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Monday, February 6, 2012

What I've Been Reading

It's my birthday week, so even though it's cold outside right now, I'm really excited! 

I wanted to share all the books I've been reading and listening to on my iPod over the last month.
You can find all my book reviews here.
There's a lot of them, so let's get started!

The Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook

If you follow my cooking blog, you know that I received this book for Christmas from a friend and I tried out several of the recipes.  I was happy to hear that I am not the only person who sits down and reads cookbooks from cover to cover.  I found some good healthy recipes in the cookbook, and I'm mailing it off to a bookmooch.com requester today.
Liked it

Harry Potter The Prequel

I had NO IDEA that J. K. Rowling had written a prequel to the Harry Potter series.
She apparently wrote this 800 word short for charity. 
Someone on goodreads.com mentioned it so I had to look it up and read it.
It's a cute little story about Sirius and James as teenagers.
You can find The Prequel in several places on the Internet.  Here's the link to one site to read it online.
Really liked it

The Tale of Desperaux
I lead the "Literature Circle" in Brennan's 4th grade class each month.
The kids read several chapters a week and do a lot of short answer and essay questions in prep for our hour-long discussions.
I had never read this book but saw the movie and didn't care for it.
Now I understand why - this book is not typical children's reading!
With themes of courage, forgiveness, abuse, death, love, and disillusionment, we had quite the discussion. 
It's very well written and the kids especially enjoyed the 2nd person point of view (the author speaking directly to the reader from time to time).
Liked it

Crossed is the follow up to the very popular Matched that came out last year.
It's a young adult read set in dystopian U.S. as is extremely popular these days.
I liked the light touch of Matched, but this follow-up crossed over into a darker, desperate quest.
It was still good, but I'm hoping the 3rd book is a return to the original feel.
Liked it

The Kitchen House
As I mentioned last month, I recently joined a new book club and we discussed The Help at our first meeting in January. 
It's a great group of ladies, many of us don't know each other well yet, but we had a great time together.
We are "As the Page Turns" - a light-hearted nod to the fact that we are a bunch of ladies meeting at 1:00 in the afternoon before picking our kids up from school.
For February we read The Kitchen House.  Actually I listened to it on my iPod, downloaded from the library.
It is a story set in the early 1800s about an Irish girl who is indentured on a Virginia tobacco plantation.  She lives in the kitchen house with the black slaves, but as she grows up she moves into a more white world.
It's a good book, and I'd highly recommend it if you liked The Help or Southern literature.
Really liked it

Three Men in a Boat
(To say nothing of the dog)

David surprises me for many holidays with a book that he's heard of that he thought I'd like.  It's always fun because I've never heard of them. 
For our anniversary he gave me this gem that was written in the late 1800s.  He heard a reviewer on NPR saying it was the funniest book he'd ever read and he reads it every Christmas.
It is written by a British author and if you like dry humor, you'll enjoy this book.
I couldn't believe it was written so long ago - the humor is relevant, even if the setting is clearly 1800s on the Thames.
The best part (and I'm so glad I saw this suggestion on goodreads.com) - listening to Hugh Laurie (of the tv show "House") reading the abridged version.  He is perfect to narrate this book.
Really liked it

Throw Out Fifty Things

I have discovered that I really like audiobooks - they're great for house cleaning, the elliptical, running errands, sitting in the car rider line, etc.  I'm amazed at how quickly I can go through them.
I was looking at our library's audiobook list the other day and came across several self-help type books that I downloaded.  This is the first I read.

I was drawn to this book because I was finishing up my Spring Cleaning.  It starts out as a de-cluttering book with personal and client anecdotes peppering the book, but then it becomes much more of a self-help personal re-evaluation guide with some really good advice.
Liked It

The Levity Effect
I downloaded this book as well, having no idea what it was about, but thinking it might be interesting.
This is a business guide on how levity serves to increase employee engagement, employee retention, and customer satisfaction. 
I can see how someone in the business world who struggles with connecting to their employees could really benefit from this book.  I skipped through it rather quickly but didn't take away much.
It was OK

The Kind Diet
I really, really enjoyed this book. 
If you are interested in losing weight and would consider eating a more plant-based diet, then I highly recommend this book.  While the diet certainly is not for everyone, I think just about anyone would think it's a good read.  I plan to incorporate a lot of the guidance in the book in my own diet.
Really Liked It

How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less
Another library download that I thought I'd look into (hey, they're free!).
In my goodreads library I added a new shelf for "didn't finish" and this is the first book I put there.
The passionate author is a former fashion and advertising photographer (Vogue, Coke, Paris fashion week...) who became really interested in how some people are more charistmatic and engaging and if it's learned or innate.  He became certified in Neural Linguistic Programming and has written several books on how this can be taught. 
The reviews are terrific (Harvard, London Business Schools, The Economist, New York Times) but I only listened to a few chapters.
I'd recommend this book for those who would like to improve their first impression.
Didn't Finish

And that's what I've been reading this past month!
What have you been reading?

1 comment:

Paula said...

The Kitchen House sounds like a book I'd really like. I'm impressed at how much you've read lately!