If you’re like me, or even a fraction like me, chances are you have a few unread books in your house. Maybe you have a stack on your nightstand, a stack on the floor, or several shelves dedicated to those unread books. Me? I have all three of those. I started adding up my unread books, and they top 130. I don’t really have a problem with this, because I love books, but I DO want to read them, and obviously had every intention of reading them when I bought them. Luckily, Whitney at The Unread Shelf started The Unread Shelf Project 2018 on Instagram, so that we can all endeavor to read more of our unread books in 2018.
There are no hard and fast rules. This project is what you make of it. Some people are going on complete book buying bans. (I can’t do that. Louise Penny is the reason.) Some people are planning to read a certain number of their unread books per month. My personal goal is to read 1-3 books off of my unread books shelf/shelves/stacks/piles each month, leaving room for new books and books I feel like reading.
In addition, I’m starting the Bucket List Book Club so that we can read a few of these books together! (Some of these books I’ve had on my shelf for 20 years!) You can check out our dedicated Bucket List Book Club page HERE! I will keep a comprehensive list of books, posts, and additional reading on that page.
If you want to join in, go follow @theunreadshelf on Instagram and follow her hashtag as well, #theunreadshelfproject2018.
I’ll be posting about this soon, but the first two books for the Bucket List Book Club will be:
Thank you so much to the author, Linda Yiannakis, for sending me a free copy of this book! All opinions are my own!
Then she sat down and began to make a list of everything that needed erasing from her life.
I enjoy reading middle grade books, and when the author of Erasable reached out to me about reading her book, I was more than a little intrigued by the premise. Have you ever wished you could just erase something from your life? Permanently? Spiders? Snakes? Scrunchies? What about a person? I’m certain most kids think about this daily, and anyone who’s ever felt ignored, treated unfairly, or just plain angry will love this book.
Ellie is 9-years-old, stuck in summer school, and constantly trying to avoid both the school bully and her annoying little brother. One afternoon, while escaping to the attic to get away from her brother’s noisiness, she comes across a carved chest, a mysterious notebook, and an old eraser that never seems to run out. When she discovers that anything she writes in the notebook and then erases with the special eraser disappears, for good, Ellie decides she’s going to make some permanent changes in her life. What she doesn’t know is how those changes will affect everything else around her.
I love the concept here, and I think kids will enjoy it too. Seeing Yiannakis’s version of what would happen if the things we thought we hated most disappeared for good is fun. It’s also a lesson-every time something disappears, Ellie’s life changes, but so do the lives of other people around her, and not in the best way. Be careful what you wish for takes on a whole new meaning here, and it’s a great story for seeing that play out.
While Ellie is 9 in the book, she seems older, (The story is still great for 9-year-olds, she just seems to be doing more complicated math than most third graders.) and I did wonder why the entire school was in summer school, including first graders. I believe the author wanted to play up the fact that Ellie had to take extra classes, rather than enjoy her summer, but it seemed more like the events were just taking place during the regular school year.
Erasable is a fun book that carries an important message-appreciate the people around you, even if they don’t deserve it all the time, because one day they might not be there, and it might not be at all what you expect. Despite the book needing some editing, the message in the story is wonderful, and it’s an extremely creative idea that kids will love. I’d recommend it for ages 8 or 9 and up. (And it might make a fun buddy read with your kids, as there are a lot of interesting topics to discuss in it.)[Top]
We’re finally getting back into the swing of things after a long Christmas break and a long weekend made even longer by snowy and icy weather in Texas! It’s been nice to have a real winter, but I’m ready for warmer days now.
My kids are reading some fun books this week, and at least one of them will continue on for a couple of weeks! Let me know what you’re all reading this week!
The entire third grade at my son’s school started reading Charlotte’s Web together this week. I believe the plan is to read a chapter a day at school, with kids taking turns reading out loud. I’m reading along at home as well. A kind of forced buddy read, if you will. I haven’t read this book in a long time, and I really want to be able to talk about it with my son! This is such a classic book, and while I am not a fan of the ending (Charlotte is the only spider I will ever love), it’s fun to dive back into this world of Charlotte, Wilbur, Fern, and Templeton. My son really likes it so far, but he’s seen the movie and knows what’s coming, and his sensitive soul wishes the ending was different too. This is a great book for elementary and middle grade readers, with short chapters, a few pictures, and a good mix of easy and challenging words.
Horrible Harry in Room 2B
I bought this book for my 6-year-old in an attempt to find a series that he both liked and could read on his own. While he absolutely loves books, stories, and being read to, he is not the voracious reader that his older brother is. Which is fine, because I love a challenge. When I saw a series about a second grade boy who creates mischief (reminds me of someone in my house . . .), I knew we had to try it. My son LOVES this book and we will be getting the next few in the series. Harry, a good, fun friend to have, causes all kinds of trouble in school and loves to be silly. This book is perfect for kids beginning chapter books and who love funny books. And if you’re looking for a series about a male character (surprisingly hard to find sometimes) for your kids, this is a great one!
What We’re Reading Together
A Wrinkle in Time
I wanted to read this to my 9-year-old (my 6-year-old half listens to it while building Legos) so that we can see the movie together in March! To be honest, I wasn’t sure if he would like it, because the book is a little . . . weird. The writing obviously isn’t contemporary, and it is solidly science fiction. But he LOVES it. Every night he asks me to read “just a little more” when it’s time to stop, and he said it reminds him a little of Harry Potter. (I think Meg Murry, the main character, reminds him of Harry, Ron, and Hermione all mashed up into one, and of course it’s quite the adventure.) I don’t remember the last time I read it, and it’s been so long that I don’t remember much of the story, so it’s really fun for me to read too. I will say that I don’t like how often the word “moron” is used, and how many times people’s looks are referenced, but it just gives us another talking point. I’m starting to do some research on the deeper meanings of A Wrinkle in Time in case there are any simple enough to talk about, so if you have any pointers please let me know!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Yes, we’ve been reading this one for awhile! We took a huge break from it over the holidays to read other things, and we’ve listened to the entire book as well. But my 6-year-old is back to wanting me read it to him every night. Which means I have read and listened to half the Harry Potter series in the past 6 months. Twice. This will be round three, and I love it!
Read between the lies.
One of the best things about joining Bookstagram last year was getting new book recommendations. I discovered that I love suspense novels, and I’ve read more of them than ever before. When Book of the Month club offered The Wife Between Us as a choice for December, I added it to my box so fast. In addition, it’s the January pick for the Salt Water Reads book club! The Wife Between Us is suspenseful, twisty, and a definite page-turner, but I was a bit disappointed in parts of it.
So this is where I would usually put a description of the plot. But truly, any description of plot for this book would ruin it! It’s that twisty! So I will just say this. There is a wife. There is an ex-wife. There is a husband. And none of them are what they seem.
I’m so sorry to do that to you! But if you read this book, you’ll understand. The book felt suspenseful by the end of chapter 1, which is always a good sign. One of the premises is that the ex-wife might be a bit crazy, and I kept wondering if she was actually crazy or if her ex-husband was gaslighting her. (If you haven’t seen the 1944 film Gaslight, you should watch it immediately. It would be a great companion watch with this book.)
The first twist (there are many) is interesting, but it made me a little concerned about where it would go from there. The second big twist in the novel was . . . something I didn’t see coming, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I think if the authors had somehow tied it into the first half of the novel a bit more I would have been ok with it, but I ended up feeling a bit played, and a bit weird about wanting to keep reading. (But I did, because I needed to know what happened.) And just to be clear for those who have read it or who do read it: it’s not the subject matter I have a problem with in that big twist, it’s the way it was presented. Just a personal preference issue!
I realize this review is a bit vague, but I really don’t want to spoil the book for anyone. I’ll leave it at this: If you like suspense novels with major twists that you may or may not see coming, absolutely read The Wife Between Us. I really loved the first half, and was disappointed with the second half, but I’m glad that I read it. And honestly, all of this just gives me more to talk about when we discuss it over at Salt Water Reads!
I am finishing up dinner with my family and my fiancé when my husband calls.
When I discovered Taylor Jenkins Reid in June, after reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (My review of that book HERE), I knew she would be one of my favorite authors. I regretted not having read her books sooner, but was also excited because I knew there were four other books I could look forward to reading. One True Loves (apparently I’m working backwards by publication date) is very different from Evelyn Hugo, but only in subject matter. The writing, humanity, and Reid’s ability to break my heart are all there in abundance.
Emma Blair, a 20-something free spirit, marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. On their first anniversary, Jesse goes missing in a helicopter crash while on a filming job and is presumed dead. Devastated, Emma moves back home, takes over the family bookstore, and finds love in another high school friend, Sam. Now in her 30s, Emma is stable, in love again, and has put aside her previous free-spirited life. Until Jesse is found, alive, and determined to get Emma back after surviving for many years with the thought of returning to her. Emma must decide which of her true loves is the one for her, and which version of herself is the true one.
This is women’s fictions/chick lit/popular fiction/whatever you want to call it done so, so right. If you just read the back of the book, you might be under the impression that this is a light, fluffy read. It is most definitely not. Yes, it’s a love story, but it’s really about how people change over the years, and grow up . . . and sometimes apart. Reid isn’t afraid of putting her characters through the ringer, and in doing so she acknowledges how painful life can be sometimes, but also how beautiful it can become after difficult decisions.
The characters felt like real people to me, and I was nervous for them. I loved how they all actually talked to each other too. In so many books, no one tells anyone else how they’re feeling, they just think it so that only the reader knows. These characters are straightforward with each other, and there’s real emotion there because of it. It felt like watching a real life play out. Kind of like those episodes of Parenthood that were so real I was certain that I was spying on a real family.
If you enjoy women’s fiction with a lot of heart that makes you think Taylor Jenkins Reid is THE author to read. One True Loves isn’t just another love triangle story where a pretty girl has to choose between two guys who love her. This is much deeper, and addresses who we are in the past, present, and future, and how that affects the people closest to us. This book broke my heart in the best way, and I’m so glad I read it. I’m here for whatever story Reid wants to tell.