Monday, December 26, 2016

Literary Lust: Recently Read

At the beginning of the year, I made a goal to read 50 books by the end of the year. I finally reached my goal last week, and I'm really excited about it! I thought I'd highlight some of the ones I read. Forgive me if some of these blurbs sound a bit vague. It's been a while (months) since I've read some of these.

The Science of Skinny
This book is really enlightening. It explains how and why all of the processed foods out there are terrible for you and what they do to your body and its chemistry. Not only does it explain this, but the author does so in a way that you can understand. It's not overly filled with science jargon or written too academically. The author even includes handy lists, charts, and recipes that make it easy for you to refer to when food shopping. If you are trying to change your diet and eat healthier and more clean, read this book. It will change your life, or at least the way you think about food and what you put in your body. It's crazy what the things that pass as food today can do to you.

The Book Thief
I know I'm way behind in the times for not having read this yet, but I finally did and it was AMAZING. I can see why so many people spoke so highly of this book. I'm a sucker for novels set in WWII Germany. I think it was a very interesting and heartbreaking time, but this was so well done and done so much better than other books with the same setting. I love how Death is the narrator. I love everything about this book. Please read it if you haven't.

If I Forget You
I usually opt for more depressing and heavy books, but every now and then I need something light to cleanse my reading palate. If I Forget You is a romantic drama in a sense, though it's not too dramatic, really. I like that the storylines travel through time and switch perspectives. It's kind of like The Notebook or The Time Traveler's Wife, in that sense, but still different. It's very hard to explain. I really loved Greene's writing style and I loved the voice of the main character, Henry. It's essentially a tale of lost love and choosing the right path.

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
The way that this story is woven is fantastic. It follows a girl from teenage years into adulthood and her struggle with what is basically an eating disorder and the inner turmoil that comes with it, as well as how it devastatingly impacts her relationships. Even when she is thin, the drive to be smaller is still there and it eventually causes her to lose more than just pounds. It depicts how hard it can be to lose weight, how much people painstakingly count food intake and calories, and how body image can affect someone's self worth (or lack of) and happiness.

All The Birds in the Sky
This book is not something I would typically pick up. It's sci-fi, but it's not too sci-fi, if that makes sense. What interested me was part of the synopsis had a sort of Wicked feel to it. The story blends magic and science together, which I really loved the concept of.  It also takes place over a long stretch of years, which I thought was cool. It's basically about this boy and girl who become friends in middle school but then suddenly part ways due to some weird circumstances. The girl learns that she can do magic that can heal people and the boy can build machines that can make him time travel. When they grow up and become more skilled in their designated fields, they meet again to attempt to save the world from disaster. It sounds crazy and strange, but it was really well done and written in a way where nothing felt far-fetched. It was a sci-fi story that felt like it could be real, which I loved.

Baby Doll
A story not unlike Jaycee Dugard's and other victims of kidnap and rape. This book is about a girl who was stolen by a man who kept her hostage and sexually abused her, eventually leading to the birth of a child. Most of the book is about what happens after the woman escapes when noticing that the door of the basement she is kept in was left unlocked. It is a very quick read because it's pretty short and very hard to put down. The story is told from multiple perspectives from the woman held captive, to her mom, her sister, and even the captor himself. It definitely keeps it interesting and is great if you're into thrillers.

Maybe in Another Life
Another palate cleanser! This book is very light and almost pure fluff. It's about this seemingly very cute girl who has cute quirks of liking her hair in a bun and loving cinnamon rolls. The premise of the book is that there are two different storylines that it follows in this girl's life depending on if she stays at a party with a guy she used to date or leaves it with her best friend. The chapters alternate between the storylines, which makes it interesting to read. Like I said, it's light and fluffy, but the two different what-if scenarios are what give it a little bit of substance.

A Season with the Witch


This book was AWESOME. I appropriately read it in October when it first came out. It made me yearn to live in Salem, more so than I already do but it also let me live vicariously through the author, which was nice. He describes everything in such detail that I could easily picture where he was in the city. I learned so much about the city! The book is like part travel guide and part history, but on steroids. It's awesome, and the author's humor and wit is great too. If you love Salem or witches or Halloween or all of the above, you'll love this book. He talks about Hocus Pocus, which is always a plus in my book.

A Monster Calls


I read this because I saw a preview for the movie that comes out this month, noticed that it was based on a book, and it seemed really interesting. I was right. This book was beautiful, powerful, and heartbreaking. It made me cry. It definitely went deeper than I thought it was going to. I can't wait to see the movie. The story and writing is just AMAZING.

Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe


This is definitely near the top of my favorites list for books I read this year. I enjoyed it SO MUCH. I was a little iffy, as I always am with nonfiction. Even if it's something I'm interested in, sometimes I just can't get into it if it's written too dryly. This book was not. I couldn't stop reading it! It made me both laugh and cry. I thought I was a space nerd before this book, but now I'm even more so. It was so interesting. Mike Massimino talks about how he came to be a  NASA astronaut, the struggles he endured, and what it was like to blast off in a rocket and be up on the Hubble. It was so fascinating and insightful. Not only that, but his perseverance and passion is really inspiring. I loved this book so much!!

Scrappy Little Nobody


I wouldn't say I'm a huge Anna Kendrick fan. I like her and enjoyed the movies I've seen that she is in. She always seemed like a cool person. When I read reviews of her book, it seemed like she was super funny. I love to read funny books, especially if they are memoirs or written by comedians. I wouldn't say Anna is a comedian in her acting career, but she was definitely funny. She had a lot of good stories to share, but what really struck me after finishing the whole book was how down to earth and real she is. She just wants to get home and be comfortable like everyone else after a night out wearing a fancy ass dress and high heels. I really enjoyed her writing and her wit! It also made me want to hang out with her.

I am still reading more books, so maybe I will go over my goal this year if I can finish the book I'm currently reading by Sunday. I am not sure if I should try to outdo myself next year since I feel like I just barely made it with 50 this year. Honestly, if I didn't read the entire Scott Pilgrim series, I probably wouldn't have made it. I think I will try for another 50 next year!

If you have any book recommendations or have read any of these books and loved them too, let me know!


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