2017 Book ReviewBooks

Recent Book Reads, Favorite Shows, and Music Recommendations!

By March 27, 2017 June 20th, 2019 9 Comments

Good books, a fantastic medical drama, and a singer who has me swooning – read on for inspiration!

Since we are still in the thick of winter here in New Hampshire, I like to think it gives me more of an excuse to read. Which I don’t. Which I should. An hour every afternoon sounds dreamy, no?

Here are my recent reads (all of which I liked…I toss books aside when I don’t feel like reading them. Who has time for meh?)

What I Read: 

  1. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald. Oh my, what a delightful classic. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is now my standard for all things parenting. Funny and delightful, I’ll be reading more!

2. Pax by Sara Pennypacker. Middle grade, especially recommended for the kids (and adults) who love anthropomorphic animal stories (which I don’t normally gravitate towards.)

3. Eloise Wilkin Stories. Oh, the hand-drawn and painted baby faces, the chubby hands, cheeks, and legs. Simply exquisite. I snatched this at a children’s book exchange…for myself. My admiration for Wilkin was cemented after reading her children’s tribute to their mother. Their love is palpable as they wrote of their enormously talented and creative mother.

4. On Living, by Kerry Egan. Nonfiction. Really, really good. As a hospice chaplain, Egan writes of the “spiritual work of dying.” Sound depressing? It’s not at all! So much wisdom here.

5. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. Nonfiction. That Capote character is an intriguing chap. Capote was Harper Lee’s childhood friend (he was who “Dill” was based off of). Jealous of Lee’s success and her “little bird book,” he was a great writer in his own right. And so very very odd. Here’s a look at his rural Alabama upbringing. It’s good! 

6. Still Life by Louise Penny. An adult mystery. I realized about 3/4 of the way through I’d already read it. The writing is good, but was easy for me to put down.

7. The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon. The Professor looooved this. I liked it. The year is 1968. Lynnie is developmentally slow and therefore deemed “undesirable.” Locked away in an institution, she falls in love with Homan, an African American deaf man. This is their love story. Some of our American history is so appalling.

8. Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson. I LOVED this book. Favorite middle grade read in a long time. I’ve enjoyed all of Jessica’s books, but this one especially. The voice is pitch perfect, making me laugh out loud, and also want to cry (my perfect combo.) I envy her use of language and found myself dog-earring pages to study a turn of phrase. It begins: “Eleven-year-old Benjamin Putter has a lump in his throat, and he’s certain it’s a golf ball…?” With a subplot of race relations, it’s tells the story of one boy’s journey to find his father’s love.

9. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. As a lover of all thing Jodi Picoult, this ranks as a favorite. It hurt my heart, made me cry, feel ashamed, offended, offensive, uncomfortable, happy, and sad. A page-turner of a book about race in America. Destined to become a book club favorite. Read it. And may we all do better.

10. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D.  A spiritual and medical memoir, Alexander, a neurosurgeon, writes of his near death experience after an ecoli bacteria strains attacks his brain and leaves him for dead. His recovery was miraculous and baffling to an entire medical team. Fascinating from a scientific point of view, Alexander makes the case for heaven.

Are you participating in the Goodreads Challenge? It’s fun! My goal is 50 books this year and I’m on track, baby!

What I’m Watching:

1. Mercy Street. LOVE it. This series is so well-made and written, it’s got me reading about typhoid in the civil war HERE, and a Behind the Lens HERE. Mercy Street is a civil war medical drama, and it’s got it all – love, loss, betrayal, redemption, jealousy, historical complexities, race, war, amputations (we’ve come so far in the medical field). There’s blood and some seriously realistic surgeries, but it’s so clean and SO GOOD. PBS, can you do no wrong? I think not. (Free on Amazon Prime.)

2. Other shows that got me through the winter: Poldark, Turn: Washington’s Spies (though unnecessarily racy), Scandal (I had to stop but Olivia Pope is on point), Victoria, The Crown, This is Us.

What I’m Listening to:

1. Ed Sheerhan’s new album, Divide. What a great album! My favorites (on repeat and downloaded for my recent running race): Perfect, Galway Girl, Dive, Happier, Supermarket Flowers (sob!), Nancy Mulligan.

And now, do tell – what are you reading, watching, and listening to these days?



  • Jackie says:

    I loved Poldark! I haven’t found anything worth reading in a few months, now that I have this list I can’t wait until my library opens again tomorrow!

  • Thanks for the recommendations (and for including WfA!)! I cannot BELIEVE that I haven’t read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. It’s one of those books that I just assume that I’ve read/loved and then I think about it and realize, “my gosh, totally haven’t read that, woops!” I shall aim to remedy that this year 🙂

  • Andrea says:

    We have loved Sara Pennypacker’s “Clementine” series. I’ll have to try Pax.

  • Nina says:

    I love seeing what you’re reading. Also wanted to tell you that I linked to your bread post in my post today. 🙂

  • Dana says:

    Small Great Things was my book club’s read from last month – what a thought-provoking novel! The only other book I’ve read is Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, which was a tad lighter. 😉

    Your non-fiction picks sound intriguing – thanks!

  • Julia Tomiak says:

    My bookclub is reading SMALL GREAT THINGS this month. I’ve just started, and ten pages in I’m hooked. The writing is beautiful, the message compelling and sobering. So glad you liked it too! (I’m telling you, we are connected!) Will have to get Jessica’s book – thanks for the nudge.

    I LOVE Ed Sheeran. His “Shape of You” song is a tad naughty, but I love the beat. I’m hoping those other songs that you featured are some of his more thoughtful, acoustic creations, like “Thinking Out Loud.” Will check it out.

  • Katie says:

    I’ve been watching Mercy Street at your suggestion! Thanks!
    We watched Roots on Hulu, I think. It’s the new Roots.
    It has some intense slavery scenes, but I still think it was worth watching.
    I also loved watching the Bronte Sisters on PBS Masterpiece. A must watch for female writers!
    That was just one episode, I think it’s about 2 hours.
    My kids loved watching the new Lemony Snicket series on Netflix.
    Great acting, I got a kick out of it too. Neil Patrick Harris was excellent in it.

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