Book Report

Last year I set out to read 12 books. I figured a month per book felt like a generous time limit. I ended up reading 12 books plus a few more, so mission accomplished! Some months I didn’t read at all and then there was one month where I read three. Either way, I think setting the goal definitely helped me be more conscientious in choosing a book over mindlessly scrolling through my phone after the kiddos went down for bed.

This year I decided to stay the course and read at least another 12 books. My literary year got off to a slow start, but thanks to our recent Mexico vacation I was able to catch up. Here’s what I’ve read so far:

Station Eleven: Yet another post apocalyptic book, but not of the young adult variety. It’s a fresh take on the “end of the world” and actually seems quite plausible. Reading this on vacation kind of gave me the creeps, but in a good way…? Not that there’s a good way to get the creeps (unless you are into that sort of thing), but being thousands of miles away from home really heightened the creep factor for me.

The Rosie Project: I had seen this pop up on one book round after another and decided to check it out for myself. It’s a romance novel but the main character’s approach and outlook on life gives it a unique and quirky spin. It’s a quick read laced with a good amount of subtle humor. I plan on digging into the sequel in the near future.

The Other Typist: Let me start with a little personal background story. This was actually a book I checked out of the library that ended up having to pay for due to an accidental coffee spill. The pages are still completely legible, but the library deemed it damaged and so I became it’s rightful and delinquent owner. The funny thing is I turned it in (gasp! coffee stained and all!) without even reading it!  I guess I have my clumsy ways to thank because I really enjoyed this one.  After residing on my nightstand for several months I finally decided to crack the spine and finished it a few days later. It’s suspenseful and definitely made me think. I still have questions and hope the author will write a sequel so they can be answered. I found discussion of it being made into a movie starring Keira Knightly, but this was several years back so who knows? This was probably my favorite read of the three, but really they’re all gems. I’d recommend reading any one of them.

What’s on your nightstand? I’ve got several non-fiction books I need to turn my attention to but could use another great nonfiction read.

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Book Report

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso: I tore through this book in less than 24 hours. It was an easy read that I obviously enjoyed. I feel like it might be better suited for a slightly younger (read: a lot younger) demographic than myself. This book would be great for the new college grad or for the person just starting out in the work force. However, the Take Charge of Your Destiny and Work Hard mentality found in these pages can really be applicable to anyone. I’d say that if you are looking for a good ole fashioned girls-rule-the-world pep talk as well as some overall rock solid Life/Career advice then this book is for you.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: So I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I’d venture to say that I really enjoyed it and have already reserved the next book in this series at my local library. For me, the beginning was a little overwhelming because there are a lot of characters to try and keep straight. Eventually I came to the conclusion that many of the characters were just there to support the overall story and keeping them all straight wasn’t vital to understanding the big picture. I haven’t read anything in the “chic lit” department in a long time and I found this book very entertaining. There’s talk of it being made into a movie, which I support.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins : So I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. Whenever I watch a movie or read a book that the masses are ooohing and ahhhing about I try to keep my expectations low so that I won’t expect too much and be dissapointed. I find that I enjoy them much more when I take this approach. (You’re thinking that this goes without having to say, right?) Anyhow, it was good. I liked it even though every main character has some serious flaws (but granted, to some extent, don’t we all? Just hopefully not to the degree of these folks!!!). I tried to guess “who did it” several times before guessing correctly pretty close to the end. I bet they make this into a movie. It’s a worthwhile read and addictive. I sped through it relatively quickly. (p.s. The kindle version is only $4.99 right now on Amazon!)

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One of my goals for 2015 was to read 12 books. I figured that averaged one book a month and should be totally do-able. Girl on the Train marked my 12th book this year which means that I can now stop reading until 2016. Kidding! I have a new stack of library books on my night stand ready and waiting.

Speaking of the library… I recently got a call asking if I had spilled/damaged a book I had recently turned in. I had not. I remember the pages being “wavy” but not un-readable so I thought nothing of it. Apparently they have to discard book that get wet because they can grow mold and potentially spread to other books when stored on the shelves.  They said fine and we hung up the phone and wouldn’t you know, mere seconds later I spilled coffee on a different library book. Go figure, right? So I had to pay $29 for that book that I definitely damaged.  Sigh.

Also another thought on the library… my public library is kind of gross. Although it has been remodeled recently, which is an improvement because they ripped up gross carpeting and put in laminate flooring.  However, it still just seems dark, dingy, and dirty. Plus this past weekend I walked by a random man using one of the computers and had to look away quickly because the screen had larger than life questionable material displayed! I mean, WHAT? #Awkward.

How’s your public library? I always thought I’d take my kids to the library because I have such fond memories of spending time at my local library when I was growing up.  However I really can’t see myself taking them and worrying about them touching anything.  Maybe I’m over reacting… Who knows.

 

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Book Report (& a Giveaway!) – CLOSED

I read all three of these books last month. I didn’t read anything in May and I haven’t read anything this month. What can I say, I read in spurts. Two out of three were non-fiction and here’s what I thought of them:

Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism by Maria Emmerich – I picked this book up based on another blogger’s frequent reference to this book as being life changing for her. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that after reading this book I felt exactly the same way, but I did think it to be informative and encouraging. The premise of this book is to eat real food and avoid processed junk (something I already agree with and completely support). It’s not about “dieting” but rather making healthy lifestyle choices when it comes to food. Personally, I connect with this approach because eating real food that provides quality nutrition for your body makes absolute sense to me. The author gets pretty scientific in breaking down how nutrition is metabolized in the body which I found interesting and also long winded. I definitely did my fair share of skimming. Working in healthcare, the science seemed pretty valid, but I certainly didn’t fact check all the information. I will say that I felt encouraged to stop going through the drive thru for lunch, which is something I was doing kind of regularly there for a while. (YUCK!) For me, this book was a good reminder that eating well is important and should be a part of my daily life. My one warning is that this book is poorly edited. So if you are a grammar nazi or if you find that poor sentence structure makes you want to jump out of a moving vehicle then perhaps you better look elsewhere for your nutritional education.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – More than likely you’ve heard of this one, and I was too intrigued to not check it out for myself. I love a good organization book and this one did not disappoint. Originally this was written in Japanese and I’m not sure how much is lost in translation, but I thought it to be so well written! (To note: I had just finished the previous book above and found it to be poorly written and/or edited, but regardless I still stand behind my statement that this book was written well. End of note.) Some aspects of Marie Kondo’s methods are…extreme. To say the least! In particular it was hard for me to relate to the way she thought of her objects as living things yet at other times I found her writing to be so personable. The backbone of her method is to only keep things that spark joy. Seems easier said than done, but her approach to ridding yourself of things that no longer meet that criteria is so interesting and relatable! When I can find the time (and energy) I plan on putting some of her methods to use.

The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields – I believe I won this novel in a give away that Janet was doing on her blog some time back.  Unfortunately it has sat on my bookshelf for at least a year, unread. (I’ve been busy growing and caring for babies). When I finally got around to cracking this book open, I had zero expectations. Good news, it was great! Based on a true story, The Age of Desire chronicles Edith Wharton’s sad marriage, the close relationship she had with her childhood governess turned personal assistant, and of course her scandalous affair. I finished this book in less than a week (quick for me these days) and then immediately googled everything I could find pertaining to Edith Wharton’s career and personal life. Such a strong and successful woman who lived during a time where that was not even close to the norm.

What have you been reading lately? I’ve been binging on Orange is the New Black (I’m usually late to the newest “cool” thing – which OITNB is not new being that it’s in it’s third season) but I recently picked up a stack of library books that I had on reserve and can’t wait to dive in.

And just for fun, I’m giving away my copy of The Age of Desire to one of you! I’ll ship anywhere. If you’re interested just leave a comment below telling me the last great book you read and I’ll pick a winner next Thursday, July 23rd.

Give away now closed!  Thank you!

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Book Report. May

My goal to read at least 12 books in 2015 is coming right along.  I’m halfway there with six books checked off!  Here’s my most recent reads:

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.  I wrote the perfect review of this book and then accidentally erased it with no hopes of retrieval. Believe me, I tried.  Anyhow, this was a good one that I have already recommended to several different people. It’s written by a man, which halfway through, I realized was a new perspective for me. Most of the books I read are written by women about women. It was a fresh take to read something not only where the main character is male, but the author is male as well. This book is full dark humor, which to be honest, is right up my alley. Lots of laughs and lots of somber moments as well. It was a good mix.

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith. This is a home decor book written by a blogger. I’ve seen it floating around BlogLand many a time and finally checked it out from our local library. This wasn’t what I was expecting in that it wasn’t exactly do this specific thing to decorate your home. It was more do something to make your home feel like home and get over your fear of perfection. Great message and I definitely thought it was inspiring. I hesitate to mention my one hang up with this book because the overall message is positive and encouraging. But since this post is all about reviewing books… I’ll go ahead and try to share my one problem with this book. I’ll try to be brief – The author is a renter. She believes that homeowners and renters alike should enjoy the home they have. She gives examples of how a renter can use their resources to make their rental home feel more like their own. Examples are painting walls and changing out light fixtures. All great suggestions and things that can be changed back if and when one’s lease is over. However, she also makes changes to her rental homes that aren’t easily reversible. The two examples that stick out in my mind are when she paints the formica (?) countertops in a kitchen and then again when she paints over wood paneling on a wall. She explains that she thought these two changes were worth the risk of losing her deposit. I have no doubt that both of these changes improved the aesthetic of the rental house, but I don’t think her actions were appropriate. Overall I thought the message of this book was great, but that one thing/attitude was off putting (for me).

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. I’ve had this book on my To-Read List for quite some time and I’m glad I finally got my hands on a copy. Loved this one! It’s a mix of old Italy, present day Hollywood, (& several other locations but mostly Italy and Hollywood) and how the lives of multiple people with different backgrounds are all entwined. The story bounces back and forth between time, places, and characters. It’s about your average Joe, the almost famous, the passion for and then fall of fame, love, forgiveness, etc… I was happy with the way it was all wrapped up in the end. I love me a good conclusion.

I have the Fringe Hours uploaded to my Kindle as well a few other non-fiction books, but otherwise I’m looking for my next great read. Any suggestions? What have you read lately?

 

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Book Report. March

Yes Please by Amy Poehler: This is the the third autobiography written by a celebrity that I have read. The other two were by Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey. I enjoyed each one and all three made me laugh out loud. I love a book that causes me to actually laugh out loud and I really love a funny lady! (My closest girlfriends are all hilarious in their own ways!) In addition to laughing out loud, there were a few parts in Yes Please where I got a little choked up. To be honest, I was not expecting a serious side. Not a bad thing, just unexpected. I related to many things Amy wrote about, especially her thoughts on friendship and motherhood. There were also lots of things I didn’t relate to, such as drug use, SNL, and Parks and Recreation. I haven’t watched SNL in years and and years and I’ve never seen Parks and Recreation. I’m not interested in checking them both out now. I like how Amy speaks candidly of mistakes and regret and heartache. Although the scenarios may vary from person to person, I think the way she describes the emotions that accompany those feelings are universal. I definitely recommend this one and thought it was great book to kick off my mini 2015 book club.

The Vacationers by Emily Straub: I went into this novel with no expectations. It was chosen by someone in my casual book club, which in February grew from 2 to 4 people. It’s the story of a family with two grown children and another couple, old family friends, that all go on vacation together in Mallorca Spain. Which if you look at google images of Mallorca, Spain the you’ll be all YES PLEASE, let’s go there. Gorgeous. The neat thing about this book is that everyone on the vacation is, in essence, the main character. The story is told from each person’s perspective so you see what they think of themselves and the judgements they have on everyone else. Which for me was interesting because as soon as I formed an opinion on a character based on another character’s description, the character in question would tell their story and I would then relate to where they were coming from. The story deals with longterm marriage, relationships between two people that are far apart in age, the strange family dynamics (that really everyone has, yes?) infidelity, teenage naivety, forgiveness, and knowing when it’s time to move on. I liked this book. It was a quick and easy read.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova: This was so good. The main character, Alice (which great name by the way, right?!), is a wife, mom to three, and well respected professor in her career when she’s diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 50. You’ve probably already heard about or maybe have already seen the movie starring Julianne Moore (I haven’t but can’t wait to see it.) The story and perspective of her health decline are portrayed so well. I couldn’t help but to rush through the pages. I highly recommend.

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I’ve been reading on my Kindle a lot lately.  It was a birthday gift and I really love it, but I also miss the feel of real books.  I’ve put a couple books on reserve at the library and hope to pick them up in the next day or two.  Anything I should add to my list? What great book have you read lately?

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Book Report. December

Welp, I’ve read a total of three books since my last book roundup back in August.   I read a book in September, October, and December.  Apparently I was too busy to read a book in November.  Good news is that the three books I did read were all really good. I enjoyed each one thoroughly and highly recommend them all.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.  First off, the main character has an excellent name! *winky face* This was a light read, easy.  Alice, the main character with the excellent name, suffers a head injury and wakes up thinking it’s a decade earlier than it actually is.  A lot has changed in those ten years,  especially within her most important relationships.  I read this back in September so the details are slightly foggy, but I remember it being entertaining and quick.  I know it’s the middle of winter, but this would probably be a great beach read.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling.  I was already a fan of Mindy Kaling and watch every episode of her hilarious show The Mindy Project.  Now that I’ve read her book I like her even more.  This girl is funny.  Her sense of humor is so me.  Her high school experiences were also so me.  She’s nerdy and cool.  She’s naive and asks lots of questions.  I loved it all and actually laughed out loud which wins major points.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  Another YA book for the win.  Eleanor and Park are both different than all the other kids in school.  Except one is more socially accepted than the other.  They both have untraditional families, but one is not so great and the other is safe and loving.  I was less than happy with the ending, but I guess everyone’s trying to not tie up novels in a nice neat bow.  (Most of the times I wish they would!)  I did enjoy this book, but feel it’s a little rough around the edges for a pre-teen…not to say it’s not real life, because it totally is…  Anyone else read this?  Thoughts?

I’ve made a 2015 goal to read (at least) 12 new books this year.  AND I’m doing it with a friend!  We’re each going to pick 6 books and have mini-discussions at the end of each month – a book club for two.  I’m excited!  If you have any suggestions on what we should read, I’m all ears…

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What are you reading?  I’ve got Yes Please downloaded on my new Kindle that I got for my birthday.  I’ve already read the intro and know that I’m just going to love it all.  I love funny and smart ladies that work and succeed at what they do, I feel like I should listen up to what they have to say.

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Book Report. August

Well it’s time for another book round up.  I read these during the end of my third trimester and had to renew them a couple times because I didn’t exactly have the time or energy to speed through them.  Here are a few of my thoughts:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I just loved this book!  As the title suggests, the story primarily takes places in a circus that is open only at night.  The doors don’t open until the sun sets and then stays opens into the wee hours of the night.  The intrigue of the circus, is that it is not just any old circus.  Oh no! This is a circus filled with the most impressive magic there ever was.  The tale draws you in with its creativity, magic, competition, mystery, and romance.  The main characters, Marco and Celia are magical people trained from a young age to compete in a mysterious competition.  They unexpectantly fall in love and threaten the fate of so many things within their worlds.  This book is good.  I highly recommend.

Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick.  Not what I expected at all. This is a classic don’t judge a book by it’s cover kind of novel. The writing immediately drew me in and I finished it fairly quickly, withing three days at the most. The story takes place in a tiny midcentury town in Virginia where nothing really happens, until a handsome and kind stranger shows up one day with a set of butcher knives and suitcase full of money. It’s a story of forbidden passion, heartache, and tragedy. Interesting to say the least. I thought about the characters long after I read the last word.

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak.  This is a quirky collection of short stories.  I did like it…although at times I felt like I wasn’t “smart” enough to get why it was funny.  Initially I tried to read the book straight through and since it’s a collection of short stories I think it is meant to be enjoyed in smaller bites.  Once I started reading just one or two stories at a time I enjoyed it a lot more.  If you like witty off beat humor I recommend this one for you.

What are you reading?  I probably won’t be picking up a new book any time soon, considering I have a one week old newborn under my care, but when I do!  I’d love your suggestions.

Also thank you, thank you, thank you for your congratulations, well wishes, and general sweet comments and messages on the birth of our second daughter.  Life is different once again and we are all well and staying afloat.  More thoughts later.

 

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