Sunday, January 25, 2015

Reading Recap: January

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal of reading 70 books.  Within that total, I wanted to expand my reading horizons a little by including one memoir/biography, one classic, and one blog reader recommendation each month.

Here's what I read in January:


by Neil Patrick Harris

Like I do with most books I pick up, I skimmed the reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. Some people seemed really put-off by the "choose your own adventure" style. While it does make reading the book a little different, I like to think it absolutely matches Neil's character and humor.  And there's plenty of his humor in this book.  I enjoyed reading about his pretty normal childhood and how he started acting.  My favorite chapters were the ones about HIMYM, how he came out, how he met his husband (appropriate, I think), and the stuff about becoming and being a father.  Also, I feel like I need to note I did not jump around at the "choose your own adventure" cues.  Instead, I read it straight through.  This meant I encountered some weird chapters that seemed out of place, but I figured it out. I enjoyed this book and love NPH even more now than I did before (which was a lot).


by Lois Lowry

I'm not sure how I got this far in life without reading this book.  I kept seeing/hearing friends talk about it, but had never actually consumed the story myself.  As I read it earlier this month, I was struck by the ways in which is was similar to other dystopian YA novels that have come out in recent years.  The premise really reminded me of "Matched" and "Divergent." There were also aspects that were similar to "The Hunger Games."  But "The Giver" came out years before any of those.  Some might say the newer authors copied, but I think I would prefer to see it as a nod of respect.  They didn't blatantly rip off the story.  They just adopted the concept and took it in their own direction.  I didn't like the way the book ended.  Such a cliffhanger.  I suppose I'll need to get the rest of the series now to see what happens with Jonas.

Blog Reader Rec

by Gabrielle Zevin

Heather recommended this one. It started out a little slow, but the concept was certainly intriguing.  As you might guess from the title, it's about a teenage girl, named Naomi, who experiences memory loss after a fall. The last four years of her life have been completely wiped out.  As she starts to uncover things about her life and how it's changed in those four years, she has to decide how she feels about all of it -- friendships, relationships, family events, and even her interests and priorities.  It definitely made me think about my own life.  How would I feel if I woke up tomorrow without most of my recent memories?  Would I like my current life or would I be disappointed in choices I've made?  Would I change them?  How would I choose to live if I could have that "reset" button?  Great read.  I want to read more by this author now.

Bonus Reads

by Marti Olsen Laney

I started this audiobook in December, but listened to most of it in January. I would argue it's more useful than Quiet, another book written for/about introverts.  Whereas Quiet assured me it was OK to be an introvert and explained how it affected me, The Introvert Adavantage told me why introverts are necessary in society. More than that, it gave me insights into how to adapt my introvert tendencies for dating (whether in a relationship with an introvert or extrovert), social situations, parenting, the workplace, etc.  It even talks about coping skills for when extroverting is required. There was a very small part that talked about the brain and was a bit over my head (no pun intended), but overall, it was very relatable and enjoyable to listen to during my commutes.

by Sophie Kinsella

This is only the second Sophie Kinsella book I've read in my life.  The British voice and references took me some time to get into, but once I latched on, I was fine.  I hated Lottie at the beginning.  I just found her rather whiny and entitled. It was hard to keep going with a character who was so unlikeable.  Fliss, on the other hand, was relatable at the start.  But as the story went on, I started to like her less as well.  Both lead characters are incredibly flawed, but it ultimately works for the story.  I understood them both in the end, and I quite liked the ending. I know Kinsella's niche is these outlandish situations, and she does them well. I'm just not sure I enjoy them.


My reading progress to date:

By the way, I could still use some blog reader recommendations.  Tell me your all-time favorite book, and if I haven't read it, I'll add it to my list.


  1. The Giver is definitely a great ones! I read it for reading class in 7th grade, and when I became a 6th grade teacher, I was thrilled to have it as part of my novels for my students. I reread it, and I read the rest of the series for the first time. I will warn you, the next two books essentially seem unrelated to The Giver. The fourth book ties it all together! If you haven't read, "The Time Traveler's Wife", I HIGHLY recommend that one!

  2. Like Becky said, Lowry has a lot of dystopian books, but none are really related. Unfortunately, Jonas' story kinda ends there. A professor in college told me she got to go to a press conference with Lowry and said it was asked: what happened at the end? and Lowry said it was to be left up to interpretation. I recommend Number the Stars if you liked The Giver, or Gossamer. Lois Lowry is a genius, in my opinion.
    And if you like Zevin, try Elsewhere.

  3. I agree that The Giver was frustrating-- I hate books that have no resolution at the end! Also-- I've really come around on Sophie Kinsella. I spent several years hating her books (thanks to the shopaholic books), but her more recent ones are great. I finished Twenties Girl earlier this month and I've Got Your Number last year-- loved them both.

  4. I've read a few Sophie Kinsella books and have found all of her characters to be unlikeable. At least in the beginning. Makes it difficult for me to want to read any more.

  5. I read the initial Kinsella books but quickly tired of them.

    I'm intrigued by the amnesiac book.

  6. I really like Sophie Kinsella books, I feel like I will read them no matter what but I did not love the Wedding Night. That one was definitely one of my lesser favourites by her...

  7. Sophie Kinsella can be hit or miss. I have really loved her books and some I have really hated. I read one actually last month that was horrible.

    I picked up The Giver and never could get into it. I should probably try again.

  8. Oo, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac sounds interesting! I'd also like to read NPH's book.

  9. I really enjoyed The Giver and the ambiguous ending made sense to me. I'm on the fence about the NPH book. I love him and those kinds of books but I'm nervous to read it.

    Sophie Kinsella never jumped out at me, but that Teenage Amnesiac book sounds very interesting.

  10. I loved Neil's book too. I started out choosing my own adventure, but I felt like I would miss stuff that way, so I started over and read straight through. Loved it! I definitely want to check out Memoirs of an Teenage Amnesiac.

  11. I've heard so many great things about NPH's book. He is such a seemingly genuine and witty guy. I look forward to getting around to reading his book.

  12. Neil Patrick is hilarious, sounds like an interesting book. I would totally benefit from the Introvert book, checking it out.

  13. I'm sure you'll reach your goal! I am currently reading The Giver!


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