Tag: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

What I’m Reading Now (4/23/18)

April 23, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 13

Is Spring finally here?! I’m almost afraid to say that, but we’re getting close to May, so there’s no way we can get more snow, right? We had a gorgeous, but pollen-filled, weekend. Lots of outdoor activities and lots of sneezing for my allergy-suffering husband.

Last week, I launched the Sarah’s Book Shelves Patreon page, where you can support the blog financially and get some special rewards (including personalized book recommendations and access to our private Facebook Group) as a thank you for your support! A huge thank you to those of you who have already become patrons!

Tools of Titans Tip
I’m slowly working my way through Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, a collection of highlights from interviews he’s done with various stars of their fields. It’s chock full of awesome tidbits, so I thought I’d share the most helpful tip I pick up each week. I’m still in the ”Wealthy” section.

On Writer’s Block:

“Whether it’s ideas or writing, the key is temporarily dropping your standards. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received for writing was a mantra: ‘Two crappy pages per day.'”

– From Neil Strauss, Author of eight NYT bestsellers including The Game and The Truth.

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I finished reading…

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

 

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton (June 5, 2018)
Last week, I said this about Social Creature: “sometimes I think it’s completely ridiculous and want to DNF it and sometimes I’m completely sucked in.” Well, I was completely sucked into the second half. This is probably the most messed up book I’ve read since The Roanoke Girls and it went in a completely unexpected direction. If you like dark and twisted, put this one on your list for the summer. Mini Review to Come.

Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Visible Empire

 

Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard (June 5, 2018)
This novel based on the true story of a 1962 plane crash at Orly Airport that killed 122 people, many of whom were Atlanta’s most prominent citizens and art patrons, comes recommended by Modern Mrs. Darcy on the What Should I Read Next? podcast. I’m almost halfway through and really like it so far. It’s got a bit of A Man in Full (by Tom Wolfe) vibe, but much less epic.

Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

I’m on the hunt for candidates for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide (coming in May), so I’m being very quick to put books aside.

Sometimes I Lie, That Kind of Mother

 

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney (March 13, 2018)
I put this one down at 23%, but may pick it back up after some people urged me to stick it out.

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam (May 8, 2018)
DNF at 48%. I thought I’d love this novel about a woman who adopts the child of her nanny after she dies during childbirth because two of my top recommendation sources (Annie Jones from From the Front Porch podcast and Tyler Goodson, Manager at Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA) rated it 5 stars. Unfortunately, something felt off. I had trouble connecting with Rebecca (the main character), the observations about motherhood were kind of all over the map (maybe because it’s written by a man??), and I just couldn’t get fully immersed in it.

Upcoming reading plans…

The Gunners

 

The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman (March 20, 2018)
I’ve been anxiously waiting for this novel about a group of childhood friends to come in from the library and it finally has! So many people have raved about this one: Susie at Novel Visits, Tara at Running N Reading, Read it Forward, Tyler Goodson, Joann at Lakeside Musing, and Morgan at NYCbookgirl.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was embarking on a pretty good reading run.

Two Years Ago: I was in the middle of a reading slump.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (4/16/18)

April 16, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 22

After starting last week with some April snow flurries (wha?!!), this past weekend was sunny and hot and got me excited for summer! However, it was a bit overly jam-packed for me and I’m now craving some downtime. I’m one of those people that doesn’t operate well without any time to recharge my batteries.

Tools of Titans Tip
I’m slowly working my way through Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, a collection of highlights from interviews he’s done with various stars of their fields. It’s chock full of awesome tidbits, so I thought I’d share the most helpful tip I pick up each week. I’m still in the ”Wealthy” section.

On Figuring Out What You Want to Be When You Grow Up:
I was I’d had this mentality when I was younger and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. 

“I distinctly remember him saying not to worry about what I was going to do because the job I was going to do hadn’t been invented yet…the interesting jobs are the ones that you make up.”

– From Chris Young, CEO of ChefSteps, Founding Chef of the Fat Duck experimental kitchen

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐// Only my second 5 star novel of the year! Riverhead’s Editor-in-Chief (Sarah McGrath) says The Female Persuasion is a novel about “female power, ambition, leadership, and mentorship […].” And it is, but those issues are secondary to what is ultimately a story in which the characters are the stars: Greer, her boyfriend (Cory), her best friend (Zee), and Faith Frank. Though it’s 464 pages, I read it in a few days and I was always itching to get back to it when I had to leave it for some real life. #partner _⠀ ⠀ Greer is a shy college student still in love with her high school boyfriend when she meets Faith Frank, an icon of the women’s movement, who changes the trajectory of Greer’s life.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Check out my Alcohol & Advil post for reviews of The Female Persuasion and Look Alive Out There: Essays by @sloane_crosley (the book I read to cure my Female Persuasion-induced reading hangover)… LINK IN PROFILE⠀ ⠀ Recommendation Sources: @rebeccaschinsky @anniebjones05 @readbookpage (Thank you all!)⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ @riverheadbooks @megwolitzer @sloane_crosley @fsgbooks #bookstagram #amreading #bookworm #instabooks #bookblogger #booklover #booklovers #booksofinstagram #bookgram #bookblogger #bookaddict #bookaddiction #instareads #thefemalepersuasion #fiction

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I finished reading…

Educated by Tara Westover

 

Educated by Tara Westover (February 20, 2018)
Excellent – lived up to the hype! It’s like a combination of Under the Banner of HeavenThe Glass Castle, and Hillbilly Elegy. Mini review to come.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

 

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton (June 5, 2018)
I’m about halfway through this NYC story of a toxic friendship and I honestly have no idea what I think about it. Sometimes I think it’s completely ridiculous and want to DNF it and sometimes I’m completely sucked in. Has this ever happened to anyone else?! I just hit a turning point, though, so I’m interested to see where the second half of the story goes.

Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

I’m on the hunt for candidates for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide (coming in May), so I’m being very quick to put books aside.

High Season

 

The High Season by Judy Blendell (May 22, 2018)
DNF at 20%…too heavy on the ritzy museum board politics (just like Big Little Lies was too heavy on the mommy politics for me). 

Upcoming reading plans…

Sometimes I Lie

 

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney (March 13, 2018)
Tara at Running N Reading included this thriller on her Best Books to Read on Spring Break 2018 list and I’m hoping it will be a good addition to my “Fast-Paced/Intense” Summer Reading Guide category!

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading a read-alike for The Secret History.

Two Years Ago: I was reading a book lots of others loved, but I didn’t.

How was your reading week?

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A Double Shot of What I’m Reading Now (4/9/18)

April 9, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 31

It’s been two weeks since my last reading update…because I was on vacation! We spent a week at the beach with the family and some good friends…and it was awesome! We got some warm weather, did some beach reading (see my Instagram pic below), caught some fish, rode bikes and ran on the beach, played tennis, ate an ungodly amount of delicious food, and drank an almost equally ungodly amount of wine and cocktails (new and possibly dangerous discovery: Sweet Tea Mojito made with Firefly vodka). It was so nice to get away from the daily grind and spend time with people that matter. 

I’m still ploughing through books for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide (coming in May) and still being especially quick to DNF books right now as I try to find the best fits for the guide. I did a bunch of this (details below) while on vacation.

Tools of Titans Tip
I’m slowly working my way through Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, a collection of highlights from interviews he’s done with various stars of their fields. It’s chock full of awesome tidbits, so I thought I’d share the most helpful tip I pick up each week. I’m still in the ”Wealthy” section.

On Taking the Plunge:
This entire blog wouldn’t exist if I’d chosen not to do something I’m not qualified to do. Before I started this blog, I’d never read any book blogs before, much less actually know how to start one. If I’d asked myself if I was qualified to start one, the answer would have been h*ll no! Luckily, it never occurred to me to ask myself that question. 

“If I’ve learned anything from podcasting, it’s don’t be afraid to do something you’re not qualified to do.”

– From Dan Carlin, Host of Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts

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Beach reading is the best reading! Sitting on the beach reading this week got me super excited to put together my annual Summer Reading Guide! I’ve already got a number of books on the list and Ill be working my way through a bunch more possibilities over the next month or so. ⠀ _⠀ ⠀ This week, I finished one book that will definitely be on my Summer Reading Guide (hint: it’s a May release about grief that is actually a light, hopeful book) and just started another one. ⠀ _⠀ ⠀ What are your favorite types of beach reads? Light and easy? Packed with page-turning suspense? Fiction with substance?⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #amreading #bookworm #instabooks #bookblogger #booklover #booklovers #booksofinstagram #bookgram #bookblogger #bookaddict #bookaddiction #instareads #beachreads #summerreading #kiawah #kiawahisland ⠀

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I finished reading…

What I'm Reading Now

 

Brass by Xhenet Aliu (January 28, 2018)
I liked this gritty, coming of age story fine, but not as much as some others have. The writing was great, but I wish I’d been able to get more into the story and care more about the characters. 3.5 stars.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer (February 6, 2018) – AUDIOBOOK
Same story as Brass. Liked it fine; not as much as some others. I did think the history of female friendship was fascinating and sad…how women were made to feel like they had to hide their female friendships or give them up because they were supposed to be devoting themselves entirely to their families.

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You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld (April 24, 2018)
This is one of the best short story collections I’ve ever read! I adored every single story and I’m normally not a fan of short stories at all. It’s a great starter short story collection (i.e. for people who’re trying short stories for the first time…maybe for a reading challenge?) and it will absolutely make my Best Books of 2018 So Far list in a few months. Mini review to come.

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Alternative Remedies for Loss by Joanna Cantor (May 8, 2018)
Weirdly, this novel is a light, easy read, but it’s about grief. I flew through it while on vacation! Mini review to come.

Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Educated by Tara Westover

 

Educated by Tara Westover (February 20, 2018)
Everyone has been raving about this memoir that’s been compared to The Glass Castle and Hillbilly Elegy. I’m about 25% through and, so far, it’s living up to the hype and those two heavy-weight comparisons! 
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

I’m on the hunt for candidates for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide (coming in May), so I’m being very quick to put books aside. I may come back to some of these if I hear good things from someone else. Or, some may be books I want to read eventually, but I suspected they wouldn’t be great fits for my Summer Reading Guide.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain (May 1, 2018)
DNF at 27%.

The Italian Party by Christina Lynch (April 10, 2018)
DNF at 6%.

Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti (May 22, 2018)
DNF at 6%.

Upcoming reading plans…

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

 

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton (June 5, 2018)
A debut New York City thriller that has been compared to Gillian Flynn, Donna Tartt, Herman Koch, Megan Abbott, and one of my favorite books of last year, Dead Letters. Normally comparisons scare me, but this is a laundry list of very different authors, all of whom I adore. Also, Lionsgate has preempted the film rights and Tyler Goodson, one of my Go-To Recommendation Sources, rated it 4 stars.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I read a book that others loved, but I skimmed the second half.

Two Years Ago: I was reading one of my top 3 books of 2016 that I still haven’t found a good read-alike for.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (3/26/18)

March 26, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 24

Well, we had yet another snow storm when the kids missed a day of school and had a 2 hour delay the following day. Between snow days, holidays, illnesses, and random teacher workdays, I feel like there has not been a single week when both of my kids have gone to school every day since December. Needless to say, it’s put quite a dent in my productivity.

On the reading front, I’m ploughing through books for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide (coming in May). As you’ll see below, I’m being especially quick to DNF books right now as I try to find the best fits for the guide. I’m not sure I can even call it DNFing at this point, maybe sampling is a better word?

Tools of Titans Tip
I’m slowly working my way through Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, a collection of highlights from interviews he’s done with various stars of their fields. It’s chock full of awesome tidbits, so I thought I’d share the most helpful tip I pick up each week. I’m currently in the ”Wealthy” section.

On Waiting:
I constantly tell myself I’ll do something “when I have more free time, when the kids get older”, etc. Though I’m not trying to start Paypal, I think it would do me some good to take Peter Thiel’s advice to heart.

If you go back 20 or 25 years, I wish I would have known that there was no need to wait. I went to college. I went to law school. I worked in law and banking, though not for terribly long. But not until I started Paypal did I fully realize that you don’t have to wait to start something. So if you’re planning to do something with your life, if you have a 10-year plan of how to get there, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months?

– From Peter Thiel, Serial Company Founder (including Paypal)

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Even though it doesn’t feel like Spring at all, I’m breaking out the Spring books! Some big-time authors have new books coming out this Spring, so get excited! And, I’ve already read THE FEMALE PERSUASION by @megwolitzer and it’s fantastic…only my second 5 star book of the year! (LINK IN PROFILE) _⠀ ⠀ In case you haven’t heard, I adopted a new system for picking books this year. I abandoned publisher’s catalogs and focused on reading recommendations from trusted sources. Just like my Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2018, as many books as possible on this list have already been read by trusted sources.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Featured Recommendation Sources: @rebeccaschinsky @readerlymag @nicolebonia @tylergoodson @anniebjones05 @shipstead ⠀ _⠀ ⠀ What Spring 2018 books are you most excited about?⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #amreading #bookworm #instabooks #bookblogger #booklover #booklovers #booksofinstagram #bookgram #bookblogger #bookaddict #bookaddiction #instareads @megwolitzer @sloane_crosley @paula_mclain @joannacantor @rumaanalam @ajagabel @riverheadbooks @liverightpublishing @mcdbooks @randomhouse @bloomsburypublishing @eccobooks ⠀

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I finished reading…

What I'm Reading Now

 

The Female Persuasionby Meg Wolitzer (April 3, 2018)
My second 5 star novel of the year! I was absolutely engrossed in these characters’ lives. You’ll like it if you liked The Interestings (and maybe also if you didn’t, per Annie Jones of From the Front Porch podcast). Mini review coming.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Look Alive Out There: Essays by Sloane Crosley (April 3, 2018)
The perfect palate cleanser after The Female Persuasion. Smartly written essays about a woman’s life in her 20’s and 30’s and the quintessential New York City stories. Mini review coming.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

What I'm Reading Now

 

Brass by Xhenet Aliu (January 28, 2018)
I’m about 20% through this debut novel about a working-class mother and daughter that was recommended by Susie at Novel Visits and Tara at Running N Reading (it was also a Read it Forward Favorite of January 2018). The writing is great, I’m enmeshed in the characters’ stories, and am looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

I’m on the hunt for candidates for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide (coming in May), so I’m being very quick to put books aside. I may come back to some of these if I hear good things from someone else. Or, some may be books I want to read eventually, but I suspected they wouldn’t be great fits for my Summer Reading Guide.

How to Be Safeby Tom McAllister (April 3, 2018)
DNF at 18%.

Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde (April 10, 2018)
DNF at 14%.

Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen (April 10, 2018)
DNF at 6%.

Upcoming reading plans…

What I'm Reading Now

 

You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld (April 24, 2018)
I’m not usually a big fan of short stories, but this collection by the author of Eligible, American Wife, and Prep comes highly recommended by three of my Go-To Recommendation Sources (The Readerly Podcast, Tyler Goodson, and Kelly Massry, curator of Kelly’s Collections). Plus, I’ve already peeked at the beginning of the first story and really wanted to drop what I was reading and keep going…

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading one of my 5 star reads of 2017…about going to Mars (and it’s not The Martian).

Two Years Ago: I’d just finished an underrated gem about a bunch of middle age men’s odd annual tradition.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (3/19/18)

March 19, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 23

Last week I talked about how it was great to finally have something to get excited about during March Madness (my husband and I both went to UVA). I’m just going to go bury my head in the sand now…

On a better note, I did finish 3 books last week! After I finish my current read, I’m going to be starting the final push to find candidates for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide (coming in May)!

Tools of Titans Tip
I’m slowly working my way through Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, a collection of highlights from interviews he’s done with various stars of their fields. It’s chock full of awesome tidbits, so I thought I’d share the most helpful tip I pick up each week. I just started the ”Wealthy” section.

On Prioritizing Your Time:
This concept first sunk in with me after reading Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and is one of the things I try to keep in mind as I figure out how to prioritize my precious non-child rearing time.

“Because most of us say yes to too much stuff, and then, we let these little, mediocre things fill our lives…The problem is, when that occasional, “Oh my God, hell yeah! thing comes along, you don’t have enough time to give it the attention you should, because you’ve said yes to too much other little, half-ass stuff, right? Once I started applying this, my life just opened up.”

– From Derek Sivers, Founder of CDBaby and HostBaby

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Did y’all watch the recent season of #thebachelor?! Quite an ending, right? If you want to know more about how stuff like that goes down behind the scenes, Bachelor Nation is a must read! And, it’s just one book I’m recommending in my MARCH 2018 BOOKS TO READ (AND SKIP) post (LINK IN PROFILE WITH FULL LIST). #partner @duttonbooks @simonandschuster @eccobooks @doubledaybooks ⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Books Discussed in this post (some great, some less great):⠀ – Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman⠀ – Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead⠀ – Tangerine by Christine Mangan⠀ – The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian⠀ – Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao _⠀ ⠀ How has your March reading been? What is your favorite March book so far? Least favorite?⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #amreading #bookworm #instabooks #bookblogger #booklover #booklovers #booksofinstagram #bookgram #bookblogger #bookaddict #bookaddiction #instareads #bachelornation #thebachelor @amykinla @christinerosemangan ⠀

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I finished reading…

Alternate Side, Not That I Could Tell, Glitter and Glue


Alternate Side
 by Anna Quindlen (March 20, 2018)
Not Quindlen’s best work. Full review coming on Thursday.

Not That I Could Tellby Jessica Strawser (March 20, 2018)
This “thriller” was my March Book of the Month selection! And, man, do I wish I’d skipped it. I kept waiting for something to happen, but it never really did. And, the resolution to the main suspenseful element wasn’t surprising at all. This book needed great writing and social commentary to carry it and it had neither. I skimmed the last 40% or so.

Glitter and Glueby Kelly Corrigan (February 4, 2014)
I loved Corrigan’s Tell Me More earlier this year and was excited to delve into her backlist. While I didn’t love Glitter and Glue quite as much as Tell Me More, I did really like it…it has the same trademark style as Tell Me MoreGlitter and Glue focuses on Corrigan’s time as a nanny for an Australian family who had just lost their mother, which transformed her outlook on her own mother and mothering in general. Read by Corrigan herself, this was great on audio!

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Female Persuasion

 

The Female Persuasionby Meg Wolitzer (April 3, 2018)
I’m over halfway through and thoroughly enjoying Meg Wolitzer’s (one of my favorite authors) new novel! I’d heard it was kind of a feminist manifesto and it has that element, but it’s more the story of a girl, her friend, and her boyfriend trying to make it in the world. It’s such a treat to read Wolitzer’s writing again and I can’t wait to see how Greer (the main character) turns out.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Upcoming reading plans…

How to Be Safe

 

How to Be Safeby Tom McAllister (April 3, 2018)
I’m taking a bit of a risk on this novel about a female high school teacher who is named as a suspect in a school shooting while suspended from her teaching job. It hasn’t come recommended by a trusted recommendation source, but the premise looked interest. 

was reading…

One Year Ago: I’d just read two underrated gems.

Two Years Ago: I was reading a super eye-opening book about what young girls are facing these days.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (3/12/18)

March 12, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 25

We had a basketball-filled weekend! My husband and I both went to UVA, so it was a pretty good weekend to be a fan (we won the ACC Championships and will go into the NCAA tournament as a #1 seed). Our basketball success in recent years has been pretty awesome for us fans since we’re TERRIBLE at football and, prior to Coach Tony Bennett arriving in Charlottesville, were only mediocre at basketball. So, it’s fun to finally have something to get excited about.

Last week, I debuted a new feature on the blog called Readers Recommend, where a regular blog reader (by “regular,” I mean someone who reads the blog, but does not have a blog of his or her own) shares an “Old Love, a New Love, and a Don’t Love.” Our first guest’s “Old Love” got some serious chatter going in the comments section! I’ll be doing this feature monthly, so email me at sarahsbookshelves@gmail.com if you’d like to participate (I do have a waitlist right now, but add your name now if you’re interested in participating in the future!).

Tools of Titans Tip
I’m slowly working my way through Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, a collection of highlights from interviews he’s done with various stars of their fields. It’s chock full of awesome tidbits, so I thought I’d share the most helpful tip I pick up each week. I’m currently reading the “Healthy” section (next up…”Wealthy” and “Wise”).

The “Hard-Style” Plank
I’ve been doing these when I don’t really have time for core during a workout. And I’ve been sore…from 10 second planks!

Hold a plank for 10 seconds under max contraction (like you’re about to be kicked and breathe ‘behind the shield’ of your tensed midsection), not for several minutes. For a challenge, consider putting your feet on the wall, a few inches from the floor.

For rep sets, do 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps in dynamic (moving) exercises or hold 10 seconds for static exercises. Take 3 to 5 minutes of rest in between sets for both.

– From Pavel Tsatsouline, Chairman of StrongFirst Inc, a worldwide school of strength

I alternate one 10 second static hold with one moving set of 5 reps (for my moving set, I put my calves on a foam roller and walk forward for 5 “arm steps” on my forearms). I do a total of 4 sets (so 2 for each exercise). Takes like 2 minutes, so I have no excuse to skip core work!

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Because my son “doesn’t like his French fries hot.” 🤷‍♀️

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I finished reading…

Tangerine by Christine Mangan


Tangerine
 by Christine Mangan (March 20, 2018)
Don’t be thrown by the cover of this one…it doesn’t read at all like historical fiction. It’s heavy on the emotional tension, lighter on the action. I really liked it, but it’s the kind of book that won’t be for everyone. Mini review to come.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen


Alternate Side
 by Anna Quindlen (March 20, 2018)
Anna Quindlen is one of my auto-buy authors (i.e. an author who’s work I love so much that I’ll read whatever he/she publishes). I’m about 70% through her new, NYC novel and…I don’t know. I’m not sure what it’s about. I see glimpses of her trademark writing, but it’s just kind of “meh,” especially compared to her other work.

Upcoming reading plans…

Not That I Could Tell

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser (March 20, 2018)
This “thriller” was my March Book of the Month selection! Y’all know I’m skittish with thrillers, but Amy at Read a Latte said this one was “not quite a thriller. It’s more an examination of the lives of these women, and the questions that circulate when a perceived perfect neighborhood starts to show cracks.” Which sounds right up my alley.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I just finished reading one of the more messed up books I’ve read in awhile.

Two Years Ago: It was the weekend Pat Conroy died…breaking my heart.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (3/5/18)

March 5, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 19

Well, we survived the random windstorm this past weekend! We only lost power for one night and managed to only lose small branches around our house…could’ve been way worse. Our neighbors lost a huge Pine, roots and all, but luckily it fell away from their house.

And, it looks like I read a ton of books last week, but it’s kind of deceiving. I was almost done with one book and a second audiobook at the start of the week, then read a third. Also, I’m slowly working my way through Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris. It’s over 700 pages, but is written in short vignettes and I read about one a night. So, this one will take me awhile. So far, I’m learning a ton about Health (the first section) and have already picked up one exercise that’s really made my back feel better.

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March Book of the Month selections are here! I hadn’t heard of any of these picks before, but after doing some research, I’m definitely interested in a couple! Judging by the collective reactions to last month’s picks (people thought they were uninteresting and too well-known), they might be happier this time around since these seem to be lesser known titles.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ For those of you who lamented the judges’ disappearance in last month’s picks, I have semi-good news for you! The judges are back…kind of. There won’t be a 5 judge panel like we’re used to, but we will see judges make appearances mixed in with “editorial team [members], brand ambassadors, members, and members of our Readers Committee.” Kind of annoying for those of us who have been following specific judges for awhile and know who our Go-To Judges are, but we’ll have to see how things go…⠀ _⠀ ⠀ I’ve got commentary on all the selections AND my ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB JUDGES to help you choose the right book for your reading taste. LINKS IN PROFILE #affiliate⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #bookofthemonth #bookofthemonthclub #botm #bookgram #amreading #bookworms #instabooks #bookblogger #booklovers #booklover #bibliophile #biblio #bookaddict #bookaddiction @bookofthemonth

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I finished reading…

I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Laura and Emma, Endurance
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
 by Erika L. Sanchez (October 17, 2017)
I ended up liking this one even though I could really feel the YA-ness in the ending. I do think it would be an important and helpful book for young girls to read. Mini Review to come.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead (March 13, 2018)
I really liked this debut mother/daughter novel set in 80’s – 90’s NYC. Laura, the mother is somewhat of an offbeat character and I liked the voice. It’s been compared to Gilmore Girls, which I can see in the premise, but not in the characters or style. Mini Review to come.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Enduranceby Scott Kelly (October 17, 2017) – Audiobook
It took me the entire month of February to listen to this 12 hour audiobook! It’s Astronaut Scott Kelly’s (Former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford‘s brother-in-law) story of his year on the International Space Station. Hearing about what it’s like to live on the Space Station was mostly really interesting, though the book could have been shorter. Would make a great “Dad” book and is going on my Books for Guys list.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Tangerine by Christine Mangan


Tangerine
by Christine Mangan (March 20, 2018)
This debut novel about a female friendship set in 1950’s Morocco comes recommended by one of my Go-To Recommendation Sources (Annie Jones from From the Front Porch podcast and was a Library Reads March pick). I’ve literally just read the first few pages so far.

Upcoming reading plans…

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen


Alternate Side
 by Anna Quindlen (March 20, 2018)
I absolutely adore Anna Quindlen (Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake and Every Last One), but I’ve heard her new novel may not be among her best. I’m still going to give it a shot. After all, average Quindlen is still a lot better than many other authors’ best work. 

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading my first 5 star book of 2017!

Two Years Ago: I was in the middle of a string of books I wish I hadn’t read.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (2/26/18)

February 26, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 21

I’m deep into reading my March releases and I have to say that they’re so far not living up to February’s books. But, that’s OK because I’m starting to dive into possible candidates for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide, which is one of my favorite features to put together every single year! In other news…

If you’re a Sarah’s Book Shelves reader who does not have your own blog, I’d love for you to participate in my new “Readers Recommend” feature!
In “Readers Recommend,” regular blog readers (i.e. those of you who do not have your own book blogs) will share some of their best book recommendations (again, thanks to the Reader Survey for this idea!). All you have to do is answer a few book related questions via email. Email me at sarahsbookshelves@gmail.com or leave a note in the comments if you’d like to participate!

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If you’re a new follower, I love Pat Conroy…he’s my favorite author of all-time. If you’ve been around for awhile, I’m going to stain you about Pat Conroy yet again. I have a weakness for Southern literature, especially the dark kind, and Conroy was the master at it. The lowcountry is as much of a character as any of the actual people in his books and he brings its alluring beauty and its dark underbelly alive. ⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Here’s my dilemma. Now that Conroy is gone, I’ve been trying to find an author who writes in a similar style and I’ve come up empty. Do you have any recommendations for me?⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #amreading #bookworm #instabooks #bookblogger #booklover #booklovers #booksofinstagram #bookgram #bookblogger #bookaddict #bookaddiction #patconroy #southernliterature #southernfiction ⠀

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I finished reading…

Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian


The Flight Attendant
 by Chris Bohjalian (March 13, 2018)
Bohjalian’s thrillers have been reliable standbys for me over the last few years, but things slipped a bit with this one. It was fine, but I didn’t like it as much as The Guest Room or The Sleepwalker. And, I definitely had some specific issues that I’ll share in an upcoming mini review. 

I’m currently reading…

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter


I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
 by Erika L. Sanchez (October 17, 2017)
I’m about halfway through this YA novel that was longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and, so far, I love the voice of Julia, but it did drag a bit through the second quarter. We’ll see how it wrap up.

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobna Rao


Girls Burn Brighter
 by Shobha Rao (March 6, 2018)

Last week, I was 13% through this novel about female friendship in India and I was having trouble getting into the characters and my mind kept wandering. I haven’t picked it up since then and am now moving on. I’ve since heard it’s an incredibly brutal story and I don’t think I have that in me right now.

Upcoming reading plans…

Laura and Emma


Laura & Emma
 by Kate Greathead (March 13, 2018)
This debut novel is a mother/daughter story set in upper crust Manhattan and is apparently quirky and told in vignettes. Tyler Goodson, the manager of Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA and one of my newest Go-To Recommendation Sources gave it 5 stars.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I rated a couple books 5 stars that others didn’t love as much.

Two Years Ago: I was reading one of my favorite books of 2016!

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (2/19/18)

February 19, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 29

Two weeks had gone by since I had the flu, I thought I’d escaped infecting the rest of my family. No such luck…my daughter and my husband both had it last week. The silver lining was that the Olympics were on and, if I have to be housebound, I’d like it to be during the Olympics!

Is it ridiculous to say it’s been stressful keeping up with all this Olympics viewing…and The Bachelor…and The Bachelor Winter Games…and trying to go to bed at a decent time? I probably shouldn’t admit all that in public…

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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, so I bet you’re seeing a ton of posts sharing the best romances, best couples of literature, “literary crushes,” etc. Well, I’m just not that big a fan of romances…the cheese factor is too much for me. ⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Most people probably wouldn’t even call the books on this list love stories, but they’re the kind of love stories I can handle. The love fits organically into a story with a different focus and is low on the cheese factor.⠀ LINK IN PROFILE WITH FULL LIST⠀ _⠀ ⠀ How do you feel about romances? Do you prefer the traditional or unconventional type?⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bookstagram #amreading #bookworm #instabooks #bookblogger #booklover #booklovers #booksofinstagram #bookgram #bookblogger #bookaddict #bookaddiction #valentinesday #lovestories @tjenkinsreid @tayari @ahoffmanwriter @algonquinbooks @atriabooks @simonandschuster @bookofthemonth #bookofthemonth ⠀

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I finished reading…

Castle of Water, Woman in her Thirties
Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge (April 4, 2017)
This is a tough one. It was just too neat and tidy for me…but, lots of readers will love it. There were just too many moments where you have to suspend rational belief for the story to hold up. I did like the ending, though. If you like your stories neatly laid out, give this one a try!
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Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties by Camille Pagan (February 27, 2018)
Finally…the fun (but not silly) read I’d been looking for! It’s an easy read with a thread of darkness…which is how I like my easy reads. Plus, there’s salty humor and real talk about aging, marriage, divorce, and piecing your life back together. This was my first time reading Pagan and I like her style…I’ll definitely be going back to her for light reads in the future!
Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobna Rao


Girls Burn Brighter
 by Shobha Rao (March 6, 2018)

I’m 13% through this novel about female friendship in India. It’s average Goodreads rating is 4.3 and I wonder if I’m reading the same book. I’m having trouble getting into the characters and my mind keeps wandering. Has anyone else read it? Should I keep going or is this going to be one of those hyped books (e.g. Sing, Unburied, Sing) that isn’t for me?

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim fu
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu (February 13, 2018)

DNF at 25%. This novel felt choppy and I couldn’t get into the characters.

Upcoming reading plans…

Unless some library holds come in…

Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian


The Flight Attendant
 by Chris Bohjalian (March 13, 2018)
Bohjalian’s page turners always have an unique element that makes them stand out from the sea of run-of-the-mill thrillers out there. I’m hoping this will be a good candidate for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I read one of the most polarizing books of last year.

Two Years Ago: I was deep in a reading slump.

How was your reading week?

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What I’m Reading Now (2/12/18)

February 12, 2018 It's Monday! What are you reading? 27

For the first time ever last week, I successfully read two non-audiobooks at the same time! Normally, if I’m reading more than one book at a time, it means neither one is really grabbing my attention. Not the case this week. Each book I was reading fulfilled a distinct purpose and I read each book during different times of day.

And to add to my true crime week, I listened to the podcast Dear John from the L.A. Times. It’s an absolutely chilling story of a sociopathic con man and blind love. If you liked the original Serial, try this one!

My Rock Your Reading Tracker is available for purchase here! What’s special about this reading tracker? It automatically compiles your stats in real time…and helps you pick better books for your reading taste by enabling you to track your recommendation sources. I’ve been using it for a few months now and love being able to see my stats as I go! And, I know I’m going to love all the hours I’ll save tallying up numbers at the end of the year.

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐// An intimately written novel that tackles a number of weighty current issues in an organic way…and it’s my favorite novel of 2018 so far! I recommend going in blind on this one – the publisher’s blurb gives away far too much! And, in case you haven’t heard, @oprah just picked this one for #oprahsbookclub. I think it would be an excellent selection for your book club too. LINK TO FULL REVIEW IN MY PROFILE.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ When Roy goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit only a year and a half into their new marriage, Celestial must figure out how to cope with his absence and shape her life in the face of this massive upheaval.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Does @oprah’s latest pick sound appealing to you?⠀ ⠀ Recommendation Source: @nicolebonia @readerlymagazine (Thank you!)⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ @tayari @algonquinbooks #bookstagram #amreading #bookworm #instabooks #bookblogger #booklover #booklovers #booksofinstagram #bookgram #bookblogger #bookaddict #bookaddiction #bookofthemonth @bookofthemonth

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I finished reading…

I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Bachelor Nation


I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
 
by Michelle McNamara (February 27, 2018)
Excellent for true crime fans. As much about McNamara’s story investigating these unsolved cases years after they’d gone cold as the story of the Golden State Killer himself. I definitely couldn’t read it at night, so Bachelor Nation was the perfect companion read to fill my head with fluff before falling asleep. Mini review to come.
Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman (March 6, 2018)
Not a gossipy read revealing who’s hooking up with whom, etc, but more a look at how the show is put together behind the scenes. How does the show get contestants to do things they’d never do in real life. An interestingly psychological look at The Bachelor.

Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge
Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge (April 4, 2017)
I’m about 40% through this plane crash / survival page turner that a couple of my Go-To Bloggers (Renee at It’s Book Talk and Susie at Novel Visits) loved. So far, this is similar to stories I’ve read or seen on the screen many times before, but I’m getting the sense there are some pretty big bombshells to come.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Upcoming reading plans…

I’m waiting for this one to come out tomorrow…

Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim fu
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu (February 13, 2018)

I’m hoping this novel about a group of girls who get stranded on an island during a kayaking trip at summer camp will be a candidate for my 2018 Summer Reading Guide!

was reading…

One Year Ago: I read one of my favorite books of 2017!

Two Years Ago: I was reading about being an introvert.

How was your reading week?

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