Friday, February 7, 2014

Latest Reads

I haven't posted what I've read since October!  I will note that I am reading less for fun than before I started my MBA, so there's that.  And I just joined a book club, so that may be my one book per month "for fun" reading.  Plus my Food+Wine and O Magazines, of course!

One catalyst to reading more has been the combination of my library's eBook borrowing system and my iPad Mini.  The portability of my iPad plus the OverDrive app has made borrowing books for free super-easy.  Sure, I have to wait a while to get a book that's got a waiting list, but there's plenty to read in the meantime.  I rarely pay to read books anymore.


  • Reached by Ally Condie:  Okay, so I had to read this to find out the ending to the trilogy, which I nearly universally panned in my previous reading update.  This was the worst of the bunch, and I only skimmed/read it to find out the conclusion.  Bof!
  • Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant by Veronica Roth:  I wanted to read this YA trilogy (I know, I read all these dystopian future YA books) before the first movie comes out.  I really like the actress Shailene Woodley, so I hoped the books would be decent for her sake.  I enjoyed Divergent a lot!  It isn't as good as The Hunger Games, and sometimes things in all of these books sound like they came from The Giver (also coming to film), but this one was pretty exciting.  I even liked the love story.  I did not enjoy the 2nd and 3rd books nearly as much, and I disliked the ending of it all.  The Hunger Games books were far superior, but these are probably the next best out there in the genre.
  • Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem by Lauren Oliver:  I'm torn on these books.  I did get excited and into them sometimes, but I also didn't feel the heroine was strong enough.  The book was all about lust and feeling, without being sexy or heart-wrenching.  I wish they were better.  Also, in similar fashion, the first book was the best and the other two felt forced.
Note:   My disappointment in these trilogies, after enjoying the Hunger Games so much, has put me off the YA train for a while.  Which is probably good, given I am nearly 30 years old.


  • Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson:  I follow The Bloggess, and she's generally hilarious.  She is a whole level of weird that I thoroughly enjoy, including her taxidermy memes.  (Long story.)  I never read her book until my book club chose it for our first round.  I'm glad they did; it was super easy, very funny, and a really enjoyable memoir to read.  It's one of my favorites in this bunch.
  • Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah:  Oh, Ann.  I really enjoyed reading this book, and it made my stomach growl.  The author was living my dream, living in Paris and EATING.  Except she disappointed me a little bit in her unwillingness to try things.  I'm a very picky eater, but I try everything at least once, for the most part.  I wanted Ann to be more open to the experience, and even to be a bit tougher.  I know how hard it is having a long-distance relationship with someone in a combat zone.  For real.  So I wanted her to be less "woe is me" and more "holy sh*t I am having the time of my life in France eating"... it's almost like she included the whining so we wouldn't judge her for having a good time while her husband was on a voluntary assignment in the Middle East.  She basically gets to be a modern day Julia Child, following her husband's international job... embrace it and carpe diem, girl!
  • Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown:  I didn't enjoy this book as much as I was hoping, but I think it has everything to do with age.  I would have enjoyed it more at age 23 than 28... it would have been more relevant and hit closer to home.  I like the style of the book, talking about all the things that young people go through as we venture out on our own, but given I was just beyond the target demographic it didn't fit for me.  But I do want my younger sister to read it!
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell:  LOVED this book, another favorite of the bunch.  I love to get my nerd on with Malcolm Gladwell and other statistics/analysis correlation books like Freakonomics.  I am fascinated by the idea that something like the month you're born can impact your life's path... there are things we don't think about that impact us and create the successes we see like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, professional athletes, and so on.  I wasn't disappointed, and I recommend this one.  It makes for great conversation starters too, unless you tell someone that their kid has like no chance of playing professional hockey because he was born in July.  They might get mad at you.
  • QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life by John G. Miller:  This is super short, recommended at a training event I attended.  I am trying to communicate better, and this was a great little tutorial in how to ask better questions and get to the meaning behind what people say.
  • The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks:  I really liked the first 1/2 or 2/3 of this book.  To me, it was similar to other books I enjoy, only it follows two fictional characters as it relates fun facts and research to the human condition.  Once the characters got older, the storyline got more contrived and they lost me.  I finished it, but it wasn't as good as I'd hoped.
Still Reading:   A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

I'm still working my way through Howard Zinn, in the midst of all this.  I tend to read it a chapter at a time, whenever I feel like it.  It's fantastic though, and makes me think about all the things we never learn in school because of political correctness.

What are you reading lately?


  1. I forced my book club to read Let's Pretend This Never Happened, and reread it for that reason. I think most if the ladies were more bemused about the book than totally enraptured by it, but that's alright. Jenny rules. Can't wait for her next one!

    1. I'm glad that it was our book club's pick, because I have been following Jenny's blog for a while! She's definitely hilarious (and completely neurotic) which I love. My favorite meme of hers is the weasel screaming "Oh Mr. Bennet!..." :)

  2. It's funny you read Outliers b/c I'm in the middle of reading it right now. It's def a fascinating read. I'm constantly adding new books to the list, so I don't think I'll ever see the end of it. You've given me a few non-fiction pieces to check out, so thanks! Here's the last list I shared.

    1. I checked out your list, and The Power of Less is now added to my list! Sometimes I read books because I feel like I need to stay ahead of the conversation (Divergent). I was just at a coffeeshop hearing a group of moms talk about how they're obsessed with Divergent, and it was all I could do not to discourage them from reading the rest. LOL


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