Book Chat

April 2017 Reading Log

Whew, another full month come and gone… and now it’s May! Which also happens to be the month I turn 30 (yikes!). As the weather warms up, it’s been a treat to fit in more fun stuff to the daily routine, like a play date, bridal shower, garage sales, Easter gardening, a quilt guild meeting, and visit to Alabama for a week. There was even one week full of rain and cold temps, which made me want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea: so I did! I’ve been on a sci-fi/fantasy kick lately and it’s been so much fun to escape for a bit.

A quick note on children’s lit: I’m reading more picture books these days (mostly the same few over and over and over) but not necessarily documenting every single one in my reading log. To keep it simple, I’ve decided to only record titles that we receive as gifts or that come from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. I like having a record of those books, so for now this is how I’ll keep track of Children’s Lit!

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log

April 2017 Thoughts


Portrait Revolution: Inspiration from Around the World for Creating Art in Multiple Mediums and Styles, by Julia L. Kay

Start date: 3/30/2017
Finish date: 4/3/2017
Source: Blogging for Books
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Paperback
Grade: A

I love the origin story of the portrait party that inspired this book: in 2010 Julia Kay finished a 3-year-long project to make a self-portrait every day; ready to turn her gaze away from herself, she started a group online to bring artists together for a portrait party, an event where artists can share photos of themselves for other artists to create portraits for each other. Instead of a one-time event, over six years the group grew to more than 1,000 artists from more than 55 different countries, producing more than 50,000 portraits. This book showcases the huge variety of portraits produced from this international collaborative project. The unifying theme is portraits, but the range of media is wide, including digital and traditional, and some that fall in neither category. Over 450 artists total are represented, and both their artwork and their words are featured, with quick tips to explain their process, how to use media, etc. with tons of examples. My favorite pages showed how different artists interpreted the same photo.

Full review here!

The Love and Lemons Cookbook: An Apples-to-Zucchini Celebration of Impromptu Cooking, by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews

Start date: 4/3/2017
Finish date: 4/3/2017
Source: Instagram (@becomingjolie)
Genre: Cookbook
Format: Library book
Grade: A

I enjoy cookbooks but I tend to look up a recipe online when I need to make something, so checking one out from the library is a great way to get some inspiration without buying every single cookbook that catches my eye… so when I saw this one on Instagram, I couldn’t resist adding it to my hold list. It’s from a popular food blog (that I’ve never heard of), all vegetarian recipes, organized by ingredient, with lots of tips throughout, and full of fresh, bright photography. I love the way it’s laid out, since focusing on ingredients instead of recipes reflects the way I cook most often; instead of going to the grocery store with a recipe in hand, it starts with what you already have in the pantry. How many times have I googled “avocado recipe” when I have leftovers but no idea what to do with them? The answer: all the time.

Sleeping Giants (The Themis Files #1), by Sylvain Neuvel

Start date: 4/5/2017
Finish date: 4/9/2017
Source: Modern Mrs. Darcy blog
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Library book
Grade: A

I read this fun sci-fi thriller to fulfill the “Book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able” category of the MMD Reading Challenge. When a mysterious alien artifact is found, uncovering the truth about its origins becomes a geopolitical race around the world. It raises a lot of interesting questions about the far-reaching consequences for the scientists who work on the search as well as humanity at large. Told in interviews, this fast-paced adventure reminds me of sci-fi action movies like Arrival or The Martian. The interviews made me feel a bit removed from the action and characters, but it was intriguing enough that I raced through to find out what the next twist could be, and I just checked out the sequel.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), by Sarah J. Maas

Start date: 4/20/2017
Finish date: 4/25/2017
Source: Friend (Sommer W.)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Library book
Grade: A+

Feyre and the warrior fairies are back and better than ever before! I liked the first book in this series, but I LOVED the second! ACOTAR wasn’t Maas’s first book by any means, but ACOMAF is miles better in terms of writing, character development, and action. Without the constraints of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale from the first book, Maas was free to take the story in an entirely different direction, and it really paid off. I won’t give anything away about the love story, but the way she subverted the typical alpha male prince charming that plagues fantasy tropes was so great. I still have some of the same reservations about the overworked love scenes and overly wordy parts, but that’s also part of the fun and charm of this genre. I was amazed at how much I grew to love these characters. Plus the timing is perfect because Book 3 comes out this week!! I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Let’s Count!: A First Book of Numbers, illustrated by Dave Aikins

Start date: 4/15/2017
Finish date: 4/25/2017
Source: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Genre: Children’s Lit
Format: Board Book
Grade: A

Great lift-the-flap counting book from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Love the stimulating colors and bold patterns, and the pages have some sort of drool-resistant plastic coating that stands up to the everything-has-to-go-in-baby’s-mouth stage.

Yellow Owl Workshop’s Make It Yours: Patterns and Inspiration to Stamp, Stencil, and Customize Your Stuff, by Christine Schmidt

Start date: 4/19/2017
Finish date: 4/22/2017
Source: Blogging for Books
Genre: Craft
Format: Paperback
Grade: A

Putting your stamp on something you use every day makes it so much more special, don’t you think? This book from Yellow Owl Workshop is full of ideas and printmaking techniques to do just that, with modern flair that doesn’t look too arts-and-craftsy (as Tim Gunn would say). I’ve been interested but intimidated by a few of these techniques in the past, but these projects seem like a no-fuss introduction to get your feet wet. The real test of any craft book, though, is whether I’d actually make any of the crafts. The ideas that spark my interest are varied: a gold leaf art deco dresser, plaid tote, monogram leather clutch, animal tessellation stamp, iron on applique, shibori indigo dyed curtains, and glass marker plate… but will I actually make any of them? I definitely want to try out the glass marker plate, and perhaps the gold leafing too (although nowadays I’m limited on time and energy to try new things).

Full review here!

Still Reading:

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrick Backman

Start date: 4/6/2017
Source: Friend (Dad)
Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook

I started listening to this audiobook on the recommendation of my Dad, but he warned me that the beginning is slow and I have to agree. With so many podcasts also vying for my ears, I haven’t made much progress yet, and I think I might listen to another audiobook first (more below).

Waking Gods (The Themis Files #2), by Sylvain Neuvel

Start date: 4/26/2017
Source: Modern Mrs. Darcy blog
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Library book

 The second book in the Themis Files series was just released, and I picked it up from the library last week. The interviews resume a few years after the events from the first book with the appearance of another alien artifact. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson

Start date: 4/26/2017
Source: What Should I Read Next? podcast
Genre: Non-fiction
Format: Audiobook

Another audiobook from Dad; it’s fun sharing an Audible account! Fascinating look at the internet’s obsession with publicly shaming those who have done something stupid, with a lot of far-reaching consequences that you might not consider when you chime in on a viral video of the latest transgression. I think I prefer nonfiction audiobooks to fiction; they’re just easier for me to digest, maybe because podcasts have trained me to absorb information rather than stories.

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater, by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett

Start date: 4/28/2017
Source: Library
Genre: Non-Fiction (Parenting)
Format: Library book

There are a ton of websites out there about Baby-Led Weaning (or baby-led solids) but sometimes I prefer a book to just lay out the information I need without all the opinions that go along with online resources. Amelia liked the rice cereal that our pediatrician suggested to start out solid foods at 4 months, but she didn’t show any interest in the pureed foods we gave her shortly after; when we offered “real” food, she went to town! So BLW seems like the way to go for us (I checked out the cookbook too).


Books read in April: 6
Books read in 2017: 22
Still reading: 4

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of April, the fourth month of 2017. I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

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4 thoughts on “April 2017 Reading Log

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