October turned out to be a rather surprising month of reading in two ways: 1) 6 books?! I generally average 4 books per month, and was surprised to tally it up this morning and find I’d read 2 more than my usual. I attribute it to a lightbulb finally switching on in the old noggin, and the realization that I could listen to audiobooks instead of Carrie Underwood on morning runs (yes, I run now—contain your shock and disbelief), and hence have more ‘reading’ time. So I did read my typical 4 books this month, but managed to squeeze in another 2 while running. And surprise #2) so much non-fiction! I am generally not a great reader of non-fiction, but have found some I’ve been loving lately (it started with All Joy and No Fun, followed by Quiet). Who would have guessed it—non-fiction is only boring if you try to force your way through topics you don’t care about. All sorts of genius revelations over here.
I’m a Stranger Here Myself I’m a rather devoted Bill Bryson fan (other favorites are The Mother Tongue, At Home, and A Walk in the Woods), and I think this is probably my least favorite of his books so far. This isn’t saying much, however, as I still thought it was tremendously good. This one reads quite a bit differently than his other books--it’s a collection of his newspaper articles observing American life after spending 20 years in Britain. If you’re new to Bryson, I’d recommend starting with something else (A Walk in the Woods might be a nice one to begin with).
Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Rob Thomas) Very ‘meh.’ I listened to this on audio while running, and it was just interesting enough to be able to run to, but not a single ounce more. I’ve already forgotten the plot completely. Maybe I would have liked it more if I had ever watched Veronica Mars—I have no experience with it whatsoever, beyond hearing other people say they love it (makes me wonder why I thought to check it out in the first place? I must have been desperate for an audiobook).
The Secret Keeper (Kate Morton) I’ve now read everything Kate Morton has written, and I’m a little upset about it. I love her dearly—her blend of mess-with-your-brain and history and suspense and creep factor is so spot on I could cry—and I can only hope she’s got something new in the works, because I may go into withdrawal. On a happy note, though, this was a fantastic book to go out on! This one and The Forgotten Garden are hands down my favorites that she’s written. And if anyone knows of any Morton read-alikes, I’m all ears.
The Confidence Code (Katty Kay and Claire Shipman) I’ve got some seriously mixed feelings on this one. The first half of the book delves into the research and science and stories behind women’s lack of confidence—why do we hold ourselves back and doubt ourselves and worry so much (especially compared with men who seem to never question or second-guess their decisions or abilities?), and how does this low confidence affect our professional lives? It was engrossing and, truth be told, a bit scary to see just how much we women doubt ourselves and prevent ourselves from moving up and forward. And the source of my mixed feelings came in the second half of the book—I don’t feel like any meaningful solutions were given. Yes, the authors gave some advice and tips for improving confidence, but they felt so general, so meaningless, and so vague that I was left with more questions than I had started with. I also wish the authors had focused less on the career effects of low confidence and talked more about how confidence also affects our personal lives (which I don’t believe was ever mentioned). I still think it was a fantastic book, but only as a look into confidence and not as a guide to developing it.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling) My second audiobook of the month, and oh, how I love Harry. The audio is unbelievably good, and how often do you meet a book that is just as wonderful re-read at age 27 as it was the first time at age 14?
Secrets of an Organized Mom (Barbara Reich) This caught my eye at the library since I’ve been working on getting my house under control lately. Nothing mind-blowing or revolutionary, but great motivation to get things orderly and throw practically everything I own away. Reich approaches organization one room at a time and gives specific tips for keeping each space in your home neat and orderly. She definitely comes across as holier-than-thou and preachy, but it got me itching to drag garbage bags full of junk to the curb, so I consider that a job well done.
What did you read this month? Any recommendations for me?