Friday Favorites: What I’m Reading

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I had quite a bit of time to get caught up on my reading over the summer. As most of you know, I moved us from one home to another with the help of moving men on just one day. The rest of the time I took a million (ok, maybe fifty) loads of stuff over to the new house in my car. I also painted seven rooms, the steps, and the front porch flooring at our new house.

All that being said, you’ll understand that most of my “reading” was actually listening to audiobooks while I worked, but I had more than enough time to get caught up on some of the books that have been on my list for awhile.

What We're Reading at 11 Magnolia Lane (books, audiobooks, fiction and non-fiction)

First, here’s some background on my reading habits. I’ve always been a bookworm and there are no days when I don’t read at least a little bit. I would say that I use my phone for about 90% of my reading now, because it’s so easy to be able to check out or buy a book instantly and pull out my phone and read whenever I have a free minute (waiting in line, waiting for an appointment, etc). The rest of my family still prefers “real” books, and that’s fine, but if I bought every book I read we wouldn’t have room for people in our house! Also, we’d be broke.

I have the Overdrive app on my phone, as well as the Kindle app; both are free. I’ve linked my library account to my Overdrive app, so most of what I read (or listen to) is free from my library. They give me the option to download an eBook in either ePub or Kindle format, and audiobooks are in mp3 format. I actually like to check a book out in both formats whenever possible so I can read or listen depending on what I’m doing.

If I can’t get a book that I’m anxious to read right away, a lot of times I’ll buy the Kindle version from Amazon or I’ll use my Audible membership to buy it as an audiobook.

If you find yourself buying a lot of Kindle books, you might want to consider a Kindle Unlimited Membership for $9.99/month (the first two months are $0.99). I haven’t tried it yet but I do spend more than that a month on Kindle books. The unlimited membership is basically a rental service, like a paid library membership, but it might be a better deal for some of you. I know many libraries don’t have a huge eBook collection and it can take forever to find something that’s available.


As a side note, I prefer the screens of the original Kindles to reading on a phone with its backlit screen, but even though we have three in the house right now, I can’t find their chargers so I don’t use them.

OK, finally  moving on to my favorite books this summer:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

As a white girl who grew up in suburbia, this one was an eye-opener for me. Every chapter tells the story of one generation of a family and moves from Africa during the peak of the slave trade to the present day US. It was haunting; I still think about the characters and their lives. This was Yaa Gyasi’s first novel and I can’t wait to see what she does next since she is supremely talented.


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing was a great summer read and it’s easy to see why it was at the top of the bestseller list. It reminded me of a Pat Conroy novel in some ways; Delia Owens’ prose as she describes the North Carolina coast and marshes is similar to how he writes about the South Carolina low country. That comparison is a good thing; I love Pat Conroy’s books. There’s also a similar sad and dysfunctional family storyline, too. This book is hard to put down and definitely is one to take along on vacation when you have some uninterrupted time to just sink into it.


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I just read that they’re going to make this into a series with Reese Witherspoon (I love her). I stayed up late into the night to finish this one and it left me wanting more…always the sign of a good book! The story line is about an affluent family in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and the way their tenants (a somewhat mysterious mother and daughter) impact all of their lives. This was the first book of Celeste Ng’s that I’ve read but I’ve already put her other book on my list.


The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow

This was an endearing read about a woman in a mental institution who claimed to have worked for the Queen. As the layers of her story are revealed and found to be true, the story line runs concurrently in the present time with a surprise twist at the ending. It was also interesting (and horrifying) to read more about how cruelly mental patients were “treated” in the past century.


Elements of Family Style by Erin Gates

Erin Gates’ first book, Elements of Style, is on pretty much every blogger’s book stack, not only because of its content but because of its gorgeous black and white striped spine. Her new book has a blue toile spine and not only matches my living room (ha!) but also my design aesthetic–we have a very similar sense of style. This is a fun book to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon; there’s nothing groundbreaking in it that’s not in her first book, but I enjoy her images as much as I like to read her prose.

If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to hear what you thought of them; and of course I’m always adding books to my must-read list so please send suggestions!

On another note–don’t forget that if you’ve been considering a Roomba or a Braava robot mop, they’re on sale for Labor Day as part of iRobot’s big sale HERE. If a robot is doing your cleaning then you’ll have more time to read, right? 😉 Read more about my Braava mop and how much I love him HERE.

Thanks for stopping by!


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  1. Loved Where the Crawdads Sing. I just couldn’t get into Little Fires Everywhere, but if there is going to be a series, I may give it another go.

    • Ha! It might be worth it for Reese Witherspoon! Or, you might like the series better if you don’t read the book; it always bothers me if they change too much when it goes from book to screen.
      Thanks for writing, Joy.

  2. I’ve only read “Where the crawdads sing” from your list and totally loved the book! I seldom read a book twice but this one I did and even bought a hard copy of the book (originally read it on my kindle).

    • It was a lovely book, wasn’t it? I listened to it as an audiobook but find that I experience a book differently when I read it vs. listen to it so I’m looking forward to reading it next time. You are right that it’s worth a second read!

  3. I don’t know if you ever heard or read any of the author Hazel Gaynor. She is an Irish writer and her books are great. The first audio I listened too was The Girl who came home (about the titanic) and then her new one Meet Me in Monaco (about Grace Kelly). Both books have the narrators that make the book.
    Right now I am listening to The Life we Bury by allen eskens ( very interesting). This is a new author to me, but so far I have enjoyed it. I also finished the Reckoning by John Grisham…could not put that one down.

    • Rosie–
      Those are great suggestions–thank you! I love books that are based on history (did you read Loving Frank or The Paris Wife?). I’ll be sure to put Hazel Gaynor’s books on my list and appreciate the recommendations. Thanks so much for sharing them!

  4. Nancy makar says

    I don’t know why this is typing all caps so I am not shouting, sorry. I read Where the Crawdads sing and I have the others in my reading list. Rosie, thanks for the suggestions by Hazel Gaynor. I often listen to books on audibel. I have the life we busy on my audibel list. Thanks to everyone.

    • Nancy–don’t worry, the typing isn’t you, it’s the way the blog is coded. Comments show up in all caps until they’re published and we have no idea why, to be honest! Thanks to you and Rosie I’ve put several new books on my to-read list and really appreciate the suggestions. Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed some of the same ones I have!

  5. Nancy Makar says

    I have to correct this. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, THE LIFE WE BURY. A little difficult to figure out how to type responses.

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