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What I Read & Watched Last Week

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

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And it’s week #4 of reading 3 books in a week! I’m so excited that I’m continuing on with this trend! Here are the three books I finished this past week:

1. Paperboy

I finally finished read aloud #2 this year with the kids! (I’m hoping that once our school schedule begins in August, we’ll be going through books much more quickly because I’ll be read aloud to the kids every morning on the way to school drop-offs and then again in the evenings after dinner. My goal is to make it through at least 8 books with them by the end of the year. We’ll see!)

Paperboy wasn’t anything like I thought it would be and I almost stopped reading it after we encountered some language right at the beginning of the book. It had some kind of unexpected and “heavy” things in it for a kids’ book and I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend it because of that (I’d recommend reading it first to see if you think it’d be a good fit for your kids or not).

However, it opened up the door for some good conversations on topics that I felt were worthwhile and I’m glad we ended up finishing the book. But Silas did say, “Mom, I can’t believe that a book with multiple bad words in it would have won the Newberry Award.” I agreed with him!

2. Refresh

This book teetered very close to the line when it comes to self-help books (which I’m not reading this year) and I almost felt a little guilty reading it because of that.

If you are feeling drained and exhausted and burnt out, this book has some helpful ideas and suggestions for how to stop living life feeling so exhausted and start feeling more energy and zest for life.

I was so encouraged by reading it to realize how the changes I’ve made in the last few years have made such a difference in how I feel. I still have days where I’ll feel really tired and worn down, but that’s always a sign to slow down and make room for rest. And I now pace myself in a healthy way so that I make time for rest and restoration, even in the middle of really full weeks. This book was a good refresher on living a life of feeling refreshed! 🙂

3. Against the Tide

This was my favorite book of the week — and I actually listened to it for free on Overdrive. It was well narrated and a great story on a historical topic that I wasn’t very familiar with (the opium trade).

If you are looking for a good, clean historical fiction book to read or listen to, I’d definitely recommend this one. I’m not surprised that it won the awards that it did!

I also watched this 20/20 show on the Thailand Cave Rescue and it was fascinating. I would highly recommend it if you haven’t watched another documentary on the story… it filled in a lot of details for me that I had wondered about and also just made me feel pretty in awe of those divers who rescued the boys!

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?


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  • Rebecca says:

    Hey Crystal,
    Do you “edit” out “language” in books that you don’t want your kids to hear when you read aloud to them? Just wondering.

    Thanks for all you do on your blog. A friend told me about your blog 9 years ago (right after my daughter was born so it’s easy to keep track of how long ago it was). That was my first introduction to sale cycles, coupon match ups, etc. I have saved soooooo much money since then.

  • Susan says:

    When you listen to a book on Overdrive, is it from the library? Do you download it to your computer? Or other device?

  • Cheryl Hershberger says:

    About 2 1/2 weeks ago I decided I was going to start reading again. I haven’t read for fun, for me, in about 8 years. Since my first daughter was born. I’ve read hundreds of children’s books, devotionals, Bible studies, and the likes of Beth Moore and Ann Voskamp. But nothing just for sheer pleasure. I felt guilty in the past about it, but a lot of my “friends” we’re posting pics of books they are reading over the summer and how good they are. I realized how much I missed it. I’m on my 8th book. And it has really encouraged my 8 year old to read more independently. My favorites so far are My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanon and The Sometimes Sisters by Carolyn Brown. I went whole hog. Broke out my Kindle. Signed up for Goodreads. And a 30 day free trial of Kindle unlimited. I have also read and enjoyed The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, When Never Comes by Barbara Davis, and Shackles by Dianne Wilson.

  • PAT h says:

    I have a 13 year old son. What books would you recommend to read aloud to him? He is not a science fiction person

  • Jmb says:

    One of my toughest issues as a mom is finding decent fiction for my kids! I don’t sugar coat life for them and we talk about tough stuff but in a book…I just want them to be able to read solid literature with a captivating story, good life lesson and some adventure. No language, no sensuality, no suicide, etc etc. In our kids’ 3rd grade and 5th grade yearbook there was a list of the top 5 favorte books of the year. I got two from the library. One was FULL of hooking up with multiple partners (as an adult I couldn’t/wouldn’t even finish it!) the other was about two suicidal teens who ended up sleeping together in secret, and then the male character killing himself (intriguing story for an adult, but NOT for my tweens/teens). I then read reviews on amazon and was dumbfounded that both had thousands of 5 star reviews from parents. I feel like I’m alone in my quest for books I can hand over to them without screenimg first because i have 3 and they read SO FAST I can’t keep up. Thankfully I found websites here and there with seemingly trustworthy list of good titles, so that’s been helpful if they are available at our library. Silas is right! Award winning should not include foul language! I don’t understand the push to expose kids so quickly in the name of “not sheltering”.

    • Cheryl Hershberger says:

      Very sad. Not sure if you have boys or girls or mix, but my daughter is going into 3rd. My mom loved all the Junie B Jones books. She read them as my niece read them a few years ago. She wouldn’t like or recommend them if they were racy no matter what the age. I always have and still love the classics. The Little House series, Charlotte’s Web, Jane Eyre, Mrs Piggle Wiggle, The Boxcar Children, and such. The Babysitter’s Club was a favorite of my sister’s (for the 5th grader). There is a new series “Who Is?…” And “What Is?…” They are nice.

    • Nicki says:

      Would you mind sharing what books those were? My kids are the same age as yours, and my oldest reads quickly and often enough that with the demands of life, I can’t keep up with reading her books first. I’ve relied on Common Sense Media and sites like that for content reviews, but I would definitely appreciate knowing titles to stay away from. Thank you!!

      • Jmb says:

        Sure. One was Hold Me Closer. One was All The Bright Places. I should clarify that they were in a nationally produced yearbook insert, top books for 2017 nationally, not just in my kids’particular school. But still…I was saddened and angry that the titles were even listed in 3-5 grade yearbooks. COMPLETELY inappropriate for that age group. :/. I called the company that makes the insert and spoke my mind. Pretty sure it fell on deaf ears though.

        Thanks for the suggestions above too!

    • I’m right there with you! It can be such a challenge!

    • Frances says:

      The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie has some great book lists (by age) in the back (in addition to great advice for talking with your kids about the books they read in the chapters). I sat at my computer with the book (from the library) and put most of the titles on the “For Later” shelf on my library account.

  • Dana says:

    I agree with Silas’s stance about the language in Paperboy. I was surprised too! I felt the same way when This One Summer won a Caldecott honor. So many adult situations and language in that one!

  • I have loved every Camden book I’ve read!

  • Angeleck Nance says:

    As a former English teacher, I have been delighted to read these comments. It seems I am always reading something, whether it is historical fiction or a mystery. However, I also love those books that I can read in a day or two and just get swept away with the setting and characters.

    One of my goals has been to read all the Newberry books – that has been fun. However, newer books may have language and adult situations that aren’t appropriate for kids to read.

    Keep on reading and enjoy the places you can go!

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