Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March Books

I can't believe my goal of reading 17 books in 2017 (ha, I ended up with 88 in 201777 in 2018 and 67 in 2019!) has morphed into this passion for books. As you can see, my reading has slowed a bit, but my love for books has not! In the past couple years I've added longer distance races (which means more time running/ training and less time reading), we've remodeled our condo (I think it legit took us six months to finish the whole thing... DIY seems to take twice as long {and cost twice as much} as you originally think it will), and I've added another part time job (which means I'm now working 40ish hours a week, cutting down on my reading time). Even still, I love getting my read on whenever I can.

Truth be told, I was never much of a reader when I was younger (CliffsNotes were my best friend when it came to books), but recently I fell in love. Although I may not read at the same speed as I previously did when I first caught the reading bug, I still want to keep the hobby going (and what better form of accountability than to post a list of the books I finished at the end of the month?!). I don't have any set number of books I am shooting to read this year, but hopefully a lack of goal doesn't mean a lack of books completed. So, without further ado, let's jump into everything I read in March!

  • The Little Book of Big Lies by Tina Lifford - I needed an audiobook to listen to on my walk to work and on my lunch break so I downloaded this one on my Hoopla app. I didn't know anything about it, but the title intrigued me, as did as the subtitle "A Journey into Inner Fitness". I would say this isn't your typical self-help sort of book (with a lot of empty platitudes or generalizations). The author uses very personal and specific stories to show the readers ways to break down the internal barriers often holding us back from the better life we could be living. There were many practical applications throughout the book. I really liked the idea of reshaping our dialog from words like "always" and "forever" to "up until now, and from this point forward". Simple changes like this allow for hope and possibility. I also appreciate that at the end of every chapter there's a recap including a restatement of the "lie", a self empowering truth and some "try this" advice. I would give it an 8 out of 10.   

  • Baking Me Crazy by Karla Sorensen - Sometimes you just need a little mindless fluff to take your mind off of things ;) and that's exactly what this book was. This was another book I listened to on my Hoopla app. I actually found it because I remembered liking Happy Trail that I listened to in January and looked to see if there were similar titles. This one was by a different author but the male's part was read by the same person so I thought I'd give it a listen. Although I was a little worried this book would be all about sex (as I'm sure you are aware, some of the adult romance novels tend to be focused on the act of getting it on), but thankfully this one wasn't too bad. Although the plot of most romance novels tends to be the same, the specifics kept me engaged (loved that they had a diverse character like Joss). It was funny, refreshing and pulled on your heart strings. I feel like it would be a great summer book to read on vacation or by the pool. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  • Stud Muffin by Jiffy Kate - This was the second book in the Donner Bakery Series (Baking Me Crazy was the first), but these can all be read on their own. I like that some of the characters overlap but the stories all stand alone and are complete without the necessity of the other (especially because my Hoopla app doesn't have all five of the books available on audiobook). I enjoyed the first one so figured I'd grab the second one to listen to while walk commuting to work or cleaning the house. I'll be honest, this one was a little more focused on sex than the first and, at times, I was glad I was listening to the book with headphones in because I may have been a little embarrassed if folks around me knew exactly what I was listening to. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't X rated or anything, but it definitely wasn't the Young Adult romance books I'm used to reading either ;)  It was witty, emotional and pretty steamy. In the end I was pulling for both main characters, so I guess it did its job. Similar to the first book in the series, you aren't going to walk away with any earth shattering revelations, but it kept me entertained. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  • Scroogenomics by Joel Waldfogel - If you didn't know, I got my bachelor's degree in Economics, so when I saw this title show up on my Hoopla app I was very interested in checking it out. This was a quick listen (less than 4 hours) and I didn't feel like you really needed a background in economics to understand what the author was saying because he seemed to explain it all quite thoroughly. I've gotta say, this book had me shaking my head YES the entire time. Joel's research shows how wasteful Christmas gift giving is (when you look at things like the return of investment, the economic waste created, etc). I'll let you listen (or read) it and won't spoil all of his findings for you, but let me say, this is what I've been screaming from the mountaintops for the last few years. I would much prefer my family and friends donate to charities in my honor than buy me a gift that I don't want/ need. I love that the practical takeaway at the end of the book was just that - donate! Obviously kids or close loved ones can be an exception, but for the most part this book holds true across the board. And, I'll be honest, this book probably took a lot of courage to write. Christmas is a HUGE money making business (especially in the United States), so to try and talk "against" it could get you a lot of flack. I would give it a 9 out of 10. 

  • The Andy Cohen Diaries by Andy Cohen - We have a few "free" libraries around where we walk Walt, so I am always checking out to see what sort of books they have. Every once in a while something will catch my eye and I'll grab it and stick it in my "for later" pile. Well, when COVID-19 hit, I got laid off from work and figured it was the best time to tackle the stack of books. This was one of the first ones I grabbed. It is literally a year long of diary entries from Andy Cohen on what he did every day. I wouldn't say it was thought provoking, but it was pretty entertaining to see how "famous people" spend their time. I used to enjoy watching all of the "Real Housewives" shows, so I knew some of the players in the book, but others I was clueless on ;) I don't think I would have actually checked this one out of a library (since I'm not really interested in that "world" any longer), but it did take my mind off the craziness going on around us. I would give it a 7 out of 10. 

And, yes, since our HOA chained our pool closed I took to
reading in the sun in front of our garage ;) 

With that, March 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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