Saturday, July 28, 2018

July Reads

This was a major month for reading around here. Being a teacher, going on vacation, and having the time off will do that I guess! I read 9 interesting books this month (well, listened to one on audio) and have some thoughts....

1. The Better Mom by Ruth Schwenk: I enjoyed this light read which was a nice mix of biblical reflections and real talk about being a mom in 2018. There's a lot of talk about the holiness and calling of motherhood and the necessity of self care. I liked it. This would be a great gift for a new mama.

2. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell: I LOVED this book! I could not put this one down. It's super creepy (and mildly disturbing, honestly), but very suspenseful. It follows the story of a mom who is trying to rebuild her life after the mysterious disappearance of her teenage daughter and she finds clues where she least expects to. If you like Gillian Flynn, I think you'll enjoy this page turner.
3. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon: This was a book given to teachers at my school to read over the summer to prepare us for our theme of the year next year. This was a super fast read and a tiny book. I liked how it shares management/team building principles in a parable form. It made some great points and no one can disagree that energy is a key ingredient in work life. I'm excited to see how it's applied to our school culture this next year.
4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle: I have been on the audio book waitlist for this one for months! It came in to the library about a week before our road trip so I listened to about half before we left and the other half on the road (sorry AJ, lol). I really want to see the movie now and see how it was adapted to the big screen. It was good, I didn't love it. Sci fi isn't really my scene. I'll be honest, I really picked this up because of Oprah #sorrynotsorry.
5. There Are No Grown-Ups by Pamela Druckerman: I found out about this book because the author wrote one of my faves, Bringing Up Bebe. This was a light, fast read but it wasn't my favorite. It's a memoir about experiencing middle age in Paris (and as with most things, I imagine it's much more delightful in Paris than Utah), but it felt like the author was stretching to make a book out of what could have essentially been an article. She also details a threesome experience that made me clutch my pearls. Skip this one.
6. Educated by Tara Westover: This book is fascinating! It is a memoir about an amazing young woman (she's about my age which made it super interesting) who grows up to "survivalists" (think preppers, bunkers, end of times people) and her journey to a college degree even though she never. went. to. school. before. then. Seriously! It's endearing, devastating, interesting, and super sad. But you'll find yourself rooting for Tara, she's amazing and has done remarkable things with so little support. I LOVED Hillbilly Elegy last summer and this reminds me a lot of that book.
7. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg: This book was a cute comedic tale of a group of elderly folks in Sweden (the book has been translated....I still found myself googling some terms) who decide to rob banks to go to "posh" Scandinavian prisons where life is better than their scandal-ridden retirement home. There's all sorts of mishaps and adventures but ultimately, this is a story about friendship. The relationships between these badass octogenarians are so sweet. This was a great vacation read and feel good story.
8. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: I think I can say that this was my favorite July book! Eleanor is a delightful narrator and you'll find yourself wanting to give her a hug and make her a mug of tea. This story, told from Eleanor's quirky perspective, is about a woman trying to survive daily life and forge relationships in spite of her traumatic past. There's a twist ending and despite some heavy themes, it's really a sweet book. Pick it up this summer.
9. The People We Hate At The Wedding by Grant Ginder: This is a novel about a dysfunctional family and their preparations for a family wedding no one really cares about. I liked the shifting narrators to get multiple perspectives (a la Jodi Piccoult....she does this best), and there are some funny moments, but none of these characters are likable and I honestly felt bad for the bride in this book----what a rude and selfish group at her big day. Ha! This is pretty classic chick lit and it wasn't bad but there are better beach reads out there by far.

WHEW!!! That's a wrap on my July reading. I know my reading will slow down a bit once school starts, so I've tried to pick some really good ones to read next. I'll, of course, keep you posted! Thanks for following along. And for kicks, here are the 2018 reads (with stars by my faves)! Here is where you can read my posts on them.

*1. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
2. When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Whalen
*3. Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan
4. Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
*5. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
6. Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan
*7. The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell
8. Parent Hacks by Asha Dornfest
9. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
10. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
*11. Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hagar and Barbara Pierce Bush
12. Look Again by Lisa Scottoline
13. Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado
14. The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert
15. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
*16. The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
*17. Sugar by Kimberly Stuart
18. Achtung Baby by Sara Zaske
*19. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sara Pekkanen
20. Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman
*21. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
*22. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
23. Mindless Eating by Brad Wansick
24. Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
25. Our Father by Pope Francis
26. Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
*27. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
28. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
29. You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfled
30. This is Me by Chrissy Metz
31. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
32. The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir
*33. Calypso by David Sedaris
*34. We're Doing It Wrong by David Michael Slater
*35. Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
36. The Better Mom by Ruth Schwenk
*37. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
38. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon
39. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
40. There Are No Grown-ups by Pamela Druckerman
*41. Educated by Tara Westover
42. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
*43. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
44. The People We Hate At The Wedding by Grant Ginder

Happy reading!
Savor Your Sparkle,

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