What We’re Reading in 2015-2016

book group

Last week my book group gathered for our annual planning meeting. We each brought two or three books to recommend and we organized our year. Together we decided how many nonfiction books (which we seem to prefer) and how many fiction, and then spaced them out over eleven months. We always choose a light, quick read for December and try not to do anything too hefty in May, which is always packed with graduations and weddings.

This year, for the first time, we’re also reading an additional book, The Happiness Project, over the course of the entire year (a chapter or two a month) in order to practice some of the ideas presented by the author.

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My pick this year is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I chose it for several reasons, not the least of which is that Doerr is an Idaho author from Boise. This novel won the Pulitzer Prize and is the Common Read this year for the University of Idaho. All incoming freshman are expected to read it this summer. Best of all, the author is speaking at UI in September and we plan to attend as a group.

As soon as our meeting ended last week, I came home, fired up my laptop and ordered my books. Fortunately I already own three of them, and I was able to borrow two, so I didn’t need too many. I’m still waiting for the last few to arrive, hopefully in time to take them with me to Whidbey Island where I try to read as many of our books as possible.

Reading is good for me right now. When I’m engrossed in a book, my heart rests from painful thoughts or memories. In my journal, I keep a list of every book I read each year, and it feels good to watch the list grow. This may not be my most productive year, but at least I’m reading.

This is our plan for the year:

All year (a chapter or two each month): The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun – Gretchen Rubin

August: Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis

September: All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

October: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – Amy Chua

November: Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices – Mosab Hassan Yousef

December: The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion: A Novel – Fanny Flagg

January: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing – Marie Kondo

February: The Old Patagonian Express – Paul Theroux

March: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – Oliver Saks

April: Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace – Anne Jackson

May: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right – Atul Gwande

June: Five for Sorrow Ten for Joy – Rumer Godden

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts.

Happy reading, friends.

Lisa

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

23 Comments

  1. Allison
    July 20, 2015

    I just read "All the Light We Cannot See." It jumped straight to the top of my current favorites. A wonderful book.

    Reply
    1. lucylou99
      July 20, 2015

      I just finished it too Allison. I really enjoyed it!

      Reply
  2. redheadednurse
    July 20, 2015

    My book club is reading "All the Light We Cannot See" also. We read Fanny Flagg's "The All Girl's Filling Station" last year. You can never go wrong with Fannie Flagg, you laugh,you cry.

    Reply
  3. lucylou99
    July 20, 2015

    I'm currently reading "The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher." Just finished "Hissing Cousins" about Eleanor and Alice Roosevelt.

    I'm really enjoying The Most Famous Man… Hissing Cousins was very interesting.

    Our church group plans to read "The Brothers Karamazov" this fall.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 20, 2015

      I had to look up Hissing Cousins right away – that sounds like a very interesting book!

      Reply
      1. lucylou99
        July 21, 2015

        It is. It's insightful, I have a clearer understanding about the dynamics and relationships of the Roosevelt's. Just grasping the family tree was enough to make my head spin. I took notes… 🙂

        Reply
  4. Luann Yarrow Doman
    July 20, 2015

    I haven't read any of those, but I'm heading over to Amazon to read their descriptions. The titles are all so enticing… especially, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat." What in the world?! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 20, 2015

      Luann, we've talked about reading that one for several years and we finally chose it. I'm really looking forward to it.

      Reply
  5. Ann Z.
    July 20, 2015

    I just finished Rubin's latest book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. Much practical wisdom on purging your life of bad habits and better, yet, cultivating good ones! And Kate and I have All the Light We Cannot See next up on our mother/daughter book club list. Fun to think of you all the way over in Idaho pondering the same words on a page. Love your recent Idaho photo, lovely landscape. Enjoy the island with your family.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 20, 2015

      That sounds like a great book too, Ann. I'll add that to my list.

      Reply
  6. Ann Z.
    July 20, 2015

    And Rumer Godden is an old favorite of mine :))

    Reply
  7. Melissa
    July 20, 2015

    I love Mere Christianity and the selections I've read from The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat. I just read (and loved) Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg… I'll have to look into The All Girl's Filling Station. My book club just finished our first book– The Light Between Oceans. Very sad but well-written. We meet next week to talk about it… I'm excited! I've never been in a book club before. Yours looks like it picks great books!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 20, 2015

      I liked The Light Between Oceans; the adoption themes were more intense than I expected.

      Reply
    2. redheadednurse
      July 20, 2015

      Fried Greet Tomatoes was so good. I was reading one of Fannie Flagg's books (can't remember which one) on an airplane once. I was laughing so hard I couldn't stop, my kids were mortified, and people were staring at me.

      Reply
  8. redheadednurse
    July 20, 2015

    Our August book is The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. It is a young adult book that one of our member's grandsons recommended to us. Last month we read Sister by Rosamund Lupton. It is an English mystery, a genre I like but I didn't like this one. In September we are reading Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. In October Ordinary Grace, and in November Dolores Clairborne by Stephen King. In December we will read a book about the Magdalene laundries, then watch the movie Philomena.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 20, 2015

      Thanks for sharing your list! It's fun to see what other groups are reading.

      Reply
  9. Michele
    July 20, 2015

    I read "All the Light You Can Not See". It was the best fiction book I have read in a long time. Just finished "Go Set a Watchman", very thought provoking. Every time I reread Mere Christianity I get a new insight out of it. When I originally read it as an atheist, 15+ years ago – God really used it to grab my attention, challenge my worldview and draw me to Him. Also just read Unafraid by Susie Davis – highly recommended. Don't you just love summer reading? Your book club sounds like a wonderful place for you to spend some time resting.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 20, 2015

      Thanks for the great suggestions Michele. I also loved All the Light We Cannot See – such an interesting story.

      Reply
  10. beaumc1956
    July 21, 2015

    I am reading "The Grapes of Wrath" right now, for the first time, and it is fabulous. Such intense depictions of hunger, poverty, workers' conditions, fierce love, kindness. The movie was on the other night and it is a mere skimming of Steinbeck's genius.

    Heather near Atlanta

    Reply
  11. beaumc1956
    July 21, 2015

    I sound like a lunatic. I apologize!

    Heather near Atlanta

    Reply
  12. Mary Andrews
    July 23, 2015

    I loved "All The Light We Cannot See" especially as I have been to Paris. Another super book in the same time frame is "The Nightengale" which takes place in southern France in the same time period, but is about the survival of women left alone in World War II and how they care for their families and community. It is by Kristen Hannah. You might try it , too. Love you. Mom

    Reply
  13. M J Wilson
    July 29, 2015

    The book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, was one that I read recently. There were a few things that I picked up to apply to keeping house but what I found most interesting was the world view of this Japanese author.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 29, 2015

      I found that interesting too – her references to her childhood are fascinating. The best part for me is her method of folding clothes, and her insistence on decluttering one type of item at a time rather than room by room. I'm going to try it this fall.

      Reply

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