January 2021–Part Two

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (Length: 402 pages).   Another excellent memoir! This book was recommended to me multiple times by good friends, and I’m so glad I finally picked it up. Fast-paced, interesting, and lots of personal development . . . none of which I expected from a more business-focused memoir. Knight does discuss how his company Nike was formed and evolved, but he also writes extensively about his travel experiences, which are riveting to read. I also enjoyed how a ragtag crew of individuals created a monster athletic brand. I would have enjoyed this memoir even more if Knight included more information about the company once it went public in 1984, as he skips ahead to 2006, but this is still worth the read.

Book #2:

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong (Length: 170 pages).  I really enjoyed reading this book, after a somewhat slow (ie, confused) start. The unusual format threw me off a bit, but I found myself really loving this sweet novel about a woman spending a year with her father who is newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My favorite part is how her father slowly shares his written journal entries with his daughter, having written observations of his daughter during each day of her childhood. (I have a similar journal, though nowhere as detailed, filled with funny things my daughters said when they were younger.) Later on, his daughter does the same for him (filling one amazing chapter), listing some “funny” things her dad does while struggling with his progressing disease. This novel is written with such heart, and filled with witty moments. (I also adore how his former college students let him keep teaching a (fake) class after he is fired from his teaching job). Please read!

Book #3:

The Idiot by Elif Batuman (Length: 427 pages).  Um. Nope. This novel was recommended by a book blogger whose taste and recommendations I trust, but this (admittedly polarizing) book was just NOT for me. It felt like 400 plus (!) pages of intense navel-gazing, which is very annoying to me. I was told that if I went to college in the 90s (which I did, very early 90s) I would appreciate the references. But I think that possibly holds true if one went to an IVY LEAGUE college. I did find the last third of the novel (when the narrator teaches ESL in Hungary) to be more interesting, but not by much. There is no real plot here (other than wondering if the narrator will finally get to together with her very odd crush), and several reviewers mention the narrator’s very dry humor (which I typically love) but I honestly didn’t see that here). This was not my cup of tea.

Book #4:

A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Length: 753 Kindle pages).  Sigh. This is an incredible book! It’s VERY long (700 printed pages) and it’s only on his first 4 years as president, but honestly, every word here is necessary and is absolutely wonderful to read. No ghost writer either (which, given the last 4 years of bumble head idiot, needs to be highlighted here!). What a cathartic delight this is to read, with words written by an incredibly intelligent, compassion leader. I loved reading an insider’s view of the White House and the Oval Office, as well as Obama’s historical overview of the events that occurred in his first term. I learned quite a bit about the how and whys certain things happened. This is a must read!


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