Monday, August 31, 2020

August 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'm now working full time at our local running store (which cuts 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 August!

  • Black Enough by Ibi Zoboi - While I was scrolling through my Hoopla app, I came across this collection of stories. The subtitle, Stories of Being Young & Black in America, caught my eye and I downloaded it to listen while on my walks to work. I have got to say, I really enjoyed this book. Like I mentioned, it is a compilation of stories written by black youth. The stories are real and raw. I appreciate the authors' candor and willingness to share their experiences of growing up black. Not all of the stories pull on your heartstrings or leave you with earth shattering revelations, but they are all heartwarming and honest. I am stoked to see a YA book by black authors - we need more of them! This is a book that celebrates diversity - of men and women whether in terms of race, religion or family values. Although I love the short stories, the majority of them left me wanting more. Maybe there will be a follow-up book in the future. #FingersCrossed I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson - I knew about Emmett Till, but when I saw this book on my Hoopla app I checked it out right away. If you are unfamiliar with the life and lynching of  this FOURTEEN YEAR OLD, I highly recommend you take some time and learn (whether it's wih this book or another source). This book was a deep dive into not only the murder of Emmett and the trial of his killers, but it also went into his life prior to visiting Mississippi and what was going on at this time. I'll be honest, some of it was hard to stomach - I just don't understand how some people can be so evil - but if you think these horrendous acts are something of the past, you are wrong! We need to learn about the past so that we can change, grow and make sure it never happens again in the future. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • No Whisk, No Reward by Ellie Kay - After a few "heavy" books, I figured I would lighten up my reading a bit and grab a romance novel. I had listened to the first two books in the Donner Bakery series, so figured I'd give book number three a try (they all stand alone and can be read individually, but some of the characters overlap so you would know a bit more backstory in some of the characters' lives if you read the previous books). I'd say this one was entertaining, but obviously nothing like the other books I had "read" (now that I'm working Monday through Friday, from 10am until 7pm, my reading time is almost non-existent, so whatever "reading" I get done is actually listening to the audiobook on my walks to work or on my lunch break strolls). I'd say this is a great beach book or something to grab and read on vacation. There is nothing too deep, but it kept me engaged and entertained the entire time. (I also appreciate that it was the woman who was "saving" the man, rather than the other way around like in so many other books.) I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous - I actually grabbed this book from our neighborhood free library and was able to read it on one of my days off. I didn't know much about it, but the fact that it was written by "anonymous" had me intrigued. It is a diary of a teenager who is spiraling downward into drugs and addiction - and spiraling quickly! Now, seeing as it was published anonymously, we don't know if it is 100% real (and after reading some of the reviews while grabbing the link to the book apparently it is fiction - WHAT?!), but that doesn't make it any less impactful. It was written back in the 70s, so you've got to keep that in mind while reading it (it was in that "reefer madness" culture). Nonetheless, it was pretty powerful (and scary) to see how easily it was for the writer to slide into the depths of her despair. I am fairly familiar with addiction and even if this book may be a dramatized version of a teen going from straightedge to addict in the matter of weeks, it is still important to see the internal turmoil that someone struggling with addiction could be going through on a daily/ hourly/ momentary basis. I would give it an 8 out of 10 (#RealTalk - had it been non-fiction I probably would have given it a 9, but when I found out it was "fake" I was a little miffed and knocked it down a point). 

  • Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson - This is another book I listened to on my Hoopla app. Watson is a professional football player and after the verdict of Michael Brown's killer was announced in Ferguson he wrote a post on his Facebook of some of his feelings. This book is a more indepth look into those bullet points. Before downloading this book I didn't realize it was a Christian book or that there would be a good portion of it focused on God. I am not saying that as a bad thing, I just wasn't really expecting it. With that said, I felt like this wasn't your typical race discussion. He starts off by telling the audience that there will probably be things that you will agree with and there will probably be things that you won't agree with. I would say this was accurate, and even if he brought up points or opinions that I didn't agree with, they still made me think. I would say what stood out most was his message of issues/ events/ etc being "both and" instead of "either or". There can be (and are) different perspectives and we should be open to at least hearing them out or considering a situation from another angle. Don't get me wrong, I love Jesus, but since I wasn't expecting this to be a religious book, the God talk was a little more than I was hoping for (even if I absolutely agree that the underlying issue of racism is a sin issue, not a skin issue). I would give it an 8 out of 10. 

  • Shut Up You're Pretty by Téa Mutonji - I don't really remember why I grabbed this book on my Hoopla app, but I listened to it over the course of a few days. Originally I thought it was a novel, but eventually realized it was sort of like a collections of short stories throughout the main character's life (it jumped around a bit, so since I was under the impression it was one complete story I was a little lost until I figured out that each chapter was its own story). It was about a Congolese girl growing up and becoming a woman in Canada. Although all of the stories are separate, they all work together to form a whole picture of a young woman who is struggling to understand herself and her world. I don't know if I was reading the book if I would have stuck through the entire thing, but since I was listening to it, I saw it through to the end. I'm not exactly sure why I didn't love it, but not every book is a perfect fit for every reader. I would give it a 6 out of 10.

  • It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini - This is another book I grabbed on one of our doggy walks by the neighborhood free library. I didn't know anything about it when I picked it up, but I definitely lucked out on grabbed a good one. It's a story about some serious topics - suicide, depression, mental health, etc. But even though it is about some heavy topics, the book itself isn't overly heavy. The author does a great job at not only keeping the mood fairly light, but addressing some very important issues. Maybe it's the headspace I'm in currently, maybe it's the ultra awareness of mental health issues during this isolating time of COVID 19, maybe it's just that this was a good book, but I was left thinking everyone should give it a read. It was a quick read (although the book was on the thicker side, the print was larger so I seemed to fly through it). I didn't realize until I finished the book, but the author spent a few days in a psychiatric ward in his early 20s, so although this was a fictional novel, I'd have to assume he was drawing on some of his personal experiences and encounters. (And come to find out, it looks like this book was turned into a movie, so maybe the hubby and I will watch it - even though books are better than the movie 95% of the time.) I would give it a 9 out of 10.

With that, August 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?

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 35

Sunday, August 23rd – 13.44 mile run

Monday, August 24th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Tuesday, August 125th – 10 mile run

Wednesday, August 26th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Thursday, August 27th – 12 mile run

Friday, August 28th  90 minutes on the stationary bike

Saturday, August 29th – "Rest Day" 5K with the hubby

The heat and humidity are still kickin' my butt and zappin' my energy, but I am putting in the work (which is a little crazy now that I am working 40 hours at the running store {10am-7pm, Monday through Friday, not to mention if I walk to work I leave by 8:45am}). I'm still sticking with running every other day, making sure my ankle/ foot has the adequate time to fully heal (I'll be honest, it still isn't 100%, but I've seen that it can take up to 6 months for a bad sprained ankle to heal, so I'm praying I'm moving in the right direction). Fire season normally starts in September for SoCal, so I'm not really expecting the temperatures to cool down anytime soon, but I'm really hoping this nasty humidity can skit-skat-scaboodle!

How were your workouts this past week?

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 34

Sunday, August 16th – 12.12 mile run with the hubby

Monday, August 17th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Tuesday, August 18th – 10 mile run

Wednesday, August 19th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Thursday, August 20th – 13.13 mile run

Friday, August 21st  Rest Day

Saturday, August 22nd – 15 mile run

Happy to report that I am finally getting back into the swing of things. Now that I am working full time (I transitions from part time to full time at the running store as of August 1st), I am still trying to figure out a good routine, but I'm thrilled with how this week went. Of course I would prefer to be running at least one more day per week, but I am still babying my ankle/ foot and giving it the time it needs to heal fully. I would much prefer running every other day than NO days because I reinjured it. I will say that this heatwave (and high, high, HIGH humidity) that we've been having for about a week now can skit-skat-skaboodle at any point because it is definitely making my runs harder than I'd like them to be.

How were your workouts this past week?

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 33

Sunday, August 9th – 14 mile run with the hubby

Monday, August 10th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Tuesday, August 11th – 10 mile run

Wednesday, August 12th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Thursday, August 13th – 10 mile run

Friday, August 14th  10 mile run

Saturday, August 15th – Rest Day

Holy heat and humidity Batman. Normally running early in the morning (right around sunrise) tends to give me a little reprieve from the weather, but not this week. The humidity has been killer and it is zapping me of just about all of my energy. I have been rather proud of myself, though, because although I would prefer to run more often than I am, I am doing my best to not do too much too quickly and still am trying to stick with running every other day until I know that my foot/ ankle is 100% healed from the major roll. I know my numbers aren't what I normally would love to see (both my paces and my mileage run), but I am going to be grateful for every step I can take (especially if they are pain-free!).

How were your workouts this past week?

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 32

Sunday, August 2nd – 13.33 mile run

Monday, August 3rd – .2 mile run, 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Tuesday, August 4th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Wednesday, August 5th – Rest Day

Thursday, August 6th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Friday, August 7th  75 minutes on the stationary bike

Saturday, August 8th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Monday I went to go out for a 10 mile run and, as you can see from the picture, I made it about .2 miles and knew I needed to pull the plug. My left ankle/ foot that I had rolled was acting up and I wasn't willing to risk it. It was being funky all week, so instead of risking it, I stuck to the bike every day (plus walking to work and then getting in a decent walk on my lunch break as well). With no races on the calendar until 2021, now is ESPECIALLY the time to listen to my body (I mean, I should always listen to my body, but there is absolutely NO reason to risk it at time point). Hoping that "resting" will get me back out sooner rather than later. #IfYouListenToYourBodyWhisperYouWontHaveToHearItScream

How were your workouts this past week?

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 31

Sunday, July 26th – 15 mile run

Monday, July 27th – 10.25 mile run

Tuesday, July 28th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Wednesday, July 29th – 10 mile run

Thursday, July 30th – Rest Day

Friday, July 31st  9.25 solo mile run, 4 mile run with the hubby

Saturday, August 1st – 14.44 mile run

Wow, big week. Hit almost 63 miles, which is the most I've done in a hot minute. I'll be honest, the ankle still isn't feeling 100%, which makes me a bit nervous, but I'm trying to remind myself that the InterWebs says it could take a while for a rolled ankle to heal fully (and, at the same time, praying that that's all it was/ is). Oh yeah, as of August 1st I went full time at the running store, which means I'll be working Monday through Friday from open to close (10am - 7pm). Only time will tell to see how it impacts my running (distance, when I run, etc), but here's to hoping I'm still able to fit it in my schedule!

How were your workouts this past week?