Wednesday, June 1, 2022

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

My Month in Books



This month, I participated in a short story and essay read-a-thon hosted by booktubers Chantel Reads All Day, What Brings Corina Joy, and Mitzi Reads and Writes. I completed the whole Bingo card. Here are the pieces I read and which prompts they fulfilled.
  • From The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: "A Case of Identity" (1800s)
  • From Flowers in the Rain and Other Stories by Rosamund Pilcher:  "Flowers in the Rain" (weather) 
  • From Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy: "It's Only a Day" (another country); "Liberty Green" (color in title); "The Cure for Sleeplessness" (written by a woman); "Dolly's Mother" (name in title)
  • From The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg: "The Only One of Millions Just Like Him" (number in title); "The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted" (2000s)
  • From Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang: "The Evolution of Human Science" (science fiction); "Story of Your Life" (adapted to screen)
  • From Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor: "Total Effect and the Eighth Grade" (essay); "The King of Birds" (favorite author); "The Fiction Writer and His Country" (free space) 
  • From Kinsey and Me by Sue Grafton: "The Lying Game" (mystery)
  • From Telling Time by Nancy Willard: "The Birds and the Beasts Were There" (nature)
  • From The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang: "Toads and Diamonds" (fairy tale); "Beauty and the Beast" (fantasy) 
  • From Fables for Our Time by James Thurber: "The Unicorn in the Garden" (humor/satire) 
  • From my Kindle Library: "Gruff" by Rachel Kovaciny (retelling); "No Match for a Good Story" by Rachel Kovaciny (new-to-you author) 
  • Found online: "Winter Dreams" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1900s); "Joy" by Anton Chekhov (translated);  "The Wedding-Knell" by Nathaniel Hawthorne (gothic horror), "The Destructors" by Graham Greene (allegory) 
  • From the public library: Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris (play)

40 Re-Reads Before 40


I'm officially halfway finished with this project! My first re-read of the month was  Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells (5 stars), which I first read when I was in college. The audiobook was excellent and I enjoyed the world of the story every bit as much this time around as I did the first time.  The second re-read I picked up was 11th grade assigned reading: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (5 stars). I liked this book fine as a teenager but appreciated it so much more 20+ years later. I also re-read two books that I have often identified as favorites:  That Summer by Sarah Dessen (5 stars) and Empire Falls by Richard Russo . Dessen's writing never disappoints, and Russo does a beautiful job of capturing small-town life.  My last re-read of the month was Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes. Julia Whelan's narration of the audiobook highlights just how great the dialogue is.  



I read two books aloud to my girls this month. I had never previously read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (5 stars), and we all loved it. Reading aloud in a Yorkshire accent isn't easy, but it was worth giving it a try. We also read The People in Pineapple Place by Anne Lindbergh (4 stars), which was mostly a light, easy fantasy read, but it had a lovely unexpectedly poignant ending. 

Challenges and Book Clubs


I read Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (5 stars) for the Goldberry challenge, where the May prompt was to read a book your mom (or grandmother or wife) loves. Gone with the Wind is my mom's favorite book and I totally understand why. I could not put it down. For the Read Your Bookshelf challenge, the prompt was a new-to-you author. I read my ARC of The Treehouse on Dog River Road by Catherine Drake (3 stars). I loved the premise, but there were a lot of little problems in the book that would have felt minor on their own but which, taken together, became tedious. For the Buzzword Reading Challenge, the prompt was a book with a direction in the title, so I chose Up Island by Anne Rivers Siddons. This was the most disappointing book I've read by this author so far, and were I not trying to become a Siddons completist someday, I probably would have abandoned it.  For the summer (May 19 to August 19), I've created an ebook reading challenge for myself to help me prioritize some digital books, especially Kindle Unlimited titles I will lose access to when my subscription expires in August. For that I read two books Cloaked by Rachel Kovaciny (4 stars) and 6 Dates to Disaster by Cynthia T. Toney (5 stars).  

For the Ronald Welch Zoom book club that my husband and I have going with a friend we read Captain of Dragoons (5 stars). I loved it because it surprised me and made me gasp, even though this might just be because I am not a careful reader and missed a lot of cues. For #WorldFullofBooks, the theme was Shakespeare and I kind of copped out and read a cozy mystery involving Shakespeare instead of tackling a place as I had intended. The book was Untimely Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan (4 stars). It was well-written and had a unique feel compared to other cozies, but I don't plan to continue the series. 

Mood Reading


My mood reading was a bit eclectic this month. I read three romance novellas by Ali Hazelwood: Under One Roof (4 stars), Stuck with You (4 stars), and Below Zero (3 stars). The sex scenes in these are about as graphic as they can be, and I skipped them entirely on the audiobook. The writing in the rest of the stories is brilliant, but I do wish authors would tone down the sexual detail. (Below Zero had the most sex in it, and Under One Roof was the best story of the three.) 

I also read 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status by Cynthia T. Toney, which is book two in the Bird Face series. (6 Dates to Disaster, mentioned above, is book 3). Toney is like a Catholic Judy Blume, and I love all of her books that I've read so far. I also listened to Falling for Your Best Friend's Twin by Emma St. Clair, which is a rom-com that actually made me laugh. I plan to read more from the series this summer. My husband suggested that I read Adam and the Golden Cock by Alice Dalgliesh (4 stars) one day, and I did so in one sitting. Finally, I read The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer, which was a gift from the same friend who does the Zoom book club with my husband and me. I enjoyed my first Heyer experience, melodramatic though the story was, and I'm excited to try more of her books.

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

A. (girl, 2 years old)

  • Babies by Gyo Fujikawa 
  • The Baby's Catalogue by Janet and Allen Ahlberg

R. (boy, 2 years old)

  • Adventure Awaits by Henry Cole 
  • At the Pond by David Elliott
  • In the Woods by David Elliott
  • Demolition by Sally Sutton 
  • Construction by Sally Sutton 
  • Roadwork by Sally Sutton 
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mr. Rogers 

E. (girl, 4 years old)  

  • books from the Cowboy Sam series 
  • books from the Dan Frontier series 
  • My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  • Pony Scouts series by Catherine Hapka 
  • Katie Woo and Friends by Fran Manushkin 

C. (girl, 6 years old) 

  • Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld 
  • Redwall by Brian Jacques
  • The Trouble with Jenny's Ear by Oliver Butterworth  

M. (girl, 8 years old)

  • The Erie Canal by Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • The Santa Fe Trail by Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • Kit Carson and the Wild Frontier by Ralph Moody
  • Remember the Alamo by Robert Penn Warren
  • Simon Bolivar: The Brave Liberator by Arnold Whitridge

My husband 

  • The Prisoner of Pineapple Place by Anne Lindbergh
  • The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  • Captain of Dragoons by Ronald Welch

Up Next for Me

In June I'll be focusing on finishing Tess of the D'urbervilles with the Close Reads podcast and reading Foucault's Pendulum for the Goldberry challenge prompt of a book your father or husband loves. (My husband asked me to read this one.) I'm also planning to read All in Good Time by Carolyn Astfalk and Book Lovers by Emily Henry. 

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

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