52 Book Challenge 2018: 7-11

 If you’re just tuning in, one of my goals for 2018 is to read 52 books! This is my Quarter 2 check-in.

*Ahem* I’m just a little behind. For those keeping track, I should be finishing Book #26 right now, and this puts me about 15 books behind. I have faith in myself because it’s summer, and I like to think I’ve officially reached my limit on binge-watching shows for now. I have the 2nd season of “Westworld” and the rest of “The Handmaiden’s Tale” to obsess over, and then I swear I’m not going to open my Netflix app unless I’m truly desperate for a comfortable rom-com while eating pizza on a Saturday night. Or to watch my Spanish TV show because, you know, I have to practice!

Anyhow, here are the books I fit in this quarter! It’s been busy, and I don’t necessarily see things slowing down July – August, but I will have some more downtime and more commuting. Plus I’m taking a few days to totally digitally detox in July, so who knows how much I can read in that time frame!

52 Book Challenge: 7-11

All Over the Place*

Author: Geraldine DeRuiter
Stars: 5/5
Setting: All over the place, of course
Current Price: [amazon_link asins=’1610397630′ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thereshegoesa-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’84a1a101-7da9-11e8-99f3-4d8844e2e519′]*

Quick Summary:

This memoir chronicles the start of Geraldine DeRuiter’s unlikely success as a top travel blog. Once perfectly content to work at a stable job, she found herself laid off, like many, in 2008. She began traveling, often with her husband, to different parts of the world and, as a result, writing about her travels and misadventures on her blog The Everywhereist. The book takes place over about five or so years and talks about her family, her husband, her friends, and her uncanny ability to get lost pretty much everywhere in the world.

Thoughts:

Consider me a terrible travel blogger because I can’t believe I only knew about Geraldine after her viral post making Mario Batali’s “apology” cinnamon rolls. I followed her on Twitter immediately and spent a few months enjoying her tweets before realizing she’d written a whole damn book. And not just any book but a book about travel! I read the samples on Amazon and downloaded it within a span of 30-minutes.

It’s such a fun and heartful memoir, and Geraldine’s writing makes me realize how much I need to work on narrative storytelling again. I love blog writing, but it’s definitely not the same thing! The book also quickly becomes a lot more than just a destination hop through her life, but it’s more about her journey in the last few years, which makes it well worth the read even if you have no desire to leave your town. Her relationship with her husband is sweet and enviable to anyone who’s single, and her mother is a riot. Not to spoil anything, but I specifically love the way, with who, and where she ended the book. It felt full circle and just, I dunno, niceCheck out more reviews + buy here.*

Holy Cow! India*

Author: Sarah Macdonald
Stars: 4/5 Stars
Setting: All over India
Current Price: [amazon_link asins=’0767915747′ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thereshegoesa-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a141cf62-7db4-11e8-82b1-61706d972864′]*

Quick Summary:

Sarah Macdonald returns to India to be with her boyfriend and get away from Australia indefinitely. While he’s stationed in New Delhi to report on various events in the Middle East, she decides to travel around the country on her own spiritual adventure. Follow along as she visits different religious sects of India from the more well known to the more obscure.

Thoughts:

My friend, Sher, recommended this book to me because we’re both kind of dying to visit India. I found it to be pretty hilarious! While All Over the Place* is more about the person with travel as a kind of metaphor, this is pretty much all about India’s religions with a bit of a personal touch. She’s very much jaded after her first, fairly disastrous, backpacking trip through India long ago, so it adds a funny sarcasm to her tale. I also just enjoy all the different places she went. Some of them are areas I don’t think I’d ever make the time to go, so I like hearing about her experience filled with its own skepticism and respect. Check out more reviews + buy here.*

Astonish Me*

Author: Maggie Shipstead
Stars: 3.5/5
Setting: California
Current Price: [amazon_link asins=’0345804619′ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thereshegoesa-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e44c70bd-7db4-11e8-bb49-0f1ce3a8a5bd’]*

Quick Summary:

After Joan helps a famous ballerina, Arslan Rusakov, defect from the Soviet Union in 1975, their flimsy relationship sours, and she winds up quitting ballet, getting married, and settling down in the suburbs. When her son shows a talent for the dance and admiration for Arslan, she finds herself back in Arslan’s world.

The book is non-linear and has multi-POV, so you’ll get different perspectives at different times.

Thoughts:

Ummmm….. I don’t know how I feel about this book. I listened to it in less than a day, starting it on my way home from work on a Friday and listening to it all Saturday. The author is definitely an excellent storyteller, but the story is… Something.

First of all, I felt like I was constantly waiting for some big emotional climax and one never came. For all the big revelations, affairs, and drama in this book, everyone seemed weirdly calm. I also don’t particularly remember liking a single character or remotely empathizing with any of their decisions or actions. The ending is… it’s something.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, considering the book summary on Amazon says “passionate love affair,” there is a significant lack of passion in any of the damn scenes. Check out more reviews + buy here.*

Left Right Game

Author: u/ Neon Tempo
Stars: 4.5/5
Setting: Arizona
Price: Free! Check it out here

Quick Summary:

A user uploads all the emails he’s received from his friend, Alice Sharma. She’s currently missing and these emails are the last remaining clues to her whereabouts. She’s gone to Arizona to play the Left/Right game with seasoned pro, Robert J. Guthard, and a group of intrigued visitors, and none of them have seemed to return home.

Thoughts:

u/NeonTempo posted this in the in the r/NoSleep subreddit, and damn is it good. Autumn sent it to me to read and asked me what I thought. I read it in a day. It’s just super well written, well constructed, and I got a little scared while reading it. I still don’t even quite understand what I read, so I think I’ll go back through another day and read it more slowly. The ending wasn’t my favorite, but, as Autumn said when we talked about it, I don’t really know how is it could have ended well.

A Fighting Chance*

Author: Elizabeth Warren
Stars: 5/5
Settings: Oklahoma, Massachusetts, DC, etc
Current Price: [amazon_link asins=’1627790527′ template=’SimpleCarousel’ store=’thereshegoesa-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=”]*

Quick Summary:

This political memoir recounts Elizabeth Warren’s unlikely start as a young girl from Oklahoma to one becoming a senator of Massachusetts.

Thoughts:

I fully recognize this is a political memoir — of course, its main objective is to make Warren look good. And you should know I’ve been a fan since she asked Republican senators: “Do you have any idea what year it is? Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950s? or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor?”

Anyhow, this book is incredible, and there’s a raw authenticity in Warren that we just don’t see in politicians. I love the Hilz, and maybe when I read What Happened, I’ll see it as well, but this is the kind of something people wanted from her and didn’t quite get. I honestly get the sense Warren genuinely cares a LOT about average American people and is furious over the way big banks managed to steal millions from them leading up to and even after the 2008 crash. She never had her mind on politics until it became obvious she needed to run. I loved hearing her POV on the money and tax law, something that goes over my head, and her no-nonsense take on where she got to today.

At the end of the day, whether you love her or think she’s Democratic dirt, this is a story of a woman who went from being a married college dropout with 2 kids to becoming a Harvard law professor, a significant government consultant on bankruptcy and commercial law, and now one of the most powerful and recognizable senators in the country. Like, DAMN.

Also, her pups, especially Otis, make me want to hop on a plane and go snuggle my dog for a week straight. Check out more reviews + buy here.*

Started But Still Finishing

On my Kindle:

(Keep in mind I downloaded all the free books from Amazon’s World Reading Day!)

Queued up on Audible

(Read about my love of Audible here)

If I actually read all of these in the next three months, you and I will both be picking our jaws up off the ground! What are you reading? Any recommendations? As you can tell my interests are varied, and I think I’ve read/listened to more nonfiction in the last six months than I have in my entire life!

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2 Comments

  1. July 2, 2018 / 2:07 am

    I’m proud of you, even if you’re behind. We’re out here in the desert hiding from the sun all day and I’m still not even reading. Are you setting a daily goal, or just rushing around at the end of the week?

    • Samantha
      Author
      July 3, 2018 / 11:55 am

      Thanks, Ryan! Haha a lot of it is Audible just because my eyes get tired from staring at screens and I have so much walking or waiting to do in between centers!

      Not really a daily goal for now (at least until I’m done my contract). More just reading or playing the audiobook when I remember. If I get really sucked in, I pretty much disappear for the next 24 hours!

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