Like a lot of people I know, I keep track of the books I read each month. Mostly, I just update Goodreads (you can follow me on there). But I thought it’d be a fun feature to add to the blog.
Unlike the newsletter, where I recommend a killer series of books, this “Monthly Reads” series is going to focus on what I’ve actually read during the course of a month. You can check out last month’s list right here.
At the end, I’ll also include some great articles I’ve read this month about books.
Alright, so away we go.
Monthly Reads: Books
If last month was slow reading, this month I was certainly back on track reading a bit more than usual with five books.
Last month, I felt a bit sluggish around reading and bounced from book to book. This month, I made sure to focus on one at a time, which probably helped me actually finish so many
I also tried the audiobook route, listening to one. Not sure if I love doing that because I just feel like I end up zoning out from time to time.
Anyway, to the books!
Favorite Book of the Month
I have to say, I’m shocked that I haven’t read any books by Erik Larson until now. I am an absolutely massive fan of history books, particularly ones that cover some interesting nuggets I didn’t know.
I’ve had Dead Wake in my Kindle for ages, but it caught my attention again recently since I read Adam Hochschild’s To End All Wars about the events in and around World War I.
Since I had always thought the sinking of the Lusitania was one of the main drivers of America getting into WW I, I thought this book would complement Hochschild’s nicely.
I was happy to say it did (even if the sinking wasn’t actually a direct cause). I also found that Larson writes in a really similar manner to Hochschild, who also wrote one of my favorite history books King Leopold’s Ghost. You feel like you’re reading fiction, learning the stories through the eyes of a number of different people. I loved this book and learned quite a bit on top of it.
I will absolutely continue reading my way through Larson’s catalog, so don’t be surprised to see one of them in next month’s edition!
More Reads (views in this case): Erik Larson gives a 55-minute talk about Dead Wake at Google.
The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
I’ve enjoyed this series by Erika Johansen from the jump. I’ll admit what initially drew me into it was I’d read that Emma Watson had sworn off doing any sort of magical movies again, only to have read this series and immediately signed on both produce and be the lead in a future movie. Good enough for me!
This is the second of the three, and I’ve already started the third which just came out a few days ago. It’s sort of a classic chosen one story that is set across time. It goes back to an America that has been taken over by a dictator and is on the brink of war, to the future, which ironically is far more like the 1800’s than the 2600’s (or there about) where it is set now.
#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk
I’m a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuck, but I thought this book was just ok. Maybe because I’ve watched quite a few of the #AskGaryVee shows over the last year or so which this book is basically a distilled version of technically. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I didn’t really love about this book, considering I really liked Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook and Crush It.
I also have the audio version, so I’m going to give that a try and I suspect I’ll like it more. Gary is made for audio or video and I’m going to guess in that version, he delivers.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This was my audio book listen for this month. While I thought the book was kinda interesting, it certainly had a bit of a plot twist there, I wasn’t enthralled with the story overall. I don’t usually go for these sorts of stories, but I admit I followed the crowd since everyone was talking about it.
What I did love was the actual narration of this audio book. The readers were incredible. One of the main narrators sounded exactly like Kate Winslet and the other was Louise Brealey who plays Molly Hooper on BBC’s Sherlock. I kept going with the book simply because I really enjoyed listening to them.
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
I really wanted to love this book, but wow I struggled through it. It’s a pretty short read, somewhere in the 275-page range. Normally, I blow through books this length, but it took me about 2 full weeks to read this one. The beginning was really more of a history of Pixar and how it came to be, something I wasn’t expecting.
The three stars were salvaged from the second half of the book where we actually got to some of the stuff the title promised. I had assumed the book was all about how to harness creativity, especially in the business world. So in that respect, only a portion of the book lived up to my expectations.
Monthly Web Reads
I figured I’d add in this little section about some of my favorite reads specifically about books.
- 101 Books About Where and How We Live
- 16 Favorite Writers Told Us About the Book They’re Most Thankful For
- 13 Book Recommendations From the Gilmore Girls Themselves
That’s all for this month.
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Also, let me know your favorite reads!