November + December Books

I’m reading more cookbooks than novels these days but I at least wanted to check in one final time to wrap up the books I read this year. The grand total ended up around 39. Maybe I’ll squeeze one more in just to make it a round 40. Hmmm…something to think about.

I’m probably going to switch up my book reviews next year just because doing a monthly round up is feeling a little boring but I haven’t quite figured out how just yet. My fellow book nerds: I’m open to suggestions. Anyone write book reviews that you love? How do they keep it interesting? Anyway, here is a quick review of the last few books I read this year:

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Little Children by Tom Perrotta
– This was my suggestion for Book Club this month and I have to admit I was a little nervous. The last book I suggested for a Book Club was so hated that years later we are all still laughing about it. I thought this would be better, I enjoy Tom Perrotta, it got made into a movie — what could go wrong? And for the most part, nothing did go wrong. It was a really engrossing read. But it is a bit of a heavy book, so I would definitely say you have to be in the right mood.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
– I think I’ve obsessed about this book enough on the blog. WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ IT YET?

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White Jacket Required by Jenna Weber – Ah, man. I really didn’t love this book, and I feel kind of bummed about that because Jenna’s blog is one that I enjoy. While I rarely cook her recipes because they are so un-Paleo it’s not worth tweaking, I really enjoy her food photography, book recommendations, travel stories and perspective on life. But this book? Was a great concept but sort of missed on the execution. I feel like it suffered from really poor editing because the stories were disjointed and one chapter didn’t really lead into the next, but it was clearly NOT a book of stand alone essays. Also, I felt like things were portrayed a bit different than they were on her blog which is always kind of interesting. And the recipes either felt forced into the stories or they just completely didn’t belong at all. It was kind of a bummer actually, but I will still enjoy her website. I just don’t think every website translates into a memoir. I mean, HELLO, remember Dooce’s memoir?


StregnthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
— This book includes a personality assessment and then which determine your overall strengths. The book then breaks down strategies to take advantage of each strength in the work place. While it is definitely a professional book, I think is has a lot of practical application in life as well. I was not surprised that my most emphasized strength was “Acheiver.” The paragraph describing that theme was as follows:
You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day — workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied. You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more. After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment.

BWAHAHAHAHA! No one who reads this blog will feel surprised by that, I’m sure. Hey, at least I come by my crazy honestly. What I didn’t love though, were the suggestions for how to take advantage of this part of my personality. Two of the suggestions were just to “Understand you probably don’t need as much sleep as other people” and to “Accept that you will feel dissatisfied with things even when you are achieving.” I know this is about harnessing the “strength” of this theme, but I just didn’t love that it ended there. Like, really? I’m doomed to be a psychotic insomniac goal setter who will constantly disappointed? WHERE IS THE SILVER LINING HERE? :) Anyone else read this book? What did you think?

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Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio — This book was just okay for me in the beginning. I wasn’t really sucked into the story, but as the mystery began to unravel I felt my page turning quicken. Not my favorite of Jio’s books but definitely a good fluffy book to curl up with on a rainy day.

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And that’s really it. Actually, now that I have confessed my achiever tendencies to you all (ha! confessed!) I can be totally honest with you and tell you that I am ABSOLUTELY going to read one more book to make it an even 40 for the year. Care to suggest one? :)

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