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I can’t believe we are almost done with September! That means October! Which means Halloween. And then my birthday! And thanksgiving! So it’s practically Christmas already.
September has been a busy month with back to school and friends returning to campus. It feels like we’ve been going nonstop the last few weeks. But even with the busy, there is usually an hour at the gym in the morning, a few hours during nap time, and some quiet once the kids are in bed to catch up on (audio)books. I’ve crossed off a quite a few books this month and thought it would be fun to share the last five.
The Last 5 Books I’ve Read
Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
All about habits and self improvement, I generally really enjoy things that Gretchen Rubin does. If you listen to her podcast, there aren’t very many new insights here. If you haven’t listened to her podcast, this is a great way to get the best parts of her info without all of the advertisements. Either way, it helps you look at your habits in a new light and may just motivate you to develop some new ones.
Verdict: If you haven’t listened to her podcast, go read this.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
This story shares the tale of Dinah, a daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph. It gives an interesting look at some well known biblical characters (which is a little unsettling for me) but the powerful theme of a strong sisterhood of women is empowering and inspiring.
Fun fact: my mom read this book sometime when I was in middle school and was motivated to start the “red tent” tradition in our family. We celebrated “becoming a woman” by a fancy dinner out with our parents. I remember being a little mortified, as a 13 year old, that my dad was invited. I’m not certain the tradition continued with my younger sisters but I love this concept of celebrating menstruation and woman’s power of creation.
P.S. A few scenes in here help me understand why my mom definitively wouldn’t let me read it when I asked her about it as a 13 year old.
Verdict: Thought provoking, I’d recommend it (but not for your 13 year old).
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
I’d heard so many good things about this one and was so excited about it. And then I spent 80% of the book wondering WHY ON EARTH anyone had recommended this one to me. The abuse in this book is horrific and hard to read (listen to). Yes, the book is beautifully written and it makes me want to visit Alaska in the summer but, if you want to avoid heavy topics, skip this one. Everything wraps up so beautifully and powerfully at the end that it is hard not to say I loved it, but I didn’t love it until the very end.
Conclusion: powerful and well written (lots of tears from me at the end), but hesitant to recommend because it was so hard + heavy + graphic.
Paris by Edward Rutherford
This long historical fiction gives an extensive account of the history of Paris. I had a little bit of trouble keeping all the plots straight as it jumps between centuries and families often, and I’m almost always listening while doing something else. But, it held my interest and has me daydreaming of wandering old Parisian streets and taught me more about history than I’ve learned from a single book in awhile.
Verdict: A great alternative to reading a Paris history book if you’re looking to brush up before a trip (warning: one 4 sentence lewd scene I can remember and a tasteful section about a brothel).
Educated by Tara Westover
I started and finished this one yesterday because I couldn’t put it down! I’m still processing it. I think I would have found this harder to listen to if I hadn’t just read The Great Alone (the abuse in this one is less graphic). This book was fascinating and horrifying to me, especially as a BYU graduate and practicing member of the LDS church. It tells the story of a girl who grew up in rural Idaho with a bipolar father who is terrified of the government. It shares her life at home, her attending school for the first time a Brigham Young University (where here father is convinced the church has been infiltrated by socialists), and her continuing to get her PHD at Harvard.
The book didn’t feel anti-religion (or anti-mormon) to me, but it was disturbing to hear scriptures I know and love being quoted from the mouth of someone doing horrible things. There were other tough scenes that were hard to get through, but it seemed more important (meaningful? useful?) than the horror in The Great Alone because it’s a personal memoir instead of a work of fiction.
Verdict: Go read it so we can talk about it asap.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (so many recommendations for this one after I read “Waking up White” earlier this year)
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (book club pick)
- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (a few friends read it and loved it so Ben and I are both reading this one)
What have you read recently? What should I add to my list?
Outfit details + the SHOPBOP SALE!
Shopbop has started its big sale of the season and you can get up to 25% off lots of favorites. These raw hem jeans that I’ve lived in the last few months are part of it, along with almost everything else on their site. Find all the details of the shopbop sale here.
bracelet: Lemon & Line