What We’ve Been Reading Lately

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The Bone Snatcher by Charlotte Salter – I picked up The Bone Snatcher from the library’s audiobook shelves on a week when I suddenly remembered that I should have done some more research into making our next audiobook selection. That is to say, it was more or less a random selection. On the way home from the library when I popped in the first cd, I was afraid that I had made a mistake because the first chapter is, admittedly, pretty violent and could be frightening for a sensitive reader. The kids begged to stick with it, though, so I reluctantly agreed to let it play a little while longer.

I’m so glad that I did.

The Bone Snatcher gloriously takes on that quality that gothic novels have of creating an immersive atmosphere that feels almost tangible. The sense of decay and abandonment, the convincing reality of the unreal sea-creature-consumed world, the resilience of the main character who has every reason to surrender to hopelessness, the crafting of the house’s wicked residents… Everything about this book is engrossing and charming. Both of my kids declared this the best audiobook we’ve listened to yet, and I have to agree that it’s EXCELLENT. We all highly recommend it. 

Tumtum and Nutmeg by Emily Bearn – I snatched Tumtum and Nutmeg up on an Audible sale. It’s a sweet, hygge-esque read about a married mouse couple who decide to help out the down-on-their-luck human family they share a home with. If your children enjoy the humor and satisfaction that results from a meanie getting what’s coming to her (like Ms. Trunchbull in Matilda), your kids will enjoy this story, too. Both of my kids liked it, though I’m afraid that they might be at the upper age limit of this series’ ideal audience, so we might not seek out subsequent books about Tumtum and Nutmeg. If you’re just getting started with chapter book read alouds for preschoolers and early elementary children, though, this would be a fantastic series to roll with.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – Once upon a time, I used to think that we’d read the Harry Potter series at a rate of one book per year, with the idea that as Scholastic released one of their beautiful illustrated editions each fall, my kids could grow up with the series. But… we’re going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter soon, so I thought I’d better emerge them into more of the Harry Potter universe, and fast, so that they’d really be able to wallow in the experience.  

It’s been years (and years) since I read book three in the series, so as Sirius Black and Hogsmeade are being introduced in this book, I’m so glad that I decided to rush at least one more book under their belts before our trip. I can’t wait to be THERE with my babies.

Ember Falls by S.D. Smith – After finishing The Green Ember months ago, we’re finally completing our read aloud of the second book in the series. My kids loved the action and paced revelations in the first book, and the second book is likewise captivating their attention. I’m still getting over the respiratory symptoms of the last virus that rolled through our house, so I’m just now working back up to reading two chapters each night, but, inevitably, I still have to dislodge my pajamas from clutching little hands belonging to voices who beg for JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER. At this point, I’m genuinely curious to see how the war between the factions will resolve. This book is a sure hit for early elementary through tween readers.


On My Nightstand

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman– When I suggested Eleanor Oliphant as a summer selection for my book club, I was expecting it to be a fun, light read. It’s a good book. A really good book about a character who made me laugh, who I wanted to protect, who I wanted to see succeed in spite of the forces working against her. Read this one before Reese Witherspoon makes the movie.  

Lincoln In the Bardo by George Saunders – Okay, this is a weird little book. If you’re a Neil Gaiman fan, I think you’d enjoy Lincoln in the Bardo. The draw of insight into the historical giant of Abraham Lincoln and a humanizing glimpse into the emotionally stunning reality that he visited his deceased child at a mausoleum during his presidency was what pulled me in. That was what I wanted to read about. Maybe even more so at the center of the book, though, is a ghost story about the inhabitants of the cemetery. My desire for the book to be more Lincoln-focused confused me, and by the time that I realized I should have been paying more attention to the ghost characters, it was too late for me to be invested in that story. It’s not a bad book, but if you decide to take it on, go into it with appropriate expectations.

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel – I couldn’t access my Goodreads account at the library, so with my To Read list held hostage by a misbehaving app, I decided to judge the books on the library’s new books shelves by their covers. Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is one of the books that came home with me. It presents the voyeuristic opportunity to watch what happens when the adult children of wealthy people suddenly find themselves without money. About 2/3 of the way into the book, I’m intrigued by every single character, and I’m eager to see what becomes of them all.

Have you read anything good lately? Tell me about it!


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