For The Love Of Books | November 2017
This post is part of my monthly series this year called "For The Love Of Books" where I track and share what I've been reading in 2017. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see what I read in November. I'm also trying to do that on Goodreads as well if you are already into that platform. My hope is to post on or near the first of each month to share what I ended up reading last month and then share what books I'm selecting from Book Of The Month (BOTM) for the next month.
Please Note // This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
Today is December 1 and that means it's time for current BOTM subscribers to choose books from this month's selections.
This month I chose The Wife Between Us, Totally looking forward to diving into this one this weekend.
Book Of The Month Promotion: New members can get their first month for $5 using the code FIVE.
Sometimes I start a book and get part way through and set it down for one reason or another - lately it's been that I've been more excited to read something else:
- Secret Garden // I think I have about 1/4 left of this one.
- Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind The Frantic For A Simpler, More Soulful Way Of Living // Reading this one slowly when I feel like I want/need to read the words.
- Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood (Kindle) // Loving this one and picking it up here and there between other books.
- At Home In The World: Reflections On Belonging While Wandering The Globe // A new book from Tsh Oxenreider who runs the site The Art of Simple. This one is a memoir about her family's nine-month traveling adventures.
- The Power Of Meaning: Crafting A Life That Matters // Savoring this one slowly.
- Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road To Self-Love And Miracles // Reading this as part of an online workshop I'm currently taking.
READ IN 2017
NOTE: (BOTM) means the book came from the Book Of the Month Club.
- You Will Know Me (BOTM) // First book from BOTM. Read it in a day and a half (suspense). Enjoyed.
- Lucky You (BOTM) // I remember liking this one as I was reading it but to be honest I can barely remember it now. This is why I'm trying to remember to post some short thoughts on Instagram when I finish each one.
- Behind Her Eyes (BOTM) // Suspense. Crazy twist. Enjoyed.
- Perfect Little World (BOTM) // Vacation read. Liked the change of pace on this one (had been reading more suspense). This one was a sweet little story with topics of motherhood and family and tribes of people and how things change.
- What Alice Forgot (Kindle) // Vacation read. Totally enjoyed this story and imagining what it would be like to experience memory loss in this way. Not suspense.
- The Twilight Wife // Aaron picked this one out at Target to read while we were on vacation and I read it when he was done. I thought this one was okay - probably had something to do with the fact that I read What Alice Forgot right before this one and they both deal with memory loss (this one is more suspense).
- The Stranger In The Woods (BOTM) // Non-fiction. This true story about a man living in the woods of Maine for almost 30 years read like a long-form magazine article. I enjoyed the break from the fiction I've been reading.
- Exit West (BOTM) // This one was a lot different from what I've been reading and I appreciated it for that. Different kind of narrator (omniscient) and subject matter (refugees). Glad I read it.
- Marlena (BOTM) // Gave this one three stars on Goodreads. I'm going to go with "like" but not "love" on this one. I kinda think, after finishing it, that it might be one that will pop up in my mind as I go about my days (so maybe it should get a better review). I enjoyed the story and she used a few writing techniques that I really liked. Sometimes it felt slow and I just wanted her to get on with the story :).
- Pachinko (BOTM) // Seriously loved this one and am super glad I picked it up again after putting it down before our Mexico trip. Epic generational tale of Koreans living in Japan (really loved learning more about that).
- Good As Gone (Kindle) // Definitely stayed interested and engaged with the story and wanted to know what was going to happen. As others have mentioned, the beginning felt stronger than the end. Felt like the author had a unique voice. Glad I read it. Three stars.
- American War (BOTM) // This book took me longer to read than others recently and sometimes I would forget that it was a future US civil war vs. the past civil war and I wondered more than once where in the world the story was actually heading (and was it actually heading anywhere)? There were days where I felt like I was making myself read it - which I don't always don - but for some reason I wanted to keep reading. There was a certain point in this book, probably more than halfway through the story, where I realized that this was an exceptional book. I finished it today and I think it's one of the best books I've read in awhile. I found the author to be an extremely sophisticated writer/storyteller who was very purposeful and deliberate with his prose - I can't remember the last time I really felt that way about the words I was reading on the page.
- Into The Water (BOTM) // A super fast, page-turning read for me. At first I felt like it was hard to keep up with all the different narrators but as I got more into it I was able to keep all the characters straight (it was one of those where I needed to keep flipping back and forth to remember who was who). Definitely enjoyed for a quick read!
- Since We Fell (BOTM) // Totally enjoyed this one. Kept my interest with it's twists and definitely wanted to know what was going to happen in the end. As you might tell from most of my reviews, I'm not a super critical reader. If I like it, I like it and I liked this one.
- Woman No. 17 (BOTM) // This one was a just-okay for me where I definitely felt like I was making myself finish it.
- Small Great Things (Kindle) // So, so good. Hard and thought-provoking and worth it. Definitely my favorite of the month.
- The Butterfly Hours: Transforming Memories Into Memoir //Picked this one up randomly at a bookstore. I'm always attracted to books about memoir writing (totally in alignment with my memory keeping endeavors) and this one really filled me up these last few weeks as I was working on some new classroom content. Patty Dann also loves to use one word jumping off points to pull stories from our memories/prompt us to tell more (similar to my 31 Things and 31 More Things workshops) so I loved checking out her writing style and reading her stories. I loved how her writing is fact based but conveys so much meaning and feeling just via the ways she chooses to construct her sentences. Quick and easy read.
- The Sisters Chase (BOTM) // Loved the story and the characters.
- Chemistry (BOTM) // I really enjoyed the totally different writing style - basically it's written in snippets of thoughts/memories/etc. Being introduced to different writing styles is definitely one of the things I'm loving from reading so many books right now. I really liked the micro-story approach (a lot like what we do with memory keeping) and I also really liked the weaving of science/chemistry in with the lessons of life and love and moving forward. Super quick read.
- This Is How It Always Is // Jessica Turner told me I had to read this one next so it jumped to the top of my list after I finished Chemistry. This book was amazing. Basically I feel a whole lot of love for this story. For the characters, for the message of acceptance and inclusion, for the nuances of the middle-path. Highly recommended.
- Final Girls (BOTM) // Great quick mystery. Totally waned to know what happened in the end.
- The Blinds (BOTM) // Really ended up enjoying this one.
- All The Ugly And Wonderful Things (Kindle) // This is one of those ones that was recommended by quite a few people. Brutal. Honest. Challenging. Loved it.
- 10% Happier // I devoured this book in just a couple sittings. Loved reading about his experience and his perspective as he learned - I laughed out loud a bunch and read passages to Aaron. Loved his honesty and his ability to change his mind about things/people he had initially been judgmental about. It was a good jumpstart for me as I'm getting started cultivating my own meditation practice.
- Emma In The Night (BOTM) // Thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns and it definitely kept me interested in wanting to know what in the heck actually happened. I definitely love a good mystery and this one gave me what I wanted!
- Little Fires Everywhere (BOTM) // My main criteria for enjoyment right now is basically this: do I think about the book during the day and look forward to reading it at night? That totally was the case with this story. Motherhood, art, family dynamics, love, loss - it was all there and weaved together nicely.
- Braving The Wilderness // This is a timely book and a quick read and something I know I will return to again and again in terms of living in alignment with my personal values.
- Sing, Unburied Sing (BOTM) // Finished this one last night. I found this one hard to get into in a good way - I'm challenged by the author's writing style in the way that I remember being challenged by important writers I read in high school and college. Her words are powerful and lyrical and I'm glad I took the time to read it.
- Startup // A fairly quick read. I can't remember reading another book recently that was so full of the technology of today. Definitely interesting overall but I felt like it ended quickly.
- Beasts Of Extraordinary Circumstances (BOTM) // I can’t remember the last time I read a book like this - it just thoroughly delighted me. I really enjoyed her writing style - especially noticing some of her word combinations. Loved the magic, loved a bunch of the chapters, and loved the way it was told through reach of their perspectives.
- What Made Maddy Run (Non-Fiction) // I first heard about this book on the "Feel Good Effect Podcast" where the author spoke about a bunch of different topics related to the heartbreaking story of the life of Madison Holleran: social media, perfectionism, college athletics, depression & anxiety, suicide, and transitions (among other things). This book totally made me think about all of those pieces in a variety of different ways. It made me think back to my own experience as a Division 1 athlete (swimming) and my transition from home to freshman year of college and how utterly exhausted I was which led me to quit after my freshman year (and how crazy my life was that first year of freedom with athletics, academics, and social stuff). It made me think about my own periods of anxiety and depression throughout my life - and mental health in general - and that very fine line between being okay and not being okay. It also really made me take a closer look at my own experience with social media and ask myself some hard questions about my own personal "whys" in terms of how our stories are told. I really enjoyed Kate Fagan's discussions regarding this topic and am interested in reading more. I think this is a super important read especially for parents and for student athletes - for awareness and compassion and a very hard look at the expectations we place on ourselves and others.
- Sleeping Beauties (BOTM) // Enjoyed it. Took me a long time to get through just due to the sheer number of pages. I didn't love it but I definitely liked it and wanted to know how it was all going to shake out in the end.
- The Rules Of Magic (BOTM) // Totally enjoyed this book. I hadn't read Practical Magic so the entire story was new to me (I don't feel like it mattered at all that I read this one first - I ended up reading Practical Magic after I finished this one) and I'm so glad this was my Book Of The Month pick. Reading this one made me want to read more by Alice Hoffman (this was my first).
- Practical Magic // I ended up reading this one after reading The Rules Of Magic. It was interesting to read them out of the order they were written - I totally felt that The Rules Of Magic was a "stronger" book overall and I was more captivated by it. No idea if that would have been the case if I would have read them in the other order, but I'm super happy to have read both of them. If I could only read one it would be The Rules Of Magic.
- Castle Of Water // I added this to my Kindle this month after reading a review from a friend who said to drop everything and read it now. After finishing a couple other books this month I started this one and didn't really have any idea what it was about or what was going to happen. I loved it.
I Love Alice Hoffman! The Museum of Ordinary Things and The Marriage of Opposites were both wonderful - if you want to choose your next one. Faithful was ok, but not my favorite of hers. My daughter read The Dovekeepers and said it was very good also. Looking forward to reading The Rules of Magic. I'm next in line for it from the library!
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