I didn't expect to get much reading done this month, what with season 3 of Stranger Things eating into some of my evenings (that finale!) and being away at a conference for a few days, but it ended up being one of my better months.
I've added links to where you can find each book on Amazon US if you want to purchase it or read more reviews, as well as links to free trials on Kindle Unlimited and Audible. All of them are affiliate links meaning that, if you purchase through them, I'll make a small commission. Thank you! (For more info, read my disclosure.)
My hope with these posts is that I can encourage you to read a little more, and to make it easier to find books you’ll enjoy. Check back every month for more reviews.
1 book: Well, I won't be getting that time back
2 books: Not my cup of tea
3 books: Yup, that'll do nicely
4 books: Thoroughly enjoyed
5 books: One of the best things I've ever read
I think anyone who writes a book is a damn hero. My personal opinions of the content are just that – personal opinions. If something didn't float my boat, I still applaud the author. Their discipline and determination amazes me.
OK, on with the show.
For the month of July 2019, I curled up in my book nook with 9 different books. Here they are.
Book #54 of 2019: "The Rosie Result" by Graeme Simsion
Started: 1/7/2019 Finished: 2/7/2019
I adored the first book in this trilogy, "The Rosie Project". If I'm being honest, I wasn't keen on the second offering, but this one was a thankful return to form. While still not as good as the original (sequels so rarely are), it was an enjoyable read and a fitting end to the tale of Don Tillman.
Don is a professor of genetics, married to the rebellious Rosie, and struggling to fit into a world that doesn't seem made for him. When their son's school becomes worried about his behaviour, Don and Rosie are quick to defend him. But when professional intervention is recommended for a potential autism diagnosis, they struggle to know where the line is drawn between not wanting him labeled and giving him the help and support he may require.
Rating: 4 books. A touching treatise of a parent's desire to protect, balanced with a young teen's need for freedom
Book #55 of 2019: "A Return To Love" by Marianne Williamson
Started: 3/7/2019 Finished: 14/7/2019
I have very mixed feelings about this one. Initially, all was going well. I fully support the notion that a little more love in the world would not go astray.
I cannot, however, hop on board with the idea that a lack of loving thoughts causes disease, illness, etc.
It's not the first time I've come across the idea that negative thoughts are to blame for dysfunctions of the body and soul, but I certainly hope it's the last.
If you completely ignore all such instances of this in the book, and focus solely on the message that we should all be a little nicer and kinder to each other, you'll enjoy it a lot more.
Rating: 3 books A lot to overlook, but an overall positive message
Book #56 of 2019: "Tuesdays With Morrie" by Mitch Albom
Started: 14/7/2019 Finished: 14/7/2019
When Mitch learns his old college professor is dying, he pays him a visit. Little does he know, Morrie has one last course he'd like to teach and so, each Tuesday, Mitch listens to the voice of experience and dutifully takes notes on a touching serious of lectures.
As Mitch watches Morrie's health deteriorate with each passing week, he learns a lot more about life and love than even his erudite professor can put into words.
Rating: 4 books A beautiful autobiographical story of the enduring friendship between a student and his professor
Book #57 of 2019: "The Happy Mind" by Kevin Horsley & Louis Fourie
Started: 14/1/2019 Finished: 18/1/2019
This was sent to me so would probably not have been on my radar otherwise but, I have to say, I did enjoy it.
It's a quick read, starting with a treatise on what it means to be happy and the different ways in which we can best achieve it. There's also a discussion of unhappiness so that we can avoid its root causes if at all possible.
Thereafter, the book shares various nuggets of wisdom, designed so that you can pick it up on any day, read a particular page, and immediately apply its advice.
Rating: 3 books A practical guide to the elements of happiness and how to apply them
Book #58 of 2019: "Her Name Was Rose" by Claire Allen
Started: 18/7/2019 Finished: 18/7/2019
When Emily witnesses a fatal accident, she fears she was the intended target. As she learns more about the woman who unknowingly took her place, Emily begins to obsess about the life Rose left behind – doting and well-respected husband, beautiful son, good job, good friendships, and an enviable home. All the things Emily's ever wanted.
But as she steps in to take Rose's place, just as Rose stepped in front of that car instead of her, Emily soon realises just how dangerous a game she's really playing
Rating: 3 books An interesting and intriguing, if slightly unbelievable, tale
Book #59 of 2019: "Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?" by Patricia Marx
Started: 23/7/2019 Finished: 23/7/2019
This took me all of ten minutes to read. Amusing but, for me, too short for a book format. It also ends very abruptly. Would have been better as a series of comic strips. Or tweets.
Rating: 3 books The humour saves it
Pro tip: I’m often asked how I manage to read so much. One of my tricks is to include shorter books like this that can be read in one or two sittings.
Book #60 of 2019: "Bringing Up Bebe" by Pamela Druckerman
Started: 18/7/2019 Finished: 27/7/2019
As a US expat living in Paris, Pamela quickly notices that her kids aren't quite as well behaved as her French neighbours and friends. Intent on investigating the reasons why so that she can apply them to her own life, she discovers a number of rules French parents enforce so that their children sit still, sleep well, and eat a balanced diet.
It's a fascinating insight into another culture's way of doing things, and there's much to be learned that can ameliorate our own situations. It's practical and well-laid out, and the author outlines her own efforts to enforce law and order in her family.
As always, theory and practical application are two very different things, particularly when children are involved. Still, we can all stand to learn a thing or two, and there's plenty of opportunity in here.
Rating: 3 books. An interesting treatise on the differences in parenting style between American and French families
Book #61 of 2019: "Hilda" by Coach Jennie
Started: 27/7/2019 Finished: 30/7/2019
I met Jennie at Alt Summit earlier this year. In fact, she spoke on stage just before me and, in jest, I expressed my frustration at how high she'd set the bar. It was truly one of the standout speeches from the entire summit.
While talking to her afterwards I expressed my intention to buy her book and was gobsmacked when she very graciously gifted me one.
"Hilda" is the voice inside your head that tells you you can't/shouldn't do something. She's your self-saboteur. Your inner mean girl. She means well, and believes she's got your best interests at heart, but she's just a bit of a bitch.
We all have an inner Hilda – whether based on fear of failure, low self-esteem, etc. – and Jennie not only outlines each one, but arms the reader with the tricks and tools they need to defeat her.
Smart, practical, and hilarious. This book's a triple threat.
And I'm not just saying that.
Rating: 4 books I defy you to read this book and not immediately identify with so many different Hilda-isms
Book #62 of 2019: "How To Make A Journal Of Your Life" by Dan Price
Started: 31/7/2019 Finished: 31/7/2019
Another quick read, this one's slightly unusual in that it's all hand-written and -drawn. While the quality isn't superb (the first edition was released in 1999 which is essentially eons ago in technological timeframes) it's still a heartwarming guide to documenting your life.
I would have preferred if it were slightly more practical, but there are still plenty of tips in here to get you started. Consider it a gentle, hand-holding exercise for those who have never dabbled in journaling before (or at least not successfully), and a documentation of the author's own processes and observations.
Rating: 3 books. If journaling and doodling are new to you, give this book a go
Very few standouts this month but hopefully that will change soon. If you have any recommendations, don't be shy.
What would you recommend I read in August?
See below for previous book nooks you may have missed: