Summer Reading {and Twitterature Link-up}

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love books, but have often felt a vague discomfort with my reading habits.

Here’s how I generally roll: I usually read five or more at a time, rotating between them as I grow bored or interested elsewhere. I don’t finish some and take two years to complete others.

I prefer children’s fantasy literature to current bestselling fiction and biographies of presidents and theologians to my old book club’s latest picks.

My eyes are also way bigger than my reading capacity: I check out about 10 at a time from the library, swear I’m going to read the all before they’re due, renew them twice, and inevitably return many of them unread.

And I often approach non-fiction out of sequence–I’ll read a bit of chapter one, flip to see if there’s anything interesting in chapter two. Then something catches my eye in chapter four and I wonder how it’s related, so I skim chapter three.

It bewilders my husband. I cannot offer any explanation besides mild ADD.

All of this often leaves me feeling as if I’m breaking the “rules” of good reading.

Photo by Traci Tessone
Photo by Traci Tessone

However, this summer has brought a new comfort in my own literary skin.

This podcast helped me feel ok about not finishing books (maybe some–gasp–aren’t worth finishing, at least for my limited time) and having a bunch going at a time. This post woke me up to some book snobbery I’d succumbed to. And this one gave me further permission to like what I like and pass on what I don’t–even if it is quality stuff.

And those “rules?”

They were made-up anyway and I don’t need to be bound by them. True for many areas of life, actually.

So, here’s what I’ve been reading lately. Some are still unfinished, many were read out of sequence, and others have become new favorites.

Summer Reading


The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

A classic I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while, it has so far been a pleasure. But then, I was probably sure to enjoy any author who writes “it is by seeing things as better than they are that one arrives at making them better” and “there is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”


Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk

I turned to this parenting book on the recommendation of a seasoned mom I respect and so far it’s been a helpful, encouraging, and freeing read. Some have described it as providing a biblical foundation for the “Parenting with Love and Logic” tools.

I like it because of its emphasis on the reaching the hearts of our kids and the power of our words in their lives.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I was always an extreme extrovert. Until I had kids. Now, after being overly-stimulated by the company of wee ones all day, more introverted tendencies are showing up.

Susan Cain makes an excellent argument for the worth of these qualities and introduced me to the term “highly sensitive person,” which explains much about my childhood, movie preferences, and how I relate to my daughter. Thanks to Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy for the rec!


Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Meet Susan Cain’s highly sensitive people at age 5. These are the kids that are more intense, sensitive, and perceptive than average. Kurcinka helps you identify these–and other–characteristics in your kids and offers tools for managing the challenging situations that can arise because of them.

While I can’t embrace everything in this book, it has helped me understand my sweet daughter better and made me aware of ways I can help her navigate the trials of being three.


Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

How on earth did I not know about this book until now? And, for that matter, how did I not know about the Apostrophe Protection Society? In wonderfully witty words, Ms. Truss reflects on the state of grammar in the public square and gives a surprisingly entertaining history of punctuation.

Above all, she lets me know I’m not alone in my fight against the rampant misuse of the apostrophe or in my defense of the Oxford comma.


Bookends by Liz Curtis Higgs

I don’t often pick up Christian fiction, but I so enjoyed Higg’s Scottish adaptation of the story of Jacob and her Christmas novella A Wreath of Snow that I thought I’d investigate her other works. This one held my interest; the characters were realistic, the plot clipped along, and I enjoyed the cozy and historical settings.

But, in the end, it was not my favorite–too much cringing at the cheesy parts. I will try again with her other stuff.

What have you been reading this summer? I’d love to hear.

And, check out other summer reading recs at the Twitterature Link-up at Modern Mrs. Darcy!

(My guess is everyone else’s reviews better met the brevity criteria).

About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • Alyssaz

    I love the books you’ve been reading! All fantastic choices!

  • Loving Our Kids on Purpose sounds so very good.

    I almost always check out more books from the library than I can ever get read before they need to be returned, so I identify there!

    • Yes! I’m still checking out lots, but just giving myself the freedom to “preview” and return unread the ones I’m not into. πŸ™‚

  • Anne Bogel

    I finally read (and really enjoyed) The Wind in the Willows for the first time just last year. I adored Quiet and Eats, Shoots, and Leaves (grammar geeks, unite!), and I think I need to re-read the spirited child book. I read that when my firstborn spirited child was just 2 or 3, and it is way past time for a refresher course!

    I’ve heard Liz Curtis Higgs speak but I’ve never read any of her fiction. Thanks for putting this on my radar.

    • Is the firstborn always “spirited?” I’m starting to think so. πŸ™‚

      If you do pick up a Liz Curtis Higgs book, maybe start with A Wreath of Snow? It’s short, set in Scotland (that’s a bonus for me), and you’d get a sense of her style without the commitment of a longer book….not that you don’t have the freedom to leave a longer one unfinished. πŸ™‚

      Love this link-up!

  • MK Jorgenson

    “My eyes are also way bigger than my reading capacity: I check out about 10 at a time from the library, swear I’m going to read the all before they’re due, renew them twice, and inevitably return many of them unread.”


    I’m also a huge fan of the Oxford comma…except when it got me in trouble with a pretentious English professor who had never heard the expression before; he felt small because I, a lowly freshman, had to explain it to him, and let’s just say my first taste of college composition was rather bittersweet because of this man. So, much love for the Oxford comma, just don’t trot it out in pretentious company πŸ˜‰

    • MK, will keep that in mind about the Oxford comma :).

      I’ve only recently begun to voice my views on grammar to people other than my husband anyway :).

  • Anna

    I so relate to your taste in books! I love to read children’s literature, not current fiction, and I adore biographies – especially biographies of women. And I always have a stack from the library that there is no way I will be able to read through. I want to read Quiet. I am very introverted and I think it could be encouraging to me. And Raising Your Spirited Child looks like a good one too. My son is definitely “spirited” or as my mom says, “a wee bit willful”.

    • I hear you on having a “wee bit” of extra will in the house :).

      I hope Quiet is encouraging. In some ways, it made me feel more normal.

  • I have always loved The Wind In The Willows!

    And I’ve added Quiet to my to-read list πŸ™‚

  • I love your thoughts on reading and books…I feel the same way! Especially about reading non-fiction out of sequence. I do that all.the.time.

    • Allie, for reals on reading out of sequence?! Most people I share that with think it’s bizarre. Good to know I’m not the only one :).

  • I loved Quiet. So good. And I’m going to check out Raising Your Spirited Child and Loving Your Kids on Purpose. I loved Parenting with Love and Logic, one of my favourite parenting books to date.
    And I need to read The Wind in the Willows, it’s been way too long. =)

    • Breanne, I am ready to write a post on hospitality inspired by The Wind in the Willows. Just not sure who else (present company excluded, of course :)) would appreciate lessons in homemaking from woodland animals.

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