Young Jane Young, by Gabrielle Zevin

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Hello bookish friends! I cannot believe we are in December and approaching Christmas. We have finally decorated our house, and we are so excited for the holidays… but secretly I’m really excited to curl up in front of our fireplace with some eggnog and a book. One of my wonderful clients gifted me this beautiful mug in the picture above, in the last year she started doing pottery classes and has become really quite amazing at it! Anywho… onto the discussion of Young Jane Young.

I first heard of Gabrielle Zevin on Anne Bogel’s podcast, and was instantly inspired to pick up her book, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. That book is a book lover’s dream, and I highly recommend it to all readers! So when I heard that Zevin was coming out with a another novel, I was super excited and immediately put it on hold at the library. Well, the wait was worth it, because this book was such a pleasant surprise. Based on the description, I thought it was going to be completely different than it turned out to be.

Young Jane Young follows a Aviva Grossman who is a young, ambitious intern with a local, married politician. The two enter into an affair, all the while Aviva is anonymously blogging about her experience as an intern, and the salacious affair. When everything comes out in the wash, the congressman is quickly forgiven, yet Aviva’s life has been promptly ruined. She cannot go out without being slut shamed, she cannot get a job, and is consumed with grief. Aviva decides after an awakening of sorts, to move across the country and change her name, and start a new life.

This book’s heroine is definitely reminiscent of Monica Lewinsky. You are introduced to a whole cast of women; Aviva, Aviva’s mother, the congressman’s wife, and Aviva’s daughter… each of these strong women tell their story within the scandal of the affair. Zevin did an incredible job of telling a story about how deeply rooted slut-shaming is in our culture, and just how much a woman’s life is affected by such shaming.

If you ask me, this book couldn’t have been published at a better time. With all the alleged scandals being exposed at the moment, I think the conversations that this book will ignite are quite important. BUT do not be fooled, this book is really fun as well as important. Zevin weaves this story through the personal accounts, emails, and hilarious pop culture references. I would highly recommend this book as it made me sympathetic, but also laugh out loud!

Have you read this one? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Until next time, happy reading!

 

 

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Winter Running Fav’s

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Hello!! I’m coming at you today with a running/outdoor exercise post, and if this does not seem like something you want to read… that’s okay. Feel free to breeze on over to the next book review. BUT… there is a book suggestion at the bottom of this email!

It may come to you as no surprise that I really enjoy winter running. Well… let’s be honest, I enjoy running in all the seasons, but there really is something special about winter. The main reason is that I’m not overly motivated to get outside when it’s cold out, but if I can get out and be a little active in it I always feel so much better and the fresh air is really, well, refreshing!!

Whether it’s just below zero degrees, or WAY below zero degrees, it’s all about dressing appropriately and going for it! So along these lines, I thought I would share some of the gear that makes winter running doable for me.

  • Reflective Shell Jacket: This is probably one of the most important pieces of clothing that I own for running. I literally wear it non-stop. First of all, I run early morning, sometimes when it’s still dark, so being seen is important! Another great thing about this jacket it that it’s lightweight, rain, snow, or freezing cold, it’s the layer underneath that will change.
  • Coast Running Headlamp: Again, it’s usually early when I run. But if you are an early or late night runner, this is an awesome piece of equipment! It is lightweight, and also has a dimmer switch to adjust the amount of light you want.
  • SPIbelt: This little running pouch is the bomb. I really like it to carry my phone, attach my dog leash too, or stash some long run fuel if need be. It’s really lightweight, and not very noticeable.
  • Garmin Running Watch: This watch that I have is really one of the most simplest Garmin watches for running you can buy. It tells me how far I’ve ran, my pace, and numerous other things! I find this really encouraging some days, and other days I just leave it at home when I don’t care about the numbers.
  • Halti Dog Leash: I’ve had this dog leash for about 8 years! Incredible for someone who loses just about everything. But I really like it, it’s actually a dog training leash, so it has two clasps and multiple spaces that you can attach it. I love it because I can just attach Mellie to my waist, or use it as a normal leash. And obviously it holds up over time!
  • Reflective bands: I picked up this little band at the dollar store, but because I like to go early some days I just wanted an extra little bit that made cars able to see me!
  • Lululemon Headband:  This is another one of those pieces that I’ve had for ages… so the link is a little different from the one I own, but it’s actually REALLY warm. Another plus, it doesn’t mess up my hair! So on those days when I just dry shampoo, or run on my lunch hour, hat head hair is non-existent!

I love these pieces, and I’m sure you all have gear that makes getting outside in the cold easier that you can share with me!

A book and resource that I always turn back to for this type of instruction is John Stanton’s book Running; The Complete Guide to Running Program. Whether you are looking to learn to run, run a marathon, or dressing appropriately for the weather… this book has been my running bible and has tons of information!

Until the next book review, happy reading & getting outside!

 

 

 

Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch

You know how on that last post I mentioned that I felt like I was in a bit of a reading rut… officially broken!!! Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch was such a fun, and different kind of book.

It’s officially the holiday season, as we have numerous Christmas parties this weekend, so I hope you will forgive me for a shorter review! But I had to tell ya’ll about this book.

Are you happy with your life?

These are the last words that the main character, Jason Dessen, hears before he is abducted from his average, but happy life. He wakes up surrounded by strangers, on a gurney in an alternate universe. This new life doesn’t have a wife, a son, or anything that he has built… but what he does have is a successful career. Jason doesn’t want this new life, and he’s willing to fight to the end to return back to his happy home.

I am hard wired to love and protect that woman.

Oh man, where to start… this book gave me everything! A little suspense, some romance, and fulfilled that sci-fi void that I’ve been missing in my life lately! Blake Crouch told a story that felt like a movie. It was action packed, and Jason’s unconditional love for his wife, Daniela, was so beautiful to read along with.

So, bookish friends… that’s all for today. But go put this book on hold, or buy it for yourself for Christmas!! It gets ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 from me.

Until next time, happy reading!!

The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

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Well, friends… I have been striking out lately. The History of Love was not my favourite, despite the fact that it was a New York Times Bestseller. Theoretically this book sounded like the perfect book for me. With writing and WWII as big themes, I thought for sure this would have me really interested. I thought the Nicole Krauss’ writing was great, but the story line was just very muddled, and seemed to bounce all over the place.

Here’s a quick synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is trying to find a cure for her mother’s loneliness. Believing she might discover it in an old book her mother is lovingly translating, she sets out in search of its author. Across New York an old man called Leo Gursky is trying to survive a little bit longer. He spends his days reminiscing of the people he lost who, sixty years ago in Poland, inspired him to write a book. And although he doesn’t know it yet, that book also survived.

Mostly, this is a story about love in many different forms. The thing that binds the whole book together is Leo Gursky’s unconditional love of his childhood flame Alma. When WWII separated them, he held onto that love for a lifetime. Something else Krauss has captured is the ability to describe a crusty elderly man. His chapters were absolutely what kept me pushing through this book, and his outlook on the world had me laughing out loud periodically.

 

Anywho, don’t let me stop you from reading this book. I’ve heard rave reviews about it, but it just wasn’t for me!

In all honesty friends, I feel like I’m in a bit of a reading rut. Any tips on breaking out of a rut would be much appreciated!

Until next time, happy reading!

Braving the Wilderness, by Brene Brown

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I picked up Brene Brown’s newest book Braving the Wilderness for two reasons… It came highly recommended from a couple of my bookish buds, and also in my attempt to read more non-fiction before the year ended. I had read and loved Brene’s book The Gifts of Imperfection, which is based all around embracing your imperfections, and doing you.

This book is basically based on Brene’s research on bringing meaning to our lives and dealing with our experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. She uses a mix of her past experiences, and research to change our perspectives and thoughts on what true belonging is. 

                              True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are.                                                   It requires us to be who  we are.

I was a big fan of The Gifts of Imperfection, and think that Brown’s research is extremely important on a small and large level. I think it will initiated a lot of important conversations that need to start happening. In this age that is becoming only social on our computers and networks that exist within it, it’s important to reflect on what these things bring into our life, but also what they take.

People are Hard to Hate Close up. Move In. Speak Truth to BS. Be Civil. Hold Hands. With Strangers. Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.

Something else I found really interesting in this book was the discussion about loneliness. I think everyone at one point in time has felt lonely, or alone and this book really addresses the fact that we can all feel this way for different reasons… but braving the wilderness and having the courage to do so is the best way to start moving forward.

In all honesty, I was a little disappointed with the take-away of this book. I had heard these rave reviews of “AHA” moments, and quotable lines… which there were all these things, but they felt a little cliche to me. I also found this book somewhat repetitive with the main objectives of it… but upon further reflection I am wondering if this was the exact point of her book. Because what I have noticed is I keep these thoughts that I have quoted above running around in my head. So there’s that!

Have you read any of Brene Brown’s books? She is extremely popular in the self-help/self-discovery genre and I’d love to hear your thoughts on her work.

Until next time, happy reading bookish friends!

Fire Sermon, by Jamie Quatro

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If you are thinking about picking up this book be ready to blush, and have moments of thought provoking pauses. Who would’ve thought that these two feelings could be in the same book?!?

I received an advanced reading copy of Fire Sermon, by Jamie Quatro from House of Anansi, and you will be able to pick up a copy this coming January. I had never read anything by Jamie Quatro before, so I was a little reluctant to pick it up. UNTIL, I was listening to On the Front Porch Podcast and Annie was talking about this exact book. Well, let’s just say that I got a case of book envy and decided to pick it up.

Here’s a quick little synopsis… Thomas and Maggie has been married for 20 years, and live in Nashville with their two children. Maggie has a very strong sense of her faith and church, meanwhile Thomas does not. When Maggie writes to a poet, James, that she has felt a deep connection to his writing, she finds herself drawn into an affair with him.

This book is a fast read, and the writing just sort of unfolds as it goes. It’s told throughout different periods of time, and writing styles throughout the affair. A warning… this book is REALLY steamy!! It goes deep into the details of the two relationships that Maggie is struggling with. It’s an in-depth look at a marriage, and the ebbs and flows of it throughout a lifetime.

Maggie begins to question her relationship with Thomas, and with God upon meeting James. She begins to question all the decisions that have led her to this point in her life, because with James she can be ultimately more whole self.

Considering this book is relatively short, at 224 pages, it packs a lot of punch! This is the type of book that makes you go… hmmmmm. The kind of fiction that makes you sit back and look at your life, and relationships within it. If you are the type of person that likes fiction that makes you think, then this is for you! Just don’t say I didn’t warn you that it may make you blush.

Until next time, happy reading!!

 

Increasing Productivity through Books

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On a daily basis, I get told “I wish I had more time to read” or I get asked “How do you read so much and find time to run?”. And in all honesty, some days I do feel like life is a little crazy to fit in all these things that I love to do. But here’s the thing… these things that I love to do are what truly make me happy. I’m a creature of habit.

So being a creature of habit, I’ve always been really interested in what other’s people routines/habits are that make their life so much more manageable. Because life is too short to waste time on the useless stuff that doesn’t make a difference in your day.

Upon being asked this questions so many times, I started to think about how I do fit in all these things that other people are telling me that they struggle with. When I started to think about this my answer is just that it’s my routine and the things I do are important to me. I thrive off of routine, and have done a lot of reading in other peoples. So I thought I’d share the resources that have helped me become better at doing more.

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Better than Before, by Gretchen RubinThis book was the book that made me go AHA!! If you aren’t familiar with Gretchen Rubin, she’s a “go-er”. She has written several books, has an extremely successful podcast, and is also a mother and wife. This book is based on 4 different personality types, and recognizing them. What I loved was the helpful little tactics on how to feed each personality. I’m really looking forward to her newest book that includes a deeper dive called The Four Tendencies.

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferriss. This book is a collection of Tim Ferriss’ interviews on his Podcast of highly successful, and motivated individuals. The people that really stood out to me were Brene Brown, Jane McGonigal, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s a fascinating look into what makes each of these people tick. Another fun tidbit is each person includes what their spirit animal is… which I love.

 

Daily Rituals

Daily Rituals, by Mason CurryThis is another collection of how artists make time to find inspiration and create the masterpieces we admire. Some of my favourites from this one are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Beethoven, and Maya Angelo. What is so great about this book is it is incredibly varied, and each of these successful people seem to do what works best for them. not prescribing to anyone else’s routine.

 

Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance

Racing Weight, by Matt Fitzgerald. It’s no secret… I love to run! And I bought this ages ago when I was trying to figure out exactly what nutrition tweaks would help my running. Honestly, I don’t care about that anymore… I just care that I get out the door… BUT what is so interesting about this book is that it breaks down extremely successful athletes routines, and diets. It’s an interesting look at their routines… now this is something I can get into!

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. Right about now you are probably figuring out that I am a super fan of Gretchen Rubin’s work. She’s the queen of productivity. This book is her personal account of how she pursued a different resolution each month of a year. What I love about this is it is small tweaks to her lifestyle that got BIG results! I’m re-reading this book in December and seriously thinking of doing my own personal “Happiness Project”.

If this type of reading fascinates you, there are a couple podcasts that you could subscribe to that will feed this part of your brain. These include:

I would love for any feedback you have on this post, and any books that you have read that have made your life more efficient and effective!!