Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Read-at-Home Mom Report: April 2022 Wrap-Up

My Month in Books

40 Re-reads Before 40

I re-read five more books for my 40 Re-reads Before 40 project. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (3 stars) was one of the few adult books I read when I was working as a librarian. The first time I read it, I thought it was brilliant. This second time around, with much more reading experience under my belt, it just didn't seem as remarkable. Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach (5 stars) is a YA novel about Felton Reinstein, whom puberty transforms into a high-performing athlete practically overnight. Herbach is a master of first-person narration, and this was just as good the second time around as the first. I read A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (4 stars) in eleventh grade and re-read it this month with Close Reads. I definitely got more out of it this time than I did as a teen - the emotions of the characters resonated much more strongly. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (5 stars) was a new favorite that I discovered in 2019. This time I listened to the audiobook. It's such a charming read for book lovers. Finally, after a friend asked me whether Avi would be a good author for one of her kids, I was reminded of Nothing But the Truth (3 stars). My memories of this one were very different from what is actually in the book. I usually don't like full cast audiobooks but I actually enjoyed the production of this one. 


I completed three read-alouds with my kids in April. The first was part of my 6-year-old daughter's history studies. In Search of a Homeland by Penelope Lively (4 stars) is an illustrated children's retelling of the Aeneid. I didn't love it as much as I loved the Rosemary Sutcliffe retellings of the Iliad and the Odyssey, but it was still good. I also read aloud Floating Island by Anne Parrish (5 stars) to the same child. This was like The Doll People meets Baby Island, with a clear vintage feel. I read aloud All About Sam by Lois Lowry (5 stars) to my four-year-old. She absolutely loved it and wants to read the rest of the series. 

Challenges and Book Clubs

I read The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (4 stars) throughout Lent with a small group of Close Reads listeners. I liked it, but I didn't love it the way I loved The End of the Affair. My local book club chose The Seven Last Words by Fulton Sheen (5 stars) for our April book. I struggled to get into Fulton Sheen's writing in the past, but I absolutely loved this book and will probably read it again during some future Lent. The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman (5 stars) was my pick for the Buzzword Reading Challenge, the April prompt for which was  big and little. I have never read a Waxman book I didn't love, and I especially enjoyed this one because of the child characters. For the Read Your Bookshelves Challenge, I needed to find a book with my initials in the title.  I ended up reading a romance novella set during Thanksgiving, Thankful for Love by Kristen Ethridge (4 stars) which does include K, R, and F.

The #WorldFullofBooks group on Instagram read poetry in April, and I ended up getting really into the theme. I finished The Divine Comedy (5 stars) on Easter with 100 Days of Dante. Then I listened to Three Simple Lines by Natalie Goldberg (3 stars), which is her memoir about discovering and attempting to write haiku. Then I read a novel in verse, The Lightning Dreamer by Margarita Engle (2 stars), which was too heavy-handed with its feminist message, but which I decided to finish anyway because it counted for the Goldberry books challenge prompt of a biography of a non-American. I finished out the month will three poetry collections borrowed from the public library: Felicity by Mary Oliver (4 stars), The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins (3 stars), and And Short the Season by Maxine Kumin (3 stars).

Review Copies

I read three review copies this month. Birdie's Bargain by Katherine Paterson (3 stars) had some questionable theology in it that would keep from me giving it to my Catholic kids even though I like the writing. All the Right Reasons by Bethany Mangle (5 stars) was an unexpected 5-star read about a mother-daughter relationship that is challenged when they go on a reality show to find a new love connection for the mother. To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters (4 stars) is the third book in a regency romance series. I haven't read the first two yet, but this one was so funny and well-written that I'm planning to go back and listen to the others. 

Nonfiction Mood Reading

My mood reading was very eclectic during April. I picked up three nonfiction titles. This Beautiful Truth by Sarah Clarkson (5 stars) is a great spiritual read about how to find God in our lives in times of darkness. Clarkson isn't Catholic, but this book is very Catholic-friendly. I saw a lot of praise for it on Instagram and it was absolutely well-deserved. I think this is Clarkson's best book to date. I borrowed Present Over Perfect (3 stars) on audio from the library after hearing Shauna Niequist on What Should I Read Next? There were some good little nuggets to be gleaned from this, but I felt like I always had to be on guard against all the self-help rhetoric, some of which is contrary to Catholic teaching. I chose to listen to Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott (4 stars) based on how much I enjoyed her previous book, I Miss You When I Blink. I enjoyed this one as well, but it wasn't a 5-star read like the earlier title. 

Fiction Mood Reading

Friendshipped by Savannah Scott (3 stars) is a clean romantic comedy I learned about on Instagram. I have been trying out a few different authors and series, and this one was a fun palate cleanser.  Billy Miller Makes a Wish by Kevin Henkes (5 stars) is the sequel to The Year of Billy Miller. I listened to the audiobook to preview it for my kids, and I'm pleased to say I have no qualms about letting them read it. I listened and read along to Snow in April by Rosamunde Pilcher (5 stars). I had one false start with it where my mind wandered and I had to start over, but it ended up being a 5-star read. I just love Pilcher's writing style. I ended the month with the next book in a favorite series I have been neglecting, Stayin' Alive by Julie Mulhern (4 stars). As is often the case with mysteries, I loved the setting and characters but have already forgotten everything about the murder. 

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

A. (girl, 2 years old) 

  • E is for Easter by Greg Paprocki 

R. (boy, 2 years old)

  • Ollie's Easter Eggs by Olivier Dunrea
  • National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Animals
  • Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Garth Williams 

E. (girl, 4 years old)

  • Dan Frontier series 
  • Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same by Grace Lin 
  • The Golly Sisters Go West by Betsy Byars 
  • Hooray for the Golly Sisters by Betsy Byars 
  • The Skeleton Inside You by Philip Balestrino
  • Hot as an Ice Cube by Philip Balestrino 
  • Snakes are Hunters by Patricia Lauber 
  • The Pig War by Betty Baker 

C. (girl, 6 years old)

  • The Fantastic Flying Journey by Gerald Durrell 
  • Redwall by Brian Jacques 
  • Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay 

M. (girl, 8 years old)

  • No Other White Men by Julia Davis Adams
  • Violet for Bonaparte by Geoffrey Trease 
  • The Slave Who Freed Haiti by Katherine Scherman 
  • The Pirate Lafitte and the Battle of New Orleans by Robert Tallant 
  • Andrew Jackson by Clara Ingram Judson 
  • Make way for Sam Houston by Jean Fritz 
  • Cody and the Secrets of the Universe by Tricia Springstubb

My husband 

  • The Fort of Gold by Eilis Dillon
  • Dan Frontier Goes to Congress by William Hurley
  • The King's Beard by Leonard Wibberley
  • People of Pineapple Place by Anne Lindbergh 

Up Next For Me

My big focus for May will be on reading Gone with the Wind for the Goldberry reading challenge where the prompt is to read my mother's favorite book. I also want to read The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer which a friend gave me for Christmas, and I need to read Captain of Dragoons by Ronald Welch for  a discussion with my husband and that same friend. I'm also doing a short story read-a-thon hosted by Chantel Reads All Day on YouTube. 

I'm adding this post to the link-up for An Open Book at 

No comments:

Post a Comment