What did you read this month? What did you like/dislike?
What did you read this month? What did you like/dislike?
I only have one favorite to share this week, but it was a fantastic book!
Educated by Tara Westover was the only book I read this month that I gave 5 stars to on Goodreads. Those ratings are too vague, and don’t mean much, but I don’t give a lot of books that rating.
This memoir follows Tara Westover, who grew up waiting for the End of Days. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping for her family to live on when the rest of the world ceased to exist. I almost couldn’t believe this was a true story.
She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate.
She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a school, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals.
According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist.
As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen she decided to take her education into her own hands. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains-to Harvard and to Cambridge.
Even through years and years of struggle to get the education she wanted, she also has to decide how to live with the family she has been given.
I was absolutely enamored by Tara’s story. It was so inspiring to see a woman with absolutely no formal education at all, on top of years of abuse and brainwashing, strive to pass her ACT, and then go on to get a PhD from Cambridge.
I won’t lie, parts of this book are extremely difficult to get through. There are scenes of extreme abuse, and graphic injuries as well. The most astounding part of this book for me was the fact that her family doesn’t believe in doctors. When someone in the family gets ill, Tara’s mother gives them herbs and essential oils to heal them. They can’t even take Tylenol. When Tara’s father is burned to the point of near death, they don’t go to the hospital. They let him ‘heal’ at home. Absolutely horrifying.
The writing is lovely, honest, and brutal. I listened to this as an audiobook the first time, and wished I hadn’t. I didn’t really enjoy the narrator’s voice. However, I was so in love with her resolve and passion I finished listening to it and promptly bought the hardcover copy.
I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who loves memoirs or a great story of resilience.
Also, update- I won’t be sharing my YouTube videos as blog posts anymore. I feel like they clog up too much of the feed on my blog, so there will be a widget on the side showcasing them.
Thanks for reading! What were your favorites books this week?
I wanted to share a little life update for those of you who don’t know me really well or haven’t seen my Facebook posts about this. Recently, Cameron and I discovered that the school bus we were currently converting into a skoolie (for those of you who don’t know, it’s basically a bus turned into an RV/mobile home), wouldn’t be finished by the time our lease was up in May.
Due to our landlord and our current housing’s lack of basic human needs, we decided to put the project on hold temporarily. We will be moving up to Ohio to be closer to my family for a bit while we get everything finished.
While deciding on this, we also came to the conclusion that we don’t want a 42 foot long bus. It was impossible for us to drive on a normal road or to take any kind of turn with it. So we are exploring our options and will definitely be going with something smaller.
It was sort of a sad ending for that bus, but honestly it will probably work out much better for us in the end. Anything else we get will be much smaller and easier to convert, and I get to spend some extra time living around my family.
Thanks for reading! Sorry about the shorter post today- I’ve had a migraine all day and decided to keep it short and sweet.
One more update, I’m going to be doing book videos on YouTube every Monday and Thursday now, so there’ll be an extra update on the blog every week!
New video is up! Please ignore the jarring paleness of my face- it’s a very sunny day in Virginia and I wasn’t feeling my best. Enjoy!
This week has been full of ups and downs reading-wise. For example I finally read Gone Girl for the first time this week (and was very excited for ti) and loathed it, so that was fun.
I have two books that I will list here that I really enjoyed-
The first one is Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.
“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”
Most of you have probably heard of this book, the movie for it came out last week- Love, Simon.
This story follows Simon, who is in high school and is secretly gay. He accidentally leaves up his email on one of the school computers and ends up getting blackmailed by another student who saw his secret love interest he was writing to. Throughout the story he deals with coming out, explaining who he is to everyone in his life, his first love, bullying, and the regular struggles of high school.
With hilarious characters and dialogue, as well as a fantastic message for younger audiences- this was a good, fun read. I listened to the audio book for this one, and Michael Crouch did not disappoint as a narrator. He was able to perfectly voice the confused, funny character of Simon.
The second book I read this week that I really enjoyed was Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley. Warning- this one is a tearjerker.
“It’s natural, as our loved ones age, to start grieving their loss even before we lose them.”
This book follows a man named Ted whose best friend is his dachshund Lily. Lily is getting older and has had several health issues, and one day he comes home to find an octopus on her head. I feel that if I say much more about this one I will be spoiling the story for those who want to read it.
I will say that this story is about the special bond that we have with our pets, and how we would do absolutely anything to keep them out of harms way.
Lily and the Octopus was a lovely story. The relationship between Ted and Lily is so adorable- the author includes what Lily is saying back to Ted when he talks to her. I always imagined that it would be difficult to portray a conversation with your pet, but Rowley does an excellent job of it. The story does become very sad, but it is also a rewarding tale as well.
There were some interesting imaginative aspects from Ted’s point of view that I thought could have been left out (you’ll know them when you see them), but overall I just fell in love with the whole book.
Thank you for taking the time to visit and read! What books/material did you enjoy reading this week?
In August I will officially consider myself to be out of the Early Twenties stage of my life, and into The Mid Twenties. For those of you who have a few more years’ of experience than myself, I have a few concerns- I ask these questions because I always imagined I would have more figured out when I hit this age.
Do you still wake up at night with an intense feeling of loneliness mixed with anxiety about what the rest of your life looks like? I’m not sure whether it’s my age, my mind, or my choices in life- but I can’t shake the feeling that I am alone and that I should be doing more.
When you wake up at night, is there ever regret?
Have you planned out the rest of your life in a productive way? Or is it all just a blur? The rest of my life reminds of leaning my head against the window in a car going 70 miles per hour.
Those of you who made big life decisions early, are they still what you want?
Do people still talk down to you, and are you still made to feel smaller than you are? I worry that will never end either.
Last but not least, do you find it any easier to love yourself?
Someone who is still afraid to grow up.
What are your biggest fears about growing older? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Has anyone else read this? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
It’s been a great reading week for me- I have a lot of favorites to share! I’ll be sharing three different books I enjoyed today.
The first book I wanted to talk about was Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live off the Land by Kurt Timmermeister.
This non-fiction book is part memoir/part how-to by the author on giving up living in the city and owning a restaurant to starting his own dairy farm when he was in his mid-twenties. He shares his changing relationship with food from owning a restaurant and getting food products in mass quantities, to caring for and creating the best food possible with his own two hands. He also does include a lot of tips and ideas for anyone who wants to make their own food and start a farm like he did.
My interest in agriculture and sustainable farming/living has been growing over the past few years. This book was a great, very practical look on how difficult something like this is. However it is also very motivating and really helpful on even small steps you can take in your everyday life.
His writing was clear, entertaining, and made me excited to keep reading. The chapters were evenly mixed of stories of his life and advice for those reading it. I would recommend it for anyone interested in small farms or sustainable living in general.
Here’s my review of the book on Goodreads:
Here’s a link to buy the book on Amazon (affiliate link):
The second book I loved this week was Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
I was a little late to the game on reading this, but I am so glad I finally did! This middle grade book is about a little boy named August, who was born with a facial difference that keeps him at home for most of his childhood years. He finally starts going to a school in fifth grade, and has to deal with what his peers think about anyone different from them. He deals with people treating him differently than everyone else, bullying, and other hardships as a unique kid entering school for the first time.
This book was perfect for kids who struggle with looking different or who treat others who look different badly. I really appreciate children’s stories that tackle issues like this. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a heartwarming story or loves middle grade books.
Here’s my Goodreads review:
Link to buy the book on Amazon (affiliate link):
The last book I am going to talk about is I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Women’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. Now, I am only giving a brief synopsis on this book since I’m doing a book review video for it tomorrow.
This story is a true crime nonfiction book written by Patton Oswalt’s late wife. She had been extremely passionate about finding the Golden State Killer for years, and even started the well-known website True Crime Diary to connect with other people with the same interests. The book is a mixture of snippets from McNamara’s own life, her growing obsession with finding this killer, and the history of the Golden State Killer as well.
I absolutely loved this book, and I’ll be posting a video review of it tomorrow!
Thank you so much for reading!
What were your favorite reads this week?
When I was younger I used to put together bucket lists all the time. It always seems like such an easy task, until I sat down and tried to think of the ideas ‘most worthy’ of being on my list. I wanted to try my hand at a new one today where I was less strict and just included anything that I am passionate about doing.
-Write a book and get it published.
-Walk on the Great Wall of China.
-Complete the Appalachian trail.
-Go rock climbing.
-Build my own home.
-Perform on stage, whether it’s singing, playing an instrument, talking, etc.
-Rescue as many animals as possible.
-Visit every national park in the United States + Canada.
-Live on a farm and grow my own food.
-Learn to make my own clothing.
– Meet Amanda Palmer in real life.
-Be a part of a protest I feel strongly about.
-Volunteer for a fantastic cause.
-Go to a ceremony for every religion.
This is it for me for now. I’m sure there will be other things to add to the list as I go through life.
What’s on your bucket list? Feel free to share them with me!