Books I’ve Read So Far in 2021 Part #2

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Part two is here already and for me it’s been two months, well not as I am writing this I am still writing this progressively so right now for me it’s mid-March and I have read one book so far this month, reason for that well it’s been a cluster truck this month and also the book I am reading at the moment is super dense. It’s good but really really really dense and it’s taking longer than I expected so to catch up I will have to read some fun books next. 

            I am really hoping to make a dent in my reading list over spring break even though I doubt I actually will because I just don’t read when I am not at work where I have a break. Spoiler alert from future MJ, I didn’t read anything over spring break. I didn’t even crack open a book. I fill my time on the weekends with doing nothing in particular because I work all week. 

            If you want to read part one for this year, you can, just click the link.

            No one cares about that, so here I am posting all of the books that I have read this year. All opinions are my own, I doubt that I would ever have opinions that weren’t my own so roll with me. 

What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

            This book just kind of fell in my lap, one of the sixth grade ELA teachers got a bunch of books and she was looking for someone to read one to make sure that this was appropriate for sixth graders to read. It isn’t in my opinion, eighth through high school, sure, but not for 11-12 year old’s. There are too many swear words and things that might be difficult for sixth graders to process. It’s a great book though, I knew someone who had Asperger’s when we were in high school, we were close, we no longer speak but that is not a story for here. I also have a degree in Psychology and think that lumping all of these disorders onto the spectrum was wrong for the DSM-5, but again, that’s not a conversation for now. High school is a cruel place and that’s no secret for anyone who wasn’t popular or people thought was different. I have very few if any good memories of high school so this one hit me. All of the characters feel real though, the situations feel real, and it’s one of those books about acceptance and loss, about the insanity of high school and the expectations of the world when you are “different”. I read it in like two days just because I really enjoyed reading it and I wanted to keep reading it, it may not be for everyone but I work at a middle school and that means that sometimes I have to read middle grade or young adult fiction because then I can have authentic conversations with the students. I have been given so many book suggestions by students and sometimes you just need to read something that you would have read in high school because it’s an escape for all of the adult responsibilities that you have. Overall, I would suggest it because it shows a side of people and relationships that a lot of people don’t understand with people who are not “normal” and I don’t think that’s represented enough. 

I, Ripper by Steven Hunter

            So I love learning about serial killers as much as the next person and I wanted to read two thrillers this year and Jack the Ripper is one of those people who still strikes fear into like everyone because of what he did. Like I read this book and it took me like two and a half weeks to read because I didn’t have the time to sit down and read. Also this one was dense and a little confusing. I enjoyed it because it is a fictional retelling of the Jack the Ripper case and it closes the up the mystery even if the real Jack the Ripper has never been identified. It was really graphic which I had figured it would be because you know, serial killers. I mean, if you like this kind of thriller stuff I would suggest this book told in two voices through a memoir of a journalist and the diary of Jack the Ripper. 

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt 

            Another book that I have read with the sixth graders. It’s one of those books that somehow I missed in school at any time because it’s one of those classics now that everyone has read, there is a movie about it and everything. I did enjoy reading it and I was reading the ending out loud to the sixth graders yesterday and I had so many kids who hated the ending. I’m not going to spoil it because that would be not so nice of me even though the book has been out since the 70’s but I still won’t ruin it for you if you want to read it. It’s a really quick read compared to some of the other books that I have read this year and I would suggest it if you have a middle schooler or upper elementary schooler at home. (can I just say #teacherproblems?) It’s very much a question of; would you, if you could, live forever? 

Shot Through the Hearth by Kate Carlisle 

            So I started this one directly after finishing I, Ripper because I needed a break from that very dark book that I read. It’s a cozy and I am never mad about a cozy, which normally only take me a few days to read. I had Spring Break and read nothing for 9 whole days, I could have read three books in that time and I am an idiot for not doing it. I finished it on April 1st which is fine and I have started my next book already but I have not read enough books so far this year. I have read 12 and that’s it and we are already in April. So what was this book about though. I had no idea who the killer was until the end of the book and that is one reason why I love reading Kate Carlisle’s books so much, she keeps me guessing until the very end on who the actual killer is. I also love the title because every time I looked at the cover I thought of You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi, which I am never mad about. This book was really good though, I still love seeing the world expand and change because you get to know these characters and you want the best for them. I want to attend a conference like the one in the book, but you know without the murders. Seriously this is a series that I suggest if you like cozy mysteries. 

All is Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant 

            This one read very much like a Hallmark movie and I was not upset about it. There were parts where I laughed, parts where I rolled my eyes, parts that just made me feel all warm inside. It was a good book, I read it in two days once I really had a chance to read it. It is one of those books that make you feel good and who doesn’t love cupcakes? It’s a lot about family, chosen family, and faith above all else which is not something that I usually read. I have had this book in my collection for at least five years now if not longer so it was good to finally get it off the shelf and read it. The ending is predictable but sometimes you want an ending like there where everything is wrapped up in a bow. Sometimes those are the best stories. 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

            One of the other teachers let me borrow this because I was reading I, Ripper and I could not put this book down. I love a good fictionized telling of unsolved true crime. Let’s just say I am going to head to Barnes & Noble at my earliest availability to pick up all four since I borrowed this one from someone else. It had me gripped from about the third or fourth chapter and kept me guessing as to who they would paint to be Bloody Jack. I was surprised but I am not going to give up the ending. I love the characters and the subtle hints of romance without being the main focus of the book. I like that the author made the main female character interesting, someone who bucked against societal norms and was following a dream and a fascination. It’s just good even though it’s YA. I am an adult, granted a still young adult, but I try really hard to not read YA much anymore, I do every once in a while just because I work with middle schoolers and I like when one of them gets really excited about a book they are reading and tells me all about it. This was a suggestion from another teacher, but either way school breeds book suggestions for me some days. I am planning on reading the next one after I read Dracula because I read another retelling of Jack the Ripper before I read this one and breaking up the series will make it last longer so that’s just what I plan on doing with it right now to not only read the whole series but also stay on my targets to get my book list read this year. 

The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett

            My second classic of the year, I know that this is for sure a book written for children but it was really good, and my goal this year is 10 classics. This is one of those books where I have seen bits and pieces of the movie but not much else. I know that it’s one of those things that gets talked about as important works of literature. I really enjoyed it and it was a quick read. I would love to have a garden like this, any of these beautiful gardens I read about in books but I can’t even keep a cactus alive and they are so easy to keep alive. I do not have a green thumb and I am totally okay with that. All I want though is so many beautiful leafy green plants, but that is not something that I can achieve. I am not good with plants no matter the kind so I am going to stick with fake plants, I can’t kill them. This story is just one of those about acceptance and friendship as well as growing up. It’s a little dated because it was written over 100 years ago, like 110 years old so of course it’s dated. I would suggest it though if you want to read a classic. 

            So truth be told I was hoping to have one more book on this list but things have been a little crazy this last week or so. I am working on Yes, Please by Amy Poehler and it’s really funny but I’m not finished with it yet and this post needs to go up now. I don’t even have my actual cover photo for this one even taken yet, hence why it’s late. It’s been that kind of week where MJ is just dealing with a lot and that means that I don’t have a much time as I usually do to actually read anything during the day and by the time I get home I don’t want to do anything, which isn’t great, but it’s how I’m living at the moment. I am hoping to get this book finished by the weekend though so that will be the first book on my next post. 

            So until then, I hope that everyone has a good end to their week and a good weekend. I will be back on Sunday with another post. 

            Stay safe, happy, and healthy, 

                        -MJ

Let’s keep track shall we?:

Classics:  3/10

Historical Fiction:  1/5

Sci-Fi/Fantasy:  2/5

General Fiction:  2/5

Memoirs/Autobiographies:  /2

Non-Fiction:  /1

Thrillers:  1/2

Free Choice:  4/15

2 thoughts on “Books I’ve Read So Far in 2021 Part #2

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