Because I always need yoga...and I sometimes need chips.

3/22/2018

My 2017 Book Reviews, Part 2

Better late then never, I guess.




Picking up right where we left off!

Here are my (completely biased) book reviews from what I read in 2017!

1) A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, aka Game of Thrones 3 - It takes me on average 18 months to read one of these. Because I'll read half the book, and become so OVERWHELMED that I have to set it down for a while. Then of course when I pick it up again a year later I'll have no idea what's going on since there are 4,000 characters with really long names and 7,000,000 plot lines (the reason I put the thing down in the first place), but I always end up very glad I committed to it. The writing is so juicy and SO GOOD, and yes the books are insanely better than the TV show, which is also insanely good. Book 3 features THE RED WEDDING, and it's so so riveting! My goal is to read the fourth book this year. As in, pick it up in 2018 and finish it in 2018. I will of course report back on this. I realize I just gave you zero synopsis, but I wouldn't even know where to begin? Arya is awesome, Tyrion remains my fav, Jon Snow broods a lot (but is a total babe, duh.), the red lady is evil, and Joffrey is the worst. Cool?

2) All There Is - This is a cute, heart-warming, easy read. StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. They interview people from all over to hear their stories, and this book is a collection of stories about love, divided into three sections: Love Found, Love Lost, and Love Found at Last. It's a very short compilation, filled with wonderful stories.

3) The Four Agreements - I've had this book for a while, and it ended up being on our required readings list for Yoga Teacher Training. I started it a while ago, and it seemed a little hippy dippy for me (says the woman who eats tofu and lights incense), so I never finished it. Boy, am I glad we read this for YTT, because it's so great. The book outlines four basic agreements, or basic rules to live by, and I find myself referring back to them every day. It's a quick read, and a very powerful book!

4) The Handmaid's Tale - People were going crazy over the TV series, so I had to read the book! This novel falls into the dystopian genre, a genre that I absolutely love. Published in 1985, this classic book by Margaret Atwood takes place in the [very messed up] future. The main character Offred is a Handmaid, whose main function is to produce a child for men who are high up in rank. Touching on classist and feminist themes, the book is disturbing, powerful, and an excellent read.

5) The Reminders - What a quirky, delightful, and heartwarming book! I hadn't heard much about this novel, so I didn't know what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised. Joan is 10 years old and has a condition where she can remember every detail of her life very clearly. Her parents' friend Gavin recently lost a loved one, and he makes a deal with Joan - If she will clearly tell him every memory she has of his loved one, he will help her write a song to enter into a songwriting contest. If you are looking for an easy read that will make you smile, this novel is it!

6) Into the Water - I absolutely loved The Girl on the Train, so I had high expectations for this one. The novel is a mystery surrounding the death of a woman in a small town. I was completely hooked for the first 80% of the book, and then I found the rest to be predictable (and I'm someone who can never predict endings of books or movies). Even though I was a little disappointed by the ending, I would still recommend the book because I was so enthralled by most of it. I also am a big fan of books with feminist themes. Paula Hawkins knows how to engage the reader.

7) How to Win Friends and Influence People - Originally published in 1936, this self-improvement book on how best to interact with people has stood the test of time. While some of the language is a bit dated, the principles are still very relevant. I find myself using many of these techniques, specifically at my job. Definitely a worthwhile read.

8) The Nightingale - Awesome awesome AWESOME book! This World War II novel was definitely one of my top 5 favorite reads in 2018. The story centers around two very different sisters in German-occupied France. One sister joins the resistance, while the other stays home with her family and fights the war in other ways. It's a beautifully told story and an excellent read. If you liked All the Light We Cannot See, you'll definitely be a fan of this one! (Also the picture above reminds me that I need to return this book to my friend Lindsey, who I borrowed it from!)

9) Damage Done - Whew, this book gave me the heeby jeebies! This young adult novel centers around the life of a teenage girl who experienced a tragic event, and is now living a new life with a new identity. The book has a lot of twists and turns, though I did end up figuring out the ending. If you like to be disturbed, this book is for you. If you don't (I don't), then feel free to pass!

10) Eat Right 4 Your Type - I had mentioned this book before when discussing my New Year's Resolutions. Eat Right 4 Your Type was all the rage during my Yoga Teacher Training, so I wanted to check it out to see what it was all about. The idea behind this book is that every blood type is different (duh), so different foods react differently towards each blood type. The diet recommended for my blood type is essentially vegetarian, which makes sense to me since I felt so amazing when I stopped eating meat. There have been many doctors and scientists who have come out and debunked this logic, but I do find it interesting. And like I said, based on my own personal experiences, going veg made me feel like the Hulk (even if I still can't open a jar of pickles to save my life). Regardless, I totally geek out on food and health stuff, so I thought it was a good read.

11) The Gifts of Imperfection - This was my second Brené Brown book to read, and I absolutely LOVED it. Brown leads readers through 10 guideposts to achieve acceptance of who we are. They are all based on letting go of the many expectations we are faced with as a society. It's a very approachable, delightful, and thought-provoking read!

12) Maybe in Another Life - I tend to shy away from chick-lit, and if I had known this novel fell into that category, I probably would not have read it. But despite myself, I actually enjoyed it. The story centers around a woman who runs into an ex-boyfriend while out one night. He asks her to stay out a while longer, and then the story splits off into a version of her life where she stayed, and another version where she didn't. You follow the stories and see how drastically different (yet similar) both lives are. If you are a fan of the idea of multiple universes (me!), or loved the 90s movie Sliding Doors (me also!), this quick, light book might be worth the read.

13) 11/22/63 - Not a fan of the scary or disturbing (see above, re: Damage Done), this was my first Stephen King novel. My dad had given it to me several years ago, and it had been collecting dust on my bookshelf. I had heard great things about this one, but the book is massive and incredibly daunting to look at. But for some reason, in 2017, I figured what the hell, and gave it a whirl. And I'm so glad I did! Because this also ended up on my Top 5 list (how many are on my Top 5 list now? 18?). A man is presented with a portal that takes him back in time to 1958, and he is tasked with stopping the Kennedy assassination. This riveting, fascinating story kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved every page of it!

14) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - I also mentioned this book in my New Year's Resolutions. Marie Kondo lays out an approach to decluttering your home, all based on the simple question, "Does this spark joy?" Instead of using a room-by-room approach (as most of us do), she uses a category approach. First clothes, then books, and so on. It's all about truly appreciating what you have and not cluttering your life with things that don't really bring you joy. I cut my wardrobe down by at least a third - if not half - which was totally liberating (although I do find myself stealing t-shirts from my husband nowadays, as my dirty laundry starts to pile up). I got rid of maybe only 10 books, but then again, books generally bring me joy (hence this blog post). I've not really delved any further, and I certainly would like to. This book is a super easy read, and totally inspirational! I definitely recommend it.

And there you have it for the books I read in 2017! I would love to hear what your recent (or all-time) favs are, as I'm always on the prowl for the next good read. 2018 is off to a bit of a slow start for me in the book department, so I'd love recommendations on a phenomenal novel to dive into!

xo and namaste! - Kim

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