The May Book Report

May was an exciting month in my reading life. I’m happy to say that I have not purchased a new book in over a month – and for me, this is HUGE! Before finding The Unread Shelf Challenge, I bought 2-3 books a week. After the first month of this challenge, I’ve shifted my focus and rediscovered the books I already own. I’m being much more honest with myself about what I’m interested in reading and getting rid of titles that no longer apply. I doubt I will go back to buying so many at a time.

Thankfully, our local library opened its new location, and I can already tell I will quickly become a regular there. I did borrow one book from there this month – Ending Parkinson’s Disease: A Prescription for Action. I’ve been reading about this topic for a book I’m interested in writing. Also, thanks to all the summer reading lists that have recently been published, I have put several books on hold. I’m hoping they come in soon so that I have plenty to report on in my June book report post.

But I’m getting ahead of myself now. Here is what I read in May.

Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is a brilliant writer that I learned about fairly recently. I heard her speak at a virtual book tour event for her latest title and loved her wisdom, humor, and candor. I am on page 165 of this book. It is taking me a while to read it because I want to savor each chapter. Through this book, she teaches a class on writing, and I (along with many fellow writers) am her eager student. I am soaking in her advice and learning a lot from her. I don’t want this book to end, but I’ll finish it eventually.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins-Reid

From the best-selling author of Daisy Jones and the Six (which is still sitting on my nightstand to read), this was the novel our book club chose to read this month. Evelyn is a Hollywood starlet who has said and done a lot to get to her level of stardom. Now, she is telling her story to a little-known writer, and what she reveals will change both of their lives. Evelyn married seven times, and with each husband, we learn more about her, her relationships, and her road to fame and fortune. It’s a bumpy (and fun) ride! This author has a new book coming out in a few days called Malibu Rising. I already put a hold on it at the library.

Books I DNF’d

I also listened to The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory on Audible. This is a title I heard so much about and was looking forward to reading. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for it, and you can read why here.

In addition, I am donating the following books that no longer suit my reading life. These books were gifted to me. I hear they are excellent reads, but there are so many books and so little time. I’d rather share these titles with those who will appreciate them.

A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Up Next

In June, I am going for an ambitious list of four titles to kick off my summer reading. I will read the Parkinson’s book, and I just started Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. I am only three chapters in and already having trouble putting it down. As a bonus, one of the main characters is named Elisa. šŸ™‚ Our book club picked The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth (who wrote one of my favorites, The Mother-In-Law). But, I am most looking forward to reading Andrew McCarthy’s memoir, Brat, An ’80s Story. Many people are waiting to read this book at the library, so this may be one that I break my book-buying fast to purchase. I hear it will be worth it.

A Quick Note

If you decide to buy any of these books, I hope you will support your local, independent bookstore. Yes, Amazon is faster and probably cheaper, but buying local helps families. Please keep them in business because I shudder to think of a world without bookstores.

Happy reading!






Rainy Days Aren’t So Bad

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house.
All that cold, cold, wet day.”

– from The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss

Yes, it is Memorial Day weekend, and the sun should be out. After all, it is the official start of summer. Here on the East Coast, we’ve already had a few days of warm weather. So, I can say I’ve already had a taste of summer. It would have been nice to sit by the pool today, but there is always tomorrow.

Oh, rain is in the forecast tomorrow? Ok, how about Monday? Can we sit outside on Monday? Let me check…Yes, Monday is looking good!

In the meantime, rainy days have never bothered me. I am more productive when it rains. The laundry gets done. Our Costco run is behind us. And soon, this post will be written.

Here are a few other reasons I love the rain.

  1. Rain washes away all of the pollen. – Springtime for me is allergy season. I can’t seem to walk around the block without running into someone mowing the lawn, and the grass is flying everywhere. There is pollen on the ground and just about everywhere else. But, after a good rainstorm, I can breathe a lot easier.
  2. Walking the dog in the rain does not take long –Ā Ā Our dog, Chloe, does not like the rain.
    I tried to get her to go outside, but she dove under the bed. I got the message. On rainy days, she wants to cuddle up with us on the couch and sleep, which is fine by me. And when she has to go, she jumps off the front step, does her business, and comes right back into the house. No one has to stand outside and get wet on her behalf. It is very considerate of her.
  3. Reading on rainy days is my favorite pastime. – I can’t help it. A hot beverage, warm blanket, comfy couch, cute dog, and a great book is the perfect reading environment. And, if you aren’t in the mood to read, you can always watch the Friends reunion. I enjoyed it immensely!
  4. Memorial Day salesĀ  – Working from home full-time gives me cabin fever on the weekends. So, when my daughter invited me to a late Mother’s Day brunch, I happily accepted. We wound up spending the entire afternoon shopping for summer dresses and sandals – knowing that someday soon, the sun will come out again.

Summer Plans


It is Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer. With all of us fully vaccinated now, there are places to go, people to see, and things to do! Here is what is in store for us this summer.

College Visits – In-person or virtual, we are going back to college this summer! Ready or not, it’s Andrew’s turn to pick a school. I’ve been through this process once already, so I know the drill. But, Andrew is different from my oldest, Jenna, so it will still be new. And admittedly a little harder because he is (and always will be) my baby.

Andrew has different tastes in schools and majors. While she looked at mid-sized liberal arts colleges in the suburbs, he is going for the bigger schools in the city. Jenna is my social sciences kid, and he is into math and sciences. It’s going to be a fun ride, and I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he finds his new home away from home.

Swim MeetsĀ – In between college tours, Andrew will join the swim team again this year. It is a joy to watch him in the pool. You can tell he loves it, and his team spirit is contagious. He is going for a pool record this year in breaststroke. He tells me that he will train all summer long to make that dream a reality, and something tells me we will see his name on that wall.

Staycation – Instead of planning a big vacation this year, we decided to replace our deck and patio. It has already been a long process of selecting a contractor, educating ourselves on the difference between pavers and stamped concrete, evaluating the different types of deck material, and applying for local permits. Once the work starts, the whole project takes about two weeks for everything to be completed. And then, we get to pick out new furniture.

If everything goes according to plan, I will lay out on my new deck on a comfy lounge chair, sip a cool drink, and read a book sometime in mid-July.

Down the shoreĀ – If you are not from my part of the country, this is what we say when we go to the beach. I live outside of Philadelphia, grew up in South Jersey, and love the shore. After a year like we’ve had, I want to dig my toes into the sand and put my feet in the Atlantic Ocean. And there be plenty of chocolate peanut butter fudge from the Boardwalk to enjoy.

So, what are your plans for the summer?

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