Saturday, October 31, 2020

October 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 October!

  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo - This book was one I grabbed from my little free library. I didn't know anything about it, but the cover drew me in. The story was about a teenage mother doing her best to navigate school while taking care of her daughter and following her passion - cooking. I flew through the book and really enjoyed it. Even though this is technically considered a YA book, I totally think anyone would get wrapped up in the storyline and invested in the characters. It's a sweet story and a tribute to young, single mothers. Oh yeah, and it made me want to get better at cooking (and sort of wish this book had a scratch-n-sniff option because the food Emoni made sounded amazeballs!). I would give it a 9 out of 10. 

  • Beyond Trans by Heath Fogg Davis - I downloaded this book on my Hoopla app to listen to on my walks to work. I didn't know much about the book, but want to learn more about the trans community (and how I can be better at supporting them). The author questions the gender and sex-classifications attached to different areas of life (for example - birth certificates and driver's licenses, gender specific bathrooms, sex segregated sports, etc). As the author mentioned, many of these situations are ones I have never had to think twice about because I am a cisgender female. This book was very eye opening and probably only scratches the surface of what transgendered or gender non-conforming people encounter on a daily basis. I appreciate all of the work the author (and others) have done on this front. Although the book may go to an extreme with suggestions on how we as a society should adjust, it also brings up the conversations about our gender binary approach to life and questions why we are doing things the current way. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Race Everything by Bart Yasso - I had 'favorited' this book in my Hoopla app a while ago but hadn't gotten around to listening to it before now. Bart is such a wealth of knowledge when it comes to running and racing, so I knew this one was going to be good. Although I am not currently in the "racing" mentality (partially due to all of my races for 2020 being cancelled due to COVID and partial due to the fact that training to run fast is HARD and lately I have been enjoying the "journey" rather than the outcome), it was fun to hear him walk through the main distances (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Ultra Marathon, Non-Conventional Races, Relays, etc). Not only does he give you tips on how to train for the said distance, but he also shares his favorite race(s) in that distance. Some of his recommendations (like the Carlsbad 5000 and the Big Sur Marathon) were ones I have already done, while others were ones I am considering putting on my "must do" list. Definitely got me itching to be back with the running community in a race setting! I'd say this book is more for a "beginner" (I didn't really walk away with anything I didn't know before), but it's still awesome to hear from one of the greats in the running world. I would give it an 8 out of 10. 

  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman - A few weeks ago a friend of mine had this book on her IG stories and was raving about it. I had read a few of this author's previous books (and really liked them) so checked with the library and they happened to have a large print version available. I was totally fine with a little thicker book, so had them drop it off at the house (due to COVID, our library has had to change their procedures a bit, but I am stoked they are allowing home delivery by the BookMobile!). I have to confess, seeing as I grew up on constant diet of Law & Order, I am pretty decent at figuring out a story before the plot is officially revealed. I loved that this novel kept me guessing (probably because it jumped around a lot - not in a bad way, but just that I didn't have time to really sit still and ponder what was coming next). I will be honest, it is a bit complex and the set-up takes a while, but I promise it is worth sticking with. I appreciated seeing the backstories behind the characters (which reminded me of the quote "be kind because you never know what sort of battles people are facing") and it left me really pulling for all of them! I would give it a 9 out of 10.

With that, October 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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