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

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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

2017 Reading List: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah Maas has returned to my reading list, at long last. She has again delivered a fantasy novel that I can’t put down.

When I finished Empire of Storms, I was a little extremely disappointed that the next book, Tower of Dawn, would be an off-shoot to follow the character of Chaol. I was over him, and I wanted more of Aelin and Rowan’s adventures.

But Sarah Maas never fails to disappoint. Reluctant as I was to continue with Chaol’s journey, I can see now that it was an important one. However, it took me a little bit to really get into this book. I felt that the beginning of it was a bit slow, and overall, there wasn’t a whole lot of action, until about Chapter 45.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

I finished the next book on my 2017 Reading List a few weeks ago, but hadn’t had the time or mental capacity to write my review until now. The second that the movie, Hidden Figures, came out, I knew that I had to read the book first. As I’ve probably mentioned, I find most books to be better than the movie, and I prefer to read them first, to imagine my own world and characters.

There was quite a waiting list for Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly, so by the time I downloaded it from the library I was really optimistic.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

As my coworker and I were browsing a bookstore while on a work trip (because we’re nerds cool like that), she saw this book propped out on a table and told me I just had to read it. But really, it’s been on my list for quite awhile now.

So after my heart-wrenching book about dogs who love their humans, I went to the lighter side with Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.

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2017 Reading List: A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

As I write this, my dog is sitting on the couch next to me, looking at me with her big, soulful eyes. I spend a lot of time wondering what she’s thinking, projecting my human emotions into her animal mind, putting words into her wordless mouth. I can only hope that my imagination is even slightly accurate.

I imagine she’s full of love, adoration, eagerness, and some sass. I imagine she thinks we’re weird and crazy. I imagine she doesn’t understand how much we love her.

So I read the book, A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron, and I found out what he imagines when his dog looks at him with wordless, soulful eyes. And it was amazing.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: The Book of Joy

I read this book at the perfect time.

I had put a hold on a digital copy of The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams, months and months ago. I had no idea that this was such a sought-after book. I almost forgot about it, until one day, just before I left for vacation to Greece, I got an email saying the book had been downloaded to my account. Finally.

So I started my vacation to a new country, new culture, and new cities, with the words of two of the holiest, most compassionate people on the planet echoing in my mind.

“What is the purpose of life? After much consideration, I believe the purpose of life is to find happiness.” – Dalai Lama

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2017 Reading List: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

This next book on my 2017 list was chosen at random by my office book club. This was the second book we’ve read and, while I read it quite a while ago, we just got together this past week to discuss it.

Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein, is allegedly the most famous science fiction book of all time. However, I’d never heard of it, and neither had most of my coworkers. It was written in the 1960’s and when it was originally published, they actually asked the author to cut it down because it was too long and they believed no one would read a book of that length. He cut it down as much as he could, but he believed everything in the book was important. After his death, his widow had the original uncut manuscript published in 1991. This is the version that I read.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: The Girls by Lori Lansens

I chose my next book because the title was exactly the same as the last book I read. When I was searching for The Girls, by Emma Cline, on Goodreads and on my library’s e-account, The Girls, by Lori Lansens, naturally came up right underneath it. Granted, I wouldn’t have added it to my list if I didn’t think it looked good.

(Sidenote: I read somewhere that our culture has recently had this obsession with the word “girl” in titles of books. Having this word seems to automatically grab people’s attention and indicate subconsciously that this book might be intriguing. Think: The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, All the Missing Girls, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, etc. Just search “Girl” on Goodreads and there are 87,584 books with “girl” in the title. If you’re writing a book, just call it “Girl Something” and you’ve got an instant bestseller.) Continue reading

2017 Reading List: The Girls by Emma Cline

I’ve seen The Girls, by Emma Cline, on a lot of book lists lately. It’s been on the front tables of Barnes & Noble and mentioned by fellow bloggers. So I put it on my list to download and finally got the chance to read it.

This book is the story of a young teenager, Evie, who becomes infatuated with a group of girls who live together on a ranch as a sort of cult in 1969.

This book is really a depiction of Evie and her character. It is less about the actual plot and more about who this 14-year-old girl is and how she comes of age in a year, or a decade really, where children were introduced to some evils of the world at far too young an age.

Evie has a lot of struggles in her life. Her parents are divorced, her mother is dating men she doesn’t like, and therefore her mother doesn’t really have time for her the way she used to. Her friendships are fraying, if not broken entirely. She is preparing to go to boarding school for the first time in the fall. And through all this, she is trying to figure out where she belongs, who she can connect with, and how she can fit in. She doesn’t have a whole lot of role models or even friends to help her navigate. There is no one who is looking out for her- not even the girls whom she comes to worship with such wild abandon.  Continue reading