palate cleanser every now and then. I picked up this book to read after realizing it was set in mid-March.

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
[reviewed on Goodreads]
I left this book unfinished years ago and never knew how the ending differed in the book and the movie. Now I know, and I was not disappointed.

Glass Houses by Louise Penny
[reviewed on Goodreads]
This is the first book in this series where I've seriously questioned Gamache's behavior. I think my ultimate opinion on this one will be determined by the trajectory of the series in future books. 

Motherhood Redeemed by Kimberly Cook
[reviewed on Goodreads]
I read this for an upcoming post at Catholic Mom. Stay tuned!

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
[reviewed on the blog]
The writing in this book was really excellent. It wasn't a good choice when I wanted a whodunit or a more typical true crime book and I had set it aside, but it was great when I went into it with no expectations.  

The Next Great Jane by K.L. Going
[reviewed on the blog]
This was a nice, light middle grade read to close out the month. 

The Best of the Bunch

My favorite book this month, without question, was Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy. I immediately bought two more of her books that are related to this one and I can't wait to read them. I'm also keeping this book, which is basically unheard of. 

As for the rest of the family's reading...

My husband finished reading The Ramsay Scallop by Frances Temple, and he insists that I need to read it next so I can warn people away from it. Apparently its treatment of Christianity leaves much to be desired. He is now reading The Summer Birds by Penelope Farmer which is enjoying much more.

My seven-year-old daughter M. is reading On Tide Mill Lane by Melissa Wiley, book 2 in the Charlotte series spun off from Little House on the Prairie. 

My five-year-old daughter, C., is still plugging along in the Betsy-Tacy series. She has also read Elisa in the Middle and Rip-Roaring Russell, both by Johanna Hurwitz, which my mom bought in response to C's request for books involving babies. 

My three-year-old daughter, E., has started listening to me read aloud from The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook, and she is hooked! 

My one-year-old twins, son R. and daughter A. are not getting as much read-aloud time as I would like, but they recently enjoyed looking through First 100 Words by Roger Priddy. 

Up Next For Me

Heading into April, I've started Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I had planned to read this later in the year, but there were so many lovely tributes to the author when he died that I decided to move it up. I'm also reading And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School by Judith Warner and I just started listening to American Royals by Katherine McGee. Beyond these, I have no solid plans yet, other than to read The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God by Ruth Pakaluk for book club. 

Linking Up

I'm sharing this post to four link-ups: 

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