Summer Books

by Honolulu Mother

I meant to send this topic in the late spring, so it’s a bit late in the season, but since we’re apparently low on posts I thought I might as well send it in.

Let’s talk about beach books, aka shit lit. What are you reading this summer? Trashy nonfiction still counts — Primates of Park Avenue, the book by the lady who claims to have uncovered “wife bonuses” came out last month. All the also-reads for Primates seem to be shit lit — I haven’t read the sample of Crazy Rich Asians, linked to from the Primates book, but unless the cover is greatly misleading, it’s shit lit. I read a lot of genre fiction for my light reading — mysteries, fantasy, SF — and in that line, I really enjoyed Naomi Novik’s new book, Uprooted. That one’s probably too well written to really be shit lit, but it’s fast paced and very readable.

One of our road trip audiobooks was The Colonel and Little Missie, by Larry McMurtry. It was a fun look at the lives of Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, with the story-telling feel you might expect based on the author. Bear in the Back Seat is another eminently readable non-fiction choice. My 10 year old ended up reading part of it too after hearing me laughing. Those of you with a farming background may particularly enjoy his description of how he decided to change his focus away from agriculture.

If you’re reading Dostoevsky or Piketty this summer, I suppose you can share that too. Are more serious books on your summertime reading list? Or do you save those for the fall, or for the twelfth of never?


91 thoughts on “Summer Books

  1. Yay! A book thread! I look forward to all the brilliant recommendations. I’ve already bookmarked Bear in the Back Seat. I spent the first part of the summer reading Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice trilogy. Classic fantasy and very enjoyable.

    I highly recommend Anthony Ryan’s Blood Song and Michael Sullivan’s Theft of Swords–both excellent fantasy novels with great protagonists.

  2. I’m reading the Outlander series, which is highly entertaining, although the 5th book is a little slower than the previous four. I’m also reading the Anne of Green Gables series w/my oldest DD which has been a lot of fun.

  3. My book habits don’t really change with the season. I read 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher on vacation (about a teen suicide) not really a beach read :)

    I’m currently reading Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy (almost done!) it is dystopian, HBO is doing a miniseries of it I believe

    I’ve read about 15 books over the summer, but my reading is going to slow down this fall because I am doing the CMA exams in September and October.

  4. I have been making my way through the Outlander series – slowly since I don’t want to buy the books, so I have to wait for them on kindle library loan. They are OK but I don’t really like the way she writes sex, so I read those parts very fast. I also just reread Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising.

  5. I just read Seveneves by Neil Stephenson. The premise is that the moon explodes and the people of earth have two years to figure out how to live off of the earth before the great asteroid rain begins. They need to create colonies that can wait in space for 5000 years until the earth becomes habitable again. I am typically not such a hard-core physics reader — I feel like my knowledge of astronomy increased immensely by reading the book. There was a lot of talk about rocks and living in space, but a compelling storyline, too.

    Also on the reading list: The New Jim Crow for book club. No sunshine or fluff there. But I keep hearing people talk about the book, so I suppose I will be able to keep up with the NPR-folks.

    I have thought that I would enjoy the Outlander series – thanks for the reminder Atlanta Mom.

  6. Oh and the Outlander show is pretty good, even my husband liked it after the first few episodes.

  7. I’ve been reading some beach-lit: I just finished Ghost Fleet which is your basic military thriller, set a few years in the future but not too much. I also read The Good Spy, a Life of Robert Ames, which many of you would not count as beach-lit because it is a bio, but since Robert Ames was a spy I think it does count. Anyway I couldn’t put it down (well, I couldn’t put down my Kindle).

    Of course, I read heavier books too, in particular The Half Has Never Been Told which is just a devastating look at slavery – the way it was institutionalized and industrialized, and the fact that the US economy totally depended on slavery. This book is not dry or boring at all – tha author weaves in lots of slave stories, collected during the Depression, and then follows up with lots of data to make the point. It is a very passionate book.

    On my to-read list is this one – about 5 girls from Japan who were sent to study in the US in 1871 by their government, as a way for Japan to learn about US culture.

  8. I love books and posts about books!

    The Ascendant by Drew Chapman – gripping suspense novel. Both DH and I liked this one.

    The Martian by Andy Weir – another book both DH and I liked (our reading tastes are pretty different so it’s rare for us to both read the same book). Soon to be a movie with Matt Damon.

    The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig. Set in Montana in 1909 – I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s about a family home-steading in Montana. The author has so much affection for his characters.

    All the Light We Cannot See by Alan Doerr. Not really light-hearted – set during WWII – but very good.

    How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson. A really lovely book. I’m not much of a poetry reader but I really liked this one (probably because it’s aimed at kids/young adult).

    The Light Years – first book in Elizabeth Jane Howard’s series about the Cazalet family

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – light-hearted fun summer read.

    The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

  9. I’ve read all the books in the Outlander series and have enjoyed them but Diana Gabaldon could really use a strong editor.

  10. I am reading Misbehaving by Thaler. It’s behavioral economics, written entertainingly. I just finished Defending Jacob which is one of my kid’s summer reading assignments. It’s about a crime, with lawyers, police and all that which I always like so was a quick read. And it wasn’t as if I was keeping him from getting the reading done. We still have 6 WEEKS until classes actually start.

  11. Ada – glad to hear you liked Seveneves. It’s on my list to buy for my husband for his birthday.

  12. We still have 6 WEEKS until classes actually start.

    Sigh, ours go back tomorrow and the next day.

  13. Wow, HM, a 10-month school year! Even getting out next May 26th is later than some who start later. I honestly didn’t know anyplace where school starts in July.

  14. I also read Seveneves this summer and enjoyed it – especially the first 2/3. The last third skips to 5, 000 years in the future to show how everything plays out. I never felt like I got to know the second set of characters very well, but it was still interesting. Neil Stevenson is one of my favorites.

  15. I just finished two summer books because they’re junk.

    Judy Blume, in the Unlikely Event. It was ok. I read The Royal We. Fun book, but a real beach read.

    I’m in the middle of Quiet and Straight to Hell. The second book is from the GS

  16. “I’ve read all the books in the Outlander series and have enjoyed them but Diana Gabaldon could really use a strong editor.”

    +1!!! I really enjoy the books, but find myself skimming frequently.

  17. I’m currently reading Being Nixon by Evan Thomas. I think it is very good.

    In my bag for this trip is Fordlandia about Henry Ford’s endeavor to build a tire factory and a completely America city in Brazil. (Who knew?) Needless to say, it was one of his unsuccessful endeavors.

  18. Fred, they got 7 weeks of full-on break, plus a couple of days at either end. So yeah, not a long summer for them.

    On the one hand, homework and activities. On the other hand, not coming home to a house full of hot pocket wrappers and dirty dishes and cushions tossed everywhere.

  19. Fred, they got 7 weeks of full-on break, plus a couple of days at either end. So yeah, not a long summer for them.

    Poor things, Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, I say. Soon it will be February and they’ll have to contend with bringing a sweatshirt or light jacket when the temps plunge into the upper 60s.

  20. At my kid’s school, Rhett, PE and recess are cancelled if it dips below 70!

    It is beyond absurd.

  21. I’m not reading anything but the Daily Mail. The kids are all up in my grill and there is much yard work and stuff to be done. I have become a citizen of Bachelor Nation and am eagerly awaiting Bachelor in Paradise on Sunday morning, wondering why ABC didn’t hire me to be a Den Mother to those mixed up, oversexed kids.

  22. I’m all for a longer school year. Here, our summer vacation is about 10 weeks. School starts 3 weeks from this coming Monday. I am enjoying the lack of stress, but am not enjoying the weather (now daily 100+ degrees).

  23. Mox, I’m absolutely not kidding. Sweaters and long-sleeved shirts are required too.

    I guess our snowflakes down here are orchids.

  24. To interject a sad note into this light conversation – I just learned that one of the moms we knew from the ped cancer world passed away a couple of days ago. Her 4 year old was in treatment for relapse at the same time my DS2 was in treatment, but he passed away that spring. Since then, I kept in touch with the mom via mailing list and FB, where she posted endless cute pet memes. Everyone is being very tight lipped – the obit is only one sentence – but it may have been a suicide. I don’t think she ever got over losing her kid. I am feeling very down about it.

  25. Oh no, Mooshi, that is awful. So sorry.

    PTM – how ridiculous! Here they keep the kids INSIDE at camp (which would otherwise be outside) if it is above 85 or “too humid”.

  26. Here they are not required to have inside recess for sub-70, probably because it’s just not a frequent enough occurrence to warrant a policy (and we’d be talking maybe 69 degrees during morning recess, once or twice a year). They also do not stay inside for above 85 or “too humid,” which pretty much describes all the weather we’re getting in this El Nino summer.

  27. I am sorry about your friend . my Mom never recovered from my brother’s unexpected death. Within a month she developed sever dental problems followed by 2 types of cancer and a memory disorder that whereby she cannot remember much of the recent past beginning with the date of my brother’s death. She has survived now some fifteen years but her grief has destroyed her. All the chemicals and therapists in the world have not helped her in the least . Your friend must have truly suffered. I hope she found peace.

  28. I’m so sorry MooshiMooshi. I hope you can feel our virtual love and support over the interwebs.

  29. This summer, I am once again out of my usual suspects, so I am catching up on Harlan Coben, who is pretty decent. Haven’t been able to start from the beginning, which is annoying, but whatever.

    Ditto on Outlander. I pretty much lost it when she left Timmy in the effing well between books — she writes 1,000+ pages, and she still doesn’t have enough space to get Timmy out of the freaking well? Editor, stat. Plus, you know, I generally don’t have an Entire Summer to devote to a single book.

    And yet, I still read them, so I guess we know who’s got the last laugh. . . .

  30. Mooshi– That sounds truly tragic.

    I’m copying over lots of these suggested books and/or adding them to the wish list for the library. Thanks all! My most recent good read, though not quite trash lit, was a collection of oral histories, Kids from the Bronx. Fairly entertaining reading. I read The Girl on the Train this summer, which was billed as a great read, but instead was trash lit– quick, light, and fairly entertaining, but not quite as suspenseful or well-written as I’d been led to believe.

  31. Mooshi – I’m so sorry to hear that. Life can be such a kick in the teeth.

    I love book topics! I recently finished Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, recommended heavily to me because my daughter has taken up writing fan fiction to work on her writing. It’s total fluff, but was a fun diversion. I’m typically not a YA person. I picked up several Vince Flynn and David Baldacci mysteries on the clearance table at B&N. I think they’re good, if you like that U.S. Special forces-type mystery genre. (I’m still on the Flynn books). I’m still on the waiting list at the library for Girl on a Train and All the Light We Could Not See, so am looking forward to that.

  32. Mooshi – I’m so sorry. And Happy Camper – sorry to hear about you and your mom’s experience. That must be really hard on you. My sister died of cancer when she was 4 and I was 7. My mom threw herself into law school (as a coping mechanism) the following year – and then left law school and she and my dad had two more kids. The death of a young child is devastating – and I would think even more so if you don’t have other kids to help you pull through. It is certainly my biggest fear as a parent and one of the reasons I wanted to have more than one child.

    On a lighter note, I really liked the Royal We by Heather Cocks. As Lauren said, it’s the perfect beach read.

  33. PTM, that is insane. In related news. My California nephew just earned his “license” to use a pen. In the 5th grade. Apparently he had to demonstrate adequate dexterity with a pencil. Mindblowing.

    Mooshi – I’m so sorry. I wish they would say the cause was depression instead of suicide. It sounds as if you two really shared something intense and unique. Wish I had something more useful to say but I am sorry. Terribly so.

  34. Tangentially related to the topic, but does anyone have Kindle hdx 7? Is it worth the price tag? What do you use it for besides reading books? I mostly need it as backup to iPad for the kiddo. I really want my iPad back.

  35. Dell, I bought a Kindle HD7 at the sale HM told us about a few months ago. I don’t do much with it other than surf the web, play 2048 and respond to e-mails briefly but it’s been nice to use while nursing. I read one book on it so far. In my opinion, Khan Academy is too hard to use on the Kindle HD7. I don’t know how the Kindle HD7 compares to the iPad. Mr. WCE has an iPad and likes the form factor of my Kindle.

  36. I am currently reading DECADES, which is apparently the first in a series by Ruth Harris. She shows a couple of decades through the eyes of different characters – a woman, her husband’s mistress, and her daughter. Apparently the other books are similar.

    Next up is Girl on the Train, then maybe the latest in James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.

    I’ve also got Mary Alice Munroe’s Low Country Summer series on my wish list. Anyone have an opinion on those or any of her work? I’ve never read her but she keeps popping up on my Amazon recommendations.

    Speaking of Amazon, I’m trying to pick a shower curtain for DD’s new bathroom and can’t decide between these three: The Water Cycle: Bathroom Rules: Rubber Ducks:

  37. Mooshi – I am very sorry to hear that. Life can be so terribly crushing at times.

  38. Mooshi, so sorry about your friend.

    Wce, I am mostly looking to keep the kid entertained, watch netflix, youtube and some toddler apps. We are a few years away from Khan academy and these things get obsolete fast, so not thinking that long term.

  39. I suspect the Kindle HD7 would meet your needs, and the screen size is worth paying a premium for over the HD6. It’s pretty robust. I ordered mine in magenta to make it stand out from other similar devices at, say, the indoor park.

  40. MM – how very sad. Our three year old very nearly died (several different instances of CPR on the same day) and it became very easy to imagine what would happen if she didn’t leave the hospital. Instead of them packing a little red wagon full of her and our belongings (strewn around the room after a week of residence) that we could take to the ICU, we would have had to pack our car and drive home. The vividness of that image still hurts. It was hard going forward even when everything eventually turned out okay – it took me months to get my feet beneath me, even though we had the best of all possible outcomes. My heart goes out to someone who suffers that much.

  41. Dell, the kid could do all of that with the Kindle HD7, as well as listen to kid audiobooks (including listening to an audiobook while reading along in the text), take pictures, light web browsing, listen to music, all the usual suspects.

  42. SWVA – I choose the last one just because after I saw Psycho, I cannot shower in a shower I can’t see out of.

  43. Reading – I’ve been reading magazines and instruction manuals for baby things… I have a book that I’ve been starting/stopping/restarting since February. It’s called “Ready Player One” a YA book about a dystopian future. It’s pretty well received… and references the Ghost Busters on the first page, so how bad could it be??

    MM – I am so sorry. Such a tragedy on all fronts. Much love to you.

    SWVA – I like the water cycle, but I’m partial to water… (I’d love a nitrogen cycle shower curtain, but DH would want to switch it up with a double helix)

    WCE – can you ask Mr. WCE if he likes Kindles better than iPads… we are trying to figure out what tablet to buy. iPad is something that’s common, so it’s on the list. I’m not sure if Kindles make good tablets. I was leaning towards a Surface Pro (or similar) so that my PC friendly mom could use it too. The goal would be some toddler apps for DS when the time comes. So not too expensive, but functional.

  44. Rhode: DS2 has a Kindle HD, DH has a Samsung, and I have an iPad mini. Everyone likes my iPad mini the best. Gorgeous and very easy to use. Once you get over the price tag…

  45. Mooshi – I am so sad about your friend. There is no way to know for sure whether my children’s father would have taken his religious practice to such extremes had our child not died, but given that he basically gave up on being an actor in his own life afterwards, and was visibly distressed to have remained in this vale of tears on his 60th birthday, I have to assume a causal relationship.

  46. Dell – A kindle HD is perfect for small children. There is a way to adjust it so that it is always in kid restricted mode – if you want to use it more broadly, you have to input a parental pin.

  47. Rhode – As a former civil engineer, I love the water cycle too. But I’m leaning toward the bathroom rules shower curtain since DD has trouble remembering to flush, use soap, clean up after herself, etc. Maybe it it’s right there in front of her…

  48. SWVA – I wouldn’t go with black and white for a IIRC 7-8 year old girl. You have plenty of dark teenaged years coming up just about when this one needs replacement The water cycle is perfect. Go with your gut.

  49. Dell, I don’t have the kindle HDX, but I have a kindle fire, which is an older kindle.

    I bought it mainly to read the local newspaper. My arms were getting short, and my eyes started needing more light, and the lighting was getting dim in the fitness center where I read the paper. Reading it on the kindle allows me to increase the font and brightness as necessary, and it has been satisfactory for that purpose, although not as good as I would like, but I attribute that to programming issues in converting the newspaper to a kindle version.

    Besides that, I use it to check my email (much faster to check than my laptop, and much easier to read than my phone), do a little web surfing, do a little reading, and play some games. I used it to watch videos when I had the Amazon Prime trial; it was fine for watching, but I passed on Prime when nearly all the movies I looked for weren’t available.

    DD likes playing games on it. DS uses it as a reader; we got him a bunch of kindle versions of SAT prep books for very low price when they were on sale.

    It’s also handy when I travel. I load up all our travel documents on it, including maps and copies of our passports; the large screen (relative to phones) makes it easier to read. I’ll also load several books on it to read on the plane and in the airport, and keep up with the local newspaper while traveling as well. When I visit my dad, I’ll load up a bunch of photos and videos, then plug it into his TV so he can see them easily (I bought a video cable for that).

    I think a kindle will do what you want, for a lot less than an iPad. I don’t know that the kindle does anything that any other Android tablet can’t do, and there are many Android tablets for less than a kindle.

    My suggestion is to get the Kindle when it goes on sale, like WCE did. At that price, I think it’s a good value, and it’s far less than an iPad.

  50. Mooshi – I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I can’t imagine what she (and you as well) must have gone through.

    Moxiemom – Just watched the Bachelorette last night, although I went to bed before most of the ATFR. I did not watch Bachelor in Paradise last year, but I may tune in next week – what fun!

    I read half of the book My Struggle (Volume 1) by Karl Ove Knausgaard. We are reading it for my book club in September, and I have given up. It is the first of 6 autobiographical novels by this Norweigan guy, and at first I didn’t mind reading about all of his memories from when he was a kid, I could not get past about the halfway mark. This book was suggested by one of the gals in the book club, but I am guessing when we get to our meeting in September I will not be the only one who didn’t finish! It truly was “my struggle” to get as far as I did.

    Honolulumother – I think you were the one who recommended the mysteries by Carola Dunn? Thanks, they were a great place to go when I had to take a break from My Struggle.

  51. Mooshi, sorry to hear about your friend.

    It reminds me to the thankful that we did not lose one of ours, and to thank the doctor responsible for that the next time we see her.

  52. OT, I haven’t read many books other than textbooks or required reading since I was in HS, but I recently heard about this book, and got DS to borrow it for me this past weekend, and I’m about 5 chapters in right now:

    I suppose the subject will surprise no one here. If anyone is interested, I’ll post a review when I’m done.

    Dell, I also recently read a Sherlock Holmes book that was free from the Kindle store. I started reading it while I was waiting in the judging pool at a debate tournament. Which reminds me, I also stored the debate judging handouts on my kindle, which made them easy to refer to when needed.

  53. I read the two Judy Blume novels – Summer Sisters and Unlikely event. They were OK.
    An excellent book was “In the Country” by Mia Alvar.
    I enjoyed reading these Victorian books – How to be a Victorian, The Victorian Home.
    The historian who wrote these books actually lived like a Victorian. From what she describes it wasn’t much fun for the average citizen.
    I also liked the book WCE recommended “At Day’s Close – Night in Times Past”.

    Mooshi – my sympathies. I hope the rest of your group is doing well.

  54. SWVA – yes perfect!

    SSK – Welcome to Bachelor Nation, you do not need a passport, only a DVR and an affinity for the lurid.

    Rhode, are you still at home? How’s that going? How is the baby? When is his surgery?

  55. wow I just saw a FB posting about the first day of school in my hometown in Texas.

    Finn, that author is a friend of mine. She’s a character. I read most of the book.

    I had to send summaries of the Bacherlorette episodes to my daughter while she was in camp and away from a TV. *sigh*

  56. Speaking of knowing authors, Risley hasn’t been posting lately. I hope it’s because she’s been too busy enjoying life.

  57. Moxie and costofcollege – do you guys read the blog “I Hate Green Beans”? The author does very funny bachelor/bachelorette recaps which are often better than the show.

  58. Louise, I think you had mentioned How to Be a Victorian before. I’m familiar with Ruth Goodman from all those BBC shows we’ve watched on YouTube — Tales from the Green Valley, The Victorian Farm, the Edwardian Farm, etc. — so I was very excited and have been reading it on and off.

  59. Rhode,
    Mr WCE hasn’t used my Kindle. His iPad is larger than my Kindle. I bought my Kindle because it fits in my backpack purse or diaper bag. I paid $94 for it (the $79 periodic sales price +15 no-ad premium) and don’t expect it to compete with an iPad or Surface Pro. Typing on it isn’t very convenient- it’s like a phone and I’m not great at touch screens in general. It’s robust, the screen doesn’t scratch easily, and each of my kids can have his own account. I haven’t spent time exploring its capability very much. Maybe that will happen when my life slows down, or maybe the device will be obsolete first. DS1 had no problem reading about the animal he was assigned to research for second grade.

  60. Finn – I’ve been emailing Risley recently as we are planning to get together in August when she is the Bay Area. Bayareamom – she is sending you the info – I hope you can make it!

  61. Rhode, I have an iPad and an old school Kindle and I always use the iPad. Not sure how it compares to one of the fancy new Kindle Fires though.

  62. I have one of the fancy new Kindle Fires thanks to HM’s amazon sale notification. We don’t have an ipad, but my kids call it an ipad. They don’t care, and i’m not worried about them breaking it at the price we bought it for. It has lots of games for them (as well as adults), and for trips we download movies and cartoons. I have no complaints.

    For books, a long time ago someone here mentioned Kurt Wallender books and I have been devouring them. I was sad when I came to the realization that I was nearing the end of the last book in the serious. I also loved all Vince Flynn books. Currently reading All the Light We Cannot See.

    MM – I’m sorry to hear about your friend. So much tragedy for the family. Its hard to imagine how anyone can pick up the pieces after a struggle like that. Along similar lines, its equally amazing how others can spin their adversity into inspiration:

  63. I recently read “Ready Player One” and “Armada” by Ernest Cline. If you’re a fan of 80s geek culture, RPO is a great read. Armada was pretty much crap – he tried to shove the 80s geek culture into a story where it made absolutely no sense to do so. It was a story that had a lot of potential and he totally blew it.

    Next on my list is Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Given my new job it’s pretty much a must-read. I read one of his previous books and he has a really good style so I’m really looking forward to this one.

    I also just found out that they’ve been putting out a series of graphic novels of “The X-Files Season 10” which picks up where the series left off and is considered canon in the storyline. I read the first compilation – it’s only 2.99 to download for the kindle version and it was very enjoyable. I’m trying to figure out a good deal for volumes 2, 3 and 4 because I don’t want to pay $10 for something that I’ll read in half an hour.

  64. I’ve read all the books in the Outlander series and have enjoyed them but Diana Gabaldon could really use a strong editor.

    That’s how I feel about Harry Potter.

  65. PTM, NOOO are you kidding? My Alaskan cousins go out for recess to -20

    That’s impressive. Our cutoff is only 32.

  66. DD – Being Mortal is a good book.
    HM – I knew you would like those Victorian books. Pretty interesting.

  67. DD- DH, SIL, and BIL devoured RPO. I’ve been trying to read it since DS was in the NICU.

    Honestly the last book I read was a Certain Someone’s and I finished it while DS was in the NICU. That’s pathetic to me… I have RPO with me on a field trip for work. Lots of bus time where I can read if I’m not networking.

    Moxie- the Rhode family is surviving 2 working parents. I’ve been back since April and DH took 8 weeks off between April and the end of May. DS got through his surgery like a champ. He needs to have a hernia repair next week but that’s small potatoes comparatively. He’s even taking a modified Doc Brown bottle so no more specialty feeder! I can use a glass bottle! (How Totebaggy is that?!)

  68. Honestly the last book I read was a Certain Someone’s and I finished it while DS was in the NICU. That’s pathetic to me

    For heaven’s sake, Rhode! You have a baby (with a medical issue, no less) and a full-time job AND you shared that reading doesn’t come easily to you. If you make it through an episode of Dancing with the Stars you should be proud of yourself.

  69. LOL RMS, I don’t think I read anything other than Dr. Seuss and picture books until DS was about 9 months old, I was too tired.

  70. I have utterly lost my ability to concentrate. Two books recommended here — the How to Live Like A Victorian and Fordlandia — are just the kind of thing I enjoy. But I got the first a week ago and the other yesterday at the library, and I’m having problems pushing through. I can’t concentrate. Is it age? Is it too much Internet over the last 20 years? If I’d been this way as a teen I would never have made it out of high school.

  71. @RMS – I just went through a long spell of inability to read any books, no matter how interesting they were. It threw me off. I read half of Girl on a Train and abandoned it. I have always been able to finish books I’ve chosen. I don’t know what it was. I have just started reading again and am being picky about what I choose, since I don’t want half read books taunting me.

  72. Mooshi, I am very sorry about your friend.

    Our schools are generally 28 -30 and below, they stay inside the gym. They do make exceptions for really windy cold days. I can’t believe I am saying this, but it is so hot here today that I would love a chilly day.

  73. RMS – I totally agree with you. I have a harder time these days immersing myself in a book the way I used to as a teenager and young adult. I blamed kids at first and now the internet. I found myself back in my “book trance” while reading the Girl on the Train and parts of All the Light…, but many others I have to force myself to read 50 or 100 pages a day. Those are usually book club books that I want to finish, but they are just pulling me in.

  74. ” We don’t have an ipad, but my kids call it an ipad.”

    Yeah, I’ve also noticed that a lot of people use the term iPad to generically refer to tablets.

    ” i’m not worried about them breaking it at the price we bought it for.”

    My Kindle fire has proved to be durable, surviving a couple of drops none worse for the wear. It probably helps that I bought a silicone skin for it, although that makes it harder to slip into a pocket.

    OTOH, my kids have gone through three regular kindles between them. Either the Fire is a lot more durable, or I’m a lot more careful than my kids. I should’ve bought the Kindle HD when it went on sale for $79 and saved it for the next gift occasion.

    BTW, Dell, the Kindle HD WCE bought for $79 is not the same as the HDX. It looks like the main differences are higher resolution, more memory, and a 4G option, although it also has a better processor and battery, and more RAM options, but the HD has two cameras vs 1 for the HDX.

    Personally, I’m waiting for the 7″ HD to go on sale for $79 again.

  75. “I have a harder time these days immersing myself in a book the way I used to as a teenager and young adult. I blamed kids at first and now the internet.”

    These days, I just have a hard time carving out large blocks of time. Most of the reading I do is in small blocks, long enough to read a newspaper, magazine, or online article, but not long enough for immersion into a book.

    I suppose I do have some longer blocks, when I’m on a cardio machine, but those are when I read the newspaper. I should take advantage of plane rides (we’re hoping to take a trip this winter!!!) to read a book or two.

  76. Denver Dad – I second Louise’s recommendation. An original story with the world of medicine always in the background.

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