Guest Post: Laura, of Riddle From the Middle, on books she likes as much as she does ice cream


It’s fitting that I post a guest blog from a middle child on the same day my middle child signs her letter of intent to play soccer in college.

Yes, that’s a stretch. (And a way to give Hayden a shoutout. She’s signing with Piedmont International. She’ll walk in with a brace but no crutches as her recovery from ACL surgery continues. So proud of you Hayd!)

Laura’s the middle child starring on this page today.

She’s a valued blogging friend and wonderful wordsmith. No one beats Laura, a fellow parent, and writer, at headlines. Every headline makes you want to click. Her page is like an open box of vanilla wafers you won’t be satisfied with until you’ve had all of them.

(Wait, is that just me? Feels like that’s just me.)

Please give Laura a warm CD welcome. She’s here to share books she likes better than ice cream. (Think about it: Can you name three more books than you can ice cream flavors?) And be sure to visit Riddle From the Middle when you’re done!

stormtroopers books
photo credit: DocChewbacca The Human Bookend via photopin (license)

Barnes and Noble with a side of mint chocolate chip

I recently found myself in Barnes and Noble searching for Spanish dictionaries and a “civil war era novel” for school – thanks, helpful B&N employee, but I don’t think Gone With the Wind is gonna be my son’s jam, let’s try something else – when it hit me. It’s been for-e-ver since I’ve been in a bookstore. Forever! I stood in the middle of the store turning slow circles like Julie Andrews, just barely managing not to sing about the hills being alive with the sound of boooooks. Oh, I wanted to, but I was pretty sure my son would melt into a puddle of humiliation on the spot so I refrained.

Bonus mama points for me.

So it was perfect timing when Eli asked if I’d like to contribute a guest post on books I love more than ice cream. Because if there’s anything else that makes me feel like slow spinning in song, it’s ice cream.

Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.

Without further ado, here are three books that rank up there with those Klondike bars. And trust me – I wouldn’t let you waste your time or money on a loser.



Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

Based on my highly unscientific study of people I know, women will appreciate this book more than men. Unless you’re looking for insight into the female brain – then all you Y chromosome folks should grab it. Jen (see what good friends we are? I call her Jen) writes in a conversational voice so you feel like you’re gabbing about life on the back porch.

The best thing about this book is you’re all she’s so funny, what a great read then BAM, 24 hours later that nugget lodged in your brain hits you. Things like “Loved people love people. Forgiven people forgive people. Adored people adore people. Freed people free people.” Good stuff.



White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Full disclosure: I’m only about halfway through this book but it’s already one of the most transformative things I’ve read, and at the risk of offending some of Eli’s readers I wish it could be required reading for every white person in America. That’s right. I said it.

White Fragility dismantles the construct that racism is an event, not a system. It helps to redefine racism, along the way detailing prejudice and discrimination, so we better understand how whites and people of color live in two very different Americas. The issues are complex and nuanced, and they require difficult reflection if we want real change. Is it an easy read? No. Is it important? Beyond a doubt.


giver cover

The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry

Yes, I’m cheating here because this is a collection of four books: The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son. But it’s not like I could pick a favorite. Naturally, I’d say start with The Giver. Then it’s like book potato chips – you can’t read just one. And you’ll be glad you didn’t.

The Giver examines life in a society that’s eliminated pain and conflict by converting to “Sameness” – but it’s taken all emotional depth out of their lives as well. The story follows Jonas as he turns thirteen and is chosen to receive and store memories from the time before Sameness.

Gathering Blue follows Kira, an orphan with a deformed leg who must learn to survive in a society that considers the weak and disabled disposable.

Messenger centers around Matty, a boy who acts as the message-bearer through a menacing forest surrounding his isolated community. It also tells the fate of Jonas from The Giver.

Son shares the story of Claire, a birth mother from The Giver, as she journeys to find her son.

skateparkLaura blogs at about life in the not-so-fast lane of North Carolina. Those in the know describe her as passionate, strong, openminded, sly, and stubborn — they’re not wrong. Goofy and introverted are also valid. Laura lives with her husband, two middle schoolers, a lab mix, and a golden retriever who’s stolen a ridiculous amount of people food. You can find Laura on Facebook, Twitter  Tumblr  and Instagram.

let's frolic through the garden!



  1. Now i know what books to look for at both the library and the friends of the library book sale tomorrow. It amazes me how often i go looking for one specific book, and find it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Do it, Meems! I admire that knack you have – I struggle to find the store-brand frosted flakes on the cereal aisle.

  2. ksbeth says:

    she’s so great

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      you know her too? yes, great stuff!

  3. Sara Strand says:

    All three of these books are solid. Every time someone asks me to recommend a book I always say Home to Woefield because it involves a sheep having maxi pads stuck to it. If that’s not a winner of a description, I don’t know what is.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      She didn’t mess around with this list, Sara, did she? And I wish there was a minor league baseball team whose mascot was a sheep with maxi pads stuck to it.

      Gah, I want to see this book cover now.

    2. Laura says:

      My word, I laughed so hard at this *I* needed a sheep covered in maxi pads to clean up the mess. 😆😆😆

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Such an enduring image, right Laura?

  4. Now, I’m going to have to think about what books I love more than ice cream. I’m also going to have to check these out at the library…and check out your blog.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Such thinking really puts life into perspective, doesn’t it Shann? You’ll love Laura’s stuff. She should be in the posse.

    2. Laura says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  5. says:

    Was The Giver a movie? The book sounds so familiar.
    So difficult to choose favourite books as I LOVE books and I also LOVE ice-cream 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yes it was:

      It’s still in development, but I’m working on a book made of ice cream that you eat as you go. Stay tuned. It would be … sweet.

  6. Laura says:

    I’m honored to be counted among your guest bloggers, Eli! I’m a day late to the party (gotta hate it when you get trapped in a home repair project and can’t get out) but this has absolutely made my Friday.

    And no, you are not the only one. Entire boxes of Nilla wafers have been known to disappear in our house. Good thing I have a dog to blame!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Vanilla wafers and ginger snaps seem to be a good one-two punch. Just sayin’.

  7. Sadje says:

    A great post. Must read the recommended books!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you liked it! Seems like a sold lineup.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.