What I’m into (May 2016 edition)

What I’m into (May 2016 edition)

As always, linking up with my friend Leigh Kramer to share what I’m into.

I say this every time I write an update: May was wonderful and crazy.

I loved getting to teach a roomful of library patrons how to bullet journal for my local library’s How-To Festival. (And LOVED meeting some of you there!)

Before the school year ended, Will and I got to sneak into Silas’s kindergarten classroom to be the class’s last “surprise readers” for the year. I didn’t mean to be last—it’s just that it’s done on a volunteer basis, and I forgot! But I remembered just in time to sneak into the classroom and share a few favorites with the class. It was a wonderful almost-ending to a fantastic school year for him.

We just kicked off summer in earnest around here. After making a big school change a few months’ back, all four kids had a great finish to their school year last week. And then suddenly it was the long weekend with pool time, cookouts, and baseball.

I’ve been reading like a maniac and putting the final touches on the Summer Reading Guide. Every year I think this is never going to come together in time! And every year, it does. I’m so thrilled with how this year’s turned out. The spring/summer 2016 titles are so good this year (in blessed contrast to last year, when I had to dig harder than usual to find the good stuff) and the guide itself looks so good. Pretty colors and completely ad-free.

The podcast

… is so fun. This month we finally did a recap episode where I chatted with six previous guests to find out what happened after they were on the show: what did they actually read next, and what did they think? Listen to it right here.

Last week I chatted with a reader who came to me with a special request: she wanted great novels to pack for her honeymoon. In other words: great summer reads. This was such a good episode to start the summer reading season! Listen to it right here.

New episodes come out every Tuesday. If YOU would like to be a guest on What Should I Read Next, this page is for you.

purse with kindle

What I’m reading

My early summer reading is completely predictable: after spending months and months reading contemporary fiction nonstop for the Summer Reading Guide, now I want to read the old stuff, plus the new books everyone will be talking about this summer.

Currently reading:

When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood. I’m listening to this one. I grabbed the ebook from the kindle deals page, then paid an extra few bucks to get the audio version.
The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger, which is pretty much exactly like I expected.
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. I love her work but I’ve never read this, her debut.
Mysteries of the Mall: and Other Essays by Witold Rybczynski. Because I’m an urban planning junkie, and I love his work.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Silas and I are listening to this on audio together. If you told me a few years back I’d let my 6 year old get past book 3 in the Harry Potter series, I would have called you crazy. But here we are.

What I’m watching

True story: my kids are obsessed (obsessed!) with chess right now, which might explain why we ALL loved Searching for Bobby Fischer. Such a great family movie night.

We’ve also been watching The Great British Baking Show together. Season 1 is on Netflix and Prime. I still can’t figure out how to watch season 2, but we found season 6 just fine on Youtube.

Will and I watched Begin Again. We had some Big Questions when it was over about plot, theme, etc. but it certainly held our attention.

Will and I stuck it out with The Blacklist through some questionable episodes and plot choices this season … but the writers found redemption with the finale. So good. (Although I think the perfect season ending was about two minutes before the show actually ended.)



I hope you had a lovely May. What have YOU been into lately? 

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38 comments | Comment


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    • Mary Kate says:

      I am also curious about that! I really liked the book, didn’t LOVE LOVE LOVE it as some people appear to have, but will probably go see the movie just because I like seeing other people’s interpretations of the books I’ve read. But would love a review from someone who’s seen it first!

  1. Sara K says:

    Loved your comment about reading past Harry Potter book 3 with Silas! I am reading and listening to book 5 with my daughter right now. Granted she is 10, but she can be sensitive sometimes. Every time we reach a sketchy part of the story I worry at how she will take it, but she is eating it up!

  2. Susan says:

    Another lover of Blacklist – although I have watched any of Season 3 as I’m waiting for it to come out on NETFLIX so I can binge watch it. I just finished, for the very first time, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone!!!! Oh my! So good. My twins just graduated high school and we homeschooled their middle and high school years and I read aloud many books. They still live at home and they said they’d be open for more read alouds. I’m thinking the Harry Potter series would be great read alouds.

  3. Kristy says:

    The page to sign up as a guest isn’t working.I press continue after I fill out the form and it sends an error message.

  4. Betsy says:

    I love Witold Rybczynski, too! (I’ve never written that sentence before!) His book on Frederick Law Olmstead is a favorite.

    I also just picked up a copy of Walkable City, based on your recommendation. Urban planning nerds, unite!

    • Anne says:

      Oh I ADORE Walkable City! And I love A Clearing in the Distance but not as much as the Speck. (Actually, I included the Olmsted book in the Summer Reading Guide not that long ago–maybe last year?–and nobody read it. It’s niche, I suppose. 🙂 )

  5. Kelly S. says:

    Hi sweet Anne-
    I can’t thank you enough for your awesome blog, awesome summer book guide (which I already read one book from there since you put the guide out; I Let You Go, and ordered another book from the guide) and for the Podcast which I adore and look so forward to each week. I get so many reading ideas from the Podcast. I’m currently reading Bel Canto (love it) from your suggestion a while back. Thanks for all of your hard work and quality in all you do. Happy Summer.

  6. Lisa notes says:

    I’m glad you got to read to the kindergarteners! My daughter just finished her first year teaching kindergarten and she let me come in once a week and help them with sight words, etc. It was such fun seeing these little ones begin their journey with words. I’m so glad I discovered your podcast a few months ago—I love hearing what everyone is reading, although my to-read list is way outside of reality. ha. I always keep several non-fiction and fiction books going at the same time.

  7. Meghan says:

    My kids are obsessed with chess, too! And it’s too bad, because I reeeeeallly don’t like it — oops. My 6-yo plays Chess with Friends with my brother, and that’s a really fun way to keep that close uncle-nephew relationship going in between visits. He’s also reading Harry Potter! He’s on book 2, and we’ve told him he can keep reading as far as he wants, but he can also stop when he wants — it’s okay either way, as long as he’s comfortable. He’s still in the stage where he likes to tell us everything that’s on his mind and then some, so I don’t worry too much 🙂

  8. tiffany says:

    Anne! I can relate to the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince comment. I was more strict with my oldest child, but my new 7 year old is listening to the Half Blood Prince now at bedtime. I wouldn’t have guessed that I would make that decision a couple years ago. I think for us, Harry Potter has become so a part of our family culture- using examples, quotes, etc as we talk about other things- that I’m more relaxed in letting the younger ones dig in a bit earlier. I love that we can even surprise ourselves as parents every now and then 🙂

  9. Cathy Hughes says:

    The Great British Baking Show is my favorite cooking show. It’s so real and honest baking. Many of the other baking shows are really just about decorating cakes rather than a baking finesse. It’s also a special show because I first discovered it while couch surfing in England. Across the pond, the show is known as The Great British Bake Off.

  10. Jamie says:

    Harry Potter in our house right now, too. I’m into hubs grilling, watermelon (oh my goodness), Instagram & pretty pictures, and Downton Abbey (we may be the last ones on this boat).

    Thanks for sharing…I still want to listen to your “update” podcast on what everyone read.

  11. Katheryn says:

    A tip about the Great British Bake Off – the season on Netflix is actually Season 5. Hubs and I were able to watch all the rest of the seasons from Youtube.

  12. Candace says:

    Just wish I could convince my 12.5 year old to read or listen to Harry Potter…sigh. Even peer pressure from some of her besties hasn’t swayed her (nor the threat to avoid going to Universal til she reads some of them). Oh well, lots of wonderful books in her world so I will keep hoping!

  13. Sarah says:

    My girls and I devoured the Great British Baking show as well. We loved it and have watched some episodes several times. We found out that even though Netflix calls it season 1, it is actually season 5. We have tried to watch the actual Season 1 and don’t like it nearly as much. I guess they hadn’t perfected the show yet. 🙂 Blessings for a wonderful summer!

  14. Milica says:

    Your cover picture made me do a double-take! It is nearly identical to my FB cover photo! Love strawberry season!
    I am still loving “Call the Midwife” – Masterpiece just has my heart when it comes to tv shows these days! I am listening to Harry Potter with my kids this summer. I joined the Adult Summer Reading Club at my local library hoping to expand my reading horizons!

  15. Michelle Harrison says:

    I was very intrigued by you listening to the Half-Blood prince with Silas, because I made my 8-year old stop reading after three. The others just seemed so much darker! I’m rereading them myself at the moment, so I might change my mind when it’s fresher…he’s not particularly sensitive, so it would probably be ok…and it’s getting so hard to keep him in books! I’d be interesting in your reasons for keeping on with your 6-year old and whether or not your other children have read them all.

    BTW-love the blog and podcast 🙂

  16. Leigh Kramer says:

    I can’t wait to read The Singles Game! I really liked Begin Again and I’m looking forward to seeing the director’s newest movie Sing Street which came out the other month. His movies are completely up my alley!

  17. Ruth Ann says:

    If your kiddos are in to chess, ya’ll should watch Brooklyn Castle. It’s a documentary about a lower-income public middle school in New York City whose chess team was extremely successful. One of my all time favorites.

  18. Laura T says:

    Just a heads up on the Great British Baking Show, what is Season 1 on Netflix is really Season 5. Season 5 aired on PBS in US (which made it into “Season 1”). I believe Season 6 was airing this past fall on PBS here in the States, so I would expect it to be coming to Netflix eventually. I also had a lot of trouble finding any earlier seasons.

  19. Lori McKee says:

    Not sure where to post this but thanks for the tip on the DEAL on The Green Ember – free for Kindle??!??!? Today only? Not sure. Anyway, I snapped that up and went for the $1.99 audible narration too since the book itself was free. Can’t wait to try in on the grandkids – I’ve heard great things about it.

  20. I just queued When We Were the Kennedys for my next listen and currently reading Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson – it’s wonderful! She is one of the new authors I’ve found through you (thanks!). Bean Trees was my first Kingsolver novel and it’s still my favorite although I love them all (except Lacuna which I just couldn’t get into…). As for Blacklist, my husband quit watching midway through this year, but I’ve hung on. Totally agree with you about the ending – geez!!!!! I’m hoping next season they get back to the type of stories that made it so wonderful in the beginning.

  21. I’m so glad to hear that you are reading Harry Potter with your son. My oldest is 7, and my husband and I were trying to figure out if he was old enough to begin the series. He is a great reader, but I was thinking of reading it aloud together (mostly because I want to read it with him!). I think we’ll start this week!

  22. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful book suggestions. I just finished The Madwoman Upstairs and it is a great work of fiction. All the Light We Cannot See is another one I have enjoyed. Love your podcast as well!

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