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:


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?


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?


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.


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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18 comments to November + December Books

  • Camels & Chocolate
    December 18, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Funny, I made it to 41 this year (not my goal of 52, bah). I just published my favorite 11 books of the year today, but if you haven’t read it, I would suggest: Gone Girl. If you have, then Sharp Objects also by Flynn. Or anything John Green: The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska. Or Book of Joe or Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper. Or if you liked The Devil Wears Prada, I just read Bond Girl and it was super cute (similar premise but Wall Street instead of magazines) and a quick read.

    • Holly
      December 19, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Oooh, fun post. We have really similar book taste. I’ll have to pick up Bond Girl only because I’ve read all the other books you recommended (AND LOVED THEM) so I guess this means I now have to comb your archives for book suggestions. YAY :)

  • sizzle
    December 18, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Have you read “The History of Love” by Nicole Krauss yet? She’s married to Jonathan Safran Foer who wrote “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” and it’s kind of cool to see how they influence each other’s styles.

    I never read Dooce’s memoir. Some blogs to books don’t translate, that’s for sure.

    I’m always looking for book suggestions for our book club. The last one I suggested I didn’t like so much so that I didn’t read it all the way through!

    • Holly
      December 19, 2012 at 8:29 am

      I checked that Nicole Krauss book out of the library once but had to return it before I read it. I just put it back on my request list, I’ve heard it’s great! Thanks.

  • Megan W
    December 18, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I love your book reviews and don’t think they are boring at all – but I’m a book nerd so maybe that has something to do with it! It seems like I need to get reading some Sarah Jio! What’s your fave book of hers?

    • Holly
      December 19, 2012 at 8:28 am

      I liked The Violets of March. All her books are sort of historical/mystery/romance — I mean there are a hundred reasons to say they are super cheesy, but honestly I always really enjoy the process of reading her books. :)

  • Brittany
    December 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Have you read “The Night Circus”? It is so, so good!!

  • Sarah
    December 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I love StrengthsFinder! My company holds a two-day training focused on maximizing each associate’s strengths that includes the personality assessment and a bunch of exercises to help you understand your strengths and how to best apply them. Acheiver is my top strength, too (I also have Harmony, Positivity, Adaptability, and Consistency in my top 5), and I agree that some of the suggestions are less than helpful. It did help me understand why I can have a hard time slowing down on vacations and lazy weekends, though. One girl in my training class (another Achiever) shared that she made her husband listen to her list of accomplishments for the day every night before they went to sleep! I’d love to hear more about your other strengths!

  • Kim
    December 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    HAd you ever read “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein? It’s a lovely story, but quite an emotional read, and I adored it. Read it a few years back, but still deserves a mention. Just finished Love Anthony by Lisa Genova, it was a good read as well, I liked it, but liked Still Alice by her bit better though still recommned this one. Also just finished, Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson. It was 5 on a scale of 10 for me. But that is much how i felt about Gone Girl too. Currently reading, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Looks good to me, but early days as I just cracked it open. Anxious to find, Rules of Civility. That sounds quite good. Love finding new books and authors!
    Happy Reading. Kim

  • Kim
    December 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Gosh, that was a big jumble of choppy words I tried to string together up there. *note to self* don’t reply when tired.

  • Heather
    December 18, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    My company actually used StrengthFinder as a company exercise. We all took the assessment and used the results to help with our personal development plans. I found it every rewarding!

  • Andria
    December 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Our company uses strength finders all the time for assessing teams and helping people see how they grow and change – I do it usually once a year. The suggestions aren’t really all that great, but I really do love the assessment – it’s extremely helpful if you work in a close knit group of varied personalities to understand how people are and assess how to interact with each other.

  • Cami Sebern
    December 19, 2012 at 9:32 am

    The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Not for everyone but for those of my friends that I have recommended it to, 5 stars all the way. I would love to hear what you think about it.

  • Happy Holidays! « Paleo Kitchen Sync
    December 23, 2012 at 8:41 am

    […] chose The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, and for my fiction I went off of a recommendation from Holly Would if She Could and picked Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. I love reading, but I feel like I never have the time, […]





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