Winter 2018 Reading List

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I've been reading a lot of books lately and though most of them are not related to health or wellness, I think it's important to share them because no matter what type of book you read, they ideas within them add more color and new and different perspectives to our world. It was once described to me like a coloring book - what we do are the lines of the picture and how we do those things is the color inside (or outside) the lines. Your own thoughts are responsible for a majority of the color inside the lines, then the stories and ideas found in books are the doodles on the edge of the page. 

Let me warn you that this list is made up of stores that seem to tend to the darker side of life. I'm not sure how that happened, but maybe it's because it was dark and snowless while I was reading them? A few of these are book club picks and not something I would have necessarily picked up on my own (which is the point of book club, right?). I also went on a Lisa Lutz kick. Sometimes I get into a place where I just want to read books that I can read quickly and don't have to think a lot about, and that's how I ended up on that path. Other times I'm more willing to slow down and read a book that makes me think or that I need to read slowly to really get the most out of it. Note: each link will take you to where you can grab a copy of any of these books for yourself in whatever format you prefer! Happy reading!

  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent - This is based on a true story. Set in Iceland in the early 1800s, this is a story about a woman who has been charged with murder and is waiting to be executed. She is housed with a family who are at first horrified of the idea, but they get to learn her story. While this isn't a happy story, I loved it. The writing captures the mood and the landscape well and the characters feel very much alive. 
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - I read this book when I was in elementary school, but in anticipation of the movie being released in March of 2018, I wanted to refresh my memory. It's a good thing I did because it was almost like reading the book for the first time. After wading through some long and convoluted books, this was a refreshingly short read (thank you YA fiction!) that still managed to capture all of the important details. Meg's father had been experimenting with a fifth dimension of time travel when he disappears. Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace go off to rescue him.  
  • The Passenger by Lisa Lutz - Forty-eight hours after leaving the body of her husband at the bottom of the stairs, Tanya Dubois leaves town with a new name and a new look, but it's not the first time she's done this. She attempts to live off the grid (virtually impossible these days) and outrun her past. This was also a pretty dark story, but the kind that it's hard to put down or forget about. Lots of interesting twists and turns along the way and a pretty fast and easy read. 
  • Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau - Karl Bender discovers a time-travelling worm hole in his closet and develops a side business with his best friend selling access to people to travel back and see their favorite bands in concert. Karl accidentally sends his friend back to 980 instead of 1980 and enlists the help of an astrophysicist to help get him back. This was not a book that I loved. I found the characters to be rather pathetic, which may have been the point, but it was distracting enough for me that I wasn't very interested in the story. 
  • How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz - This is the story of three college roommates recounting their adventures, jealousies, and tragedies which change the course of the lives. The book focuses on Anna and takes you through her history and current struggles. This was a great story, my only complaint was that it bounces around in time a lot and it was hard to keep track of where you were. Otherwise, a great read. 
  • The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall - This book was a struggle for me. I wanted to like it, but it was about 200 pages too long and I just couldn't handle the pathetic and weak nature of the main character. Golden Richards has four wives and twenty-eight children. This book is the story of his midlife crisis - failing business, family falling apart, and grief from the loss of two children. My problem was his lack of foresight and inability to take action, he just sort of bumbles along and doesn't really seem to make an effort to do anything. This was a book club read and it took me an entire month to read the whole thing, usually it takes me a couple of weeks at most to finish a book.
  • Into the Water by Paula Hawkins - I thought this was a pretty good read. It was a fast read, which means that I enjoyed it enough to keep going. It was challenging at times to keep all the characters and their relationships to each other straight, but otherwise an enjoyable (but dark) read. This book is very different from the authors other book, The Girl on the Train, so just because you liked that one doesn't mean you'll like this one. Nel Abbot was found dead in the river, just a few short months after the death of her daughter's best friend under similar circumstances. Nel was completely obsessed with stories of 'troublesome' women who had lost their lives in the 'Drowning Pool' including a 14 year old girl pronounced as a witch during the Witchfinder Trials in the seventeenth century. 
  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice - We read this for our Nov/Dec book club book. Louis recounts how he became a vampire and how he became indoctrinated into the vampire way of life. I so wanted to like this book, but it just didn't do it for me. I was really into it for the first 150 pages or so, and then it just seemed to drag on with nothing really happening. It was like a lot of things almost happened, but not quite. 
  • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks - This book looks at how to eliminate the barriers to success by overcoming false fears and beliefs. I'm always pretty skeptical of "self-help" books, but this one was pretty good. It brought to light a few things that I do that can really be limiting my success. I enjoyed it and learned a lot about myself. A great read if you are looking to take it to the next level.
  • The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain - This was a book club read, and not something that I probably would have picked up for myself. But I definitely enjoyed it and am glad we picked something fast and easy after a few months of less than stellar books. Riley MacPherson has spent her whole life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, her father has passed away and she's cleaning out his house when she finds evidence that she may still be alive.
  • Metabolic Efficiency Training by Bob Seebohar - Total nutrition and athletic performance nerd read. A pretty in-depth, but easy to understand, look at metabolic efficiency and using more fat and fewer carbohydrates to fuel athletic performance. He's got some very straightforward ideas about how to transition to this type of training as well as a ton of case studies to help you understand where you might fit into this framework. 
  • The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz - Izzy Spellman has a colorful past full of romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism, but she's good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family's firm. She's a natural at invading people's privacy and she gets into a bit of trouble by not being able to leave her work at the office. Since I really enjoyed The Passenger, I decided I'd read this series by the same author. This was a fast and fun read, though kind of frustrating at times (mostly because her family is pretty dysfunctional). 
  • All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood - Wavy is the daughter of a meth dealer who is raising her brother. She befriends one of her father's "employees," a tattooed ex-con named Kellen. This book is the story of their unexpected love story. This was one of those terrible, but also wonderful stories that is so hard to believe that you actually believe it. I don't know anything about the author, but this story is written like someone who has been through a similar situation (though from reading her bio on her website, it doesn't seem like it all comes from a place of personal experience). 
  • The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne - I didn't actually finish this book. I would get into the story and then the setting would change. It jumps from when Cyril is born to when he's 6 and then he's a teenager and then a 25 year-old, etc. I would have liked more details about any of those stages of life rather than fast forwarding to the next phase. Cyril was born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish. He was adopted by a couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun.
  • The Likeness by Tana French - I have enjoyed every Tana French book that I've read. These are all in a series, but you don't need to read them in order because each one focuses on a different main character. They all have some sort of interaction with each other, but nothing that would cause confusion if you didn't know them yet. This was one of my favorites from her. In the Woods and The Trespasser are the others that really stood out for me.