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book reviews

What I’m Reading: August 2016

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.

 

The business books and novels I'm reading  in August 2016

Please note that I read 90% of books from my library, but I just got a new Kindle (this one) this month (after my old iPad finally died) and am reading more on it! The usual disclaimer applies.

What I read

  • Rising Strong, by Brene Brown – I've read every book by Brene Brown (a friend recommended her first book a couple years before everyone discovered her) and this is one of my favorites.
  • Full, by Kimber Simpson – A fascinating memoir of someone who struggled with (and found refuge from) disordered eating.
  • The Border of Paradise, by Esme Wang – A strange, beautiful novel that had me totally gripped for the last 1/4 of it.
  • 10% Happier, by Dan Harris – After hearing the author on several podcasts, I was curious about the book.

What I’m reading

I need some more recommendations! Tell me on Twitter or Facebook!

 

What I read last August.

And in August 2014

What are you reading?

 

What I’m Reading: April 2016

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.

What are YOU reading this month? I'm sharing my list of April reads on the blog, at TaraSwiger.com. Come and read my mini-reviews and leave recommendations of YOUR favorite books!

 

What I read

  • Presence, by Amy Cuddy – I really liked this! I recommend it for everyone who gets nervous and feels frozen or awkward in… any situation! If you don't read the book (which you totally should!), you can watch her TED talk.
  • The Secret History, by Donna Tartt – I'm like a decade after everyone else, but this book was great – I love the way the mystery unfolded. You know who did it, but you don't get why until the very end.
  • Year of Cozy, by Adrianna Adarme – so pretty! Totally inspired me to make my own candles.

What I’m reading

What I read last March.
And in April 2014.

What are you reading?

I could use some recommendations! What are you reading and loving right now?

 

 

 

What I’m reading: January 2016

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.

What I read

  • Emma, by Jane Austen
  • A Curious Mind, by Brian Grazer. So good! Brian has spent his life holding “curiosity conversations” – once a week he talks to someone interesting and is just curious about them. I love the idea and the book inspired me to be more curious with everyone I meet.
  • Knit Wear Love, by Amy Herzog. I enjoyed this book about changing your sweater pattern to match your personal style.
  • Design Mom, by Gabrielle Blair. A gorgeous book, that gave me some ideas for our new place. But I couldn't get over how she always refers to her husband by his full name (Ben Blair). Every. Time. Distracting, but beautiful!

What I’m reading

What I read last January.
And in January 2014.

What are you reading?

What I’m Reading: October 2015

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follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.

 

Because I'm thinking so much about my own next book, I find myself avoiding other business-y non-fiction, and instead reading more fiction and books in a totally different genre than what I normally pick.

What I read

  • Creativity, Inc, by Ed Catmull – So GOOD. Aimed at business owners who want to create a culture of creativity and innovation, the insights into how Pixar was built and runs are totally fascinating, even if you're not managing thousands of artists.
  • Essentialism, by Greg McKeon – Eh. I strongly agree with the message of this book, and I think I live by it (as explained here!)…but after a while it felt a bit long and all of his examples are exceedingly impractical for the average person (I.e., taking time off work to heal from a disease).
  • My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante – Ignore the cover. This book is much darker than it looks. It had been recommended by just about every podcast I listen to, so I decided to try it. The author does a great job of exploring the kind of love/obsession/jealousy relationship between girls in childhood. I'm not so in love that I'm diving into the second one, though.
  • The Secret Place, by Tana French – I'm kinda crushed that I've now read all the books in this murder mystery series. I would LOVE a recommendation of something similarly well-written.
  • Y: The Last Man, by Brian K Vaughn – Super fascinating graphic novel about the, well, last man. After an unknown event wipes all men from the planet except for this one, ordinary 20 year old dude….he has adventures as the only survivors (women!) have to figure out how to run the world. This one's not for kids (in case the premise didn't inform you!), and is well-written and gripping.

 

What I’m reading

 

What I read last October

What are you reading?

 

 

 

The usual disclaimery disclaimer applies! 

 

What I’m Reading: January 2015

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.
What I'm reading

What I read

  • Time Warped, by Claudia Hammond
  • Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon. I wanted to post almost every page of this book and say: Yes! Yes! If you don't know how to start sharing your work or using social media, read Austin's book. It's less specific than my book, but has the same message, in such an inspirational package.
  • Not My Father's Son, by Alan Cummings. Not a “my fab celebrity life” memoir at all, but a close, compassionate look at his two family stories: the results of his abusive father & the uncovering of the mystery of his mother's father. It's sweet and authentic and brave.
  • Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler. Funny and sweet, Amy gives some good life advice that you probably already know.
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. Part of my Good Reads Project – what took me so long?

What I’m reading

The Great Books Project

After months of waffling, the Great Books Project is underway. I’m tracking it via GoodReads (my entire list is here) and holding discussions on the Facebook page, with conversations about our lists, our progress, and regular quotes from the books I love. I’ll be sharing a little update here each month, and you’re welcome to join in on your own project, either in the comments, or over on the FB page (the joy of FB is that we can all reply to each other).

This month I got a bit further in the Aeneid (I'm taking it slow, a “book” or two a month) and plowed through The Color Purple in a few days while travelling. Why in the world had it taken me so long to read this book? It's a beautiful reflection on self-definition and finding your voice as a woman and creative. This book reminded me WHY I'm doing this project – to find beautiful gems I've missed.

 

What are you reading?

 

 

What I’m reading: October 2014

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.

What I'm reading: October 2014. Details at Taraswiger.com

What I read

  • GirlBoss, by Sophia Amoruso – If you like business biographies, this has got a healthy dose of that, which I think is the best part. Less interesting is her “advice” for young women. On one page she's giving you interview tips, on another page tips for hiring, and it left me thinking: who is this book for? A woman entering the workforce? Middle management? What I was hoping for was a book aimed at US, women who build our own businesses…but the advice was a little shallow for that.
  • The Odyssey, by Homer – I'm sure I read parts of this in High School, but as part of my Great Books Project (details below) I wanted to read the whole thing. I was completely shocked by how gripping and … modern it all felt, especially if you read any sci-fi. I wholeheartedly love it, recommend it, and can't believe it took me so long.
  • Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles – Another Great Book that was actually great. Of course I knew the story, but Sophocles's play positions us so we watch Oedipus discover his crime. My favorite bit from the forward (written by the translator, Robert Fagles), that perfectly explains its relevance:

“Sophocles play has served…our own terror of the unknown future which we fear we cannot control– our deep fear that every step we take forward on what we think is the road to progress may really be a step toward a foreordained rendezvous with disaster.

I mean, right?

  • 10 years in the Tub: a Decade of Soaking in Great Books, by Nick Hornby. I picked this up randomly from the Reading section of my library (geek alert!) and I am so happy with it. It's a collection of Hornby's “What I'm Reading” articles (you know I love that!) for the Believer magazine, which he wrote for 10 years. The articles are funny, memorable, and perfectly express what it is I love about reading. It's a biggie, and I've been reading a few articles every day, stretching out the enjoyment. (Warning: It caused me to add over a dozen books to my To Read list. Beware!)
  • (Some of) How to Read a Book, by Mortimer Adler. I didn't read it all, because the tone totally turned me off. The author gets snobby (or as British Nick Hornby would say, sniffy) about reading and how to properly do it and while I learned bits, I didn't like his voice or style enough to keep going. But according to Mr. Adler, the only fair criticism is to agree or disagree (with a non-fiction book). I agree with this:

“The first piece of advice we would like to give you for reading a story is this: Read it quickly and with total immersion.”

And this:
“A story is like life itself; in life, we do not expect to understand events as they occur, at least with total clarity, but looking back on them, we do understand. “

What I’m reading

 

The Great Books Project

After months of waffling, the Great Books Project is finally underway. At your suggestion, I'm holding most of it over on the Facebook page, with discussions of our lists, our progress, and regular quotes from the books I love. I'll be sharing a little update here each month, and you're welcome to join in on your own project, either in the comments, or over on the FB page (the joy of FB is that we can all reply to each other).

My project officially started October 1, but as you can see I got a little excited and hit two of my books already (The Odyssey and Oedipus Rex). This month I hope to plow through Virgil and St. Augustine. Do you have any recommended resources for any of them? (For example, I'll be using CraftLit when I hit Dickens and Wilde.) My entire list is here.

 

What are you reading?