It’s time to talk books once again! This month my husband was SUPER busy with his job. That meant we were laying low on weekends and watching very little Netflix and Hulu on weeknights. While I missed spending time with my husband, I did get to do a lot of reading this month. Somehow in the shortest month of the year I managed to read 10 books! Since there are a few books that I know I will ramble on about I am going to publish this Book Banter in two parts.
So let’s jump right in to part 1!
1. Mindset by Carol S. Dweck
This book has been on my “To Read” list since last summer. I was signed up for a class that focused on this topic and how it applies to teaching as part of the wonderful summer series my previous employer put on during the summer. Sadly, we moved before the class so I was not able to take it. But then I randomly saw this sitting on the library shelf and grabbed it. This book reaffirmed many things I believed about teaching and how to approach talking with young kids. It offered so many good reminders it inspired this blog post. It also revealed a lot about me personally. I found myself remembering what it felt like to be a teenager and young adult, faced with decisions about clubs, sports, friends, dating and college. I had what Dweck calls a “fixed mindset” but I tricked myself into thinking that I was super flexible and that is what would serve me best in life. Really I was afraid to fail and try things I might not be good at. The revelations I got from this book prompted me to get out of my comfort zone with some other reading this month to help me tackle things about myself that I’d like to work on. I also loved reading about successful people in athletics (coaches and athletes) and business and how their mindsets played into their success. I have a few biographies and autobiographies on my “To Read” list now. I know this will be a book I reread as it is full of so much wisdom about things that are easy to push out of our brains. I HIGHLY recommend this book. Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
2. Whose Body? By Dorothy L. Sayers
I have heard great things about this mystery series ( Lord Peter Wimsey) and finally decided to give them a try. These books are about a noble second son of an English family in 1920s London. Lord Peter Wimsey is an amateur detective and stumbles upon a murder and immediately begins investigating. I thought the Lord Peter character was interesting and his relationships with the other characters are very well written and described. But he quotes a lot of poetry in odd parts of the the book. The mystery was good. I thought there were some good twists and turns and the people involved were intriguing. At times it seemed like things were too drawn out and I found myself wanting to come to the end of the story. I do think there is hope for the series and the books are short enough that I will try the next one sometime this year. Goodreads Rating: 2 stars (I would give it 2.5 if I could)
3. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
This was our read aloud in my class for the month of February. I was so excited to pick this book up again. It is set in the lands bordering Narnia which adds to the sense of adventure and intrigue of the story. For me it felt like taking an imaginative trip to Phoenix. Which was helpful because they have been having great weather and we have not. The main character Shasta finds himself on the run with a talking Narnian horse. Both want to flee to Narnia for a better life. They meet a young royal girl and her talking horse and decide to travel together. Of course their journey is plagued with mishaps. The descriptive language in this book is delightful. There are not too many characters which made it easier for my class to connect and it made it easier for me to remember all of the voices for the characters ;). This book prompted many discussions about treating others like you would like to be treated. I love when that happens. This was a delightful book. Goodreads rating: 4 stars
4. After You by Jojo Moyes
So we talked about how I loved the prequel to this book, Me Before You, when I put it in my top ten favorite books from 2015. I was hesitant to read this because I just knew it would not be as powerful as Me Before You. I was right, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Basically the book follows Louisa as she tries to move on from the events of the last book and navigate her life in London. She unexpectedly meets a teenage girl that has major connections with the Traynor family from book 1. At first I wondered why Moyes skipped over Louisa’s European adventures (where the last book left off). But then I realized in real life grief happens at times when you usually just can’t take off and leave everything behind. Sometimes you need to navigate the hardest parts of life when everything has changed. There were quite a few touching scenes that were very well written. I loved this quote: “All I could think of was how strange it was that it was a messed up child who barely knew herself who actually had so much to teach me about the business of living.” This is such a good reminder that we can learn lessons from anyone. There is an apology in this book that was beautiful. It is what all apologies should strive to be. This is not as emotional and Me Before You, but it is still worth a read! Goodreads rating: 4 stars
5. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
This is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series written by J.K. Rowling under the pen name of Robert Galbraith. Strike is a Private Detective in London that is seeing some success since solving the high profile case in the first book. This book contains a very well imagined murder. I thought it was creative and a little creepy. The victim is an author and his murder replicates a murder scene in his unpublished manuscript. Strike’s relationship with his assistant continues to develop and it is interesting to see the two of them learn to communicate with one another. Strike is a flawed character and at times you get a little frustrated with him. In the end his flaws make you root for him to find out whodunit. I like how the author lets the reader in on Strike’s thoughts until everything clicks into place for him. Then the reader is left in the dark on a race to the end where Strike is gathering evidence to prove his theory and the reader is along for the ride. I was so excited to read that Rowling enjoys writing the series and imagines that there will be more than 7 books! I will definitely be picking up the third one soon! Goodreads rating: 4 stars
And that is all for Part 1 of February Book Banter! Look for Part 2 soon!
Until next time,
I love you more than desert sun and London fog,