Book Report: July 2016

Welcome to my monthly book report! Here I share quick reviews of the books I’ve finished each month.  I’m always looking to add to my to-read list, so please share your recommendations!  I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes, aka: The Queen of Thursday Night (creator and writer of several extremely popular TV shows, including Grey’s Anatomy) shares her journey to break out of her comfort zone and say yes to the things that scare her.  I really enjoyed the beginning of this book.  I loved seeing the transformation Shonda went through.  Her writing was engaging and funny. Her desire to improve herself was inspiring.  But about 3/4 of the way through the book it turned into a slog for me. Perhaps because I’ve never watched a single episode of any of her shows, and at that point in the book she talks a lot about certain characters and the stars she worked with? I’m not entirely certain.  But it began to feel very repetitive and I just couldn’t quite reconnect with the book again.  

Maude by Donna Foley Mabry

I found this non-fiction story completely fascinating.  Maude was an incredibly strong woman who faced countless hardships throughout her life, including the deaths of her parents, husband and most of her children. She faced poverty, an abusive mother-in-law and a loveless marriage. She worked tirelessly her entire life and made the most of the resources she was blessed with.  She told her life story to her granddaughter, Donna, the author of this book, who shares it in a very easy to read, enjoyable narrative.  I loved it.

My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman

I love reading about athletes and those who challenge their physical bodies and are able to do incredible things. This book about a dad and daughter training for a marathon was a perfect example of just that genre. Every time I read some of it I set it down feeling inspired to head out on a long run (of course, my 7 months pregnant belly slowed me down significantly, but walks are good too).  Because he is a journalist for CNN, Tom is a strong writer, and this book was highly entertaining (I even had a few laugh out loud moments) as well as motivational.

Find the Good by Heather Lende

I loved Heather’s book If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name so I was thrilled to discover Find the Good earlier this month.  I read it in just a couple of days.  I love the image Heather paints of her life as an obituary writer in a tiny town in Alaska. While you definitely get more of a feel of that in “If You Lived Here”, it shines through in Find the Good as well.  This book is full of tidbits of wisdom that if put to use will help you connect more deeply with your loved ones and live a happier, fuller life.  Charming and fun to read.  I highly recommend it.

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

This was a read aloud that we all loved.  It’s more of a series of short stories than a continuous narrative about Homer Price and the  residents of his hometown of Centerburg.  Packed full of funny moments, not-quite-realistic stories (a doughnut-making machine that won’t turn off and a Pied Piper for mice, among others) and delightful illustrations, this is a perfect book to read aloud to multiple children. My 11 year old and 7 year old both loved it.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This book was not at all what I was expecting.  I was under this impression it would be about creativity and developing creative habits. However, it was about grief.  Despite it being different than expected, I still enjoyed it and found a few tidbits about creative living scattered throughout.   My heart was broken for Didion, who spent nearly every moment with her husband for 40 years, only to have him pass away quite suddenly at the dinner table.  I identified so strongly with her description of the loss she felt, as I imagine I would react in much the same way.  Her husband was her best friend and confidante and she was struck by how difficult it was to feel like she needed to talk to him to tell him this huge thing that had occurred in her life (his own death) and she had to keep reminding herself that he was gone and she wouldn’t be able to talk it through with him.

I’ve read 46 of my goal of 60 books this year. Check out Modern Mrs. Darcy  for more Quick Lit book reviews.