Thursday, October 19, 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately: September and early October

I've got some great books to recommend and share with you today. Three of the five books I've read recently were just in the last week and that is because I liked them so much that I couldn't put them down.
The book club I belong to picked this title. We just had our discussion the other night and reviews were pretty mixed. Some loved it and others, like me, didn't care much for it. I gave it a three out of five stars on Goodreads. Parts of it were great and read quickly and others dragged on. When members of my book club pointed out that this was the first book in a series, that helped me see why some chapters or scenes were presented in the way they were and approach the title a little more positively. Overall, I didn't love the writing style and probably will not continue to read books in the series because there are just so many other things I would rather be reading!

Things I did love: the main character, Mary Russell, is a strong female who is smart and independent. I enjoy mysteries, so some parts were pretty thrilling to read. I liked the two settings of England and Palestine because I always have wanderlust and books like this let me armchair travel to places.

I'm a big fan of Anne Bogel's podcast "What Should I Read Next?" and was excited when she announced the release of her book. This is one of two personality books I read in the past month. 

Since I studied education in graduate school, I was expose to a lot of the frameworks outlined in the book. It still served as a good refresher. Anne outlines the following personality frameworks:
  • Introverts and Extroverts
  • Highly Sensitive People
  • The Five Love Languages
  • Keirsey's Temperments 
  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator 
  • The MBTI Cognitive Functions
  • The Clifton Strengths Finder
  • The Enneagram
I thought the writing was excellent and I read the book in about a day, so I was obviously engrossed enough in the topic to want to keep reading. 

I literally kept seeing this title everywhere before I picked it up. Since I have been focusing on reading about strong women this year, I thought a book about a female scientist was perfect to add to my 2017 list.

Hope Jahren starts out her book by chronicling her Minnesota upbringing and then takes the reader into her work life. She talks about the difficulties in her line of work, the research itself, throws in a few fun travel stories, family life, and her unique relationship with her lab partner Bill. I thought this book was well written and offered a different perspective. I'd highly recommend it! 

The Handmaid's Tale is easily one of the best books I have read this year. I am so sorry I didn't read it sooner. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? I think the Hulu release of this really exposed me to the title and intrigued me. I wanted to read the book before I watched the Hulu version, which I still have yet to do.

Atwood's writing was compelling enough for me to pick it up for hours at a time during the course of two days. In her forward written in early 2017, so talks about it being a timely subject now and I couldn't agree more. It addresses feminism, sexism, dictatorship, a patriarchal society, race relations, religion, and more in a dystopian society. 

I love Gretchen Rubin's books and knew a lot about this new topic thanks to her podcast. I received a review copy through Blogging for Books and looked forward to learning more about the four tendencies outlined and researched by Rubin.

Unlike other personality framework books, Rubin's approach is unique in that she wondered how people responded to expectations in different ways and categorized them from that approach. She outlines the following four tendencies: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, and Rebel. 

My husband questioned (I knew he was a questioner right away) the validity of books like this one and I think the following quote sums it up well: "We may think we know the 'best' way, or the way others 'should' work, but whether at home or at work, as long as the tasks are getting done, we should let other people suit themselves. We get along best with others when we recognize and respect that they might approach the world in a different way." 
I took the tendency quiz online and found out I am rare Upholder who readily meets inner and outer expectations. That makes sense, but I thought I might lean a bit more towards the Questioner since I tend to behave that way in the work environment. While reading those two sections, I thought I could be an Upholder-Questioner since some of the Questioner behaviors are ones I exhibit in the workplace (I tend to question processes and systems and want to improve them). 

I really liked the layout of the book and learning more about the different types of tendencies. I could picture the behavior of people in my life and where they fell in the framework. I think this book is great for everyone to read, but especially managers, parents, and teachers! 

Disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Blog readers--what have you been reading lately?

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