november 2018 books

November included a whole lot of waiting for me…waiting to defend my dissertation. To distract myself from my anxiety, I turned to one of my favorite pastimes–reading! I managed to read three books this month, and all were quite different.

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

It was only a matter of time before I returned to Gretch, right? In case you missed it, I really liked The Happiness Project earlier this year. This sort-of sequel to that book was also delightful for a fellow Type A/Upholder type who loves making lists and goals. I also just really enjoy reading about other people taking on personal challenges and how they work through them (Other favorites: Year of No Clutter and Year of No Sugar). However, I will say that with this book, I alternated between being inspired by Gretchen’s self- (and home-) improvement endeavors and being a little cynical about the whole project. I mean, very few people have the luxury of spending such seemingly copious amounts of time and money on things like “cultivating a shrine” and “Wednesday adventures.” I had to remind myself that writing this book is her job; she’s not tackling all these resolutions in addition to a normal, 9-5 job. Nonetheless, I did download her Resolutions Chart from her website for a little motivation, come January.

4/5 stars.

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

I picked up this book because I read in a review that it would appeal to those who like NBC’s drama, This Is Us. Seth and I happen to have just binged the show on Hulu, and it’s kind of the best. Anyway, this book did not disappoint! I found it so engaging that I read it in just a few days. The book tells the story of three half-siblings who do not discover that one another exist until they are teenagers. The plot focuses on how they come to meet and the struggles they face together. It’s a tad unrealistic in my opinion (Would all three really live within driving distance of one another? And have parents who were totally on board with such a reunion?), but compelling fiction often is 🙂 I had fun reading it, and it was a good reminder to hug my sisters occasionally.

4.5/5 stars.

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

I’ve been hearing about how hilarious David Sedaris is for years now, but I never actually read anything by him. With the holidays right around the corner, I picked up this holiday-themed collection of short stories over Thanksgiving weekend. To be honest, guys, I didn’t love the writing. The humor was darker than I was anticipating, and maybe I just regard any cynicism about Christmas as blasphemy because I’m a bit of an “extreme Christmas enthusiast.” There were parts that were funny, particularly those related to the author’s family life. I won’t give up on Sedaris just yet, but I wouldn’t say this book made an excellent first impression.

3.5/5 stars.

What did you read in November?

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