A large portion of October has been spent working through Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, but I’m not even close to finished yet. Hopefully I can share my review of that book in November.
This month I finished five books, and I highly recommend them all!
Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done – This is another book from Laura Vanderkam. I have read several of her books and often listen to her Best of Both Worlds podcast. This book is one of my favorites of hers because is embraces my reflect, plan, live philosophy. Vanderkam tracks her time more diligently than I do with the same focus of trying to make the most out of her life and her time.
My favorite takeaway from this book is the notion that you have three selfs: past, present, and future. She presented these various versions of yourself in a way to advocate for taking actions today as your present self that past and future self will appreciate. For instance, my past self likes to look back on happy memories we’ve made as a family and my future self likes to have plans to look forward to and enjoy. As a result, I should focus my present self on creating memories and being in the moment with them as they are happening.
Sex and Vanity – This is Kevin Kwan’s newest book. He is the author of the Crazy Rich Asian series that I loved. This book is in the same vein and was a pleasure to read. It’s about Lucie Churchill, a young woman who feels trapped between her father’s English upbringing and her mother’s Chinese heritage, and how she comes to accept herself and find love along the way.
The Hate U Give – This is a book by Angie Thomas. Actually, it has a bit of a similar theme to Sex and Vanity, with a more obvious focus on the protagonist’s situation of being trapped between two worlds. Starr Carter is a high school girl from a poor neighborhood who is going to school in suburban, upper-middle class neighborhood. Her friend is shot and killed by a police officer and she’s the only witness. The novel focuses on how Starr reactions to this situation and determines what to do next while attempting to fit in at home and at school. It’s a powerful, eyeopening story that is extremely well written.
U.S. Presidents – Ken Jennings, the famous Jeopardy winner, has written a number of children’s books. I figure what better way to get more history in an easily digestible format. I picked up his book U.S. Presidents and devoured it in a couple of hours. Sure, there was certainly some material in there that I already knew, but there was plenty more that I learned about our various presidents. Did you know that Lincoln signed a bill to start the Secret Service on the day of his assassination? Or that Teddy Roosevelt road a horse for 100 miles in one day to stop army soldiers from complaining about riding 10-15 miles per day? I even read sections to the boys, which they seemed to enjoy. Double win!
I Was Told It Would Get Easier – This is Abbi Waxman’s newest novel, which I enjoyed more than her 2019 The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. I Was Told It Would Get Easier is about a mother daughter pair taking a tour of colleges together with a number of adventures that occur along the way. I like how the story is told, jumping between the perspective of the daughter and mother where you see they are more alike they either one likely knows.
I think I’m going to start weaving classics into my “to be read” list in 2021. Any recommendations?