What I’ve Been Reading Lately: Heartwarming Stories for Cold Winter Nights

WhatIveBeenReading

 

I don’t understand why winter reading doesn’t get the same attention and hype that summer reading gets? Maybe it’s the fireplace and hot chocolate, but I feel like my best reading happens in the wintertime. And, oh boy, I have some fun, interesting books to report on this month.

As most of you know, this is my informal, monthly book “report” – just a quick little recap on what I’ve been reading and any random thoughts/opinions I might have on the books. I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and her wonderful community of readers.

I recently heard that “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance was the book to read post-election. I was curious but not convinced. I told myself “read the first 30 pages and see how it goes.” I didn’t know it at the time, but I would have only needed to read the first five pages to be completely hooked on his story. It’s a memoir about a very broken family but one that I think we can all relate to on some levels. I wish someone had described it to me as the male counterpart to “The Glass Castle” (by Jeannette Walls) because I think that does a better job capturing the story. Regardless of elections, I think it’s an important story for anyone to read, at any time. Take my advice and give it five pages.

Remember our reading challenge last spring to “reread a book you loved as a kid”? My husband choose “Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli and he enjoyed it just as much as when he was a kid. He’s been encouraging the rest of us to read it since. It worked out perfectly because it was the pick for the family book club at our local independent bookstore this month. Everyone in my family enjoyed it, even though it’s not exactly a happy story it does have a happy ending. The main character, Maniac, is quite an interesting and unique kid. We had a good discussion about race, poverty and the difference between a home and a shelter.

Several weeks ago, my daughter handed me a book and said, “Mom, I think you’ll like this one.” She’s never done that before, so I felt that I had to take her opinion seriously and decided to give it a shot. She was right – I did enjoy it! It was the first book in The Incorrigibles of Ashton Place series: “The Mysterious Howling” by Maryrose Wood. The story is a modern-day gothic mystery and the main character seems to be inspired by Jane Eyre. There’s a twist: for some unknown reason, the children have been raised (quite literally) by wolves. You can imagine the hilarious situations that arise. In my opinion, it’s the perfect series for middle-schoolers. It’s written smartly, is a funny and mysterious page-turner, without being too adult-ish. Both my daughter and I are reading through the rest of the series.

I just finished “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. This heartwarming story is about a cast of characters, from all walks of life, that are brought together because they all live in the same housing community. At the center, is the unlikely hero, Ove. He’s stubborn and has strong ideals about how things should be done. He reminds me of Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey. He’s loveable even when he’s impossibly gruff. His neighbors begin to melt his heart and the result is a funny and sweet story. I’ll be reading more by Mr. Backman soon.

As I was putting this list together, I was reminded of a blog post I wrote last winter where I recommended five stories for cold, cozy nights. You can read it here.

What have you been reading lately?

7 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading Lately: Heartwarming Stories for Cold Winter Nights

  1. So happy you hear you read A Man Called Ove!! That was one of my absolute favorites that I read last year. Always exciting to find a fellow fan : )

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  2. I have Hillbilly Elegy on hold at the library; there are about 27 people ahead of me. But it sounds like it will be worth waiting for. I have also heard about A Man Called Ove from several other people who really liked it, so I will keep an eye out for that one as well. Thanks for your list and interesting reviews!

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  3. Interesting! I’ve been mildly interested in Hillbilly Elegy, but was afraid that 1. It’d be boring and 2. I wouldn’t relate… But I will say I have 5 pages in me 🙂

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  4. I loved Maniac Magee as a kid! I will need to read it again soon. A YA book I loved in 2016 was Wednesday Wars! It was hilarious!!! I read the print version and borrowed the audiobook from the library to listen with my husband during road trips and we were laughing out loud for most of it.

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  5. Now I HAVE to read Hillbilly Elegy. I keep hearing about it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to grab it. I didn’t know the author was a man!!! That ups the ante even more than the rest of your review. I’m going to read it and I’m going to pass it on to my Mom who stilllll talks about The Glass Castle after reading it YEARS ago.

    My 3rd grade teacher read Maniac Magee to us. Loved that man!!!

    The Mysterious Howling started my brother and sister and I on a read aloud kick about 4 summers ago…They were “too old” for read alouds, but after that book, we were on a roll! I loved the summers that followed. 🙂

    Which of Backman’s books are you planning to pick up next?!?!? I’m anxious to know!!! Oh…Have I ever personally invited you to join the bookclub I run on goodreads?!?!? I think you’d fit right in! We read one book each month and then discuss it via forums that each member can access whenever it suits them. Let me know and I’ll get you a link!

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