Archive of ‘My Reading Life’ category

Reading While Driving

Does this blog title scare you a little? 🙂

Don’t worry. I promise I have both hands on the wheel at all times. This is how it’s done.

I am someone who gets bored quickly on car rides—even when I’m driving. While some people love to drive, I’d much rather be in the passenger seat reading my book. And lucky for me, I rarely get carsick.

With a 45-minute commute to work every day, it kills me that there is nothing else I can do except drive. Yes, I have XM Radio, and I love to listen to cable news, the Blend, and the Billy Joel channel, but I wouldn’t exactly call that productive, which is why I’m so happy to have discovered Audible.

Yes, I know I’m late to the game here. Audible has been around for a few years. Now that I know about it, it has changed my commute for the better. And I admit that I used to think listening to a book doesn’t count as reading it. For those who listen to books on tape, Audible, or another listening app, please don’t hate me. I already hate myself for thinking that, but I can be pretty “old school” at times.

I still love holding a book in my hand and the physical act of turning the pages. I miss turning the book on its side to see how many pages I have left to go.  But, I can’t do any of these things while driving a car. And when you spend eight or nine hours listening to a book being read to you, it most definitely counts as reading.

My introduction to Audible started with a lecture I went to about launching myself into a new job. The speaker was recommending books and said that “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins was a must-read.

I was about to download the book on my Kindle as I usually do, but then someone else in the room suggested it is much better to listen to it. She said it was like listening to the best 300-page TED talk. So, I downloaded Audible and listened to it every day on my way to work.

First of all, the book is fantastic, and except for the chapter about using her method to overcome depression and anxiety, I highly recommend it to all of you. Second, listening to Mel Robbins narrate the book is quite an experience. She is that special combination of your BFF who happens to be a therapist, best-selling author and motivational speaker—all for the low price of $14.99. I finished the book in 10 business days.

The next book I chose to listen to was Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection.” This is another one of those self-help, “you can do it” books. I was already familiar with how great her TED talks are., so I thought this would be just as good. But, within 15 minutes, I exchanged it. Unfortunately, this book was not narrated by Ms. Brown. It was read by someone else who had a monotone voice that I could have easily fallen asleep at the wheel. There was no way I was going to be inspired by her, and I didn’t want to risk an accident on the highway by dozing off.

Audible allows you to exchange a book for whatever reason. It is easy, and within 5 minutes, I had a new one ready to play. This time, I chose a new fiction novel called “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid. I’d heard a lot about it, but I didn’t want to buy the hardback. And since I had two other books I was working through – one on my Kindle and one I can turn the pages, one more book to listen sounded worthwhile.

OMG, you guys. The narrator is for this book is amazing! There are so many characters that she must perform. I’m guessing she is some kind of actress. I literally cannot put this book down! Or do I say, turn this book off? I listen to it on my commute, on the way to the dog park, and in the kitchen while making dinner. It’s that good, and now I know that who the narrator is matters immensely.

What books do you listen to? Does it seem like you are reading the book, or does it feel like cheating?


The One With All The Books

Did you ever notice that the articles toting the “best books of the year” feature the same ten titles? Is it like the Academy Awards where authors campaign for a coveted spot on everyone’s top 10 list? Also, isn’t it nice just to be nominated?

Honestly, I can’t get enough of these lists. Willpower has never been my strong suit, and social media is too tempting. The weaning process is seriously an exercise in futility.

Why? Because I suffer from a severe case of FOMO for books that may have slipped off my radar. And to feed my unapologetic book-buying habit, I added some new titles to my already large TBR pile. I consider it my reward for reading so much in 2019. (Justification, anyone?)

I’m happy to share some book recommendations with you, but I am not going to provide links to Amazon or other massive book-selling websites. If you like any of these books, I implore you to pay a visit to your local independent bookstore. Exploring these fantastic places is quickly becoming a passion of mine. Between the atmosphere, the coffee and the little treasures, I find lots of things to spend my hard-earned money, and I’m happy to do it at a fellow bookworm’s place of business.

Here are three books that made my list:

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth – If you are looking for an excellent read for your next book club, look no further. This fun and easy-to-read murder mystery brought about lots of stories and conversations when it came time to discuss.

She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey – If you are a journalism junkie, like me, you will love learning about the investigative reporting these two ladies embarked upon to shine a light on the stories that ended the career of movie producer, Harvey Weinstein.

Fifty Things that Aren’t My Fault by Cathy Guisewite – I enjoy books that fall into the creative nonfiction genre. They help me observe life in a way that I notice the little details, emotions and often humor behind these slice-of-life stories. You may recognize this author’s name if you were ever a fan of the Cathy comic strip in the ’80s and ’90s. She is just as witty as ever.

So, what are you reading that I should add to my TBR pile?

The One With The Book Review

The problem with being an avid reader and a writer is that you tend to find plot holes and issues with stories. I’ve spent enough time participating in writing workshops to recognize what works, what went wrong, and what I would have done if I wrote the book.  And, of course, I didn’t write it – so who am I to criticize?

For fun, I’m going to critique the book anyway. 🙂

The Mother-In-Law is a murder mystery in which the woman dies, and everyone in the family is considered a possible suspect. From the children to the in-laws, everyone had a reason to do her in.

The book started off with a look at the happy couple when they first met and in present day. The timeline changes between the past and present, and the story unfolds with both the victim and her daughter-in-law engaged in a conflict and sharing different sides of the story. At first, I thought this would be difficult to follow, but it turned out to be an entertaining way to keep the story moving along at a good clip. Whatever the confrontation, the reader sees it from both sides, understands the underlying miscommunication and subsequent fallout. And, in my case, sympathizes with both main characters. I think the author wanted me to sympathize with the daughter-in-law but I found her to be oversensitive and a tad whiny. While her mother in law did some questionable things — she had her reasons.

Here’s what I didn’t like about the book. I thought it was a shame that we didn’t hear more from the other family members – aka suspects. I think the author could have spent more time and pages on each of their lives to create some fun moments of confusion and wonder as to who did the deed. Also, as murder mysteries go, usually, there is a law enforcement component. I found myself intrigued by how the detectives handled the family members and proceded with their investigation. Unfortunately, they all but disappeared from the storyline a few chapters into the novel.

If you are thinking this book is the new “Gone Girl,” far from it. However, it is a fun read, and you will be left wondering who the murderer is until the bitter end.

Spoiler alert – if you what to know who did it without reading the entire book, the table of contents offers a dead giveaway.


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