The Well’s End and other thoughts on reading

4 March 2014

I love to read, and I have for as long as I can remember. I would bring a book everywhere with me when I was younger, and I can still plow through whole series in a weekend, if given the chance. The way a book can transport me to an entirely new world will never get old! My sisters are the same way, so clearly it’s something we got from our parents. I think growing up in a home where reading is valued is one of the best gifts they gave us, and I am so grateful for all of the things it has lead to in my life, and the way it has shaped me as a person. Unsurprisingly, it is one of THE things I am most adamant about cultivating in our future children – I think there are few things that will open more doors for someone than teaching them to love reading.


Evidence of my love for reading at a young age!

What I read:
So, what do I like to read? I could (and will) devote a separate post to favorite kids books, but these days, I try to read a variety of genres. I track the books I read throughout the year in the Notes app on my phone, which helps me decide what type of book I should read next. I read mostly novels, with a healthy dose of financial advice, books on faith, historical nonfiction, and classics mixed in.

What I’ve read:
In preparation for this post, I updated my Goodreads account so you can get a sense of books I’ve read in the past, if you’d like. In 2013 I read about 18 books (aside from the Bible). My favorites included The Glass Castle, Blue Like Jazz, Seven, and Outlander. So far I’ve read six books in 2014, so I’m off to a good start! The best by FAR was Red Rising – if you liked The Hunger Games, I can’t recommend this book enough! So, so good.

What I want to read:
I also keep a Note on my phone for books I want to read — it’s easy to access and I can update it from anywhere. I find my best recommendations come from friends and family members whose taste I trust. I subscribe to O Magazine, and they often have spot-on recommendations, too! My “to-read” list is about 50 books long at this point; here are a few in my queue:

The Cat’s Table
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Mathilda Savitch
The Light Between Oceans
The Interestings
The Silver Star
Rumors of God
The Last Days of California
All Joy and No Fun
The Goldfinch

If you’ve read any of these, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!

How I read:
I rarely buy books – most come from the library, and some are borrowed from friends. I prefer to read physical copies, but I just heard that Scribd (a Netflix-like e-book subscription service) is giving away FREE three-month subscriptions this week in honor of National Reading Month, so I’m excited to load up our Kindle, too!

What I am currently reading:
Now, for the most marvelous part of this post! I couldn’t share my thoughts about reading and books without mentioning an exciting development in my literary world. My brother-in-law Seth (you may remember him from his wedding) is a literary agent and now a published author; his first book, The Well’s End, was released just one week ago. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m already chomping at the bit to find out what happens next! Every so often I pause and think how funny it is that this person I know wrote these sentences :) If you like The Hunger Games and other young adult thrillers, I think you should order The Well’s End right now (or run out and buy a copy wherever books are sold!). SO excited for and very proud of Mr. Seth.

I would love to hear: Are you a reader? Have you read any of the books I’m considering picking? Do you have any other favorites to recommend?

P.S. The Amazon links in this post are affiliates, just FYI!

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March 4, 2014 8:43 am

First of all, the photos in this post are too cute! I also enjoyed your outlook on reading – the fact that you’re thankful your parents encouraged you to do so and the many opportunities it will present to your future children. Congratulations to Seth – I look forward to checking out The Well’s End, especially since I’ll have the opportunity to meet him in July! You’ve also reminded me that I need to read Blue Like Jazz – so many of my friends love it! Finally, please, please move The Goldfinch to the top of your list once you finish The Well’s End – it is so unbelievably good. Oh, and I really did enjoy The Interestings as well! Thanks for taking the time to share your favorite books and the ones you’re hoping to read soon – I’m anxious to look into these myself!

March 4, 2014 9:59 am

One of my very favorite topics!! Also, how adorable are the pictures of you as a little girl?! I am a natural reader and have always loved books (physical books are by far the best)! I keep a running note on my phone of both my all-time favorite books (so I can recommend books to friends easily) and of books I want to read. I’m always adding books to my queue at the library, and this helps me remember which books I plan on reading next. As much as I read (usually about 65-75 books a year), I just haven’t felt the desire to open a Goodreads account. Is it worth it?! The Glass Castle is amazing (read her next book, The Silver Star!), I love re-reading Blue Like Jazz, and I’d highly recommend The Light Between Oceans. I just received The Goldfinch for my birthday, and I’m starting it tomorrow! I’ll definitely have to check out your brother-in-law’s new book – that’s so exciting, and congrats to him!!

March 4, 2014 10:19 am

As a fellow avid reader, I love this post. (That has to be a Babysitters Club book in the photo on the left, doesn’t it?) Apologies if this has been covered previously, but do you have favorite books in the financial advice category? I’d love any recommendations!

March 4, 2014 11:06 am

I had never heard of Goodreads before and it’s just what I’ve been looking for! I’m always looking for new recommendations of what to read :) Looks like I have some new books to add to my list!

March 4, 2014 3:18 pm

You know this post was totally up my alley!:) Can’t wait to see your children’s book recommendations as well. You put the best words together to express how I feel about teaching kids and the next generation about reading and the world it opens up. Not just education, but a special place where your imagination is formed! Viva la book reading!

March 4, 2014 8:14 pm

The cutest photos! And I still believe it: the best gift you can give your children for anything they might want to do is a love of reading, and the way to inculcate it is to read to them. Read, read, read.

March 4, 2014 9:18 pm

Red Rising is now officially on my list! :)

Sarah Wiley
March 4, 2014 10:34 pm

The Light Between Oceans was amazing!!! My book club read it a few months ago and I could not put it down!! We just finished reading Someone Else’s Love Story by Jossilyn Jackson. It’s very intriguing. This month is The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy.

March 5, 2014 1:24 pm

I just recently joined Goodreads! Also, if you have a tablet, Kindle, or anything that lets you download apps, I recommend Overdrive Media. I discovered it a month ago. It lets you “check out” E-books from any library in the U.S., as long as you have a library card. I tried it out for the first time in February and it’s really cool. The library lets you download a temporary copy of the book. The temporary copy disappears once the borrowing period is over.

March 9, 2014 2:54 pm

You did spend quite a bit of time reading as a little one, and it was quite hard sometimes to ask you to stop, whether for food or a chore! Just read Outlander and can’t wait to get the next one from the library -Dragonfly in Amber? Read The Light Between Oceans this fall and loved it! Reading more is one of the things I’m looking forward to in “retirement”!

March 17, 2014 11:35 am

Thank you so much for sharing these! I’m headed to the beach in July, and I’ll definitely be referencing this list for a few great reads.

March 17, 2014 7:07 pm

I love this post!! I am always looking for great books to read! I have the Silver Star and am happy to let you borrow it! I enjoyed it :)

March 17, 2014 7:08 pm

Emily – I just remembered … WONDER is a wonderful book, I think you would enjoy :)