READING! I just love it so much. My two older kids are great readers, but my youngest is struggling a bit. And that breaks my heart. He has to read. Scratch that…..he has to love to read. Reading has brought me more joy than I can recount. I read every night before bed and that, my friends, has made all the difference. I escape into my book and before I know it, I’m drowsy and ready to nod off. It works every time. I’ll keep reading to my little love and I know I’ll win him over!

So here are three books I’ve read lately. Two I really enjoyed, and one I almost hated. If you are a parent, you have to read my last pick!

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I enjoyed this one. Bee, a young girl living in progressive Seattle, is succeeding at her school and the reward for success is her parents’ promise of any gift she wants. She chooses a trip to Antartica. The story is written in a creative sequence of emails, letters, and invoices. As you discover what makes the characters tick, you also learn to love (and hate) them. Bee’s mom, Bernadette, is on the brink of a meltdown and disappears before the trip. Why? How? The backstory unfolds, making sense of the eccentric Bernadette’s actions. The search is on, and though Bee’s dad makes big mistakes, both father and daughter end up showing a fierce love for the woman they both adore. This book kept my interest and was an easy read. There is a little language and an affair – but the language is light and the affair is not described in detail. A good read.

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The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

I deeply disliked this book. Sara, a single and lonely woman from Sweden, travels all the way to small town Iowa to meet her pen pal. When she arrives she finds her friend has died. The characters in the small town take interest in this new visitor and she decides to stay. She lives in Amy’s (the dead pen pal) house and starts a bookstore with all the books Amy has left behind. The town falls in love with Sara and plots to have her stay. There is a love story or two, and in the end everything turns out. Blah, blah, blah. I didn’t buy any of it. The vignettes about the bookstore are so unbelievable and the love the town had for Sara was a farce. How could you love such an underdeveloped character? I couldn’t. Another story line ticked me off: one of the characters is a religious woman who is portrayed as rude, snobby and prudish. She ends up having an affair with a younger bi-sexual man. The book celebrates her actions, portraying that letting loose and loving whomever you please is the answer to a free and happy life. Hogwash! There was one sweet storyline that involved an estranged father and daughter. That was the only part of the book I liked. Thumbs DOWN on this one!

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For Parents Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice

Ever wonder what is happening to that sweet kid you brought into this world 13-14 years ago? You still see the glimpses of sweet, but they are accompanied now by a little sassy, a little attitude, and a lot of silence, or wait, maybe it’s yelling. It can be confusing for us parents! This book is based on research and interviews done all around the country with numerous teens. You get a glimpse into the teenage brain and what you see is fascinating. The book looks at teen-age related topics such as the search for freedom, identity, communication, security, and mood swings. As the authors listen to kids talk about these issues, interesting trends happen. Furthermore, we find out how we can handle these important issues. I personally learned how to be a better listener, how to make rules but also allow for more freedom (apparently teens really love freedom), and how to view my kids as unique individuals who may be much different than their dad and me (and realized that is ok!). My favorite quote:

“The teens we surveyed were pretty clear: if you’ll hold on and persevere through these turbulent, wonderful, challenging, infuriating, and highly rewarding years, the results will follow.” (For Parents Only, page 174)

Happy Reading!

 

 

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