Friday, December 3, 2021

Some Book Recommendations


I love books. I don't have a lot of free time, but I make time to read--or more often to listen. I absolutely love the app Overdrive, where I can check books out for free. I also periodically subscribe to Audible to get the books I can't get on Overdrive.

I suggested Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey to my library on Overdrive, which meant I was #1 on the list to listen to it. Fun!  It was an enjoyable memoir with some good life lessons.

I've been in Toastmasters this last year, improving my communication and leadership skills. One of the things I've learned is that if you can make your speech into a story, people will listen. There were more great hints in The Storyteller's Secret by Carmine Gallo.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a dystopian romp in the Midwest, where a band of musicians and actors travel through the new world. I thought it was quite optimistic that there would be sufficient free time to have music and acting, which is kind of refreshing for a dystopian novel.

Our friend Paul Dye wrote a marvelous memoir, Shuttle, Houston, about his days in the Mission Control for NASA. Here's a great way to get behind the scenes. 

Sticking with the space theme, Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary was an awesome listen on spring break, the whole family got into it. Our son is considering being a science teacher as a possible career path, and I can't help but wonder if this book helped inspire that thought.

Becoming by Michelle Obama flowed so well. She really opened the doors to behind-the-scenes of her life, from growing up on the south side of Chicago to becoming a lawyer, meeting Barack, and becoming First Lady.

I saw Grit by Angela Duckworth recommended by skier Lindsay Vonn, and it is great. The premise is that talent is overrated, what really matters is passion and effort. Most people don't want to put in the effort though, and some can't find their passion, so we sit on the couch and admire the talented and say they can just naturally do it, not really knowing how they got to where they are.

Sometimes I just need a fun novel, and I've liked a past book by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. The President's Daughter is a fun thriller, predictable but enjoyable.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin intersperses stories of war with leadership lessons. Most of the lessons aren't new (keep it simple, communicate well), but are told in an engaging way and are good reminders.

Kim and Penn Holderness have fun Internet videos where they make fun of various things, and their audiobook was enjoyable to listen to. Everybody Fights is a guide to healthy married relationships and has some good points.

Escape by Carolyn Jessop is a chilling memoir of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints community she grew up in and eventually escaped with her eight children. It's hard to believe that this way of life exists in the U.S. There are quite a few polygamists who live within a few hours of us, and I certainly hope their life is a LOT better than what she portrays.

Educated by Tara Westover is a memoir about another disturbing childhood and coming to age story, this one taking place in nearby Idaho and Utah. Again, seeing how people live such dysfunctional lives, and for Tara, finding a way out, is eye-opening.

I've been doing the Bible in a Year podcast, which follows the Great Adventure Timeline for the Bible. Catholic Bible Chronicles is a kids' version aimed at ages 8-12 which helps gives more in-depth than basic kids' bible stories but isn't so overwhelming that the Bible seems inaccessible. The illustrations are beautiful.

Do you have a train lover in your life? Or maybe a maze lover? My dad makes a series of maze books, which are really creative. Casey Loves Trains by Robert Schenk is great.

I've been trying to do daily reflections about Mary. This book has been great, 365 Mary by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker.

My friend Marielle Pariseau wrote this delightful book, Billy Braveheart, based on actual events in her Canadian house. 

Desert Boy recommended Ashfall by Mike Mullin, the first book of a dystopian trilogy that takes place after Yellowstone blows. The main characters are teenagers. The books are fast-paced and full of a world I wouldn't want to live in!

I've had to check out this audiobook three times (and need one more time) to get through the 32-hour audiobook. A Promised Land by Barack Obama gives an interesting, detailed inside look into campaigning and getting into the White House. 

Aquanaut by Rick Stanton is a fascinating look into the Thai cave rescue. Rick Stanton was the cave diver who found the boys, and this book alternates between how he learned to cave dive and get to the highly technical level that allowed him to get to the boys and the actual rescue. Listening to the description of diving in water with zero visibility against the current in small cave passages made me squirm. It's truly a miracle that this rescue was pulled off.

We really enjoyed the PBS series All Creatures Great and Small so also ordered the book series and got the audiobook version, which is fantastic for car rides. James Herriot sure brings to life what being a vet was like in rural Great Britain. 

What are your favorite books from this year? I'm always looking for recommendations!

1 comment:

Kate said...

I love books too!! I really enjoyed Station Eleven and Grit this past year too. I remember reading all the James Herriot books one summer when I was in middle school and loving them. Thanks for the other suggestions; I'm always looking for my next read.

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