Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Books

POP QUIZ: Do you remember my Goals for 2017? Well, one of them was to read at least 17 books for the year. I thought it might be fun to do a quick recap (per month) of the books I read, in case any of you are interested.


January Books


  • Running Beyond Empty by Ben Kruser - I found this to be a very quick read. It was an entertaining novel about a mother and daughter who used running and the help of those around them to get through life's difficulties. It was a fun story and one that kept me wanting to read on. I would give this one a 7 out of 10.

Started this one on the flight back from Michigan (but finished it in January, so
I'm claiming it for this month ;))


  • To Understand Each Other by Paul Tournier - The hubby and I received this is a gift. Although it is short, it took me a little longer to read it because I found myself having an internal argument often about the points it was making. There were a few good nuggets about marriage but it was a little to "old school" thinking for me ('men work, women stay home in the kitchen' sort of thing). I would give this one a 4 out of 10.


  • You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero - I was really looking forward to this one but it came off more of a "if you believe it, it will happen" sort of vibe which is not a mentality that I subscribe to. I was pretty disappointed, but maybe it is because I had such high expectations of finishing the book and letting my inner badass run free. I would give this one a 5 out of 10. 


  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami - There was nothing crazy insightful about this one, but it was a quick read about the author's life during a year of training for the NYC Marathon. It is always interesting to me to see how others fit training into their life, especially when they are working full time jobs. This one definitely kept my attention the entire time. I would give this one a 7 out of 10.


  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - I was super excited that our library had this one (it was actually the first one I checked out). There were quite a few gems that I will put into practice daily, specifically from the "energy", "marriage" and "family/relationship" chapters. This book actually spurred me on to do a HUGE decluttering of our place over the past week and a half. It is crazy the weight that we didn't know existed that has been lifted off our shoulders (both the hubby and I agree that it feels so much better). For a Type-A, list maker, this book was right up my alley! I would give this one a 8 out of 10.


  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - This was a fun story! Originally I thought it might be too scary for me (#RealTalk: I have to change the channel or look away if there is a scary preview on the TV), but am happy to report it wasn't. Sometimes books that are aimed at kids/ teens I like the best because they aren't bogged down with big words or philosophical debates or a ton of sex. The story was quite the page turner and I was stoked when the next book in the series was available from the library. I would give this one a 8 out of 10.


  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - Wow. When I decided I wanted to start getting books from the library I asked some friends for suggestions. Someone recommended I add this to my list. I didn't know what it was about when I first added it! The book is by a neurosurgeon who is diagnosed with lung cancer and becomes a patient himself, having to tackle death on his own teams. Unfortunately he passed away before he completely finished the book, but they kept it as-is and I think it is even more powerful that way. I particularly appreciated the few pages at the end that his wife wrote. I would give this one a 7 out of 10.


  • Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - This was the second book in the series (out of three). Just like the first, it kept me wanting to read more and follow the children on their adventure. Can I just say how much I LOVE the photos throughout the book? I didn't mention it in the brief synopsis of the first book, but the same holds true for that one as well. The pictures are original, vintage shots and I love how they played into the author's creativity and found their way into the story. I would give this one a 8 out of 10.


  • The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen - This is a story about a teen who lost her leg in an accident, thought she lost the ability to run but found so much more along her journey. Although it's a fictional story, I love how the writer was inspired by runners she had encountered in her life when putting the book together. Also, I was stoked to read about exercisetherighttoread.org, a program that the author and her husband started to promote reading and fitness in schools across the country. I would give this one a 9 out of 10. 


  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed - Cheryl had a lot going on in her personal life (the death of her mother, the divorce from her husband, a drug habit that seemed to be taking hold of her life, etc) so she decided to hike the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) in hopes of finding herself along the way. I was a little worried that the book would romanticize the hiking and trip, but I was glad to see that she kept it real - talking about the toenails she lost (6), the days of dehydration and solitude, the act of having to dig a hole to poop in, etc. This book is now a movie and I have heard a lot of great things about it, but haven't seen it (although, now maybe I should). I would give this one a 7 out of 10.

I guess you can see why I get through more books than the hubby...
He is sleeping on the job ;)

  • The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman - I've mentioned it a few times, but I definitely lack confidence and have less than stellar self esteem. I was really excited about this book, hoping that I would walk away with some secret equation on how to build myself up. Unfortunately, it was a little more scientific (discussing the research that is being done on genes, etc) and less of a perfect equation than I was hoping for. I felt a little relief while reading the book in that it seems the issue is often more of a female problem than just a Carlee problem, but it still doesn't change the facts. The main points that I walked away with were that taking action and failing are necessary to build confidence. I would give this one a 5 out of 10.


Yup, pretty crazy... It's only the first month and I've already gotten through eleven books! If I keep this rate up, I could be over 100 for the year (shoot, maybe my goal should have been 117 in 2017 - HA)! I have been LOVING the library (especially when I realized that for the most part I will read a book once and then never really look at it again). If you have one nearby, you should definitely utilize it! PS If you have any suggestions on books, I'd love to hear them!


What was the last book you read?

7 comments:

Vanessa Junkin said...

I read "The Running Dream" and loved it! May have to read some of the other ones on your list as well. You're well on your way to your goal! I just read "A Man Called Ove" for my book club and would definitely recommend it.

Lora @ Crazy Running Girl said...

Omg you have been reading up a storm!! I have a goal to read one book per month this year, and I read three in January! The one by the neurosurgeon sounds super interesting; I'll have to check it out!

Amanda Mangus said...

I have been at the library every other day this month (at least it seems that way!) I love novels and have been reading everything that Nancy Thayer has written. She lives on Nantucket and bases most of her stories there. Plus I've been re-reading the Fifty Shades books before the next movie come out.

Sarah Says said...

Awesome goal of 100. My goal is 52, one per week. I just started book 5 of the year.

Jamie said...

Thanks for all the reviews! I just finished reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I am a fan of Liane's books! The best book I have read in the past year would have to be the Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. And one of my all-time favorites is 11/22/63 - Stephen King (it is NOT scary!!)
Thanks again for the reviews!!!

Anne said...

This is awesome! Thanks for sharing. Are you on Goodreads? (And if not, you should get on!)

Sandra Bond said...

Wow, 11 books. That's really something... I got through NINE and thought I was pretty good :)

I listened to the audiobook from Murakami on my long runs and while I enjoyed it, it wasn't anything crazy insightful.

I am currently reading "When breath becomes air"... !