Books I Read in January

Hey guys - first month of the year is basically out of the way, and I am real ready to move on.

I read a lot this month, mostly because I've been cooped up inside since last year, but also because I'm kind of considering challenging myself to read 52 books in a year. I never really had that goal in mind, because it seemed wildly unrealistic, but I realized a week or so ago that I'm accidentally on pace and now I'm thinking it might be fun to see if I can actually do it.

Kind of getting ahead of myself here, but that's my style. I could run one mile and instantly be like, I bet I could run a marathon. Which, nope.

Anyway, I'll stop dinking around. Here's what I read this month --

1 || The (More or Less) Definitive Guide to Self Care - Anna Borges

Very on trend right now, because we are all about taking care of ourselves. I'll start by saying this book was okay, but I found myself skimming it after the first handful of pages.

Basically it's a dictionary with pages and pages of ideas for self-care. And to its credit, it's pretty useful in that it's not the marketing ploy variety of self-care. Not like, it's okay to order dinner every night because #selfcare. Rather, it's more like sternly reminding your to get this ish together and  meal prep over the weekend because that's actually taking care of your future self.

It's actually a fairly useful book, but maybe as a coffee table item that is digested in small increments, rather than my usual power-through-it-this-week variety of reading.

2 || Ask a Manager - Alison Green

AAM is one of my favorite work place blogs to read for two reasons: Alison Green is an experienced hiring manager and fearlessly answers WILD questions with thoughtful advice. And more importantly, it's a "Dear Abby" style advice column and the questions that come in will make you very grateful for your job. So much lunacy in the work place but she also mixes in useful guidance. If you want evidence, here's some golden nuggets:
Crazy Coworkers. Crazy boss (lots of those, it seems). This is useful.

The book is driven by a lot of those reader submitted questions, but also runs categorically. If you want to know how to write a cover letter, when to negotiate the salary (you have to!) and what to do when your coworker starts faking a British accent - this is your book. It's a dumpster fire and functional advice book all in one.

3 || One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

So, I grabbed this off my bookshelf because I hadn't read it in almost 10 years, and I barely read it then (required reading aka cliff notes), and also it's fairly short, so I thought I could blast through it in a weekend.

False. It is work to keep up with Russian literature and the cultural naming structure. I kind of forgot that every Russian character has at least four names that the author uses interchangeably.

So this book is about - let's call him Ivan - who is in a labor camp prison for a crime he didn't actually commit. Sentenced to 10 years of labor in Siberia, it sounds like it sucks pretty bad, but honestly, it ends pretty optimistically. This book details a single day.

It's not technically autobiographical, but the author was imprisoned pretty similarly and the detail is probably not far from the truth. Oh and big surprise, Russia wasn't really cool with its citizens talking shit, so he was bounced out. He actually landed in the US for a couple decades. Interesting, no?

4 || Girl, Stop Apologizing - Rachel Hollis

Okay, listen. I know this woman has quite the following, but I kind of felt like this book was just okay. Very few of the ideas are original and by chapter two, I was pretty much over being referred to as "sis" and "girl."

However, what I did enjoy is Hollis' ability to tell a story. Her gift is truly to motivate and she knows how to use anecdotal evidence in a delightful way. Her writing style is also very informal and conversational. I can see why she has such a large following and I think she sincerely does motivate a lot of women. It's not really for me, but I'm glad I read the book.

And just a personal pet peeve -- I think it's totally weird when grown ass women call their dad "daddy." I mean fine, this isn't a critique of the book because I get that this is something that people do and it's not wrong. I just think it's cringe-y. And there's a lot of that in this book.


I lent my sister-in-law one of my favorite guilty pleasure books, The Other Boleyn Girl, around Christmas time and I am top-level excited to book club it with her.

What's on your reading list this month?

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