2018 Reading List: My Story by Elizabeth Smart

Right before I visited Salt Lake City, Utah, I read Elizabeth Smart’s memoir, My Story. I swear, I had no idea that Elizabeth Smart was from SLC. I know that the story of her abduction was big news at the time, but I was only 12 years old. I heard her name and vaguely knew the circumstances from the 5 o’clock news clips, but I wasn’t really familiar with the details.

That’s why I picked up her memoir.  Continue reading

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2018 Reading List: Factfulness by Hans Rosling

How much do you know about the world we live in?

No, really. How much do you know? Do you know how many girls worldwide go to school? Do you know many households in other countries have electricity? Do you know the proportion of people living in poverty worldwide?

These topics are not typically things that are on our radar. The answers aren’t found on the five o’clock news, or in your Instagram feed. There is no headline that reads “Five families in Somalia confirm indoor plumbing is working.” There’s no reason to bring up the state of endangered species at your next happy hour. But we all have estimated answers to these questions anyway. And it is our estimated worldview that shapes our opinions about so many other things.

Our estimated answers to these questions are wrong. And our view of the world we live in is wrong.  Continue reading

2018 Reading List: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

Welcome to the Garden, a wondrous, magical place where it’s always warm, the sun is shining, the waterfall lulls you to sleep, the grass is lush, you have friends and books and games, you have healthy food to eat, and all the time in the world to do as you please. But this, my friends, is not the garden of Eden. This is your nightmare.  Continue reading

2018 Reading List: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Dear Anna Kendrick, let’s be best friends. I like scrappy people. According to your book, Scrappy Little Nobody, you come from humble beginnings. You weren’t the coolest kid in school or the most popular. You were picked on, you had insecurities, and you had trouble making friends. You had a dream and your parents sacrificed a lot to help you make it happen. I like those kinds of people. People who don’t give up, who do what they can with what they have, and go after what they want. I think we’d be great friends.  Continue reading

2018 Reading List: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Why would you want to live in a town where women keep (allegedly) drowning themselves?

That’s the first thought I had as the story behind Into the Water by Paula Hawkins unfolded.

This book is a murder mystery by the same author of The Girl on the Train. A woman is found dead in what is known as the “Drowning Pool” – a section of river surrounded by cliffs where the water is calmer. There is a history behind the Drowning Pool. Women have been committing suicide here by throwing themselves off the cliff (hence the name) for years.

But wait – were they all suicides? Is Nel’s death now a suicide or something more sinister? Nel wouldn’t kill herself, right?  Continue reading

2018 Reading List: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I finished reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in February and I couldn’t bring myself to write a review. First of all, I was waiting until I actually tried implementing some of her tips. Second of all, I couldn’t figure out if my review would be good or bad.

This book (apparently) became a word-wide phenomenon soon after it was published. It’s been on my list to read for awhile, simply because I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Mostly I’d heard about it on the minimalism blogs that I follow, so I knew that whatever she said, it would be along the lines of purging your belongings.

Though the book elaborates quite a bit about clutter, how to get rid of it, and how to organize it, Marie Kondo has a couple points to her philosophy that stood out to me in particular. Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

This will be my final book in 2017. I read Two by Two, by Nicholas Sparks, because I was looking for something lighter, something less true and more of a story. A novel, not nonfiction, to end my 2017 Reading List.

I am not generally a Nicholas Sparks fanatic. I love The Notebook and Dear John. The movies they’ve made from his books are always pretty good- romantic, sad, and touching. But I’m not the type of person who reads every single Sparks book. I’m not always the sappy romantic type of reader.

Sometimes I am though. But I must admit, part of what made me pick up this book was that the main character works in advertising.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed has been on my list to read for a while now. I read Strayed’s book, Wild, a few years ago and fell in love with her. Cheryl Strayed’s tenacity and grit in the face of all her challenges and loss are qualities to be admired.

Before reading Tiny Beautiful Things, I had never read or heard of Dear Sugar. So without any background, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But what I found was more than just an advice column. It was a window into Cheryl Strayed’s heart. The columns and stories she tells in this collection go deeper than right and wrong, this not that, yes and no.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrating People Who Make A Difference

There is no better book to read during the holiday season than one filled with stories of kindness, compassion and generosity. I read Chicken Soup for the Soul® Celebrating People Who Make A Difference at this time of year when it’s all too easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the holidays. This was the perfect book to bring me back to center, to focus on what’s really important and to remember that there is so much good in the world, even when the terrible news and headlines can feel overwhelming.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

This next title on my list of books is part of our office book club. This is the book we chose after none of us could get through “The Invention of Nature.” Quite the contrast.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini, is a young adult work of fiction. It was made into a movie in 2010, a movie which I have not seen.

When I first read the plot summary of this book and some reactions about it, I was under the impression that it was, actually, going to be a funny story. I thought there would be some dark humor, some funny quips, some comedic relief. Maybe some people saw it, but I didn’t. I just found it to be a somewhat sad story of a boy with depression.  Continue reading