My Reading Life Roundup - February/March 2023

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

I missed writing my February roundup about my reading life so I used a new strategy in March - to write a little bit each week to make sure I kept up with my roundup. It worked out pretty well. I am also catching up with a few of the highlights of February that I don’t want to miss talking about.

What I Finished Reading

Spare - I finished reading Prince Harry’s autobiographical book this month. I decided to use an Audible Credit on this one so I actually listened to it. Since I typically enjoy taking notes on books, audio isn’t typically the best option for me. However, for many biographical/memoir style books it is a nice options - particularly if they are read by the author. My thoughts on Spare are available here.

The Financial Feminist by Tori Dunlap - I used my Wowbrary newsletter to make sure I was the very first person in line at my library to read this when it was released. Dunlap did NOT disappoint. This, along with Ramit Sethi’s, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, would be the two books I’d recommend to all people who want to do the work to get their finances in good shape. I’m working on a piece to go in my Facts of Life Book Course (use code FRIEND1 to get 50% off this week - lowest price it will EVER be offered) on the books that have shaped my financial decision making.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy - I listened to this memoir book rather than reading it. It came to me as our book club pick for the month. The title immediately put me off because - quite simply - I’m in no way glad my mom died. That said, I get that people have complicated relationships with parents and after listening to McCurdy there is no question that her mom was complicated as was her relationship with her. As someone who has suffered from disordered eating at different times in my life, I wish I’d done a little more due diligence to realize how many triggers there would be in this book on that topic. Overall, I can’t really recommend this book because it is not all that well written and has an awkward pace. The last five or so chapters were great but it’s not worth reading the rest of the book to get to that point.

The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey - I finished two books in the “stunt journalism” category in February - my annual re-read of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and this one my Chris Bailey. I came across Bailey as his newest book - How to Calm Your Mind - has recently been talked about in a number of podcasts and newsletters I consume. I couldn’t get that one from the library so I grabbed this one instead. It was an interesting read although it makes me skeptical of all of his books as “stunt journalism” rather than real authentic learning. There is some edge to his writing that feels less than authentic to me.

Enemy of Mine and The Widow’s Strike by Brad Taylor - I’m continuing my read of this series by Taylor. The stories get a little more contrived with each book and I’m actually getting less invested in the characters. As I write this at the beginning of April, it’s been weeks since I’ve opened the next book in the series so this may be my end of reading this series for now.

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor - I think I actually finished this in February. It was nowhere on my reading radar when I ran across a quote from the book and decided to give it a go. Of Taylor’s books that I’ve read this is my least favorite of them. Her writing style is always part sermon, part memoir, part beautiful prose that sucks you in. This was no different but it just lacked spirit for me. It was worth finishing but there was a lot of skimming of several sections.

What I Haven’t Finished Yet

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna. This is our book club book for April and it is an utter delight thus far. I chose to do it as an audio book which was a fantastic decision. The narration is by Samara MacLaren whose performance is a pleasure. The story is all about found families - a topic I adore.

Your Career Advantage by Caroline Dowd-Higgins - I’m proud to call Caroline a friend and so I was excited to attend her book launch in early March. I’m enjoying reading this but have been savoring it so I’m not quite done yet.

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz - My friend Shadows suggested this one and it’s excellent. I’m about halfway through and should finish this week.

Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie - This is my Lenten devotional for this year. I haven’t mastered the art of reading daily but I’ve gotten in a few readings each week so will finish this by Easter.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Grams - My friend Elizabeth suggested this to me and she’s right - it’s a perfect book for me. I am not sure if I’ll get it done before it’s due back to the library because I’ve got so many books in the hopper right now, but it will go back on my hold list if I can’t finish it in this read.

Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri and his sister’s book The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You by Dina Nayeri. I tried Everything Sad is Untrue in print as our book club book for February. This was a tremendous error on my part. This would have been MUCH better in audio - to the point I think I would have finished it so I’ve put in that request to the library. I adored his sister’s book The Ungrateful Refugee in audio and can’t wait to finish it.

Termination Shock by Neil Stephenson - My friend Taj couldn’t believe I’d never heard of Neil Stephenson. She was of course right that I’d love his writing. This is his most recent book and I’m enjoying it immensely as an audio book.

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