August 2020–Part Two

Thank you for joining me here!   (Reminder: the page numbers I list here reflect the number of Kindle pages, not paper pages.)  I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1

Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman (Length: 338 pages).   If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you are already aware of my obsession with the Appalachian Trail, and all first-person accounts written by people who’ve actually been able to hike this 2200 mile trail, which stretches north from Georgia to Maine. I enjoyed the parts of this book where the author focuses on the actual hike. He is a very strong hiker, has a likeable personality, and he’s able to meet a variety of interesting people on the trail. He shares a lot of good details about the hike such as what type of food he actually ate, which shelters he stayed in, and his equipment that he found to be helpful. The other parts of the book discuss his desire to “save” people by them finding Jesus. It’s not overwhelming throughout most of the book, however, because it’s relevant to his personal background (he’s a Mennonite). I will say by the end of the book it became too distracting for me as I’m only interested in the nuts and bolts of the through hike. I’d recommend this to anyone who is also interested in this amazing journey. (It’s often on $1.99 Kindle sale on Amazon).

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Book #2

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (304 pages). I really enjoyed this book! Such a fun read that is so different than what I typically read. It’s very spooky and dark, with a splash of melodrama. I could picture the scenery so well thanks to the author’s beautiful writing. The atmospheric writing is boosted by the setting, a remote estate in central Mexico, adjacent to an old silver mine. There are many supernatural elements, along with some eugenics, which makes for an interesting and unusual combination. Excellent character development, but this is also very plot-driven which makes it difficult to put down. This novel is currently being developed for a series (or movie?) on Hulu, and I will definitely be interested in watching. I highly recommend this read! (A good book club and a good travel/vacation read).

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Book #3

Love Lettering by Kath Clayborn (307 pages). I was excited to read this one because I thought the premise was an interesting one . . . a woman in New York City works as a hand-letterer, meaning she is paid to create planners and chalkboard walls and stationery for wealthy customers in the city. However, there is entirely too much navel-gazing in most of the book, and very little plot/conflict. I adore novels set in New York City, and the parts of the book where the author describes all of the little neighborhoods the protagonist visits are my favorite parts. The plot does pick up in the last quarter of the novel, with an interesting (albeit tangential) detour into the world of financial fraud, but it was a little too late for me. The protagonist is altogether too whiny and introspective, but perhaps my opinion is based on my perspective as a woman in middle age, and a twenty-something person can relate much better.

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Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins (366 pages). This is a memoir written by a Navy Seal (AND Army Ranger AND Air Force Tactical Air Controller), plus he’s also been called “The Fittest (Real) Man in America” due to his incredible performance in many endurance races. The purpose of his writing is to motivate the reader to excel in all areas of their lives, not just in areas of physical fitness, and I’d say he succeeds. I came away very impressed by his achievements given his very difficult childhood with almost-insurmountable obstacles, and his writing is relatively strong given the genre. His talent and sheer grit are astounding, but it’s his mental game that I think we can all learn from. Some of his achievements are a bit idiotic (ie, running a 100-mile race with zero training) but it’s a lot of fun to ride along with him as he recounts these exploits. I found many of his rules to be worth taking note of, especially the 40% rule (most of us only work to 40% of what we are capable of doing, and don’t tap into the remaining 60%). This would be an excellent book for anyone to have in their personal library.


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