Fall 2019 Book Haul
Hello friends! Today I gift you with a lengthy list of books that I’ve read over the past few months!
Fun story: Early in September, I was in a job interview when one of the women asked what my favorite book was. That’s an impossible question to answer, so I just told her one of my favorites that I’d read recently: Rise and Fall by Mitchell Zuckoff. Turns out, she had checked out my website and read some of my blog posts, including these book hauls, and had started reading Rise and Fall the night before my interview due to what I wrote. I thought that was too cool!
13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi—Mitchell Zuckoff
As I mentioned in a previous book haul post, I am a big fan of Zuckoff’s books. As I slowly make my way through his work, I picked up 13 Hours. This book detailed an event that I obviously was alive enough to hear about, but not diligent enough to research and understand at the time. The writing was informative, and Zuckoff can capture people so well. I enjoyed being able to honor the lives of the people who risked their lives in the fight and preserve their memory as well.
This Could Hurt—Jillian Medoff
Ironically enough, I came across this book in the midst of my seemingly never-ending job search. It offered an interesting perspective on corporate America and the friendships/relationships that people who work together form. My parents never had the typical 9-5 when I was growing up, so it was a peak into this other world, and it was…enlightening. Plus, the plot itself was intriguing enough to keep you interested, so I’d recommend the read.
In this autobiography/memoir, readers are given a glimpse into a life they should hope to never experience. Land is a single mother working as a maid (*gasps* spoiler alert) and has invited everyone who picks up her book to have an intimate (sometimes unflattering) peak into her life. The book is an example of how difficult it can be to pull your way out of poverty—quite a humbling read. My biggest grievance with the book, though? The ending.
The Outsider—Stephen King
This was my first King novel, and it didn’t disappoint…not in creepiness, not in how truly disturbing parts of it were, nor in how it all tied together in the end. There is a reason that Stephen King has been able to make a living writing his signature novels, and this particular book is a prime example. I carried the monster (it’s a thick book) to the vet with me recently, and the vet noticed it and said, “Is that The Outsider? It’s SO GOOD!” I’m not sure that I was as enthusiastic as her when I was done—probably due to the healthy amount of nightmares and partially sleepless nights I experienced while reading it—but, to be fair, it’s not my normal “go-to” book. I’m not saying it was bad by any means; it was definitely fun to be the detective and try to piece together how everything plays out. I’m just saying it will be a significantly long time before I try to read another Stephen King novel again. (I missed sleeping too much.)
Marriage-ology: The Art and Science of Staying Together—Belinda Luscombe
No, I’m not married, nor am I anywhere close to being so (I think you need a significant other in order for that to work), but I thought the topic was interesting enough. And after having read the book, I think a lot of the concepts that Luscombe talks about can be translated into any type of meaningful relationship (with parents, siblings, close friends, etc.). I also enjoyed reading the book simply because of Luscombe’s voice. Her antidotes and humor made the pages turn very quickly (plus she backs up all of her points with countless studies and solid research—nay sayers be damned!).
The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out—William Dameron
I clearly got into a bit of a memoir kick this season. I don’t have much to say about this book other than that I’m glad I picked up. Memoirs have a way of making me reflect on things in my own life and allow me to realize how vastly different (and sometimes more difficult) other people’s experiences may be.
The Woman in the Window—A.J. Finn
I absolutely loved this book. It definitely wasn’t scary, but it was a “thriller” and very suspenseful. I have a tendency to try and figure out the plot of the novel as I’m reading (I’ve also been known to read the last page of a book), and I was able to figure out one big piece of the puzzle but was totally caught off-guard by other major characters and events. I will say, though, that I wasn’t a big fan of the ending (and I thought the scenes involving the detectives didn’t sound very procedurally realistic); the ending just…ended—all perfect and neat. It didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the novel. That said, I devoured the book in two days.
Alaskan Holiday—Debbie Macomber
This was just a cute little romance novel I came across. Very fun and perfect for pre-bed reading.
The Things They Carried—Tim O’Brien
I’ve had this on my “To Read” list for a while and finally got around to reading it this season. The work plays with your mind a bit. It’s classified as fiction, yet O’Brien did serve in Vietnam and is in the novel. Factor in the chapters (?) about war stories, and you wonder what’s true and what’s not. Regardless, it was an interesting (and saddening) peak into an infamous war that I wasn’t around for.
I Miss You When I Blink—Mary Laura Philpott
Have you ever started reading a book and thought that it was made with you in mind? That the author knew you existed when she was crafting the words and pages, patiently waiting for you to finally pick it up at your favorite local library? (I ended up buying my own copy after reading the first two essays.) Philpott’s essays made me feel understood. This book has since become one of my all-time favorites. I’m not sure if everyone will relate to her stories as much as I did, but I think that the overall messages/themes that she provides about life can be applicable to just about anyone. (Mary Laura Philpott: If you ever read this blog post, can we be friends?)
The Last Juror—John Grisham
Another amazing novel by Grisham (not a new novel, but a new one to me…obviously). The Last Juror was just a really well-written story. My mom asked what it was about when I was about halfway through, and I couldn’t even begin to explain. Every time you think you have the story figured out, there’s another element added, yet at the end, you realize how everything connects perfectly. I’m not sure that my ramblings here are saying much, but it's a 10/10 recommendation from me.
Thank You for My Service—Mat Best
(Definitely not a book for the faint of heart or those with innocence towards vulgar language.) I thoroughly enjoyed this book, mostly because of how hilarious Best’s storytelling is. The memoir-of-sorts offers a perspective on an individual’s experience in the military and with war in general.
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