Friday, September 11, 2015

Books I've Read - May-August 2015

I read this article and was excited to get some new book ideas for summer reading!
I also checked out some titles that are dear to some hearts close to (my) home - here are staff picks from my very own Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. BTW, I highly recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (I'm almost finished!). :)

Better Than Before
by Gretchen Rubin

Another homerun by Gretchen Rubin. I thoroughly enjoyed her information on habits and how to change them. She gives some great practical advice and shares her own anecdotes and stories. I was fascinated by the different personality types and how they react/respond to different stimuli. This was definitely worth the read. I've already recommended it to my mom and a few other friends. :)

The Power of Habit
by Charles Duhigg

Gretchen Rubin mentions this book in her latest book, Better Than Before (see above). I was intrigued, so I decided to pick it up at the library. It's long. It's very academic. But it's very informative. I'll admit that I didn't get through it due to the tedious content. So, there ya go.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen Covey
First, I attended a training on this book through the county's training department. It was an optional training that I'm really glad I signed up for. Many of my co-workers had taken it and recommended it. I was so inspired by the workshop that I decided to read the book, too. It was great. There are many wonderful principles detailed in the book and so many challenges. One of my favorite things I took away from it is to make my own personal mission statement - what I want my life to mean, reflect and exude. I've spent a lot of time reading the book, looking over the workbook and tools from the workshop, and talking about each habit. I know David's pretty tired of my discourse. ;)

Making Marriage Simple
by Harville Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt
This was the definition of cheesy. I could barely get through parts of it. However, its common themes are some I've heard before in the 7 Habits and other marriage books I've read. There were some fairly good suggestions and ideas, but it was somewhat challenging to get through! Glad it was short!

A Long Way Gone
by Ishmael Beah
Heartbreaking. I just don't have words.
Biographies and memoirs fascinate me. I am enthralled when hearing about people's lives and experiences and then I weep when they're something like this. A truly remarkable and brave man is Ishmael Beah. Below are some words I agree with but didn't say first:

Everyone in the world should read this book. Not just because it contains an amazing story, or because it's our moral, bleeding-heart duty, or because it's clearly written. We should read it to learn about the world and about what it means to be human. - Washington Post

A breathtaking and unselfpitying account of how a gentle spirit survives a childhood from which all innocence has suddenly been sucked out. It's a truly riveting memoir. - Time

Beah is a gifted writer. . . Read his memoir and you will be haunted . . . It's a high price to pay, but it's worth it. -

Deeply moving, even uplifting…Beah's story, with its clear-eyed reporting and literate particularity--whether he's dancing to rap, eating a coconut or running toward the burning village where his family is trapped--demands to be read. - People (Critic's Choice, Four stars)

An Untamed State
by Roxanne Gay
Oh My Goodness. I couldn't put this book down. It was riveting. It was almost like a don't really want to watch but you can't help yourself. It was so terrifying and suspenseful. Great writing, tough subject. I was rooting for the main character the whole time, willing her to make it and come through on the other side. I do appreciate a story where someone has gone through trials and tribulations and pulls through. This one will definitely make you cry.

The Dancing Master
by Julie Klassen
This got me excited about period pieces, so be on the lookout for more from me in the near future. The book itself was kind of cheesy, but I really liked it! It ended up having a much better storyline than I originally thought it would. That time period makes me feel wistful and romantic, which is a nice change to everyday life. I'm glad I read it and I'm looking forward to reading some more of Klassen's books.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
Pretty weird and not at all what I was expecting. I mainly read this book because this is one of the authors that is coming to CML this fall for our Verse & Vino event. I was interested  in actually knowing one of the author's works (besides Gregory Maguire) so I picked up this title. I didn't finish it. It was terrible. I don't usually give harsh reviews, but I seriously felt like I was wasting my time. I read over half of it, so you can't say I didn't give it a chance. Yikes.

The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
I honestly can't remember where I heard of this book first, but when my mom reminded me of it when she mentioned that she was thinking of reading it due to recommendations from a couple of her friends, I figured I'd go ahead and pick it up.
Wow. It was fantastic! Reminded me a bit of Gone Girl by Flynn and The Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith. I started this one and couldn't put it down (by that I mean it took me a week to read it since I still have children and a life, but a week's not bad, man!). I immediately recommended it to David who is now reading it. Excellent book.

Bridget Jones's Diary
by Helen Fielding
I told y'all I would read it. And I did...
That's about all I can say about that. Bleh. Not my fave, that's for sure.

by Max Lucado

I'm starting a new Book Club through a Christian book store close to my house. This is the first novel we're reading and our first meeting is next week. It was a good book - fairly basic, but always good reminders. I'm really looking forward to the book club.