This was a big reading month for me. I read ten books over the course of the month, which puts me a little bit ahead on my reading challenge for this year. I’m pretty psyched for that!
Since I know many of you love reading as much as I do, I wanted to share my thoughts on the books I read in January. Books are listed in descending order of the number of stars I gave them (from 5 stars to 1 star), and within each category, in the order that I read them.
Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely – I can’t believe I had never read this classic book on behavioral economics! Despite the fact that it was one of the originals on the topic and I’ve now read dozens of others, it was still fascinating and featured a lot of studies I didn’t yet know about. Highly recommended.
The Magnolia Story, by Chip and Joanna Gaines – This was a short, sweet read, and I loved that Chip and Joanna seem to be exactly the people they portray on TV. (Though of course, you never know.) I really liked this quote from the end of the book that sums up their motto in life: “Go and find what it is that inspires you, go and find what it is that you love, and go do that until it hurts.”
The Singles Game, by Lauren Weisberger – Loved this light read, even if it was a bit predictable at times. But I really enjoyed hearing about the world of professional tennis and the crazy lifestyle it entails. In the days since I’ve read this, it’s also inspired me to eat a little cleaner and work out a little harder – if Charlie can be that dedicated to her training, surely I can squeeze out a few more burpees ;) I’d put this as my favorite book of the month, even though it was a little too light/predictable to get 5 stars.
Little Earthquakes, by Jennifer Weiner – I really enjoyed this novel, which gave a great look at how life-changing motherhood can be by showing a spectrum of experiences. I particularly enjoyed the author’s notes at the end about her own experiences becoming a mom and how different it was from her expectations. While I’m not a mom and so don’t really have any idea what it’s like, I felt like Weiner shared some really honest perspectives on what it’s actually like when your baby comes along. Recommended for anyone who’s a parent (or eventually wants to become one).
Come Away With Me, by Karma Brown – This was highly recommended by Amber, and it took me a while to get into the plot. I loved the descriptions of each of the travel locations (and it made me really want to plan a vacation!), but I just didn’t love the main character until close to the end. But the ending was great, and made me think more highly of the whole thing – go figure! Overall, this was a good novel that I would definitely recommend, especially if you like travel reading about travel.
The Infidelity Pact, by Carrie Doyle Karasyov – This was a cute chick lit novel. Not much substance but a reasonably interesting plotline with some twists at the end.
Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett – I had a hard time getting into this, but started connecting with the characters more about a third of the way through. Still, I didn’t think it lived up to all the hype it’s been getting across the literary circuit.
Leave Me, by Gayle Forman – I love Gayle Forman’s other books, but this one wasn’t nearly as good. The main character isn’t very likable, and while her early heart attack explains why she ran away, I just couldn’t warm up to the fact that she abandoned her family on a whim. (Note: heart attack happens in the first chapter, so I’m not spoiling anything!)
All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, by Rebecca Traister – I saw this all over the media when it first came out, and it sounded absolutely fascinating. Finally got my hands on it and… ugh. The author took an incredibly interesting topic and made it so dry that I had to force myself to read a chapter every few days in order to get through it (whereas normally I devour books in a day or two). This read like a boring textbook that flipflopped poorly between historical context and present day pop culture, without ever really connecting the two in a cogent way. Furthermore, a lot of the facts were interpreted in an incredibly biased, feminist way (which I guess I should have expected from the subject?); it gave the clear impression that the author only bothered to interview people who supported her own views rather than ever attempt to get a more well-rounded picture or understand the other side in the political arguments she raised. I learned a few interesting tidbits (the last chapter on single women raising children was my favorite), but overall, would definitely not recommend this book.
I’ll also note: this was my longest Goodreads review of the month, which goes to show how angry/disappointed I was that it wasn’t better :(
Losing It, by Emma Rathbone – Ack, this was SO terrible. I found it on tons of “best books of the summer” for 2016, but when I finally got it from the library, I had no idea why it was so hyped. The main character is horribly spoiled, selfish, and unlikable, and she is ridiculously fixated on her virginity (and who else is/is not having sex) to a point where I wish she would see a psychologist. It wasn’t funny; it was just boring and annoying. Do not recommend.
And you – any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.