Books – April 2019 Roundup

So, I have made no progress on any of the books from last time that I said I was in the middle of reading. Which is vaguely hilarious. And I seem to be in a streak of reading all these self-help type books lately, which isn’t a bad thing, and may in fact have motivated me and given me some ideas, but I seem to have forgotten about how much I like fiction, though even that comes with a caveat, which I’ll explain later below.

FINISHED:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
So a few years back, back at the beginning of the blog, I read one of Gretchen Rubin’s other books, the one that turns out to be the sequel to this one. That’s right, I read them out of order, but who cares. And looking back at my post about that book, I can see how the second book builds on this one. There are so many good ideas in there, and if I were doing single-book review posts like I did at the beginning of the blog, I would write out more. And maybe I still will go back and write out more about that book and others in a separate post, but for now, I will have to make a note to go back and look at a hard copy and think about doing my own happiness project at some point.

Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom
A few months back, the Boy and I watched the movie version of this book. And it turns out that the film took a lot of liberties with Molly’s story. I suppose that’s to be expected because it’s what Hollywood does, but dang. I did get a little thrill out of the fact that for the celebrities, Molly wasn’t afraid to name names, and also make the main celebrity player in her game look like a total asshole (which doesn’t surprise me at all). The book ends on a much more nebulous note, with her writing it from prison, but it’s still interesting. Though I suppose for most people either reading the book OR seeing the movie would probably be enough.

Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy, Retired)
This felt vaguely like cheating because it’s such a short book (less than 2 hours of audiobook? YAAASSSS), but it turns out to be really inspiring. This fits in to my “books about how to make your life better” theme recently, and it had some good ideas, though the book was much more high-level and general type of ideas rather than specifics that would give you a more focused direction. I could list everything out for you and say, “These are the main ideas McRaven covers in the book and why they’re good”, but luckily for me and you, the book itself is based on a commencement speech that he gave at the University of Texas, and I can instead just link that here, and you can watch it (under 20 minutes!), and get the same general gist that the book had. Because that’s literally the book – expanding on the ideas and rules laid down by the Admiral in this speech.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
I could probably write a whole post on this book, and the good and the bad of it. Because it is a book for which I had VERY mixed reactions. And before I review it, let me say that I had no prior knowledge of who Rachel Hollis was before I picked it up, apart from seeing this book in stores EVERYWHERE. First off, if you didn’t know this before picking this book up, it is apparently a specifically Christian self-help book. I have no problem with that as a concept, since I am myself a Christian, but most “Christian” media these days uses a kind of language that makes me uncomfortable, partly because I tend not to be so obviously religious in the way that I act and speak, and instead try to let my faith show through my actions and choices. There are a lot of good ideas in this book – that you are responsible for your own choices, and that if you want to accomplish things, you need to be the one to hustle to make the big changes. But there were other times when this book got serious side-eye from me. The chapter about weight was one of those, and the chapter about her drinking was the other. But the book in general? I don’t know. One of the savage reviews on Goodreads (because there are a LOT of them) says, “It’s like a big long humble brag in narrative form. ” and I think that’s right. Yes, it’s possible to have some good lessons for the masses tucked into that humble brag, but…eh? I’m not saying don’t read it, I’m just saying that it was not the best or most inspiring book I’ve picked up recently.

IN PROGRESS/IMMEDIATELY NEXT:

Losing It by Emma Rathbone
So…book about an older virgin. I have thoughts. This book is so awkward so far. But it’s one of the first real pieces of fiction I’ve read in a few months. I’ll save my proper critique for next month, but it’s a weird re-introduction to fiction.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This is my book club book for May. I…don’t have it yet. I’m supposed to get it in about 2 weeks, which is right when my book club is supposed to happen. Can you see where this is going?

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
Just hanging out on my kindle…still at a very low percentage of “read”.

***

I’m still slightly ahead on my reading goal for the year, so that’s good, since I’m sure there will be lots of opportunities for me to fall behind again. I’ll finish “Losing It” soon, and then be at 38% of my goal for the year with only 1/3 of the year itself past. Fingers crossed I can maintain this pace, because with a baby, life is unpredictable.

2 Comment

  1. Beverly says: Reply

    I loved “Homegoing”. I hope you are able to read it by book club because you will enjoy it. I really liked the multi generational family story.

  2. Beverly says: Reply

    Oh, and, ever since I first heard Adm McRaven’s commencement speech I have been making my bed daily. I always know I have at least accomplished that one thing. I didn’t realize there was a book too.

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