Booking It: The May Update

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I have been updating my original reading goals for the year. You all have supplied such great book suggestions that I have to add them. I think I’ve found some kindred spirits amongst those who link up or comment each month and share their good reads. Thank you!

I don’t know a lot about these books. They come highly recommended, though, so I’m going to check them out.

My updated reading list includes:

Many of the books I read over the past month were books that you recommended. I had an absolute blast! You guys rock the book scene!

Here’s what I’ve been reading over the last month:


$5 Dinners

The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook by Erin Chase is a great resource for anyone looking to shave down their grocery budget. The front matter of the book is exceptional as it offers the basics to couponing, meal planning, and grocery shopping on a budget. If you just go to the store and buy whatever suits your fancy, you’re probably spending more than you have to. Erin demystifies the grocery store.

I love Erin’s approach to dinnertime. Each meal costs $5 or less. Really and truly. Some might shake their heads and question the reality of that. But, it is totally possible. Totally. Her $5 figure is based on feeding a family of four. I know that I can sometimes feed our family of 8 at around six bucks, so if your family is smaller, you can absolutely do this.

The book is filled with a wide range of recipes and includes price breakdowns as well as frugal tips about stocking up. I particularly appreciated the target prices she includes. Honestly, it made me feel good that I can easily match or beat her Ohio prices, living here in sunny Southern California. Ha!

This is a great book for you if you’re looking to reduce your grocery spending. But, it would also make a great gift.

Want to Go to Paris?

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School spoke to my French-speaking, food-loving side. Author Kathleen Flinn recounts her experiences living in Paris, attending the Cordon Bleu, and finding the love of her life. It took me back, literally, to when I lived in France so many years ago. It also prompted me to seriously consider starting that French Vacation fund.

If you like to cook — or just like to eat, you will enjoy this book. It’s not deeply intellectual, but definitely a “feel good” read. Each chapter is characterized by a school incident, a personal life narrative and ends with a recipe, some of which sound delicious. There are quite a few poignant moments and clever one-liners that resonated with me.

Someday I just might go to cooking school!

How About Disneyland?

The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2010 by Bob Sehlinger was recommended over and over when I asked readers for advice about Disneyland. I admit I was quite skeptical. A guidebook for Disneyland? Come on! But, I went for it and at this point, I’m pretty glad I did. (Ask me again after we actually go.)

A self-proclaimed “Disney Commando Manual,” the Unofficial Guides tell you everything you need to know to get in, get out, and stay sane. All of it is recounted with humor and a breath of fresh air. I often found myself laughing out loud and reading parts to FishPapa.

When I was a child, my father had a set plan for “how to do Disneyland,” usually with the objective to hit the big rides as soon as the park opened and to avoid as many long lines as possible. This guide could have been written by my dad! Even now, 30 years later, their recommendations aren’t all that different from dear old Dad’s.

Truth be told, I love the idea of tackling the parks like a Green Beret. However, I have eight other people to consider: FishPapa, Auntie Jamie, and the FishKids. Plus, at least two kiddos won’t be able to go on all the rides. This guidebook covers all those issues as well travelling with kids, accommodating different personalities, and more.

Potato Peel Pie, Anyone?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows was such a delight to read that I had a hard time putting it down. The story takes place in post-World War II England as young writer Juliet begins a correspondence with some residents on the British Isle of Guernsey who survived the British occupation of their island. They had formed a literary society during the war as a way to establish an alibi for “illegal” activities. But the literary society becomes a source of friendship and sustenance for the Guernsey folk during a very trying time.

The story is recounted through a series of letters, most of them written to or by the main character, Juliet. Instantly, I felt a kinship and familiarity with Juliet, feeling that I really knew her and wanting a happy ending for her.

The story is entertaining and engaging and utterly profound. It reminded me of the hell of World War II, something I might be apt to forget in my oh-so-cushy life. It reminded me of the importance of freedom and liberty and the sacrifices of those who fight to preserve it. It reminded me of how books can tie us together.

The book was a wonderful trip through time, space, and literature.

How ’bout you?

What did you read? Share it in the comments or post your link in Mr Linky below.

Disclosure:  I did receive a review copy of The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook. I was not compensated in any way for reviewing this book, nor was I required to do so. My opinions are my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

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  1. I loved the potato peel pie story. My SIL made me read it and I was so glad! Thanks for putting your list up, I spent a few mins this morning putting things on hold at my library. 🙂

  2. I read “Plan B” by Pete Wilson, and found it to be an astonishingly honest and helpful book. “Plan B” is about how to handle crisis when Plan A fails to become reality. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already faced crisis or if it’s still in the future… we know everyone eventually faces crisis. This book uses present-day examples as well as Biblical ones. It has a solid Scriptural base. You can read my review here if you’d like to know more.

    1. Now that sounds interesting. Does it talk about going to Plan Q? 😉

  3. I’ve read two of your most recent reads! You’ll find my review of The Sharper the Knife… in my current link up. I read Potato Peel Pie… just within the last few weeks – it was a good read too.

    Thanks for linking us all up – I’ve found a lot of good books this way!

  4. I liked a post about a book called The Total Tragedy About a Girl Named Hamlet. This is an tween/adolescent novel, so this post is for parents of those age children…or who are we kidding? We all like a good adolescent novel once in a while for the tweens/teenagers we still have living inside us!

  5. The “Potato Peel Pie” book is on my “to read” list and I’m hoping I can find it at our local used bookstore to take with me to the beach this summer! “The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry” also sounds interesting – perhaps another one to be on the lookout for before we hit the sun and sand. Thanks for the great recommendations and thanks for allowing us to be a part of it. I look forward to it each month! 🙂

    1. @Carrie,
      Potato Peel and Sharp Knife were both on SALE today at Amazon, so I just purchased my summer reading! Thanks for the recommendations!!

    2. Thanks, Carrie. I’m learning quite a lot from your posts. So thank YOU.

  6. I just finished reading Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison. It’s a memoir about a man who has Asperger’s syndrome, but doesn’t know he has it until he’s 40. I found it interesting, but not amazing.

  7. I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Couldn’t hardly put it down after about page 150. Very good and now I want to see the Swedish film of it.

    Also read Joie de Vivre by Robert Arbor which you would probably love since you have a softspot for France. I thoroughly enjoyed it and now I’m thinking I might want to move to France.

    We’re heading out on vacation next week for a few days at the beach so I’m going to have to come up with some no-brainer, easy reads.

    1. Have you read the Sister Chicks series? I’ve read two of those. They’re fun, but not super deep. Perfect beach books.

      You’re the 2nd or 3rd to mention Dragon Tattoo. Guess I’m going to have to give that another look. Your France book sounds great!

  8. I think the French vacation fund would be a great thing to begin – it may take years, but it would be well worth it. I’ve noticed that you talk so lovingly/longingly about France and your memories/experiences (often in your more recent posts)- it would be nice to return. I think I need to begin some sort of long-time fund like this too.

    1. Well, I guess part of my nostalgia, particularly of late, was because I’ve been reading books set in Europe and because we spent most of our honeymoon in France. So, May always reminds me of France. 😉

  9. The book I am reading now is Amish Grace – How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, and David L. Weaver-Zercher. This book is on a reading list I have at church and it attracted me because I wanted to learn more about the Amish but I am truly learning more about me!! It is quite thought provoking. On a lighter note, I scored a “Books to Read” notebook at a yard sale this past weekend and I am thrilled with my purchase! Now I can write down all the Booking It suggestions and take the notebook with me to the library.

    1. What a great idea! Love the “Books to Read” journal. Does it have space for you to write your thoughts down as you read/after you finish?

      And the Amish books sounds like a good one. Thanks for the rec!

  10. You will love The Help! It’s gotten a lot of hype lately, but I really think it is well deserved. It was an excellent book.

    I tend to think I know everything there is to know about D-Land, but you’ve just about convinced me to check out the Unofficial Guide…

    1. It was a great book. There are few books I buy. But, this was worth the coin.

  11. I just finished the gurnsey literary and potatoe peel pie society as well. I LOVE it.

  12. I’m currently finishing up a series of books by Liz Curtis Higgs that is based on the story of Jacob in the Bible. It’s set in Scotland and has been FANTASTIC. It starts with Thorn in my Heart. Highly recommend this series!

  13. Hmmm…the only bad thing about this Bookin’ It club is that my list of books to read is growing faster than my list of books that I have read…:)

    I actually impressed myself with the number of books that I was able to read this past month–I read the entire Percy Jackson series! Those are fun, quick reads–my husband and I both read them, and we rank them up there with Harry Potter on the entertainment scale:) I am currently reading “Seabiscuit” for my light entertainment.

    I also read “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Ted Tripp, and I have started “Teach Them Diligently” by Lou Priolo. “Shepherding…” is a fabulous book on parenting, and “Teach Them Diligently” provides great ideas and info for incorporating Scripture in your daily life and conversations with your children.

    I read approximately the first third of “The Well Trained Mind,” which I borrowed from the library, and I have now added it to my Amazon wish list. I think that it will be an invaluable reference tool, even if we don’t homeschool our son. I didn’t finish it (shame on me!), but since we have an almost three-year-old boy and a baby girl due next month, I didn’t think that reading through all the details of elementary education was a high priority for me at this moment. Definitely learned quite a bit about how to think about preschool and kindergarten, though!

    Some other books that I have on my list to read in the next 1-2 months include “Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood” by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Mahaney Whitacre (a mother-daughter writing team) and “Lies Women Believe” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I love, Love, LOVE Carolyn Mahaney, and can’t wait to read a book by her on raising my soon-to-arrive daughter. I’ve never read anything by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, but her book looks good! I would also like to try Julia Child’s cookbook on French cuisine, but it is always checked out at our library. I should probably put it on hold, but then again, with a newborn coming next month, I doubt that I’ll have much time or energy for experimenting in the kitchen!

  14. So glad you liked The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry! I feel like I can finally cut an onion like a grown up thanks to that book. 😉

    I have been wanting to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows so I’m glad to see you recommended it.

    Sadly, my reading time has been pretty limited this month (aside from religious study). I rechecked out The Happiness Project last weekend because I didn’t finish it the first time around before it was due back and I’m also reading Lift by Kelly Corrigan (less than 100 pages, half way through after 1 reading). I’d I have The Secret of Everything on hold.

    1. I needed to reread that onion cutting thing. I don’t think I got it. You should vlog it for me. 😉

  15. I’m currently reading “My Life in France” by Julia Child. If you love France and cooking, then you will like this book! Now that I am reading it, I want to go to France yesterday! I am now 500 and something on the wait list at the library for The Help – moving up from 1000, where I started. Ha ha. Thanks for “The Sharper Your Knife” suggestion – sounds great. Off to reserve it at the library.

  16. “The Guernsey Literary Society…” is one of my new favorite books. I actually have 2 copies of it. Because you never know when you might need an extra. 😉

    Please feel free to delete links 8 & 9. Mr Linky wasn’t liking me for some reason. Sorry about that!

  17. Just finished “The Shack” last night, as recommended in our church a couple of weeks ago. Definitely want to read the one about France – I lived there for five years in my twenties and go back as much as possible so need to reserve that. As for “Mount to-be-read” it just gets higher and higher. Roll on the holidays when there are no more classes to prepare and I can just read and play with the boys.
    Next to read – Voyager by Gabaldon (no 3 in the Outlander series)

  18. I just finshed The Help. I liked it a lot!

    I’ve been tearing through a lot of lighter brain candy type books. I need to get back to my reading list soon. I tried to read Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts but just couldn’t do it.

    Oh, and if anyone likes history books that read like fiction I read The Big Burn this spring and it was really good!

  19. I’ll make another recommendation: Telling Memories Among Southern Women, edited by Susan Tucker. It’s the real-life inspiration for The Help, and I found it fascinating. It might be a bit academic or unadorned for some tastes, but the personalities and history that come through the interviews are just riveting.

  20. Loved The Help! Also liked Sarah’s Key and The Wednesday Sisters. Tried to read the Dragon Tatoo one on vacation but just couldn’t get into it, think it was too heavy for sitting by the pool ;). Just started Laura Bush’s book Spoken from the Heart, liking it so far. Recently got a part-time job at our local library and my reading list is growing faster than I can keep up :).

    Have always been a fan of the Unofficial Guides too!

  21. I’m putting the $5 Dinners Cookbook on my birthday list! I’m fresh out of dinner ideas and would love to cut back on grocery spending! I agree with the others, my book list has been expanding after reading these posts!

  22. You are going to love My Life in France! Esp since you have actually been there. It made me want to drop everything and go back in time to Paris in the 50s! Ha!

  23. I thought that My Life in France was interesting, but Julia Child’s relationship with her father made me sad.

    Have you read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford? I preferred it to The Guernsey … Society. Both are set during WWII.

    I really enjoyed your Disneyland post. I live about 20 minutes away and haven’t been inside the park in a long time, although I visit Downtown Disney a few times a year.