SOLC Day 17: What Are You Reading?

What are you reading these days? I was going strong with my personal reading as 2019 came to an end…and then came 2020 and my reading hit the breaks! According to my Goodreads account, I’ve completed only 6 books this year!!! (That does not count all the books I read to students, the amazing blog posts I read daily, the countless articles about coronavirus, professional articles garnered through Twitter and Facebook…)

I just finished The Paris Wife, a novel based on Ernest Hemingway’s first (of 4!) wife. It was okay, but not amazing. A better book I read recently was How to be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery. The frame was interesting and I loved thinking about the ways an octopus, dogs, chickens, and even ostriches contributed to the “good creature” Sy developed into through her interactions with these animals. When We Believed in Mermaids was light and quick, not entirely believable, but enjoyable. I read Where the Crawdads Sing when it first came out–loved it–and find it hard to top. The new Malcolm Gladwell book Talking to Strangers was completed at the end of September. I’ve read, but I don’t seem to be reading now.

I feel like I’m struggling to find that book–you know, the one that pulls you in and offers you escape. Not the one that feels like going up endless flights of stairs that end in nowhere.

So…what are your favorite books to read lately? The ones you read as the adult you, the books to escape, not to recommend to your students. What are you finding compelling? (Not necessarily “high brow” or make-you-a-better-person reading.) I’m hoping to crowd source a list to keep me going over the next several months–and I’m determined to get myself back on track with my personal reading.

I need you guys…start suggesting!

14 thoughts on “SOLC Day 17: What Are You Reading?

  1. carwilc

    A great question. And I got a couple of new ideas from you! I am currently reading AMERICAN DIRT with my book club. Not too long ago, we read THE GREAT ALONE, it’s a little dark, but really good. I have been on a Dan Gemeinhart kick with my sixth graders- I loved SOME KIND OF COURAGE and also his newest one, THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE.

  2. Marissa Minard

    I am a series person! I love reading, but it is mostly Young Adult Novels, I’m not sure if that is what you would like but here are my favortires! (:
    First Life series
    Uglies series
    The Vampire Academy Series
    Stalking Jack the Ripper series
    I hope you they’re not too far off from what you like (:

  3. Charlene Doland

    Some books I’ve enjoyed:
    Jane Harper’s Aaron Falks series
    Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) Cormoran Strike series
    Nicola Yoon The Sun is Also a Star
    Jenny Han To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
    Ruth Ware The Lying Game
    Tana French The Witch Elm

  4. dogtrax

    Any book written by Tana French (as Charlene notes). Her writing is intricate and lyrical, for a mystery writer.
    I loved These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson
    And I loved One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder for the Spiritual and Nonspiritual Alike by Brian Doyle
    And The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern was just lovely


    1. Charlene Doland

      Kevin, I haven’t read The Starless Sea yet. I loved The Night Circus, but some of the reviews of The Starless Sea haven’t been so positive. As for Tana French, I was binge reading her stuff for awhile :-), and found The Witch Elm to be especially good.

  5. mbhmaine

    I just finished “How to Be a Good Creature” and LOVED it. I got it from the library but will buy it and already sent a copy to my daughter. (I’m now trying to find “The Soul of an Octopus” by Montgomery –one of those books I bought and never read. It’s around here somewhere!) I listened to “Transatlantic” by Colum McCann and was spellbound. It’s a fascinating book weaving multiple intertwined story lines through time and the writing is wonderful. I had to get the book from the library so I could reread certain passages after listening to them. I’m going to cut myself off now except to say “Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern is great read and I need to read “The Starless Sea.” OH!!! How could I forget–my daughters’ and my absolute favorite– “A Girl Named Zippy: Growing up Small in Mooreland, Indiana” by Haven Kimmel. In fact, I told my daughter that I sent her “How to Be a Good Creature” in part because the first chapter especially reminded me of Zippy. Thanks for a post that shifted my focus.

  6. Elisabeth Ellington

    Based on the novels you like, I wonder if you would like Amor Towles’s A Gentleman in Moscow. Sy Montgomery has a lot of other books that are great (my mom’s favorite is The Good Good Pig, and my favorite is The Tapir Scientist). But maybe you’d also like Philip Hoose’s Moonbird.

  7. Suzanne

    Thank you for this post. One of my favorite topics! After pausing to comment on, and get book ideas from, your other comments I will add a few titles. I listened to Daisy Jones and the Six. It was “performed” by a wonderful cast. Really good.
    I can’t say enough about the book, Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. Nailed the voice of his characters.
    Two books that both touch on the vulnerability of kids but in totally different ways were The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman, and Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara.
    Another totally quirky character can be found in the excellent, Elinor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
    I’d like to end with the beautiful retelling of a Greek Myth by Madeline Miller, Circe. I loved both of her books, the other is about Achilles.
    Happy reading!!!

  8. Sarah Parker

    Thank you for this post. It is nice to have so many recommendations in one place. Just reading this is making my mouth water for a good book. Thinking of my local bookstore during this time of uncertainty is motivating me to put an order in! Thanks for motivating me to make intentional reading decisions!

  9. Judy Buchanan

    I love your posts – they inspire me every day. On the education side, I found Tara Westover’s Educated to be powerful and moving. Thinking about all of the children learning from home in such different circumstances right now.


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