THE BOOK REPORT 4

I'm not sure anyone's really interested in what I read, but I love sharing with people what I've been reading lately.  Whenever I finish a great book I just want everyone to read it.  Reading is such a rewarding experience!

It's already June, but here's the rest of my February reading. I should note that three of these books were presents, and each was spot on.  Check out my reviews below to see what I thought of each book. Maybe one will pique your interest.

Scary Close by Donald Miller 
Lance and I received this book (along with a Starbucks giftcard. yay!) as a wedding present.  Being that Don Miller was once one my "celebrity" crushes (have you read A Thousand Miles in a Million Years???), I was excited beyond excited to read this new book of his.  It was pretty funny read it right after Bossypants, though; I'd just finished this hilarious book, to move on to this serious book, in which Don describes his self-destructive habits and inability to be in committed relationship. What a mood killer right?  Well this was a great read, nonetheless.  Don didn't disappoint.  Scary Close struck a chord with me; much like Don I'd have my share of heartbreaks and built up walls and fake personas to protect myself from being hurt again. But alas, it was all sad stories of broken relationships and hurt feelings.  Don shares his journey of healing and self-discovery, which eventually led to a healthy relationship, and finally marriage.

I'd recommend this to anyone in a relationship or wanting to be in relationship or anyone who wants to be a more open, loving person. Rock on, Don!


Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay 
After reading Lizzy & Jane, I absolutely had to read Dear Mr. Knightley.  Having been Reay's first book, you can sense the growth between her two books, but Dear Mr. Knightley did not disappoint my schoolgirl love of the young adult love story.  Like Lizzy & Jane, references to Austen novels are abundant.  I love Sam's nerdiness and she uses her Austen obsession as an emotional shield.  This was very interesting to read after reading Scary Close, where Miller goes into depths about his own walls and difficulty connecting.  I really enjoyed the wreckless abandon in Sam's letters to Mr. Knightley, her anonymous benefactor; it made me think of all the letters I've written to people in my journal, understanding the freedom of writing to some who doesn't write back.

I'd recommend this to anyone who was aching for Alicia Silverstone to end up with Paul Rudd in Clueless. If you can understand the reference, I'll give you a hug.


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Lance bought me this book for Valentine's Day.  Maybe I'm a little biased about this book because Lance picked it out for me, but I loved it.  I devoured this book. I think I read it in a day or two.  As you can guess, this book is about A.J. Fikry, a bookstore owner in a small town in New England.  When the book starts he's just lost his wife; he's grumpy and his life is falling apart.  I like books with such grumpy characters.  Lance did a great job picking out this book for me.

I'd recommend this book to anyone sitting by a fire with a cup of hot coco. It's a heartwarming story of man who lived a good life.


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 
This is another book Lance bought me for Valentine's Day.  I'd been eyeing this book for a while, so I was elated to receive it.  The Rosie Project is another book that contains elements that I love. I'm a sucker for nerdiness and a character with Asperger's-Syndrome-like qualities.  Don is an eclectic and brilliant professor with daft social problem who embarks on a quest to find a wife when he inadvertently falls for someone he deems "not his type".  It's a humorous story with very sweet moments.  And, as an added bonus, the author Graeme Simsion has a Phd and previously wrote a technical book about IT stuff.  Fascinating, no??

I'd recommend this to anyone who's ever questioned what was the appropriate behavior and/or response in social settings and decided what was socially acceptable was logically unacceptable. :D

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Read my other book reports and check out all the books I've read over the years here.

THE BOOK REPORT 3

One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
Ha. I love this author. Jonathan Tropper has the kind of humor I love, witty, sad and self-deprecating. One Last Thing Before I Go follows Drew, a washed-up divorcee with a life falling apart, in a last ditch effort to bring meaning to his life.  Like This Is Where I Leave You, I loved it from the very beginning and was sad to finish it up.

I'd recommend this to anyone who's a screw up or wants to have a good laugh.


Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay
Lance and I were walking the aisles of Barnes & Nobles, as we often do, when it jumped out at me. A 50% off sticker! There it was on the cover of Lizzy & Jane.  I almost thought it was a mistake. We'd just gotten married and already decided to limit our book buying, but Lance could not deny the deal I'd just found.  I'd been wanting to read both of Katherine Reay's books (the other being Dear Mr. Knightley).  (Sidenote: I'm a sucker for their cover art. I love it. And I love that the two books match.) I'd even just listened to a podcast interview with her.  So how fortuitous it was that I stumbled upon this 50% discount!  Of course I bought this book and read it.  It's a hefty bit of a book.  The characters, Lizzy & Jane, are much like their Austenian counterparts.  Lizzy being strong willed and passionate; Jane being reserved and responsible.  It chronicles the struggles of two sisters torn apart by their mother's death and thrown back together by Lizzy's career funk & Jane's own battle with cancer.

This one, at times, was difficult for me to read being so close to my own experiences losing my mother to cancer and watching how each of my siblings dealt with her death differently.  Thankfully, we all pulled together, and I think became closer, unlike Lizzy & Jane, but I digress.  This like many other chick/young adult fictions is fairly predictable but I enjoyed the how Reay painted Lizzy & Jane's relationship, the colorful characters and the delicious foods in her writing. (Lizzy's a chef.) I loved all the reference to Austen novels.

I'd recommend this to anyone with a sister and a sucker for Austen. 


Bossy Pants by Tina Fey Overrated?  
I bought this with caution. Actually, that's why I bought the cheap trade paper version. I was so unsure of Bossypants. It has so much hype I was afraid I'd hate it just because everyone loved it.  But, Ali gave it rave reviews, noting it made her laugh out loud and that she's read it more than once.  So I gave it a go. I painfully read the introduction, cringing at jokes I just didn't think were funny.  I read on, determined to give it a chance.  Lo and behold, Ali was completely right. Again, Ali was spot on with her book recommendation.  I literally laughed out loud reading through Bossypants.  I love Bossypants' humor afterall.  It was hilarious.  But aside from its humorous aspects, Bossypants is a book of empowered women in a man's world, of women building each other up and doing whatever the bananas they want… and having faith in yourself to see something through.  That was a pretty cheesy summary of her book, but seriously, Tina Fey does not fail. Read this book.

I recommend this to anyone who needs a laugh, likes to laugh and/or loves an underdog. 


Read my other book reports and check out all the books I've read over the years here.

THE BOOK REPORT 2

The Room by Jonas Karlsson

I'll admit that I chose this book based on it's cover having no idea what it was about. When I started reading I was immediately intrigued. Bjorn has just transferred to a new job when the story behinds.  He's navigating his department's social hierarchy (ultimately deciding he's superior to his peers in every way) when he stumbles on a curious room.  He finds relief and heightened efficiency in his work in this room, but the book continues as his reality of the room clashes with his coworkers.  At some point I started to wonder whether his stark confidence was based on reality or if he was just completely delusional.

The Room is complex and smart and a wonderful departure from some of the books I normally read. I loved how Karlsson leads you through the book believing one thing and slowly makes you question everything you've just read.  The Room blurred the line between reality and dream-life and explored the extent to which ones goes to escape the stresses of life.  What would you do to escape?

I'd recommend this to anyone who's ever worked in a cubicle and felt like the guy in Office Space.   


Read my other book reports and check out all the books I've read over the years here.

 

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

THE BOOK REPORT 1

I love exchanging book recommendations with friends. Learning about the books someone loves tells me so much about that person.  It shares how their mind thinks, what makes them happy, what intrigues them, and ultimately, how we can connect. A person's preference in books and the ones they would recommend to me ultimately tell me what kind of friends we will be. So in that spirit, I'm writing some quick book reports about the books I read in 2015.  I'd love to share what kind of books I read and which ones I loved.  Maybe you'll see a different side of me or maybe you'll see just how similar we are.  Whatever it is, be sure to check out some of these books because a lot of them are winners.

This book is amazing. It was so good I bought another copy when I left my first at a Starbucks.  I forget where I first heard of this book, but I think I read an article about it.  But this book is now everywhere in the blogosphere.  I started reading this book right before I got married and made the great move to Alabama from California.  Such perfect timing!

This is the kind of book you read over and over.  Marie describes her journey of learning how to tidy and teaches how anyone can easily integrate her method into their life.  At my house in California I began to purge and clean and pack according to some of her principles.  She's frank about the reality of clutter.  We have so much and yet we don't need most of it.  Oddly enough, this was revolutionary for me.  Now I saw all these useless things I'd spent money on that I had to pack and cram into a small U-Haul box and fit in our tiny apartment.  Whoa was that a reality check.

By incorporating her principles into my daily life I've learned the feasibility of living minimally. I definitely have hoarding tendencies, so to be able to cut myself off from the attachment to these objects changed how I viewed everything.  I really can live off a limited number of clothes and items. Most of my belongings live in storage containers and hidden away boxes anyway, so it's become easier for me to purge and rid myself of excess.  Her teaching in accumulating and buying also changed my life.  Now I'm much more selective in the things I bring into my home and keep.

I'd recommend this to anyone who owns anything or lives somewhere. This book is life-changing.


After watching this movie (Simon Pegg, you're the best!), I decided to buy this book.  Francois Lelord is a psychiatrist and writes this book as a way to communicate a self-help message through storytelling.  Hector goes on a journey in search of happiness and how to obtain it.  He meets several characters along the way and gleans rules from his many experiences.  Like the movie, Hector and the Search for Happiness is a lighthearted, silly and profound at times.

I'd recommend this to anyone in the search of their own happiness.


This book also made the rounds in the blogosphere.  I was seduced by it's pretty cover, so I thought, "Why not?" This book took me forever to read. Forever. Like a couple of months. Creative Confidence is not about what I thought it was about.  I thought it was creativity strictly in the context of creatives and artists… how to make art. The real topic is about cultivating a mindset and culture of creative thinking in terms of problem solving and goal reaching. AHHHmazing. yes.  It took me so long to read this book because it was so good.  I caught myself often taking notes and writing down quotes.  Tom & David Kelley are brilliant. Their writing style is upbeat and easy to devour.

I'd recommend this to anyone running a business or employed by a business or employed by themselves and wants to bring change into their lives and/or the world.


Read my other book reports and check out all the books I've read over the years here.