What We Are Reading #4

Here’s the latest round up of books that we are reading. These posts can become very long so I’m limiting them to the stand-out books, for either good or bad, that I’ve read and will list the ‘highlight’ book that each of the children have read since our last posting.

What I’ve Been Reading

* The Light Between Oceans

Its been a while since I’ve stayed up late into the night to finish a book, but this one is so worth it. I resisted reading this as I assumed that since it was being made into a film, that it would be too ‘chic lit’ for my taste and also I was wary of it being too upsetting to enjoy it. It was neither. It’s a really nicely written book, it explores the morality of our decisions and the fallout out that results from them. It shows us that in so many situations there really is no true justice. I loved the characters and thought it was a really well crafted story.

  • Instructions For A Heatwave by Maggie O’ Farrell

This was my first novel by Maggie O Farrell and I’m reasonably confidant that it won’t be my last. Set in London during the infamous heatwave of 1976, this novel explores the intricacies of a family woven from Irish parents and their portrayel is both endearing and plausible. Their mother is the lynchpin of this family but is also the source of so much of its difficulties. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.

  • End of Days by Sebastian Barry

Hmmmmm, I still don’t know what to say about this book, although it was our book club book last month and we sat discussing it for quite a few hours last weekend.

It is beautifully written and incorporates, in the most subtle and seamless way, both homosexuality and  transgenderism. The narrative, with its ‘Wild West’ overtones, wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed, and the bleakness of their lives, the endless savagery, meant that it was a book that I got through rather than enjoyed.

  • The Muse by Jessie Burton

I really loved this book. It has beautifully descriptive text and is set between London and Spain. The novel spans two distinct eras in the 20th Century. The mystery of a painting’s providence provides the backbone to this story and there is a theme of colour running through this it from start to finish that stays with you. I haven’t read her first book The Miniturist yet but it is being added to my TBR pile.

What I’m Listening To

Audiobooks are my salvation on long commutes and here’s what I’ve been listening to recently

  • Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen

This was my bookclub boo, and is certainly not a book I would have read otherwise, I’m limited music knowledge is legendary!

I chose to listen to this as it’s read by Bruce himself, and those gravelly tones are hard to resist. A word of warning though, his voice has a somewhat soporific nature to it, not always conducive to driving and I missed at least two motorway turn offs as a result! It was an interesting story and his ability as a wordsmith isn’t limited to his song writing. However the level of detail in this autobiography is excessive for anyone other than the die-hard fans and this was a big negative for me. If I had been reading it there would have been a lot of skimming going on.

  • The Trouble with Goats and Sheep


Its hard to know how much to say about this without giving anything away. It is essentially a story of community and of fitting in, as seen through the eyes of two ten year old girls. This is beautifully written and the observations in this book are an absolute joy.

“They assumed that I didn’t understand the conversation, and it was much easier to let them think that. My mother said I was at an awkward age. I didn’t feel especially awkward, so I presumed she meant it was awkward for them.”

It is funny and sweet but also addresses the harder questions of exclusion and isolation. Couldn’t recommend this book enough.

What The Children Are Reading

10 Year Old

I’m struggling to keep this girl in books, and am very gratefully for the library at this point in time!

Her recent highlight books are

  • The Midnight Gang by David Walliums. The man is a genius and engages children from the first page.
  • Opal  Plumstead by Jacqueline Wilson. This was not a hit and is one of the few books that she didn’t even finish. She found it dull and disliked the characters…a rare miss for Ms Wilson who I still usually popular with her.
  • Rooftoppers by Katherine Randell was a really big hit. It was reportly funny and clever and an amazing adventure to read.

9 Year Old

My reluctant reader has recently been reading some of the Usborne Famous Lives stories and was really engrossed in Alexander The Great, a fun way to get them interested in history.

She is also very keen on science so I picked up these  books which she is loving

  • Fantastically Great Women who changed The World by Kate Pankhurst
  • Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky

7 Year Old

She is reading and loving book after book in the Rainbow Fairy series.

5 yr old

We have just discovered The Flying Foxes series in the library, they are fantastic at this age and are great starters of conversations. Our first one was Rosa and Galileo and he’s been obsessing about telescopes ever since.

What I’m Reading to them

* Lilac in Black and White by Christine Doran

This is a book set in my era and along with the really lovely story, I’m thoroughly enjoying all the references that I’m getting and explaining to my children. It’s funny how little comprehension my kids have about nuns and why seeing one walking with a man would have been something worth discussion. The nightly request of ‘one more page pleeeeeese’ is a testament to how much they are enjoying this book.

Please note that Christine is a fellow member of Irish Parenting Bloggers and as such I know her virtually, however I was not asked to review the book and purchased the copy myself, all opinions are my own.

Listening to

Our most recent trip to Cork had us listening to Roald Dahl’s autobiography Boy, both the children and I were engrossed and they all agreed to never complain about school again after listening to some of the absolute horror that Roald had to deal with…a win win situation if ever there was one!


So that it, our latest round up of booksI hope you find something to suit you here and as ever, I feel you have some that you would recommend please comment below.


“You can find magic wherever you look.

Sit back and relax, all you need is a book”

Dr Seuss


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