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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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