Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

 Book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Author: Marie Kondo

Pages: 224


This is my 78th read for the year

Marie Kondo has always been into tidying.  Even as a child, so worked hard to declutter her life and figure out the best ways to store her belongings.  As she started to perfect her techniques, she shared with others and built a business helping people organize their homes.

This was an interesting book.  I am a generally neat person living with 4 messy people, so I liked some of the suggestions she made and would like to try some of those in my household who tend to hold onto everything.  Vertical storage is defiintely something I want to try with my husband's t-shirt collection.  She had me until she got to books.  Although - I don't buy even a lot of those.  All my books "spark joy" because I only buy them for that reason.  Otherwise I borrow!  

I did hear that she has let go of some of her rigidity since having three kids.  And I am sure a lot of people gave her grief about that.  Honestly - we are all the same until kids come along.  Try as we might, keeping up with organizing sometimes has to take a backseat to family joy.

Stars: 4


Saturday, April 27, 2024

Book: The Midnight Library

 Book: The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig

Pages: 304


This is my 77th read for the year

This is the story of Nora Seeds.  Nora's parents are dead, she isn't on speaking terms with her brother, she has lost her job, and has just been feeling very down.  She decides that no one would miss her if she dies.  She takes a lot of pills and ends up in a library with a favorite librarian from her past who shows her different life paths Nora could have taken that would have changed her life in various ways.  Even when Nora finds the life that she thinks should be hers, she still feels like an outsider who doesn't quite belong.

This was a good book.  I thought it was well written and the story flowed well.  Following Nora through various lifetimes where things changed for her (parents alive, brother heavily involved in her life, children/no children) was interesting.  I especially loved that she ended up in Svalsbard for part of the book - we visited there last summer and it is magical.  The story's take was not life after death, but life after life - to see what could be possible if you made different choices as a person.  The only thing I would have liked to see if a bit stronger of an ending.  It was a bit anticlimatic.

Stars: 4.5


Thursday, April 25, 2024

Book: Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them

 Book: Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them

Author: Al Franken

Pages: 376


This is my 76th read for the year

Al Franken takes a look at the political right during the time of George Bush's presidency.  He takes a group of 14 Harvard students and combs through political speeches and news stories - mostly from Fox News - looking for contradictions and then calling those politicians and talking heads on it.  

This was an okay book.  I did not find it particularly funny, and at times it got a bit dull.  I have read funnier and more informational books from left wing comedians.  I appreciate that he did use Harvard students to get his research, and I wonder what book he would write now (this one was from 2003).  I cannot imagine if he was told in 2003 - "wait until you see what is coming" he would even believe it.

Stars: 3


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Book: On Writing

 Book: On Writing

Author: Stephen King

Pages: 320


This is my 75th read for the year

This book starts as a memori from King's childhood and becomes a master class for inspriting writers.  Stephen recounts his childhood and early adult life before he sold his first big book (Carrie).  He speaks freely about his struggles and how he choses to write (and where) and what he likes and doesn't like about writing styles in the books he reads.  This book was published in 2000 and speaks to his writing up until that point.

This was a fantastic book.  When I picked it up, my husband commented on how this book is known for being a great resource for writers.  I personally loved that the first 1/4 of the book was him talking about his childhood and early career.  His story of barely scraping by after college writing and working at a laundry mat until he sold "Carrie" just goes to show that you never know when a big break is going to come.  His likes and dislikes about writing styles match mine which is probably why I like his books so much (for the most part).  If you want to know more about King and get into his head, or learn his advice on writing your own story - you have to read this one.

Stars: 5


Friday, April 19, 2024

Book: Brick Lane

 Book: Brick Lane

Author: Monica Ali

Pages: 384


This is my 74th read for the year

This is a story about Nazneen.  As a young woman, she is forced into an arranged marriage to a man 20 years older.  Once married she is moved from Bangladesh to London where she doesn't speak the language, doesn't understand the culture, and is away from everyone she knows.  However, she focuses on being a wife and eventually a mother and finds there are times she loves her husband.  However - an affair with a person her age makes her realize that leaving London and eventually going back to Bangladesh might not be what she wants.

This was a strange book.  I never did really get into it.  There were long drawn out chapters that were written in letter form - jumping months at a time.  It was in the middle of the book and such a left turn from the plot it was startling.  Then it went back to the plot.  It was a long meandering book with a plot that was all over the place and the ending was unsatisfatory.  I was reading this for the Rory Gilmore Challenge (which I am starting to question if I should continue) and just did not enjoy it.

Stars: 2



Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Book: Sorry I'm Late I Didn't Want To Come

 Book: Sorry I'm Late I Didn't Want To Come

Author: Jessica Pan

Pages: 272


This is my 73rd read for the year

This is the story of the author who - as an extreme introvert - decided to spend on year trying to extrovert. She obtains some guidance and she starts small - talking to strangers.  Then moves on to improv, stand up comedy, traveling alone, and finally hosting a dinner party at her house where she knows she will be the center of attention.  She is hoping to learn some lessons to improve her quality of life - hoping to not run out of an overly crowded room or restaurant when she felt overwhelmed.  She tries to become braver.

This was an okay book.  I found some of the choices the author made to extrovert a bit strange.  Improv? Stand up comedy?  I get what she was trying to overall improve, but aren't there more general approaches to being an extrovert than these?  I know a lot of extroverts, and not one of them does either of these activities.  I am not sure that Jessica is a TRUE introvert.  I mean - there has to be a level up from talking to strangers before you get to improv.  

Stars: 3


Monday, April 15, 2024

Book: Firestarter

 Book: Firestarter

Author: Stephen King

Pages: 512


This is my 72nd read for the year

This is the story of Andy McGee and his daughter Charlie.  Andy and his late wife, Vicky, had volunteered in college as test subjects.  While they developed psychic abilities, their child Charlie developed pyrokinesis, and has become extremely dangerous because she cannot control it.  Charlie and her dad are on the run from "The Shop" - the folks that ran the experimental testing on her parents - to end Charlie's life because they fear that she may set the world on fire. 

This was a weird book.  King is a gifted writer, but the story itself was a bit strange.  It started out strong, and then it started to drag a bit.  There was so much dialogue, that I found myself wanting Mr. King to just get on with it and get back to the point.  It was a good novel (and an old one) but not his best in my opinion.

Stars: 3.5


Friday, April 12, 2024

Book: Thursday Murder Club

 Book: Thursday Murder Club

Author: Richard Osman

Pages: 384


This is my 71st read of the year

This is a story of four friends in a retirement village in England who meet each week.  They discuss unsolved crimes and call themselves the Thursday Murder Club.  Now they are involved in their first live case - one that takes them beyond the village and their discussions and right into the middle of an investigation.

This was a cute book.  It was an easy read, and I liked most of the characters.  It had a slow start, but did pick up as it went along, so I am glad I stuck with it.  Might be a bit too wordy for a short novel - an editor could have helped tighten up the plot. Believe it or not - there is a small dialogue in this book that bumped it a star for me - brought me to near tears with the sentimental bit, so there is that.

Stars: 4


Thursday, April 11, 2024

Book: Terms of Endearment

 Book: Terms of Endearment

Author: Larry McMurty

Pages: 416


This is my 69th read for the year

This is the story of Aurora and her daughter Emma.  Aurora - whose entire world needs to revolve around her - is a widow how has had many suitors since her husband died.  Her grown daughter, Emma,is who she worries the most about.  Worried Emma married the wrong man, and when Emma is diganosed with caner - worried of what will become of her daughter's baby if Emma dies.

This was an okay book.  I remember watching the movie years ago, and the books seems very different from what I remember.  I have it in my head that the movie was mostly about Emma's cancer, but I might not be correct about this.  So the book was startling when it was mostly about Aurora and her relationships.  The book is rambilng.  Emma's diagnosis is a quick part at the end.  Just different than I expected.

Stars: 3




Book: X Saves The World

 Book: X Saves The World

Author: Jess Gordinier

Pages: 224


This is my 70th read for the year

This is a non-fiction book where the author looks into the lives of Generation X.  The Generation between Baby Boomers and the Millenials - he discusses what made this Generation what it was.  From movies to music to stars of the day, he points out how this generation has had to move at a faster pace then any before it.

I liked some things about this book, but overall the author spent so much time just name dropping and discussing music genres that I quickly lost interest.  There are some good lines and interesting parts, but overall it wasn't much of a novel about Generation X.  Too much talk about bands - not enough talking about the generation itself and its regular people.

Pass

Stars: 2


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Book: All The Little Truths

 Book: All The Little Truths

Author: Debra Webb

Pages: 344


This is my 68th read for the year

This is the 3rd book in the Finley O'Sullivan series.  Finley's new client has a shady past, and her firm has taken on his case to clear him of a crime.  13 years ago a teenager named Lucy was killed and Ray, Finley's client, is believed to be the murder.  But Finley isn't so sure.  The case went cold, the father of the girl died, Ray's brother disappeared, and the girl's mother disappeared.  As Finley investigates the case, more questions than answers start to appear.  And somehow, Finley's dad seems to be involved and Finley thinks that he isn't telling her everything she needs to know to figure out who murdered Lucy all those years ago.

This was a good book.  I have read the other two, and started the series because my daughter's name is Finley.  I thought this book moved along pretty nicely.  It is an easy read, and I do get a bit frustrated when the author keeps secrets from the reader that seem to be dragged out too long, but I liked the twist in this one.  Glad I finished the series.

Stars: 4


Monday, April 8, 2024

Book: Just A Couple Of Days

 Book: Just A Couple of Days

Author: Tony Vigorito

Pages: 400 pages


This is my 67th read for the year

This is the story of Blip Korterly and Flake Fountain - a professor and a doctor.  Blip is arrested and Dr. Fountain is brought into a secret government organization developing a biological weapon which makes the person unable to communicate with speech or writing.  Dr. Fountain is hired to try and find the antidote.  Before that can happen, the virus is released to everyone on earth and Dr. Fountain starts to record everything that is happening.  Will he finish his writing before he gets the virus himself?

This book was weird.  It wasn't good or bad - just odd.  It does read a lot like a Kurt Vonnegut novel and in the end I should have read this one instead of listening to it.  I found it hard to listen - too much going on and language was harder to follow on audio.  The beginning was good, the middle took a dip, and then it picked back up again in the end.  So overall - okay.

Stars: 3.5

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Book: The Good Nurse

 Book: The Good Nurse

Author: Charles Graeber

Pages: 434


This is my 66th read for the year

This is the true story of Charles Cullen.  Charles was a nurse that from 2003-2006 killed up to 400 people before he was caught.  Brought to trial for the around 40 people the prosecuter could confirm he killed, Charles in now serving multiple life sentences for his crimes.  He was a nurse in the Pennsylvania Lehigh Valley area and NJ hospitals - working in 9 different hospitals before he was caught.  His method was injecting either digoxin or insulin into patients directly or in their IV bags.  He targeted patients of all ages - young and old.

This was a really good book.  It is well written and well researched.  It is shocking to me that it took so long for Charles to be caught.  That the hospitals he worked for never put it together.  That even when he was fired or let go from a job he was able to get another one and start over.  I am a nurse, and I have worked with the Pyxis machines that are mentioned in this book where Charles was pulling medication.  Those things have incredible records.  And a lot of time they are monitored by two nurses to open or there might be a camera in the med room.  IT is incredible to me that none of those things caught this guy let alone the fact that he would kill several people on one unit within a matter of months and they didn't piece it together.  

Anyway - this was a great page turner if you are into true crime. 


Stars: 5


Friday, April 5, 2024

Book: Tell Me Everything

 Book: Tell Me Everything

Author: Erika Krouse

Pages: 288


This is my 65th read for the year

This is the story of the author.  She has just accepted a new job as a private investigator.  Mostly hired because she has one of those faces that causes people to tell her things, a lawyer named Grayson hires her to investigate a sexual assult case at a college campus.  Erika knows she shouldn't take this case with her own past with sexual violence.   Over 5 years she investigates the case and as it gains national attention her own life implodes.  She becomes consumed with the case and the relationship she has with her mother that is hanging by a string in hopes that solving this case with give her some meaning.

This was an okay book.  It was going pretty well until Erika took a dive into her own personal story that took up a large part of this book.  While I know she was trying to tie her personal experience with what is happening with the victims in her case, it seems out of place.  To me that should have been its own book and the focus of this book should have been on the case and the victims instead of Erika's own past.  So for that it lost a star.

Stars: 3.5



Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Fat Land

 Book: Fat Land

Author: Greg Crister

Pages: 256


This is my 64th read for the year

This is a non fiction account of how America became one of the fattest countries on earth.  Starting in the 1970s and moving forward to the early 2000s, this book goes over diet fads, increases in food portions, childhood obesity, excercise, and how the the country has dealt (or not dealt) with the crisis.

This was a good book.  It is a bit older - it came from the Rory Gilmore reading challenge list, so that is not suprising.  I would be anxious to read a more current book on how the health landscape has changed in the last 20 years.  It was interesting to see how McDonald's decided to start its Super Size meals (it stemmed in part from people not wanting to order two small fries).  It was also interesting to learn about the different advice that was given to people over the years to help them become healthier and more active.  How exercise amounts varied and how the industry worked to get people off the couch, away from the TV and more active.

Good book.  I might look for something more recent to see what has changed.

Stars: 4


Book: Argylle

 Book: Argylle

Author: Elly Conway

Pages: 384


This is my 63rd read for the year

This is the story of Aubrey Argylle.  A young adult who has been living a quiet life in the jungle finds himself a CIA agent sent on a very important mission. He needs to get to a Nazi hoard before a rich Russian magnate reaches it.  Argylle's parents have a troubled past but Agent Coffey of the CIA knows that Argylle's potential contribution to the mission is more vital.  Argylle is thrown in with a team who are not sure what to make of him.  And as the mission evolves, Argylle realizes there is a spy among them feeding information to the Russians.  It is a race against the clock to see who gets to the hoard first.

This was a pretty good book.  I picked it up on a whim while visiting my local library.  The show is coming to Apple TV soon so I thought reading it first might be fun.  (then I found out the movie is very different that the book - ah well).  However - the book was interesting.  I liked Argylle the character as well as several other of the characters in his CIA group.  The story moved along nicely, however the twist wasn't that exciting.  But overall a solid read.

Stars: 3.5