Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October Books

I can't believe my goal of reading 17 books in 2017 (ha, I ended up with 88!) has morphed in this passion for books. Let's be real, not having cable TV to keep me "entertained" also gives me more free time to dive into a great book or seven ;)

There were SIXTY-ONE books in the first nine months of the year, so when I add October's NINE that brings my total for 2018 thus far to SEVENTY! If you're interested in what I read (and how I'd rate them), make sure to check out my previous recaps - I post them on the last day of the month! {January's Books / February's Books / March's Books / April's Books / May's Books / June's Books / July's Books / August's Books / September's Books}

  • Beartown by Fredrik Backman - I had read A Man Called Ove in March of last year and when a few friends mentioned this book (by the same author), I knew I needed to grab it. I didn't know much about the book (other than it came highly recommended), but man were my friends right. This book hit me in all the feels. I don't know if it's because of all the Kavanaugh stuff going on or just because rape has (and should have) such a jarring effect on me, but I found myself tearing up for the majority of the book. It's a story about a rape in a hockey town, but it's so much more than that. I know it was "just" a novel, but I also know how true this rings for so many women (and men) out there that it makes me sick. Like I've said on my social media platforms recently, whether you choose to report or not, whether you tell the world or not another soul, NO ONE deserves to be harassed or assaulted. The rape culture that we live in needs to end and it needs to end now! (PS If you haven't read Missoula by John Krakauer yet, please do so. I read it in September of last year. It is not an easy read, but one that I truly believe everyone should hear.) I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Meb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi - I actually got this book for Christmas and didn't read it till now. I thought during my goal race taper was the perfect time to pick it up. Meb shares some of his tips and tricks on how to run, think and eat like a champion marathoner. I really enjoyed how he broke everything down in this book. Although he is sharing what he does personally, his experience translates to recreational runners just as it would to elites (obviously not the pacing, but the outline, mentality, etc). I'm currently in the taper period before my next marathon (which means I am running less and giving my body adequate time to fully recover and prepare for the race), but this book reminds me that once I'm done with this round of training I MUST add back in some strength training and cross-training. I appreciated seeing the in's and out's of competitive running (and that there's so much more than just running the miles). I plan to keep this book handy and use the exercises, stretching and strength routines to help me to be the best runner I possible can be. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - I got a recommendation about this book from a friend and decided to grab it for our trip to Hawaii. Well, when I posted my haul that was going on our vacation I got a ton of feedback from folks - most saying that this novel was amazing, but quite a few folks mentioning I shouldn't read it in public because it would leave me teary-eyed. Since I had a few days before our trip when I grabbed the books from the library I decided to read this one prior to our flight. I flew through it (took less than an afternoon, even for being over 300 pages long). Like people said, it was great. I loved the idea of the book - a story told from the perspective of a pet dog. If you have a pup, you probably feel like your doggy is an integral part of your family so this just made sense. Actually, it made me look at Walt and give him an extra big squench, even if he can't quite understand me like Enzo ;) From everyone's feedback I was expecting to be a blubbering mess for the majority of the book, but the tears only came in the last few pages. I'm so glad a friend recommended this book to me, and now I will totally recommend it to you! I would give it a 10 out of 10.

  • Us Against You by Fredrik Backman - This is the follow-up book of Beartown. I really enjoyed the first book and was excited to get into this one (although, truth be told, I didn’t have overly high expectations because I was worried the first would be hard to top - sequels always tend to fall a bit short in my eyes). I started it on our plane ride to Hawaii, and, I’ve gotta say, I sort of wanted the flight to be longer so I could finish it. I wouldn’t say it was as amazing as the first (mostly because I felt like there was so much going on it was hard to dive into all of the different characters and story lines as much as I would have liked - it could've easily been 100 pages longer), but I definitely liked it. I enjoyed the foreshadowing done throughout the book that kept me on my toes (the author sets you up for an event and then it happens to someone you weren’t expecting). And seeing as hockey season just started, I think it was perfect timing for me to pick up this book. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Since You Asked by Maurene Goo - When I had recently shared some of my Young Adult reads an IG friend mentioned she was a school librarian who also enjoyed herself some YA books. She mentioned this author and suggested I check out some of her books. I brought this one along as one of my Hawaii trip reads. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. It was pretty surface-y. It was definitely a quick read (flew through it on the beach one afternoon), but I don’t think I’d recommend it to others. Again, it’s not terrible, just not too engaging and didn’t have a ton of drama or action going on. The first chapter drew me in (when a high school "nobody" was joking around while editing an article and it accidentally got published in the school newspaper), but from there it didn't really keep me interested or invested in the characters. I would give it a 6 out of 10.

  • Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala - I don't remember how exactly I came across this title (I know, you aren't surprised), but I was excited about it. From what I knew, it was about a Nigerian boy growing up in the DC area with very strict parents. He is gay and this is a HUGE problem for his parents. Although the book is somewhat short it took me longer to read it because of the format with the dialog. I am used to quotation marks, breaks in paragraphs between speakers, etc, but this book didn't have this. It would switch between speakers every other sentence and was a little hard to follow because of the lack of punctuation (but that may just be me). As far as the substance of the book, I was a little disappointed. I was really hoping to love it, but it was just mediocre for me. I was surprised with the direction it went about halfway through, but it still didn't truly engage me from the beginning. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but, hey, to each his own. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  • Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham - A friend recommended I grab this book because I was a big Gilmore Girls fan (which reminds me, it's time I re-watch the series). I thought it'd be perfect on our Hawaii trip and I was right (it was the fourth book I read on the trip and just the change I needed from the previous ones). Lauren shares her experiences from beginning in the acting world (and even before that), to being on Gilmore Girls and eventually the reboot of the series. I loved not only getting a bit of a “behind the scenes” look but also just learning more about Lauren as a person, actor and professional. She is one smart (and funny) cookie! If you liked Gilmore Girls I’d definitely recommend picking up this book. It was a quick, easy and entertaining read. And now I have to see if the library carries the novel she wrote! I would give it an 8 out of 10. 

  • Fear and Loathing in Last Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson - Near where we were staying in Hawaii I noticed a "little free library". At the end of our trip I had already finished the majority of the books I brought with me (before leaving I struggled with how many to bring, eventually deciding to stick with four, but probably should've thrown another in my luggage) so stopped by to see if anything would grab my eye. I ended up picking up this book (along with another) because the hubby had recently been talking about wanting to re-watch the movie. I had never seen the movie (and actually didn't even know what it was about) so grabbed the book. I ended up starting it on the flight back home and had about 50 pages to go by the time we got back to SoCal. Let's just say this book wasn't my cup of tea. It is literally 200ish pages of two drug induced trips to Las Vegas. It was a bit hard to follow in spots because of all the shenanigans going down, but I was eventually able to finish it. Maybe had I known what the book was about I may have been able to brace myself for it a little more but who knows. I ended up seeing it through to the end, but it definitely isn't my kind of book (although I would be interested in seeing the movie). I would give it a 5 out of 10. 

  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis - I had seen quite a few friends reading this book and I wanted in. I listened to a few podcasts that Rachel had been on and every time I heard her speak I would shake my head and say "YESSS" to many of her topics. Unfortunately her book isn't available at our library (well, it is, but only in an eReader format and I don't have that capability...), but when I was on YouTube the other day I saw the audio version of it was there so I decided to give it a listen. I really appreciate the way this book is set up. She starts each chapter with a lie she believed, shares some examples about how they played out in her life and then three real life applications on what helped her get past these lies. Like she mentions, she is not there to be a cheerleader or someone to just pass on positive quotes, she's there to push you to become the best you that you can be because she knows you deserve it. Although she writes for a Christian publisher, she touches on topics that can sometimes be seen as taboo - like sex, mental illness, suicide, etc. Rachel is a strong, badass woman who believes you can be one too - but you've gotta fight for it! I would give it an 8 out of 10.


With that, October has come to a close. My reading may slow, but I definitely hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I'm always willing to add them to my queue if our library offers them!

What was the best book you read this month?

1 comment:

Farrah said...

I have Girl, Wash Your Face checked out as an audiobook book right now, and I've been meaning to check out Talking As Fast As I Can too! I'm going to have to add Beartown and Missoula to my to-read list.