Reading

It’s fundamental!

A bookish year in review

Being December 30, and past the midpoint of Sloth Week, it’s as good a time as any to summarize this year’s reading. I have 2 books in progress, one of which will be done by the end of the year (Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating) and one that I’m taking it slowly with because it requires thinking and introspection (Come As You Are).

But as of today I have read 63 books of my 50 book goal. Huzzah – this is my best year yet! (For reading. Not so good for non-sedentary hobbies.) I might increase next year’s goal to 60 books, but I feel like this is my personal sweet spot for reading.

Book totals since I started taking the train every day.

My five-star books were:

  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – John Carreyrou
  • The Wedding Date – Jasmine Guillory
  • This Must Be the Place – Maggie O’Farrell
  • Behold the Dreamers – Imbolo Mbue
  • The Queen of Hearts – Kimmery Martin
  • Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
  • The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1) – Helen Hoang
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
  • A Thousand Mornings – Mary Oliver

Look at all those women and women of color! While I’m not ONLY reading those authors, I’m trying to keep a good mix. Many of these books were culled from book podcasts and others’ reading lists.

Here is the full list of books, rated high to low, although I never rate a book one star, I just don’t finish it.

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That’s only 62. WTF, Goodreads?

I’m still reading mostly eBooks, because it’s so much easier to carry my Kindle on the train than a giant library book that I’m trying not to damage. The downside is that my physical library trips have been low. I know, I’m never happy.

Click here to see my Goodreads 2018 year in review.

Life According to Steph

This post is part of the special year-end Show Us Your Books Linkup hosted by Jana of Jana Says and Steph of Life According to Steph. It’s just pretty late. 🙂

Show us your books — December 2018

And just like that, the end of the year is upon us. And just like that, the month flew by and I only read 2 books. Reach the goal and slack off, that’s how I roll. No biggie! (except for drop cap abuse)

For the last time this calendar year, onto the books! I use the Goodreads system to rate books, which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing

Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants — Herb Freed

I saw this on other SYUB links last month – it was available free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a series of (fictional) short stories about Rabbi Ben Zelig. In the first story, we meet Ben as a rabbinical student. In the last one, he is a middle-aged man. Each story touches on love and loss and how Ben’s faith informs his feelings and decisions. The author is a rabbi and I appreciated learning more about the Jewish religion, which often gets obscured in media by Jewish culture. Most of the stories hit home, a few didn’t grab me.

Three stars and I will keep the phrase “A dollar’s worth of grace for a nickel’s worth of faith” with me.

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope — Anne Lamott

A brand new book by Anne Lamott which was on my Christmas list for a hot second until I saw a signed copy at Barnes & Noble on Black Friday! And now it’s mine.

Still life: book, blanket, boneheads. iPhone 6s, 2018

Let’s be honest, I will always like Lamott’s writing. She hits my middle-aged, Christian-ish sweet spot. This book is about how to pull hope back into your life when life seems … hopeless.  And hey! Things are pretty bleak, right?

She writes this book under the guise of trying to write down everything she knows for the younger people in her life. She touches on the usual topics: faith, love, addiction, loss, and her dead friends & relatives. It’s pretty much an Anne Lamott trope at this point that if she tells a story about a person, there’s a 85% chance they’ll die of a horrible disease by the end of it.

Four stars. If you hate Anne Lamott books, you’ll hate this one too.  If you’re me, you’ll sigh and reread it under blankets every year.

I did not finish You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Maybe I’ll come back to it another time.

Currently Reading: Eric (Discworld #9) — Terry Pratchett. I’m halfway through and hope to finish tonight because the eBook loan expires on Thursday and tomorrow is TNP’s holiday party.

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

What are you reading?

Previously:
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November

Show us your books: November 2018

Life is slipping through my fingers so quickly lately — like I’m trying to hold onto sand. I go to work, I go home, I’m doing things, but by the time I get to the point of the day that I’d blog, I have dogs on my lap or the Surface has no charge or I’m writing Postcards to Voters and … meh. It is what it is.

I have no pics of me reading so here is some of my writing.


With that, let’s commence the 87th jump-start of this blog with this month’s book report, aka Show Us Your Books!

Onto the books! I use the Goodreads system to rate books, which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing

Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) — Terry Pratchett
You know, you read one of my Discworld reviews, you’ve read them all. This series is like a warm blanket and a bowl of Froot Loops. I laughed a lot, I cried a little. Give me a story where unlikely goofballs become heroes, love blossoms in unexpected places, and good triumphs over evil and I’ll fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Four stars and the dragons live.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History — Megan Mullaly and Nick Offerman
Mullaly and Offerman are the richer, more talented, and raunchier version of WM and me. I love everything they do and fully expected to toss five stars at this book. I’m going to preface this by saying that I am a flawed person who has never written a published book. But I don’t think recording yourselves chatting about any topic and getting it published is the same as writing a book. It was perfectly fine, and parts were funny and parts were interesting. But it’s not even like they each take a chapter. It’s a literal dialogue, with each paragraph prefaced by M: or N: depending on who is talking.

Three stars. Get the audio book instead. I’m sure it’s better that way.

From the Corner of the Oval — Beck Dorey-Stein
It’s another Obama staffer memoir, a coming-of-age (albeit in one’s late 20s) story with a huge side helping of Hope. Beck Dorey-Stein was in DC with no full-time job prospects (but multiple crappy PT jobs) when she answered an ad that turned out to be a job as a stenographer in Barack Obama’s administration. Soon she’s in “The Bubble” — keeping crazy hours, traveling around the world, making better money, etc. But she’s also trying to find herself and what she’s supposed to do with her post-Obama career amidst a chain of questionable relationship decisions. It was funny and gossipy enough that WM was reading over my shoulder on the plane ride back from Disney.

Three stars and I wonder how many condoms the staff used during the 8-year administration….


Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose — Joe Biden

You’ve heard of Joe Biden, lifelong politician and former Veep. You know of his tragic early adulthood, of his wife and 3 little kids being in a car accident, and only his 2 sons surviving. This is his telling of the time when his son, Beau, was living with and dying from brain cancer. Biden was VP, with several important foreign policy crises happening, AND a 2016 presidential bid to consider. We know how it all ended. This story tells you why.

Three stars. Biden wants us to know that he would have been a great President and likely would have won, if he had chosen to run.

White Houses — Amy Bloom
I’m a very big Eleanor Roosevelt fan, and so I was troubled about whether I should check out this book — a fictionalization of her love affair with Lorena “Hick” Hickok. Would it be disrespectful? Or sleazy Eleanor slash fic? But EVERYONE in this book is dead now, so I took the plunge. It’s a lovely and bittersweet, slow moving story of adult forbidden love. Franklin Roosevelt is dead, the funeral is over, and Eleanor and Hick are spending the weekend at a cottage, going through sacks of condolence letters. The story is told by Hick, and the letters remind her of times in her life before Eleanor, and her life with Eleanor.

Hick’s childhood is triggery as all get-out, with abuse and incest/rape and yeesh. But it provides a very good foil for what Eleanor considers to be hard.

Four stars.

Currently reading: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Which I might abandon because I’m not feeling self-helpy right now.

Book reading is slowing down a bit, because I get queasy reading on the train when it’s dark. It only happens this time of year, since the light starts coming back by January.

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

What are you reading?

Previously:
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October

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