summer reading list revised

Early I wrote this post with books I intended to read this summer.  I wanted to give an update on some of these, so here it is.

Haven’t Read Yet – No Report

Bark by Lorrie Moore

Cementville by Paulette Livers

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Going To Skip

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver – If you are a middle aged female biologist who loves romance novels, this is for you, if not, I’d skip it.  Mike read the first 30 pages or so and gave me a summary, not worth the read.

Read From List

East of Eden – Very long, but very good.  Give it 50 pages before the story line really picks up.

How Did You Get This Number – Pretty funny.  Kinda of a downer at parts.  Main character/author isn’t the most put together person in the world.

And The Mountains Echoed – Great story.  Tons of characters to keep straight.

Read And Not On List

never let me go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – About a child at a private school in England.  A coming of age story.  Except there is a bunch of weird stuff going on and it’s science fiction.

black moon

Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun – Another sci-fi (not typical for me).  Insomnia is claiming the lives of the entire population.  Very creepy, but a page turner.  It took me a couple days to read.

Currently Reading

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

My Favorite

The Sci-fi ones were fun, but read East of Eden.  It’s probably been my favorite.

summer reading list

Some people have asked how I decide what to read, but there is no sophisticated process that I use.  I usually read or hear about certain books and type them into my phone for future reference.  Or sometimes I’ll use the website,  Here are some books on my list that I have NOT read.  I’m planning on reading most of these and then doing another post on whether or not I liked them.

khaled hosseini

And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini


Bark – Lorrie Moore


Cementville – Paulette Livers

how did you get this number

How Did You Get This Number – Sloane Crosley

east of eden

East of Eden – John Steinbeck

cat's cradle

Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut

invisible man

Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison

prodigal summer

Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver


Maybe I’ll get through them all by the end of the summer.  And hopefully I won’t have to wait on them being checked out already at the library – nerd problems.

bookcase re-styling

Back in November I did a post on styling bookcases, here.  I’ve since made a couple small changes.

Here is what they used to look like:


Here is what they now look like:


Many styling tips and pictures show the books split up with decorative accent pieces inter-mingled with the books.  Although I like that look, it can look cluttered when you have a large bookcase like we do.  So I went ahead and put the books together with a few small objects set in front.  As we get books we can fill out that 4 shelf that we’ve started, and then allocate the second to bottom shelves for frames.  I intend on getting baskets for the very bottom shelves to add some storage.  Here are a couple close-up pics:



So there you have it.  Sometimes it’s nice to switch things up a little, ya know?


I go through waves of reading more and then reading less, but I’m usually always reading something.  Right now I’m almost half way through with Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos and I’m liking it so far.  Here are 10 books I’d recommend if you’re trying to find something to read.


A Girl Named Zibby by Haven Kimmel.  Funny, easy read, great book.


Modoc by Ralph Helfer.  Based on a true of story, this book is fascinating.


Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.  I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so inspiring.  Non-fiction.


The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht.  This book is mysterious, it kept me interested the entire time.  Unique and captivating.


Peace like a River by Leif Enger.  Such a sweet story with wonderful characters.  Heart felt and intriguing.


Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  Probably would be better if you haven’t already seen the movie.  Captures the human spirit.


The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.  True story of zookeeper’s at the Warsaw zoo hiding Jews in their empty animal cages, incredible story.

edgar sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.  Born mute, Edgar lives with his parents on a farm raising and training a fictional dog breed.  Tragedy strikes and he flees to the wilderness with three of his dogs.  Beautifully written.

boy who harnessed

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.  True story of a boy in Malawi who embarks on a plan to bring running water and electricity to his village.  Craziness, just craziness.

west with the night

West with the Night by Beryl Markham.  Best adventure story I’ve ever read.  True story of Beryl’s life growing up in Kenya and later flying planes.  It’s awesome.

And here are a few books that I intend to read soon:

1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

2.  And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

3.  The Fault in our Stars by John Green

4.  Left to Tell:  Discovering God Admidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza and Steve Erwin

Let me know if you have any recommendations!

bookcase styling

When we moved into this house back in August I fell in love with our huge built-ins in our entry hall.  It definitely took some time to fill them in the way I wanted though.  My method was to put every thing up on the shelves first and then rearrange until I settled on this:


I’ll probably rearrange again in a couple months, but for now it works.  The bottom shelf is empty, but I intend to put some baskets down there eventually.

I worked within one shelf at a time, and spread out the frames, tchochtkes, and rows of books so that it looks somewhat balanced.  We wanted our books to be separated according to classics, non-fiction, fiction, religious/spiritual, reference, etc.  So that helped too in deciding where everything should go.





I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to bookshelves and built-ins (here) for inspiration.  Check it out!

what I’ll most likely be blogging about

This past summer I wrote up a list of things that interest me – my top 10 to be exact.  It was kind of a weird thing to do, but it was fun because I got to think about what I truly enjoy doing.  Plus I thought it would help me mentally simplify my life.  It was nice thinking of certain things and then thinking, ‘nope, that won’t make the list’, and then I’d be all like ‘awesome, one less thing to worry about.’  Am I making sense?  Anyway here it is…

1.  Reading – this is numero uno because I read regularly.  Sometimes I fall off the wagon but in general I read things…my Facebook feed, nutritional facts, etc.  Right now I’m reading ‘Jewel’ by Bret Lott.  It’s one of those Oprah’s Book Club books, but the reason I’m reading it is because it was on sale at the library for 50 cents.  So far it’s pretty good.

2.  Outdoors/Fitness – this is another one that I put high up on the list soley because it’s a regular part of my life.  I like to move around, if I don’t I get cranky, it’s that simple.  Right now since the weather is nice I’ll go on runs.  If the weather isn’t nice I like a good Jillian Michael video, that chick is tough.

3.  Being with Friends & Family – not much to say about this one.  I love my friends and family!

4.  Decorating – I have a degree in interior design, but anyone with that degree will tell you that designing and decorating are two completely different things, and they are, but I like decorating too.  I haven’t decorated anybody else’s home (yet), just my own for now.  We recently moved and if we had tons of money to blow you could bet that I’d spend it on a bunch of house junk…and it’d be awesome.

5.  Crafts/Art/Painting/Smash Book – I lumped these all together because one didn’t stand out above the rest.  I do love my Smash Book though.  I’m not one of those people that DIYs their entire house with DIY furniture, DIY curtains, DIY soap, DIY eye drops, DIY nail clippers…I should stop because I see a future post about this, but I like being creative whenever I feel the urge.

6.  Cooking – Every week or so I’ll get on Pinterest and whip up some new fangled dinner and it usually turns out pretty tasty.  But probably above cooking I like to bake, because I’ve recently discovered that I don’t just love homemade cookies, I’m obsessed with them.

7.  Music/Movies – I like knowing what’s new and hip so I can be in the know with the cool kids.

8.  Photography – And when I say photography, I mean with my iPhone, check this guy out…

9.  Travelling – Going on vacation once every 2 months whould be ideal to me.  Why did I put ‘to me’ at the end of that sentence?  Like some people wouldn’t like that?  Colorado, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Nashville, France, etc. etc.  I included this on my top 10 list because although we only take one big trip a year, I spend plenty of time throughout the year just daydreaming about travelling.  So that totally counts as an interest.

10.  Style/Clothes – This is low on the todum pole because I’m not one of those people who shop regularly, but I always feel pretty dang good when I get back home after buying new clothes, so I figured that counts for something.

So there it is.  And when I blog it’ll probably be about one of those things, but maybe not, I really don’t know.  I also wrote a short list of the things that really truly matter to me.  Because sometimes looking at a list of your interests doesn’t give you the best perspective of life.  Here is the short list…

1.  Faith Life

2.  Family

3.  Friends

4.  Health

I think everyone should make their own lists.  It’d be fun and personalized and then when you meet new people you could ask to see their list and you could be like, ‘no way would we have anything to talk about’ or ‘oh my gosh!  I think I just found my new best friend!”.  Maybe it’ll catch on.