Saturday, November 30, 2019

November 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 FIFTY-EIGHT books in the first ten month, so when I add November's FOUR that brings my total for 2019 to SIXTY-TWO thus far! If you're interested in what I read (or how I'd rate them and whether I'd recommend you giving them a read or not), make sure to check out my previous book recaps! {January's BooksFebruary's BooksMarch's BooksApril's BooksMay's BooksJune's BooksJuly's BooksAugust's BooksSeptember's Books, October's Books}

  • Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robison - The hubby and I needed a book to listen to on our drive to and from Vegas for the #RnRLV race so I went onto our library's catalog website, typed in "mental health" and selected "audiobooks". This was one of the first books that popped up and it sounded interesting. The author grew up with Asperger's (although this was before it was a diagnosis so everyone just thought he was "weird") and the book is about growing up being different than those around him. Although the hubby fell asleep for most of the book (he does that in the car A LOT... he says it rocks him to sleep like a baby... which is why I get the final decision on the audiobooks ;)), we both really enjoyed this one. The story is real and raw. He grew up with the fear he would potentially turn into a murderer because he was seen as a "social deviant" due to his "odd" behaviors. A light switched on when a psychologist friend mentioned a possible diagnosis. Even if you don't have anyone in your life on the autism spectrum, I feel like this book is insightful (not to mention reminds us all to be kind to everyone - no matter what!). I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn - I mentioned Hoopla on a recent Friday Favorites post, but in case you didn't read that post, let be give you a brief recap. When I went to the library to pick up the previous audiobook an employee mentioned the Hoopla app. They said that with my Oceanside Library account I could download 4 audiobooks a month (and often the app has titles the physical library did not). Once I got home I downloaded the app and started "borrowing" books. This was the first title I snagged. I remembered friends giving this book high praise and when I saw it on the "featured" page I downloaded it (also, seeing as it was 15ish hours long I thought I might prefer listening to it rather than reading the extra long book ;)). I read the first few sentences of the synopsis before I started listening so I knew it was a historical novel about female spies during the World Wars. I really enjoyed this one. I like when authors have stories told from multiple characters' perspectives and this one switched back and forth between two - Eve and Charlie. It also flip-flopped between two timelines - 1915 and 1947 (but, don't worry, it wasn't hard to keep the two plots separate). I'm not a huge history buff, but thankfully didn't need to be. I found this story engaging (although, to be honest, I enjoyed Eve's storyline more than Charlie's) and had me rooting for both characters and their quests. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello  - A few weeks back my friend Andrea had posted a picture of this book on her Instagram account, thanking the author for his honesty and vulnerability, which in turn allowed her to get real and raw in her recent book. I was intrigued so when I saw the library had it on the shelf I went and grabbed it. As you can probably guess from the title, this is not a happy-go-lucky kind of book. It is a memoir from a journalist (which means you already know it will be well written) about his boyfriend turned husband who battled and ultimately succumbed to a rare form of cancer. Although the story is tragic, Michael's telling will leave you with a sense of hope and a feeling of love. The story of Michael and Kit was brutally honest and raw - showing not just the good times, but the bad and down right difficult times as well. In the end, this book will remind you to live every moment to its fullest, tell those closest to me how much they mean (and tell them often), and that LOVE IS LOVE! I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Uncluttered by Courtney Ellis - This was the second book I listened to on my Hoopla app. In the recent months, especially with the renovation of our condo, we've transitioned into being somewhat of minimalists. That's not to say I still don't have eight pair of running shoes in my current rotation or that we don't have anything in our closets, but I do feel a lot less anxious with less stuff. I didn't realize, but this is actually a book written by a pastor in Southern California. Although her lifestyle is much different than ours (having multiple small kids can do that), I did walk away with quite a few little nuggets. PS This book was not necessarily about becoming a minimalist, in fact, she says that she isn't, but she has found some habits that she (and they as a family) has instilled to help life be less cluttered. I really appreciated the parts on learning to say no (we often fill up our lives and our calendars because we can't say that tiny word...) and for leaving space (we can't clean out our closets and drawers just to refill them, we need to learn to leave space). She mentions some great ideas (like having a Sabbath, not only tidying up your physical space but also your mental space, uninstalling apps on your phone, etc) and hopefully I can put some into practice. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

With that, November has come to a close. My reading may not be going gang-busters like it has in the past, 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?

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