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Recreational Reading

If you have young children, summer might not be the time of year where you get in a lot of your own reading.

But now, with the summer reading lists tucked away and a routine emerging as school starts up, perhaps you’ll have a chance to get some reading of your own squeezed in.

If you’re looking for suggestions, here are eight books I’d put on my “Not-Summer Reading List:”

1. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella – Kinsella is my chick-lit author of choice and this is one of her very best. Her plotlines are just so ludicrously funny and the dialogue always makes me laugh out loud. Just an incredibly fun, quick read.

2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – I consider myself an introvert, and I found that this book explained so much of my own behavior in a fascinating way. It’s also a really useful book if you are parenting an introverted child (particularly if you yourself are not introverted).

3. Still Alice by Lisa Genova – This novel about a Harvard professor suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s broke my heart, but also was so gripping I couldn’t stop listening to the audiobook. Fair warning that you will almost certainly develop a paranoia that you have early-onset Alzheimer’s while you read it.

4. Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach – I picked up this book to flip through it and then two hours later realized I hadn’t looked up once. Part cookbook, part how-to-have-a-pleasant-meal-with-small-children, part memoir, this book delighted me. And gave me lots of ideas for things to make for dinner.
5. Room by Emma Donoghue – This story sounds just utterly horrific and depressing (a young woman is kidnapped and locked in a storage shed for seven years, before escaping with her five-year-old son who has never experienced life outside the shed where he was born), but it is really so full of hope and life. It’s told from the perspective of the son, who must adjust to a completely new world he couldn’t have imagined when he’s lived his whole life in a ten by ten room. I couldn’t put this one down.

6. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey – I made my husband read this book before we got married, just like my dad had my mom read it before THEY got married. I certainly am not aiming for twelve children, but I love seeing how this large family functions in so many ways. Every time I read it, I fall in love with it a little more. And it is funny. (Also, it has absolutely no similarities to the movie, except for the 12 kids bit).

7. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty– This is chick-lit with a little more substance. Alice takes a fall at the gym and when she comes to, she’s misplaced ten years of her life. She thinks she is in her twenties, expecting her first child. In reality, she’s in her thirties, with three children and a marriage on the brink of divorce.While she struggles to regain her memory, she tries to figure out how she’s changed so much in the course of ten years and what she can do to save her family.

8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman – This is one of my favorite young adult books ever. It’s not a long book, but beautifully written. It follows Mia after a horrific car accident that changes the course of her life and calls into question all the plans she’s had for her future. I’ve read it twice and I loved it even more the second time, which I would have thought impossible.

This lovely list was currated by my new friend Jannsen, whose blog I fell in love with the moment I discovered it.  She speaks to the bibliophile I’ve locked up inside of me since my kids were born and after reading her rave reviews I’m determined to reclaim some reading time in my life!  

How about you?  Will you be picking up any of Jannsen’s recommendations?  Better yet – have you already read any of them?  Share with me in the comments about where you think I should start.


Janssen is a former librarian and avid reader who is always maxing out the number of holds her local library will let her place. She now stays at home with her two-year-old daughter (with another girl on the way in November) and blogs at Everyday Reading.







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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

sandeep September 10, 2012 at 5:52 am

wow nice well written post,,,i like it


Nicole September 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

What Alice Forgot was one of my favorite summer reads. I now adore Laine Moriarity and have read every one of her books since. This summer I also read Stiltsville, it was so well written and I loved the passage of time and character development. Looking forward to requesting Dinner and Quiet from our library! Great list!


Heather W. September 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Wonderful post! I’ll have to hop right over and read all of Janssen’s recommendations!


mpmk September 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Glad you guys are liking this post – doesn’t it just make you want to snuggle up on the couch with a good book? Now, where to find the time?


Colleen September 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Can’t wait to check out some of these titles. The only one I’ve read was If I Stay. by Gayle Forman. It is a fantastic book, I could not put it down. I passed it on to my teenage niece and my sister-in-law who loved it also. My sister-in-law made the mistake of reading it in public and it is a tear-jerker (in the best way). I recently learned that a follow up was released in 2011 called Where She Went.


Josalyn September 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I’ve been avoiding Still Alice and Room for a while now. I’m scared they will be overly depressing. I have to be in just the right mood. I still occasionally cry over 1000 Splendid Suns and its been like four years since I read it.
I love Sophie Kinsella, but I haven’t read that one yet, so I’ll have to pick it up. Thanks!


kristin eldridge photography September 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

Great book list! I just added Room to my Nook and I can’t wait to read it! I finished The Kitchen House this summer and it was so good. If you like historical fiction, add that one to your list. :)


Diana Villabon-Perez September 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I read “Room” a while back and although it is a very depressing subject, I agree that it is full of hope and the wonder of an innocent child who doesn’t know any better. It’s a good read if you can deal with a sad but heartwarming story.


Jimi September 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

What a great list! I listened to I’ve Got Your Number earlier this summer, and the audio book is fabulous! It was so fun to listen to. The author of Still Alice has a second book called Left Neglected that was also very good.


NGS September 14, 2012 at 11:32 am

Where She Went, the sequel to If I Stay, is even better in my opinion. I think Adam’s voice is strong and beautiful!


blogqueendiane May 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Great list! Have read four of them – three with my book club (Still Alice, What Alice Forgot, and Room) — and we all really liked them. Read Cheaper by the Dozen in my early 20s and always remembered it as being a great book. Will have to suggest some of your other books to my club!

I keep a list of books read in 2014-2015 on my blog. Might help someone else and it’s a motivator for me to read more, at the same time. And recently started writing book reviews — you could do that, too.


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