Hi everyone! Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve made an appearance here… so much for my monthly reading wrap-ups and frequent book reviews…
I think I’ve got a pretty good excuse though? Coincidentally, my last blog post was around the time we found out that I’m growing a tiny human inside of me! (Well, to be honest, the human is not feeling so tiny these days…)
We are SO excited to welcome a little bookworm into the world this August! I won’t say I haven’t had time for blogging, but I certainly haven’t made time for blogging. Between teaching full time, being ridiculously sick during the first trimester, buying and moving into our first house, and preparing for baby, I’ve been pretty exhausted. I have still managed to stay on track with my reading goal for this year – miraculously!
So here’s a little update on reading and life.
My Goodreads reading challenge for this year is 50 books! I know my life is about to change a LOT, so I lowered it from last year’s goal.
Well, instead of a monthly wrap-up, let’s go for a 6-month wrap-up! Here’s a summary of my reading from January-June.
Total Number of Books: 30
Total Number of Pages: 9,702 (that was way too much math for a Saturday morning)
Average Pages per Book: 323
Average Rating: 4.06
Here’s the list with my ratings (and a summary of my rating system below):
- The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton ★★★★
- Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur ★★★★★
- The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur ★★★★★
- Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? by Jena Pincott ★★★★
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery ★★★★
- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne ★★★★
- Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell ★★★★
- Keeper’n Me by Richard Wagamese ★★★★
- By Chance Alone by Max Eisen ★★★★★
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling ★★★
- Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard ★★★★
- How to Stop Time by Matt Haig ★★★★
- Wishtree by Katherine Applegate ★★★★
- Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung ★★★★★
- Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent ★★★★
- Brother by David Chariandy ★★★
- Fablehaven by Brandon Mull ★★★
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz ★★★★
- The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton ★★★★
- Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown ★★★★
- Circe by Madeline Miller ★★★
- The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton ★★★★
- The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox Gurdon ★★★★
- When We Found Home by Susan Mallery ★★★
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte ★★★★
- A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin ★★★★★
- Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ★★★★★
- Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin ★★★★★
- Rick Mercer Final Report by Rick Mercer ★★★★
- On the Come Up by Angie Thomas ★★★★
Here are a few of my top reads so far this year:
By Chance Alone by Max Eisen ★★★★★
Max Eisen just turned 90 years old. His memoir details his tragic, brutal, and heartbreaking experiences as a survivor of the Holocaust. His story is incomprehensible, but so important. I had to set the book down several times because it made me so emotional. But that is what it is meant to do. Some of the most important books are the hardest to read. I am so happy that this book won Canada Reads 2019, because it truly is a story that needs to be told and shared – especially amidst the rise of divisions based on race, ethnicity, and nationality.
“I am inspired by the need to document my story so others may learn from the past. On a personal level, I have a highly developed sense of observation of the world around me, which constantly inspires and motivates me to take action.”
Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung ★★★★★
Homes was another Canada Reads finalist, and I love this story and also how it ended up being written. Abu Bakr’s family fled their home in Iraq and moved to Homs Syria, just before the civil war broke out. The book details Abu Bakr’s experience growing up in a war zone and eventually finding safety in Canada. Winnie Yeung, his high school English teacher here in Canada, has listened to his story and written it, as told by him and his family. It’s eye-opening, and sheds light on the experiences of immigrants and refugees. Another important and timely read.
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin ★★★★★
The last season of Game of Thrones on TV got me back into reading the book series (because it is just so much better!). I just love the description, detail, and all the different plot lines. If you haven’t read the books, I definitely recommend them!
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ★★★★★
I listened to this on audiobook and it was SO GOOD! An entire cast reads it, and it honestly felt like I was listening to interviews with real people who had experienced these things. In fact, it was so convincing that I googled the band and was looking for some photos and their songs… when I realized that they don’t actually exist. THAT is good fiction! I can’t say whether it would be as engaging to read, but I would definitely recommend the audiobook.
As I mentioned above, it’s been a big year for us! We are expecting our first baby in August, which we are so excited about! We’ve decided to keep the sex a surprise, and are looking forward to meeting our little munchkin this summer. I’m lucky that my pregnancy has gone well so far. I had a lot of “morning” (hah – it’s actually 24/7) sickness in the first trimester, but since then I have just been tired, hungry, and sore. I’ve always wanted children, but I always dreaded being pregnant. Surprisingly, I’m enjoying it for the most part! Sure, some days are frustrating and increasingly uncomfortable, but it is also amazing what my body is going through. I love feeling baby move around and watching my belly wiggle and ripple, trying to figure out which body part is jutting out here or there. Yup, now I’m being one of those cheesy people who declares that pregnancy is just “such a miracle!” Haha… who’d have thought.
We also bought and moved into our first house this spring! We absolutely love it, and I’ve enjoyed collecting plant babies…
Plus we have the perfect reading window ledge in our bedroom (pictured here).
I’ve now finished teaching for the year, and it’s going to feel so strange not going back in September! I’m definitely going to miss all of my students and coworkers, but I’m also looking forward to new adventures in motherhood.
My little bookish shop, Bibliophile Belle’s Boutique, is still going strong, and I’m currently working on my last restock of book sleeves before baby arrives!
AND just because there aren’t already enough new and exciting things happening in life this year, my friend Kristen (@my.book.is.calling) and I have started a Canadian book subscription box – The Uniquely Bookish Box – which will debut in October. Visit our Instagram or Facebook pages for more information. Our website will be launching soon, with pre-orders happening in July!
Well, that’s about it for now! Hopefully I’ll be around more often now that I am off work and have a bit more time on my hands. Let me know what is new in your life – reading or otherwise!