I was looking for a novel to read while on vacation, so picked up The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. This book kept me engaged and was a quick read. It wasn't overly juicy but I liked the story and it kept me reading until the end to see what happened.
Wow I loved The Premonition by Michael Lewis, I couldn't put it down. I was fascinated by the story and how Lewis pieced together the unlikely heroes that were willing to step up to the plate during the pandemic but ultimately were unable to.
This story reveals how those people arrived to the right place at the right time and how current systems, politics and leadership didn't allow them to implement the culmination of their work when needed the most.
I can't wait until this book gets turned into a movie. I learned a lot, got a cool inside view into the world of disease, the key players in keeping the country safe from outbreaks, the inner-workings of the CDC, health departments and various federal agencies. The U.S. was judged to be one of the most prepared countries for a pandemic in 2019. If you're curious as to what happened, definitely read this one.
I picked up Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman after learning about it in How to Raise an Adult. While not my favorite memoir, this had some good nuggets and was funny, honest, blunt and edgy with many risks taken by the author that ultimately I appreciated.
After continuing to hear how good it was, I picked up Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey and read it in a week. Even with the good reviews I was still skeptical about this one but man am I glad I read it. What a unique, well written, thought provoking and at times hilarious memoir. I loved everything about this book, and even if you're not a McConaughey fan, I'd give it a try.
I picked up How To Raise An Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims as I'm interested in the culture of over-parenting, why we are where we are and what can be done about it. While I wouldn't consider myself a "free-range" parent, I'm interested and open to that type of parenting and being thoughtful about raising kids so they can be competent adults.
There were some good nuggets and takeaways in this book. Parents with older kids might find this more helpful but overall this book for me was a reminder to give my kids age appropriate opportunities to step up to the plate and do things independently as much as possible, (even if that means losing some control and perfection in the process).
I wanted to love The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper, but thought it was just okay. I've really been enjoying reading memoirs over the last few years, so maybe my expectations were too high and I think I was expecting something different from this. Overall I liked Harper's stories from the ER and some of her commentary about the nature of hospitals. But I was hoping to get more insight into her and read more about her personal story. For me that would have made this book more compelling.
I recently picked up The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and enjoyed this novel. It's a multi-generational family saga that looks at racial identity, family and privilege. The book kept me engaged until the very end to find out what happened, it was thought provoking and felt timeless.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle was my first introduction to this author. I really liked this book, it was compelling and had many highlight-worthy insights that I'm sure I'll return back to. This was intimate, honest, messy and hopeful. At times it felt a little preachy to me, but it was well written and her personal stories were interwoven nicely and I think I might have been feeling some of the immediacy and intensity of her words, which ultimately created an inspiring and incredibly empowering read. I put this book down feeling "zoomed out" - the world is messy - but the point isn't just to change that, the point is to pull deep down from your own soul and exist beautifully in it.
I started Searching For Sunday by the late Rachel Held Evans last year after learning about her through The Liturgists Podcast. It must've stopped feeling relevant to me, so I put it down but picked it up again recently and finished it. I'm glad I did, this was a good memoir about wrestling with organized religion and Evans' journey to ultimately rediscover her faith and find a place again in church. She realizes that none of it is clean and simple - it's messy and complicated, but that's sort of the point of it. Anyone who has been cynical about religion or wrestled with ideas of faith and community will connect with this one.
I actually started Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl last year and just got around to finishing it. This book can be found on many must-read lists, and I wanted to be sure to read this one after reading The Choice, which was probably the best book I read last year (and an especially humbling read during the pandemic).
Frankl talks about his time in Nazi concentration camps and his exploration into what truly drives humans, which isn't pleasure, but meaning. Most people will be inspired by reading this book, it certainly stands the test of time.
Literacy is a prerequisite for freedom. Read deeply. Read what matters. Build a reading list. Don't take literacy for granted.