Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Third Quarter Reading

I was able to get in a lot more reading this quarter because I finally started listening to books. We started a Relief Society book club in my ward and I realized that I was never going to be able to read any books I want to read, if I read all the book club books. I thought I hated listening to books, but I didn't hate listening to the ones I listened to this quarter.


1. Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. Written at the request of the First Presidency from an office inside the Salt Lake Temple, this book is a comprehensive look into the life and ministry of the Savior. It is thick and intimidating, but I found it was entirely doable at a slow pace of a couple pages a night. It took me over a year to get though it, but I'm so glad I persevered. As I was getting close to the end, I kept thinking, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." More than just being a good book, it is spiritually enlightening and definitely helped solidify my testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

2. Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. This book tells the story of how nine working-class boys from the American Northwest won gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I struggled to read this book. I made very slow progress, stopping and resuming my attempts a few times over a year. I had heard it was excellent from so many people (and it is), but I was bogged down by the many details. After successfully listening to a few other books, I decided to listen to this one and I'm so glad I did! It is narrated by Edward Herrmann and after listening to it, I want to listen to every book he ever narrated. It could be that I started listening when I finally got to the really interesting part or Edward Herrmann's narration made it that much better, but I found myself searching for errands to run, so I could listen while I drove. (I checked out the CDs from the library and the only CD player I had was the one in our van.) I am definitely going to be listening to this again (the whole book this time) very soon.

3. My Story by Elizabeth Smart. June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was taken from her home in the middle of the night by Brian David Mitchel. 9 months later, after enduring unthinkable abuse, she was reunited with her family. This was my third time reading this book and it was just as excellent as the first two times I read it. I needed to pick a book for my turn to host book club and this was the first book to come to mind since it was such an excellent book club book before.

4. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman. Mrs. Pollifax is a widow with grown children. Depressed and bored, she decides to fulfill her lifelong ambition to become a CIA agent. This was for book club and I thought it sounded so incredibly dumb, but I decided to listen to it and I ended up loving it!

5. That Summer by Sarah Dessen. Everything's changing. Haven's father is getting remarried and her sister, Ashley, is planning a wedding of her own, but Haven just wants things to go back to the way they were "that summer" when life seemed perfect. Partway through this quarter, I found that I was only reading (or listening to) book club books. I wanted to read something just for fun, so I went to the YA section in our library and grabbed a Sarah Dessen book at random from the shelf. I have yet to find a Dessen book I didn't like and this one was no exception.

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. Harry has never even heard of Hogwarts when letters start arriving for him. His aunt and uncle try to keep the letters from him, but on his 11th birthday, Hagrid arrives and gives him the astonishing news that he is a wizard and that he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I had the best time introducing Corbyn and Peyton to Harry with the beautiful illustrated version of this book.

7. Esio Trot by Roald Dahl. Mr. Hoppy is in love with his neighbor, Mrs. Silver, but he is too shy to do anything about it. He develops a rather extreme plan involving her tortoise to make her fall in love with him. I keep thinking we've read all the Roald Dahl books and then I find one we haven't read yet. This one is quite short - I'd probably classify it as a short story, rather than a full book. Whatever it's classification, this might be my very favorite of Roald Dahl's books.


8. Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly. Belle discovers a book hidden in the library of the Beast's castle that has the power to transport her to a glittering new world, but are things in that world as they seem? I saw this book at Costco and was immediately drawn to it because of the beautiful cover. I was intrigued by the idea of a twist in the classic story of Beauty and the Beast. I didn't love it quite as much as I hoped, but it was still very enjoyable.

9. The Witches by Roald Dahl. A seven-year-old boy goes to live with his grandma after his parents are killed in a car crash. His grandma teaches him all about witches and then amazingly, he finds himself trapped in a room full of witches at their annual meeting. Another great Roald Dahl book. Corbyn really got into hearing about how you could spot a witch which was fun.


10. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America's greatest achievements in space. This was a book club book and it was actually the book that got me started listening to books because after a few chapters, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to finish reading it in time. I saw the movie before I even knew it was a book and it is one of the rare cases where the movie is better than the book. The book could have done with a few less details, but what an incredible story! 

Like last quarter, I'm including the books I read with Peyton for memory sake.

Ariel Makes Waves by Liz Marsham. A cute story about Ariel's first trip to the surface. My least favorite of the three new Disney Princess Beginnings books, but still worth reading.

Meet SamanthaSamantha Learns a LessonSamantha's Surprise, and Happy Birthday, Samantha by Susan S. Adler, Maxine Rose Schur, and Valerie Tripp. Samantha Parkington is an orpan who lives with her rich grandmother in 1904. These books tell her story. Reading these books to Peyton has truly been a blast from the past as I remember reading them when I was a little girl!

I love book club because I read so many more books when I'm in a book club than when I'm not. Hooray for a great quarter of reading (even if I technically listened to 3 of these books)!