Bookish Chatter | I’m Reading Some BIG Books!

This picture of August the cat is pretty much how I’ve felt over the last several days. The transition into September has been tough. So tough that I slept through my alarm on Monday, which hasn’t happened since… ever? And I’ve felt perpetually behind because of it. I hope you’re having an easier go of things this month than I am! But I’m here today to update you on what I’ve been reading. I finished a couple of readaloud chapter books with the kids and have spent my own reading time with two big books. I can’t wait to share my progress!


This week Bryce and I finished reading The Phantom Tollbooth together. I first read it as an elementary school student, then reread in 2008 as an adult. I have been waiting anxiously to read it with my own children ever since! Bryce is 8 and is probably still a little too young and a lot of this went over his head, but he’s always been up for listening to hard books. When I read this as a sixth grader, I remember being over the moon about it. I’d never realized that such things could be done with words. I hope Bryce reads it on his own again in a few years.

Bronwyn and I finished Changes for Josefina this week, which is the last book in the Josefina series. In this one, Tía Dolores realizes that the Montoya girls are capable of taking care of their home on their own and decides it is time to return to her parents in Santa Fe. The sisters jump into action and make a plan to convince her to stay. The Montoya family has been my favorite of the series so far; I loved learning about their home and traditions. Next we turn to Kirsten, who was my favorite American girl when I was little because I loved anything to do with the prairie. I’m anxious to see how she and her family hold up for me after all of these years!


Reading for myself has been difficult but I’m starting to find pockets of time in this new routine when it’s possible to squeeze in a few pages. I’m in the middle of two big books: Kristin Lavransdatter and September. Last week I mentioned it would be unlikely that I’d finish either before writing today’s post but promised to update you on my progress regardless.

I am listening to Kristin Lavransdatter on audio and just started chapter 19, which is about 9 hours into the 45:00 book! The opening chapters are gorgeous – the landscape of Norway in the fourteenth century appears pristine and perfect. Life, of course, is not easy even for Kristin’s family who is relatively well off. The sexism is off the charts and I’m fascinated by the expectations Kristin’s family has for her.

I listened to a bit of it yesterday for the first time since September 3rd because it’s been hard to squeeze in audio time. But I was pleased to find that the characters made quite an impression and I hadn’t forgotten anything while I was away. I’m excited to keep going!

I’m also reading September and it’s just perfection. The book starts in May and leads up to a big party being planned in mid-September. I’ve reached 9/13 and the party is less than a week away. Everyone is gathering at these wonderful Scottish estates, including characters who have been away for a very long time. There are several mysteries afoot, which unfold deliciously as you read.

Pilcher paints the changing season so well. She is my kind of person, let me tell you. And while the home is full of grand estates, it also has plenty of cozy cottages that are described with the best details. I’m only just over halfway through so I might not be able to finish it by next Wednesday and that’s okay. I don’t mind staying in this world for a long time!

One of my goals on Monday morning was to get caught up with all of you, but I lost that chance when I overslept. And then yesterday Colton woke up VERY early and I didn’t get a chance then. I’m hoping to curl up with my computer and coffee over the next few days and finally leave some comments on your blogs. Thank you for your patience with me!

I hope to be back on Friday with a few joyful moments. Until then – take good care.


28 thoughts on “Bookish Chatter | I’m Reading Some BIG Books!

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  1. I’ve never read Phantom Tollbooth and now have an 8yr old in my life to share it with! and I finished up the August section yesterday. I love how Pilcher paints luxury Mediterranean living, too.


    1. What a good point about Pilcher’s interpretation of luxury Mediterranean living. I wonder if she had a second home somewhere?? 😉 I think you’ll get a kick out of The Phantom Tollbooth – it is very clever!


      1. I visited my new local indie last week and !!! they didn’t have it. I placed an order. We are planning a sleepover with Charlie (soon, I hope) and I look forward to starting it with him.


      2. I am so surprised they didn’t have it! It’s such a classic. I picked our copy up at Goodwill, my favorite place to scavenge for children’s books! I hope Charlie enjoys it 🙂


  2. These seasonal transitions are always challenging, often subtle, and always seem to catch me by surprise. It’s weird having it dark so far into the morning these days. I’d love it if Congress would end the whole Standard Time/Daylight Saving Time rigmarole and let us just naturally experience the rhythms of the seasons. BUT I digress! I’m impressed, as always, by your reading exploits. And it took me a moment to realize that August wasn’t an exotic new sewing project!


    1. Oh goodness, I couldn’t imagine sewing something as messy as August. That would be a disaster! I love these darker mornings because the kids stay asleep longer (usually). Is that selfish? Yes it is. And still — it’s true!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your thoughts on Kristin Lavransdatter are pretty much spot on with my thoughts so far. Although I’m not nearly as far into the book as you. 🙂 But I am making progress…trying to get in at least a few pages each day. It’s been unusually busy for us lately.

    I really wanted to join you in reading September but two huge fiction books would probably not work so well for me right now. LOL I loved The Shell Seekers and really like Pilcher’s writing style in that book. So I am looking forward to reading another one of her books, probably will be The Winter Solstice in December. But you never know, I might be able to work another one in before that. 🙂

    I think I already mentioned to you that my daughter and I loved The Phantom Tollbooth! It is so witty and clever. The writing is pure genious!


    1. I totally understand putting September aside for now. I was hesitant to read it back to back with Shell Seekers, but it’s working for me right now. December will be here before you know it!

      So glad that you’re another Phantom Tollbooth fan – so much fun. And sorry to be repetitive in my comments about KL, but I think it’s worth savoring! And I’m only so far because the narrator is doing all of the hard work for me, ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. In Maine, because of climate change, September is the new August. Very strange for this old Mainer. I really liked the book September, which just happens to be my birthday month. And I was tickled to discover that I shared a birthday with Vi, one of the main characters. Never had that happen before with a fictional character.


  5. Big books are usually worth it, but they do suck up a lot of time! It’s so nice that you’re able to read some shorter ones with your kids. It’s been a long time since I was able to do that (kiddo now wants to read on her own). But yesterday I was reading an article about how girls in Afghanistan are secretly reading the diary of Anne Frank, and I realized that kiddo has not yet read it, so I think we’re going to read it together.

    I hope the second half of the week gives you time to catch up!


  6. I am on the list for September at my library. I really loved The Shell Seekers – so that you for putting that on my radar!

    I have not heard of Kristen Lavsrandatter… maybe I need to add that to my reading list as well!


  7. September sounds like a wonderful book. I will have to add it to my reading list. For some reason this makes me think of the book, Colony, by Anne Rivers Siddons. Perhaps, because it is a long book about families? It takes place on the coast of Maine, and I loved it even though it’s been years since I read it. Maybe a re-read is in order?


  8. September has been the only book I’ve been reading since last Saturday and I’m about 130 pages from the end. I read this years ago and remember very little, except for one thing about a particular character. You are so right about Pilcher’s descriptions of the country side, village life, and the changing seasons in Scotland. I also love her richly drawn characters. I hope to finish later today or tomorrow.
    I loved Kristin Larvensdatter when I read it a few years ago, but I’m not up for a re-read at this time.


  9. Both your books really are BIG, but they both look so interesting and lovely. I’m particularly interested to hear how the Lavsrandatter book pans out. Sounds like it could be a very good winter read. I hope your week opens up a bit and you are able to both relax and catch up as much as you want.


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