12 Books to Check Out
I am so long overdue for a book review update, and I’ve been in the groove lately! I was reading quite a bit and it slowed in March and April as I adjusted to life at home with 3 kids, but we are in a bit of a groove, and I’m taking time off projects and real work so that I can make time for the things that feed my soul, like reading. Over the last few months, I’ve read 12 books and today I am going to review them all for you, and break it up into categories so you can easily scroll past groups you may not be interested in. Let’s dive in! (This post uses affiliate links through which I may earn a small commission. I am also an Amazon associate.)
Fleishman is in Trouble: I read this as part of my online book club, 4 Reading Women, and to be honest I believe out of the 4 of us, I liked the book the best. It was an interesting novel, following the story of Toby Fleishman, a not totally likable doctor from New York City, following the demise of his marriage to successful entrepreneur Rachel. Rachel requests to drop off their two kids a bit early, and never returns. We start off with Toby’s story, seeing everything from his point of view as the father who has sacrificed much of his career to be with his kids and allow his wife to flourish professionally. But then we hear Rachel’s story… The narrator is an old female college friend of Toby’s and I really enjoyed this book because I related to her so much. I didn’t much care for Toby or Rachel, but it was an interesting story nonetheless. It’s not a page turner and definitely didn’t grab me, but it made for an excellent discussion, so I highly recommend if you are in a book group!
The Silent Patient: This book was our June/July pick for our book club, and it was SOOOOOO good! We’re going to be discussing it at the end of the month (most likely the first weekend of August) and if you want to read and join our zoom discussion, just comment below or email me. We’d love to have you! Anyhow, this one centers around Alicia Berenson, an artist who was found at home with her husband shot dead, as she stood silently by. She hasn’t spoken since that day 6 years ago, but now Theo, a psychotherapist and the narrator of the story who has an infatuation with her, takes on a job at her hospital to try for the chance to help her. The tale was well woven and written, and I can honestly say that I did not see the twist coming! It’s an incredible suspenseful novel in the genre of Gone Girl.
I Found You: My mom handed down a ton of books to me, and this one was in the box. I was in a suspenseful kind of mood after reading The Silent Patient so I picked this one up and decided give it a go on Monday during nap time. By lunchtime on Tuesday, I was finished… you could say it kept my interest. 😉 I honestly loved this book and really enjoyed most of the characters within its pages. Alice Lake lives with her 3 kids in a quiet seaside town, when a man shows up on shore one day, unsure of who he is or where he came from. Miles away, Lily’s new husband disappears. Could it be the same man? And is he a good guy, or might he be a murderer? I don’t want to give away too much… but I really loved this one, and I did predict the ending minus one key point. If you read it, I’d love to hear what you think! (By the way, this book was by Lisa Jewell who also wrote Then She Was Gone, which I also loved!)
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill: My parents picked this up for me this winter when they were visiting, one of those random books that just piqued my mom’s interest and she thought I might enjoy it. She was right! This one follows the story of Nina Hill, who has just discovered why her father is…. er, was, as she only finds out after he is dead. He’s a wealthy man whose blood runs through many. Suddenly, introverted, bookish, Nina is thrust into a huge mixed family. Also during this time, she begins a sweet and awkward romance with a trivia rival. I knew this one was going to have a happy ending from the beginning, but it was a light and funny read with several laugh out loud moments. Perhaps it was because I related to the pun-loving (and yes, I mean pun!), romantically awkward, somewhat sarcastic Nina, but I really enjoyed this tale. This book was the first I have read by Abbi Waxman, but I truly enjoyed her style and way with words.
Feels Like Falling: The beach read of 2020! This book takes place on the Carolina coast and tells the story of Gray, a recent divorcee, single mom, and wealthy website entrepreneur, and what happens when she opens her home to down on her luck Diana. Two women from opposite ends of the world learn that sometimes the lines of friendship are stronger than that of family, and also discover the importance of forgiveness. This book was a quick light read, and I really enjoyed it.
The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old: I shared a little bit about this one in a recent Feel Good Friday, but I will repeat what I wrote there. It was such a unique book, told in the daily diary format of an elderly man in an assisted living home in Amsterdam. Hendrik weaves the story of the unlikely friends he meets, the beginning of the Old but Not Dead Club, and he shares an honest look at old age and what happens when our bodies start to fail us. This story was bittersweet, but also hopeful. The theme throughout would be that life is worth living when we make plans and have something to look forward to with people we care about
Milk & Honey: I am just getting into reading poetry, and I really enjoy the format that Rupi Kaur uses to write. This particular book is divided into 4 sections, each one facing a different kind of heartache. I would say if you’re just starting out reading/writing poetry, this is a good place to start because it’s accessible… meaning you won’t sit there wondering WTF does this even mean?… which I recall feeling when I read Milton and T.S. Elliott when I was in college. 😉
Nocturnal: This book is another beautiful collection of simple poetry by Wilder. You know I had to get it based on the name of the author alone… but seriously, I love his/her approach to writing, and have been following along on instagram for a while. It’s described as celebrating self-love, and I am here for that… we all need a little self love!
Untamed: I could not wait to get my hands on this book! It came out while Chris was furloughed, but then my parents gave me some money for Mother’s Day and I treated myself. It did not disappoint and is the best book I read on this list of 12. As no one else can do, Glennon Doyle takes a raw and honest look at her life, how she’s lived up until now, and how she’s worked to get back to that untamed and wild version of who she is, breaking out of the boxes society has placed her in. I couldn’t put it down, and didn’t want it to end. Perhaps we just need more of this honesty surrounding living life as our true selves in this world. This book definitely inspired me and made me think more about who it is that I am and what I want from life.
Get Out of Your Own Way: Well, I feel in a weird position reviewing this one at this time. When I read it, I enjoyed it thought not as much as his soon to be ex-wife’s books. However, his approach was funny and light, and what I thought to be honest. I told Chris that I wanted him to read it. Now, in light of the news that he and his media mogul wife are splitting, it’s hard to know what’s truly honest. I will say, I really enjoy Dave Hollis’ light and humorous approach to life, his ability to learn and try new things, and his willingness to face the hard truths of his life, such as his issues with alcohol. I am not writing off this book at all, just feels so weird right now!
Now Discover Your Strengths: I read this book as a companion to B School and to the Clifton Strengths test that I took so that I could learn more about how to use my strengths. This book is definitely great for someone who manages or works on a team with several people, and it changed the way I think about how to grow and develop my own strengths. The approach comes from making the best of your own strengths rather than trying to make up the deficit of your weaknesses, which unfortunately many corporations focus on. I highly recommend it to anyone cultivating a team.
Hello, Fears: This book was sent to me as a gift, and I enjoyed it! I was stoked because I had been wanting to read it after hearing her on a podcast this winter. If you aren’t familiar with her story, she created a 100 Days of Facing Fears project that went viral. Each day, she faced a new far such as jumping from a plane, holding a tarantula, posing nude for art students, and finally ending with public speaking at a Ted talk. This book shares everything that she learned throughout the process and has several journal prompts and little exercises to help the reader face her fears and become not fearless, but more courageous. I learned a lot and loved Michelle’s truly authentic approach- a real person facing her fears! She encourages us not to ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Instead, ask yourself, “What’s the best that can happen?” Recently, I applied this approach to a circumstance in my own life, and it truly helped the outcome of the situation! I left feeling proud of myself for jumping in and facing the thing that was causing me anxiety.
There you have it! I am now between books, but luckily my nightstand is full of choices. I also want to throw it out there that coming in August, my book club will be reading More Myself by Alicia Keys and we’d love to have you read along with us and join our zoom discussion. Tell me, what are you reading now?