Books of the Past Year...or so...PART TWO

Here's the second half of my book list for the year (see part one HERE)! Let me know if you've read or plan to read any of the same books. And I'm always open to recommendations for my next book!


THE ORCHARDIST -- A slow, riveting, epic story of a man living a semi-isolated, quiet life in Eastern Washington in the late 1800s. Having survived hardship as a boy, he goes on to help some wild girls on the run. This book was quiet, but dramatic and interesting.


A COMPLAINT FREE WORLD -- I rarely dip into the 'personal development' genre, but I was feeling like everything that came out of my mouth was negative and judgmental. Sometimes negative words pop out of my mouth and I don't even mean them. Complaints, unfortunately, can be a way to connect with others, and they can also be a projection of your emotions. Negative words become a habit. And they're contagious. This book points out some words and actions that you might not realize are negative, talks about how they affect you and others, and gives tips on how to change your attitude and speech, and even what to do when someone else is complaining. I borrowed this book from the library, but I'm thinking of getting my own copy to refresh my thinking from time to time.



MY YEAR WITH ELEANOR -- A memoir of a woman who takes up a quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt ("Do one thing every day that scares you.") as a guide for her life for one year. With stories from shark cage-diving to streaking down the hall to having hard conversations about relationships, this is an entertaining recap of a year of fear.


FROG MUSIC -- This book is a historical fiction, murder mystery piece set in 1870's San Francisco. The time and place of the book were quite interesting, and while the story was based on true events, it all felt a bit cartoony. I picked up this book because the author wrote ROOM, which was devastating but so good. Frog Music was just okay.


FYI, I partner with my favorite independent bookseller Powell's Books! If you click+buy a book from one of the links I post here, I'll get a small commission from Powell's so I can buy more books and tell you all about them! Yay! 


Books of the Past Year...or so...PART ONE

My reading has been a bit sporadic this last year, and so, unfortunately, is my memory about which books I've read. Writing it down always helps. I may not begin to keep a full reading journal at the moment, but I do always enjoy sharing my reads here. I'm sure I have completely blanked out on some of the books I've read recently, and a few were not worth mentioning (and one I already wrote about HERE)...but here is part one of my list of my standouts reads from the last year:


PLAYER PIANO -- Kurt Vonnegut's first novel. I found it a little bit slow moving, but so interesting and in many ways more timely than ever with the way screens+machines are dominating our lives and the way corporations are influencing society+government. Oh, and tv personalities placed in the office of President. Of course, it has that Vonnegut touch of semi-dark humor+social commentary.


THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN -- A true page-turner. I was up very late for a few days glued to this twisty mystery story. 


THE WAYWARD BUS -- No one writes characters like Steinbeck. This story dives into the inner minds and outer actions of a diverse group of people in the middle-of-nowhere California in the late 1940s, all brought together by a bus ride, and it all somehow works as not only an interesting adventure, but as a commentary on society. 


SECONDHAND SOULS -- This story is a matter of laugh and death (groan). Secondhand Souls is a sequel to A Dirty Job, so start there for a silly, surreal, sentimental read. I'll read anything Christopher Moore puts out.


THE CAMPBELL PLAN -- For a few different reasons, I've been wanting to eat less meat. Looking for  practical guide with recipes, led me to The Campbell Plan, a guide to eating according to research outlined in The China Study. The China Study is a book by a doctor presenting his research which showed a link between meat+cancer. At the time it came out, there were many critics of the books premise, but just recently the World Health Organization said, yep, some meats can increase risk of cancer. Most of the restrictions and substitutions outlined in The Campbell Plan are still a bit much for me, but the recipes for banana pancakes and sweet potato enchiladas are gems.

Part two of my list will be coming soon. Meanwhile, guess what? I've partnered up with my favorite independent bookseller Powell's Books! If you click+buy a book from one of the links I post here, I'll get a small commission from Powell's so I can buy more books and tell you all about them! Yay! 





Todd Lake+Mt Bachelor

Todd Lake+Mt Bachelor

At the beginning of June we packed up and moved to Bend, Oregon. After a honeymoon-like summer, it's now becoming more real. Pre-K has begun. Resumes are floating around. Here we are, Oregonians. Here we are, living in a too-good-to-be-true town. No, it's not perfect. Yes, a great deal of people (many from the Bay Area) are moving to Bend (even the moving truck rental guy commented on it). Maybe it's growing and changing too quickly, especially from the perspective of people who have been here for decades. Change is hard. Change is inevitable. I, of course, can't speak for all the new Bendites, but we came not to take advantage but to contribute and become a part of the magic. We came here because people here seemed kind and open and happy, and it made US want to be kind and open. So, we will say hello to everyone we see on our morning run. We will signal our roundabout exits. We will support local causes, artists, and businesses. We will play in the mountains and the river and the desert. We will find our way. We will share our joy and kindness as much as we can.

We will thrive.