January Reads

Reading and RamenWhen did reading stop becoming something we did every summer? I used to look forward to my summer reading list like a giddy school girl, then again I was also the girl who look forward to the first day of school each year because of all the new school supplies… so maybe I was just weird? Actually, no. New school supplies smell so good, I will not apologize for my weirdness. I know I’m weird, but it’s our weirdness that makes us great! My parents used to take away all technology and my library books when I got in trouble as a kid, imagine doing that now. “No junior, you can’t read your printed books, I know you want to, but no reading for you – no expanding your mind and becoming a speed reader by the age of 11!” But somewhere along the way I stopped reading for pleasure, I’m going to blame college (news alert: when in doubt, always blame college).

So, to rectify this, my New Year’s Resolution in 2016 was to read a book a month. I stuck to this, except during October baseball (it was really hard to do anything except root for the Indians during that time). But one book a month actually was too easy for me, I could do that within the first week or weekend, so in 2017 I wanted a little more of a challenge. My 2017 New Year’s Resolution is to read at least 2 books a month (ideally a book a week, but maybe that will be the 2018 goal).

I bring you the the January book reviews:


Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly:
I knew that before I could watch this movie, I *had*  to read the book, and let’s be clear reading a book is like watching a movie in your head, but so. much. better. The movie in my head is always more dramatic, more crisp, always exactly as I imagined.

I read this book at the perfect time, right before Trump took office (ah, to go back to that era). This book inspired me. It instilled in me a great hope, to dream big, achieve greatness. Set my mind for the stars. The women in this story were achieving greatness well before we heard about MLK Jr. In fact, from a quote in the book:

“But before a computer became an inanimate object, and before Mission Control landed in Houston; before Sputnik changed the course of history, and before the NACA became NASA; before the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka established that separate was in fact not equal, and before the poetry of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech rang out over the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Langley’s West Computers were helping America dominate aeronautics, space research, and computer technology, carving out a place for themselves as female mathematicians who were also black, black mathematicians who were also female.”

This is the book that inspired me and will continue to inspire me to fight for others in all that I do. I will always fight alongside my fellow women for women.

“Women, on the other hand, had to wield their intellects like a scythe, hacking away against the stubborn underbrush of low expectations.”

Before you watch the movie, please – please, always read the book.

I Had a Nice Time And Other Lies…: How to find love & sh*t like that, The Betches
This book was a great comedic relief in my January reads. As the book states, “I’m not a stop along the way. I’m a destination,” and somewhere in the middle of January I felt like a stop for some people. This was a great book to read to learn how to change my outlook on dating… Well, not really change my outlook on dating, I’ve always been a realist/pessimist in life.

I mean I’m a firm believer that, “the only reason you should be in a relationship is because your boyfriend/fiancé/husband/lover adds something awesome to your life, not because he completes it.” So, it was great to read a book that affirmed these thoughts and expounded upon them. It was basically like reading a book written by my snarky sister or best friend.

I would recommend this book to any betch who likes to drink a bottle of wine in a night and understands that sarcasm needs its own font from time to time (like when you’re at a music festival and you comment on a boss ass betch’s awesome scarf and it’s sweet triangle pattern… and then jokingly ask if she’s in the illuminati). It’s also important to note that this is not a book that you can tell people you are reading at an important dinner party or work function – have another book on your back burner to talk about. Or just use the Trump line, “I never have [time to read]. I’m always busy doing a lot. Now I’m more busy, I guess, than ever before.” I mean people liked that line enough they elected him President and he doesn’t even know how to read (allegedly).

Anyway, this book was a great comedic escape from a somewhat cold January on the Lake and an even colder storm-front brewing in my black heart. I would definitely recommend it to any of my girlfriends.

Lily and the Octopus, Steven Rowley
Full-disclosure you will cry your eyes out reading this book – like full-blown, blowing your nose, red eyes, can barely talking because you’re a blubbering mess – cry. But in the best way possible. Lily is Ted’s dachshund and in all stories about animals you probably have an idea of how this will end. It isn’t just a typical story about a man and a dog – this book will take you an a grandiose fantasy adventure. So buckle up and enjoy the ride.

I read this book around 3 months after my own family dog passed away and there were so many quotes in this book that hit home. I loved the way that Steven wrote Lily’s voice, in all temperaments. Each voice was so incredibly accurate if you’ve ever had and loved a dog.

“Because dogs live in the present. Because dogs don’t hold grudges. Because dogs let go of all of their anger daily, hourly, and never let it fester. They absolve and forgive with each passing minute. Every turn of a corner is the opportunity for a clean slate. Every bounce of a ball brings joy and the promise of a fresh chase.”

Remember to hold your dogs close, and give this book a read this spring or summer – I promise you won’t regret it.

Lily looked at me with her soulful, almond-shaped eyes. “We’re going on different adventures?”

Next on the docket…

  • Wild (*really looking forward to this in my current mental state*)
  • Letters to a Young Poet (*really looking forward to this in my current mental state*)
  • Running with a Police Escort
  • Universal Harvester
  • Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time
  • Ella Minnow Pea
  • The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now (*really looking forward to this in my current mental state*)
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