Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July Books

I can't believe my goal of reading 17 books in 2017 (ha, I ended up with 88 in 2017 and 77 in 2018!) has morphed into 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 ;) {PS One of my goals for 2019 is to read 19 books, let's see how many times over I can do that.}

There were THIRTY-THREE books in the first six month, so when I add July's FOUR that brings my total for 2019 to THIRTY-SEVEN thus far! If you're interested in what I read (or how I would rate them and whether I would recommend you giving them a read or not), make sure to check out my previous monthly book recaps! {January's Books, February's Books, March's Books, April's Books, May's Books, June's Books}

  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I actually grabbed this from our neighborhood "free" library. I thought I remembered they made a movie adaptation from this story and that folks thought it was good. Neither Ryan nor I saw the movie, but I thought I'd snag the book and read it when I had a chance (one of the many nice things about the pop-up libraries around town is there are no due date so I can take as long as I need to read it). Thankfully I was able to get in a few chapters here and there in between the home renovations and get this book finished. This is a story about a young boy who survived an extremely long period of time while stranded at sea after the ship he was on sank. I would say it absolutely kept me engaged and interested the entire time. No spoilers, but the final few chapters definitely flipped the script and I was NOT expecting it. It was not your average "survival story" that has been done time and time again. I was surprised at how "real" it all felt... like at the end I forgot it wasn't based on a true story because I wanted to look up to see "where they are now" on the InterWebs. I'll be honest, although I've heard good things about the film, I'm slightly worried it may be a bit too gory and graphic for my taste (because the book definitely felt that way at times), but who knows. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Atomic Habits by James Clear - I was watching Instagram stories a few days ago and saw Do Good. Be Kind. had posted about some of the books they were reading, one of which was this one. At the end of the stories they mentioned as a "thanks" for watching all of them they would gift the first 5 people who replied with their email and which of the two books they would like to read an audio version of said book. Well, shoot doggy, you know I hit them up and I happened to be one of the "winners". The audio file was only about 5.5 hours long, so I was able to get through it quickly (I listened to it while I was cleaning the house, painting cabinets in the garage, etc). I wouldn't say that any of the tips and tricks the author is presenting are earth shattering, but I felt like they are super effective because of how easy they can be to implement. I love the idea of making sure a new habit won't take more than 2 minutes to complete, that way you know you will be likely to actually do it (for example, instead of saying you want to run 3 miles a day, make the habit laying out your running gear the night before or putting on your running shoes once you get home from work). I also appreciate the fact that he not only talks about starting good habits, but breaking bad ones. There were definitely some practical nugget take-aways from this book. (I'm also thinking I might want to snag a physical copy so I can mark it up... I think I like audio books for more novels and stories, but less for non-fiction books.) I would give it a 9 out of 10. 

  • A Beautiful Work in Progress by Mirna Valerio - I don't remember why I was looking on the Oceanside Library website, but a couple weeks ago I clicked on it and noticed a new "Link+" feature. It was a program our library was participating in, where they linked up with other libraries and you could now borrow books from any of them. This opened the door to a ton more books - WHOO HOO! I quickly looked at my Amazon Wish List (where I had been storing some of the books I wanted to read but our library didn't currently carry) to start reserving them. This was in the first round of books I was able to check out. Mirna is a ROCKSTAR (if you haven't seen her in Runner's World, featured by REI, etc then you are missing out) and I was stoked to check out her biography. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think most people (especially people who don't have the stereotypical "runners body") would love to read about her life and experiences from a back-of-the-pack runner. Her hard work and dedication to the sport is inspiring - not to mention she is a great writer. As with most biographies, you don't necessarily read them for life altering truths, but to see life through a different lens and perspective. I appreciate all Mirna is doing for the running community! I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Strong by Kara Goucher - This was another one of the books that I had wanted to read but our local library didn't shelve. When the Link+ program got introduced I added this one to my list (and it came down from the San Francisco Library). I didn't know much about the book prior to reading it, other than Kara is an amazing athlete, but I was excited to get into it. Quickly I realized this book might not be meant for me. Don't get me wrong, learning to keep a confidence journal is an AWESOME idea (and growing your self-confidence is something most people definitely could afford to do more of, especially female runners who it seems often struggle in this realm), but literally two days before starting this book I had thrown out my training journal because it was becoming more of a stressor than a help (and sometimes you just have to get rid of habits if they are no longer serving you, no matter how "good" they may seem). Now the book isn't completely focused on the journal aspect (there are eight "confidence techniques", including mantras, setting goals, positive self-talk, etc, and six "confidence essays" from other awesome women that touch on confidence as a whole), but I think I was just thrown for a loop when I started and thought "I don't need another journal task to add to my daily to-do list". There is a possibility in a few months I may pick this book back up and get more out of it, but for today I wasn't feeling it. (I do like the idea of a confidence journal, especially since the focus is on POSITIVES so you can look back over your training cycle and see how you have put in the work and can do hard things, but I've gotta pass on it today. Also, I feel like maybe it could have been pared down to maybe a blog post... it only took me maybe an hour to get through the 200 pages.) I would give it a 7 out of 10.

With that, July has come to a close. My reading may not be going gang-busters like it has in the past (thanks to our condo renovations taking over our life a bit recently), but I hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I'm always willing to add them to my library wait list!

PS I created an Amazon list that includes all of the books I've read and would recommend to others. Check it out!

What was the best book you read this year?

1 comment:

Betsy said...

I haven't read any of these yet so thanks for the suggestions. I've heard good things about Atomic Habits. My favorite July book was The Bookshop of the Corner by Jenny Colgan. It's a light easy summer read.