Hey Nichole, what’ve you been reading?

Well, friends, I still haven’t finished “John Quincy Adams: An American Visionary,” and Goodreads tells me I’m 8 books behind on my 2017 Reading Challenge. But I have been reading, albeit more slowly and sporadically than usual.

For some reason that I’m certain was just a coincidence and not at all related to politics, I started the year with some bleak stuff. In January and February I read Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” and Annie Proulx’s “Barkskins,” and they were both brutal. So much so that I didn’t read anything else for a month, at which time I read Ron Rash’s “The Risen.” It was neither as harsh nor as good as some of his previous work.

And then I skipped yet another full month of reading. That’s very strange for me, and I’m not sure what happened. I think I may have been in a fugue state. Maybe Baron von Strucker has turned me into a Winter Soldier. Who could know?

Anyway, I’ve been back on the reading rainbow since last month. I’ve recently read:

  • Tom Perotta’s “The Leftovers.” It was OK.
  • Liane Moriarty’s “Big Little Lies.” Also OK.
  • Patrick Rothfuss’s “The Wise Man’s Fear.” It’s the second book in a fantasy trilogy, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one. Hopefully the last one will be better — and less focused on our hero’s burgeoning love life.
  • Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime.” This is the best book I’ve read this year. It’s an interesting and surprisingly moving biography.
  • Rebecca Dinerstein’s “The Sunlit Night.” It wasn’t bad, but I had to force myself to finish it. I didn’t connect with any of the characters.

    I have a couple more books waiting on my Kindle, and I just checked out Eowyn Ivey’s new book. June and July are usually heavy reading months for me; maybe I’ll get caught up on my reading challenge before August.

    What’ve you been reading?

  • A menu plan after an unexpected and rather lengthy hiatus

    I made Midwest Living’s Super Simple Peachy Barbecue Chicken and Well Plated Caprese Pasta Salad for Sunday Night Dinner this week. It was a very low-effort and pretty inexpensive way to feed a crowd, and both recipes were quite well received. I’m adding both to our regular Sunday rotation.

    Here’s what we’ll be enjoying the rest of the week:

    Monday: Fish sticks and mac and something else for me
    The kids love fish sticks and macaroni night, and I do not love it at all. So I’m going to roast some shrimp and put it on a salad for myself.

    Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner
    Eggs, toast, veggie sausages and fruit salad.

    Wednesday: Sandwiches
    Poppy will have grilled cheese. Pete has requested a microwaved ham and mustard. We aim to please.

    Thursday: Tacos
    The kids are having friends over on Thursday. The last time Pete’s friend was here for dinner, we were all in awe of how many tacos he put away. We’re going to see if he does it again.

    Friday: Beef and broccoli
    I’ve been missing pizza night quite a bit since giving up dairy. Hopefully a delicious plate of beef and broccoli will help dull the pain.

    Hungry for more? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie.