Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Read-at-Home Mom Report: May 2023 Wrap-Up

May Favorites 

I read a lot of books this month, but a smaller number of five-star titles than in recent months. These six were my five-star books in May. 

The Habit of Being by Flannery O'Connor
This collection of letters is now tied with Brideshead Revisited as my favorite book of all time. I have always liked Flannery, but reading all of these letters made me appreciate her writing talent, her faith, and her sense of humor on a whole new level. I will definitely read this book again and again. 

The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica 
I picked up this thriller at random and it was such a twisty rollercoaster ride. I didn't guess at all what was going to happen, and I loved how clever the author was at both hinting at the twist and keeping me in the dark until the reveal. 

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
My dad always talked about this one, and I know he would be happy that I finally got around to reading it. I was really surprised  by the literary quality of the writing. I think this is the only book I've ever read in the noir genre, and I really liked it. I love The Thin Man movies and want to read that book too.  

Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez
This author is just such a great writer. I don't always like the vulgar humor in the dialogue and I skip the steamy scenes, but her character development is so spot-on. The male main character in this romance is an introvert who has anxiety and I just found him so relatable. He also makes an unbelievable sacrifice to help the female main character's family that was just so heartwarming. 

Until the Rising by Amber Kirkpatrick 
My friend Amber wrote this medieval-style fantasy story set in a distant future. It's the coming-of-age story of Tristan, who longs to reconnect with the family he lost as a young boy. I couldn't put this book down, and I just know that if all fantasy books were like this one, I would read many more of them. 

...And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold
This is one of the Newbery winners I had been putting off, and I am kicking myself for waiting so long! This is a great story about a boy from a sheep-herding family in New Mexico who longs to go with his father into the Sangre de Cristo mountains for the summer but has never been deemed mature enough. The most remarkable thing about the writing is the way it infuses English prose with the flavor of the Spanish language. 

Stand-Alone Books

  • Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins (3 stars)
  • The Blue Bedroom by Rosamunde Pilcher (3 stars)
  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (3 stars)
  • Almost Everything by Anne Lamott (4 stars)
    This one's not fully aligned with Catholic teaching, so it's good to be cautious, but I do love her writing.

Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide 

  • The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane (4 stars)
  • Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld (4 stars)


  • Martin Luther by May McNeer (We had to make sure to balance this one with the Catholic perspective. It was a bit over-the-top in its portrayal of Luther as a hero.)
  • Time at the Top by Edward Ormondroyd (4 stars)
  • D'aulaires' Book of Greek Myths (5 stars)

Series Books 

  • Naked in Death (In Death Book 1) by J.D. Robb (4 stars)
  • Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy Book 1) by C.S. Lewis (3 stars)
  • Falling For Your Boss (Love Cliches Book 2) by Emma St. Clair
  • Legends in Exile (Fables Volume 1) by Bill Willingham 
  • Animal Farm (Fables Volume 2) by Bill Willingham 
  • Glory in Death (In Death Book 2) by J.D. Robb (3 stars)
  • Storybook Love (Fables Volume 3) by Bill Willingham 
  • T is for Trespass (Kinsey Millhone Book 20) by Sue Grafton 
  • The Road to Waterloo (Carey Family Book 13) by Ronald Welch 

Did Not Finish

  • Happy Place by Emily Henry
    I'm too old for this book. I just couldn't relate to the immaturity of the characters. 
  • Funny Feelings by Tarah Dewitt
    I couldn't get into this one. 
  • Peg and Rose Solve a Murder by Laurien Berenson 
    This was a DNF because one of the main characters is a former nun who ran off with a priest and I just couldn't put up with it. 
  • The Book Proposal by K.J. Micciche 
    This one had a lot of sexual innuendo and a lot of anti-religious comments. Nope.
  • Unraveling by Peggy Orenstein
    I'm not reading books written in 2023 that scold people for not "following the science" in 2020. It's both too late and too soon.

Family Reading Lists 

M (girl, 9 years, 6 months)

  • The Treasure Trove of the Sun by Mikhail Mikhailovich Prishvin
  • Little Girl From the City by L. Voronkova
  • The Impossible Journey by Gloria Whelan
  • Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in the Mystery of the Talking Skull by Robert Arthur
  • Burying the Sun by Gloria Whelan
  • Winston Churchill by Quentin Reynolds
  • Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot by Margot Theis Raven
  • To Build a Land by Sally Watson 
  • Teammates by Peter Golenbock
  • Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators and the Secret of the Crooked Cat by William Arden

C (girl, 7 years, 8 months)

  • The Doll Shop Downstairs by Yona Zeldis
  • Cats in the Doll Shop by Yona Zeldis 
  • The Conqueror by Margaret Leighton 
  • Doctor Dolittle's Garden by Hugh Lofting 
  • The Spanish Armada by C. Walter Hodges 
  • Good Queen Bess by Diane Stanley

E (girl, 5 years, 7 months) 

  • Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill
  • Jenny's Midnight Adventure by Esther Averill 
  • Captains of the City Streets by Esther Averill
  • Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary 
  • Back to School with Betsy by Carolyn Haywood 
  • The Happy Hollisters and the Ghost Horse Mystery by Jerry West 
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • D'aulaires' Book of Greek Myths

R (boy 3 years, 2 months)

  • The Three Bears by Byron Barton 
  • Oceanarium by Loveday Trinick
  • Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin 
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
  • Fire Truck by Peter Sis 
  • I Love You, Little Shark by Jeffrey Burton 
  • Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
  • Mama Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming 

A (girl, 3 years, 2 months)

  • Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
  • Eloise Wilkin Treasury 
  • Hope is a Hop by Katrina Moore 
  • Henry's Pizzas by Robert Quackenbush 
  • Henry's Duckling Days by Robert Quackenbush 
  • Stanley series by William Bee 
  • Lake Life with You by Cindy Jin 

My husband 

  • The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell 

Up Next For Me

In June, I'll be discussing Perelandra at book club, finishing The Scarlet Letter with Close Reads, and focusing on thrillers for #WorldFullofBooks.

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