August Reads

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


My reading focus this month was on non-fiction since I hadn't read any since December (!!). Full disclosure: I threw a fiction one in there too because I can't stay away, but three out of four were non, so that still counts for something.

I sometimes forget that "non-fiction" doesn't necessarily mean "historical fiction." There's more out there. Memoirs, for example. Powerful and inspiring memoirs. I loved and recommend all three that I read.


In the year between her 29th and 30th birthday, Noelle Hancock decides to follow Eleanor Roosevelt's advice quite literally: "Do one thing every day that scares you." For the next 365 days, she conquers fears big and small, and enters her 30th year with a new perspective on life.

This book was recommended to me by a friend, partly because she loved it and found it to be incredibly inspiring, but also because I once took a "What First Lady Are You?" quiz and got Eleanor Roosevelt.

I generally don't like rating non-fiction books because it feels like you're rating their actual story rather than the storytelling. In any case, it was an enjoyable read that actually left me wanting to learn more about Eleanor herself! I like the way Hancock put most of the focus on the bigger fears that she tackled, instead of continuously listing a out a bunch of little ones she did.

The one drawback to me was that I felt like some parts included too much detail. It became distracting. You'd think something was mentioned because it was important to where the story was going, only to find out that it was irrelevant.

Overall, loved the book. One of my favorite lines is Noelle saying, "I refused to be an enabler of my own unhappiness." We should all follow that. The book is a good reminder for all of us to embrace fear. 

"Fear of making the wrong decision keeps us from making any decision at all."

"The tension was almost unbearable in its very in-betweenness. It was the pause at the top of the roller coaster when it's no longer going up but not yet going down. It was the moment after the track runners have taken their marks, but just before the horn blares. It was a moment between moments, defined by what happened before it and what is about to happen. It was nothing, but it was everything."

"No one ever lives up to the best in themselves all the time, and nearly all of us love people because of their weaknesses rather than because of their strengths." –Eleanor Roosevelt

Rating: 3/5


"Ctrl Alt Delete" is a memoir. Emma's collection of anecdotes on how she grew up alongside the Internet. Weaved within them all is her humor, honesty, and overall brilliance, all tied together with thought-provoking principles – sexism and double standards, faking it online, and what it means to be successful in today's Internet age, to name a few.

Read my full review and all of my joy-filled thoughts on this book HERERecommended for any creatives interested in blogging or social media.

Rating: 5/5




If you could travel into the past and fix a mistake, would you? Georgie asks this question when she realizes she's actually being given the option. Her marriage has been rocky. She loves Neal, and he loves her, but their love has been buried under arguments, spoken and unspoken. He's gone home to Omaha for Christmas with their kids, and Georgie stayed behind to work, which wasn't much of a surprise to either of them. Now, she's discovered a way to communicate with Past Neal, 15-years-ago-before-they-were-even-engaged Neal. Faced with the possibility of fixing her marriage before it even started, Georgie wonders if "fixing" it means preventing it from ever happening.

After reading only two of her books, I think Rainbow Rowell has become one of my favorite authors. Her writing style is inimitable; simple yet so powerful. And the story feels realistic (except for, ya know, the whole ~magic phone~ thing). The situations, the characters, the interactions. Georgie and Neal felt real. Real people with a real relationship, which meant it wasn't all perfect. And that's precisely what made me like this so much.

"How could she ever doubt that he loved her? When loving her was what he did better than all the things he did beautifully."

"Wasn't that the point of life? To find someone to share it with? And if you got that part right, how far wrong could you go? If you were standing next to the person you love more than everything else, wasn't everything else just scenery?"

Rating: 5/5


 

From Laura herself, via her Twitter bio, this book is about "shagging men to feel better about myself, and how SPOILER: that didn't work." The man she thought she'd marry, her first love, dumps her and ends up with her best friend. To cope? Drinking, one night stands, and using sex as a weapon. After that, a declaration of celibacy, for one year. "Becoming" is the story, Laura's story, of accepting who she was, figuring out who she is, and becoming who she wants to be.

Never before has a title held so much meaning. The amount of strength and power in that one word is unreal, something you can only truly grasp by reading Laura's story for yourself; the story of her Becoming. This book is a source of comfort and inspiration. It proves that we don't have to have a plan. We don't have to know where we're going or even like where we are, not all the time. Life is a journey. All we really need is the determination to keep going.

"I've done my best. To demand any more would be forgivable, of course, but totally pointless."

"What I wish I'd been taught, but also realise is something we must learn for ourselves, is that it is never a breakdown – it's always a breakthrough."

"It's the adventure of a lifetime, liking yourself. Finding ways to carry on, brave as can be; figuring out how to love and be loved, all whilst being your own loudest cheerleader. Own biggest fan. Own hero."

"I'm still learning, but I have learned enough to understand that you have to own what you're ashamed of or else it owns you."

Rating: 5/5

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Next month I will be reading classics, starting with "Little Women," which I've never read but have wanted to ever since I saw how invested in the story Joey Tribbiani got.

Also on the list of possibilities: "The Great Gatsby" (a re-read), "1984," and "Of Mice and Men." Comment below or tweet me with any other suggestions!


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