Booking It – August Update

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Reading books, real books, is a wonderful way to explore your world and connect with other people. Booking It is an online book club to help you do that. Check out each book review below to find the best books for you.

For Booking It in 2013, I’ve invited my friends Carrie and Anne to co-host with me. I think it will be fun to get different perspectives on books as well as present some reading choices from others besides myself. We’re going to try to keep it interactive and hope that you will chime in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Please note: This post does include Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in way of advertising fees.

Be sure to leave your link below or tell us about your recent reading in the comments section.

profile picWhat Anne read

lostThe Lost Husband

by Katherine Center

I picked up my first Katherine Center book on Brené Brown’s recommendation. I enjoyed that one (Get Lucky), so when I saw she had a new release, I snagged the ebook to take along with me to the beach.

It was a good call. The Lost Husband reads like bubble gum chick lit, but–like the previous Katherine Center novel I read–surprised me with its depth. If you can imagine Brené Brown’s concepts of vulnerability and wholeheartedness, fictionalized, The Lost Husband is what you’ll get. That’s a good thing.

What Jessica Says: The book description on Amazon looks really good. I’m okay with bubble gum chick lit. My library doesn’t have it in digital or print. Bummer.

little bookThe Little Book of Talent: 52 Books for Improving Your Skills

This little guidebook from Daniel Coyle is one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2013, and that’s saying a lot. It’s a short, browsable, easy-to-read guidebook about how to get better at anything.

The topic may sound boring, but it’s anything but–and the concepts in it may just change your life. Read it for your own sake, but moms will definitely find interesting concepts to apply to their parenting.

What Carrie Says: Well, I’m not a mom, but I like the concept of this book. Will have to look it up! Thanks, Anne.
What Jessica Says: Short, not boring. I’m all over it. And the library has it!

What Jessica Read

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

hotelHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford just wrecked me. I borrowed it free from the library’s digital catalog, started it while on the treadmill, and then accomplished nothing else for the rest of the day. I kept reading until I found myself sobbing in the stairwell that afternoon. (What can I say, our stairwell was quiet!)

Once I could finally put the book down, I was haunted by its story, a tale of two children who meet in WWII Seattle and are separated due to the country’s internment policy of Japanese citizens. I’ll spoil it if I tell you any more. But, it’s my favorite read of the summer.

What Carrie Says: Another friend read and recommend this, but I didn’t get past reading the Amazon summary of it before I knew I would sob my way through – which you have just confirmed. Therefore, I’m skipping. 😉
What Anne Says: It’s been a few years, but I remember loving this one. If you’re looking for a book that tells a great story, this is it.

No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

no 1 ladies'No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

Carrie loves this series of mysteries set in Botswana; she told me about them years ago. I tried and abandoned the first one before I got one chapter in. At her insistence — and being stuck on the treadmill for an hour — I gave them the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency another try. And voila.

I love these books. I finished the second volume last week at the gym and was disappointed to see that I couldn’t get the third right away. I guess I’m hooked. The characters have me laughing out loud. Love it!

What Carrie Says: You know I am {happy dancing} to see you hooked on these!
What Anne Says: They’re on my to-read list. 🙂

What Carrie read

MapheadMaphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks

by Ken Jennings

I would never have picked a copy of Maphead if I hadn’t been sucked in by the review that a member of the Bookworm Network wrote for What’s On My Nightstand. So all credit to her for recommending it in such a way that I immediately included it on my “to read” list! If the name “Ken Jennings” sounds familiar to you, he’s the guy who was on Jeopardy for a few months back in 2004 (the one with the crazy long winning streak). In Maphead, Jennings covers everything from the National Geography Bee to geocaching, even touching on imaginary worlds and family road trips, all with a twist of dry humor.

I had never thought of myself as a “maphead” until I read Ken’s book, but I did know that maps have always fascinated me. I was the kid with National Geographic maps taped all over my bedroom walls, and when my husband brought home a box of aeronautical charts that were being thrown out, I squealed with delight. During our globe-trotting days, one “must buy” item at every spot was a map of the city or country where we were currently living. If you’ve ever been drawn in by a classroom globe or a Rand McNally road atlas, then it’s possible that, like me, you are an undercover maphead and this is a book you would enjoy.

What Anne Says: It sounds like I’m a maphead, too. Adding this one to my to-read list.
What Jessica Says: Just requested it from the library. Not sure if I’m a maphead, but I bet my kids would like it. On hold at the library.

You Send MeYou Send Me: Getting It Right When You Write Online

by Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Patricia O’Conner. Combine a great sense of humor with a grammatical penchant and I’m going to be your number one fan. I thoroughly enjoyed Woe is I and Words Fail Me, and O’Conner did not let me down when I picked up You Send Me. Her points about clearly articulating the primary point of an email in the subject line have already made my work life easier and I’ve noticed a decided change in the time it takes to receive a reply. That being said, this book was written in 2002 and published in 2003, which means that it is already woefully out of date.

In 2002 there was no Facebook and no Twitter. Forms of online communication were limited to email, chatrooms, and websites, and Ask Jeeves was a popular search engine. However, regardless of the channels that one is using (2002-era chatrooms or 2013 Facebook posts), the rules and recommendations that are made in You Send Me still apply. Nothing irritates me quite so much as status updates, tweets, and emails that are lacking capitalization or some form of punctuation. Granted, I’m the odd duck who spells out all the words in my text messages and uses colons and parentheses for more than creating smileys, but if you find yourself in the same boat, you may very well enjoy this book.

What Anne Says: I’m definitely interested in anything that makes email easier. This one sounds like it might be worth my while for the email tips alone.
What Jessica Says: The thing that strikes me as funny is that in the early days of email, etc, it was considered uncool to be grammatical or to capitalize. (You girls are too young to know that! Ha!) We had family members deep in dotcom stuff who claimed that wasn’t how it was done anymore. Times have changed. Hehe.

What did YOU read this month?

– Anne loves strong coffee, long books, and big ideas. She puts a timely spin on timeless women’s issues at her blog Modern Mrs Darcy

– Carrie adores culture, coffee, books, British mystery shows, and her husband of 13 years. She’s spent time in Africa, southeast Asia, and Alaska, and now works from home as a social media book launch project manager. In her spare time, you can find her blogging at Carrie’s Busy Nothings and What’s On My Nightstand

– Jessica is a married mom of six kids, aged 4 to 15. Most can read independently which means the homeschool experiment is working – at least on the literacy front. She has been a lover of books for 39 years and counting. We won’t count the first year of life. She runs this here show called Life as MOM.

Tell us what YOU’VE been reading.

Leave a comment or a link below. Please be sure to link back here so your readers know where to find the party.

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  1. I have not read a single one of these titles. Usually I have read at least one. This last month my favorite read was “The Prayer Box” by Lisa Wingate. A simple yet deep read, that had me sobbing in parts and yelling at characters in others.

  2. I’m currently more than halfway through The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, based on reading about it here last month. Definitely inspiring me to try some new things with my cooking.
    Also just finished reading The Gift of the Deer by Helen Hoover outloud to my 8 yr old twin boys.
    I’m glad you finally got into Alexander McCall Smith – I think they are gentle or peaceful reads. I like the philosophy ones set in Scotland as well.

  3. Once again I am adding some books to my list. Jessica I also enjoyed Hotel on Bitter and Sweet. There is a lot of buzz about Jamie Ford’s new book, Songs of Willow Frost, that comes out in September. The setting is Seattle as well but about a 12 year old orphan. It sounds interesting. I also blogged about my booking it too. Here is the linky Thanks again for all of you sharing your reads.

  4. I am definitely a maphead, and that book is going next on my list!! Sounds great, Carrie! Also – loved last month’s recommendations of “Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore” and “Mr Churchill’s Secretary.” Devoured both of them!

      1. I keep hearing good things about Mr. Churchill’s Secretary everywhere! And I’m almost to the top of the waiting list at the library for Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore. Looking forward to it!

  5. Best books of the summer…. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes (A romance… of sorts), Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Great story about middle school kids being different and how to cope), The One and Only Ivan by K.A. Applegate (written from the point of view of a gorilla), Divergent by Veronica Roth (This was a reread… so awesome), and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (break out the kleenex)

    1. I loved The Fault in Our Stars, but oh, the kleenex. I’ve heard mixed reviews on The One and Only Ivan and Divergent, but I’m going to go ahead and them to my to-read list. And I just picked up Me Before You at the library today! Can’t wait to dive in.

      1. I am a middle school teacher and love to read books my kids would enjoy.
        Hope you enjoy them!

  6. I read Elizabeth Ludwig’s new book Dark Road Home – (Irish immigrants, early America, intrigue) and I loved it. Also read Dani Pettrey’s newest – Standed- (present day, Alaskan adventure, more intrigue) and loved it as well. I will get real reviews up this week, but until then if you are into mysteries at all both authors are well written and the two series represented are great!

  7. Thanks for the recommendations! I’ve requested a few of your books from our library.

    The best novel I read last month was Whispers on the Dock by Evangeline Kelley–nice and peaceful, kind of like Alexander McCall Smith. I’m also really enjoying Mathematics: Is God Silent? which is a heavy, 10-pages-a-day kind of book but very worthwhile, especially for homeschooling parents. Now that school is starting, I’m faced with all sorts of heavy and exciting tomes to keep up with the children, but for myself I’m rereading 1000 Gifts because I really seem to need an attitude adjustment.