August book report

Question: What makes you want to read a particular book? Why is it that some books grab us, and others, even with a glowing review from a friend, don’t interest us in the slightest?

Author Gretchen Rubin shares monthly book recommendations on her blog, but believe the more someone tries to explain a book to her, the less likely she is to want to read it, so she never writes much about the books she recommends herself.

Will and I joke about the fact that as soon as one of us says ‘Oh you’ve got to read this book’ or ‘I think you’d really like it’, somehow it makes it completely uninteresting to the other person.

Anyhow, here’s what I read in August, and why I chose it in the first place:

The Happy Marriage

This book was mentioned in a list of upcoming African authors, and since I live on the continent, I havee tried to read more from local writers. However I struggled getting into this one and it’s only half finished. Perhaps I shouldn’t include it on the list?

Cutting for Stone

The author of Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese, wrote the forward for When Breath Becomes Air, a hauntingly beautiful true story I read earlier this year . I poked around to find out what Verghese had written himself and found multiple rave reviews about Cutting For Stone. However it wasn’t available on Kindle, so I forgot about it. Then, I was ordering another book on Amazon and needed to spend a little more to qualify for cheaper shipping, so I added this to the order. Hilariously enough, about a week after it finally arrived, I was walking through our local supermarket, which has a very large collection of books, and saw it sitting there in front of me. I could have purchased it in Nairobi for about half the price of getting it shipped!

Anyhow, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the setting in Ethiopia and the beautiful story it tells.

Present Over Perfect

I chose this as I’ve read the rest of Shauna Neiquiest’s work and had caught snippets of Present Over Perfect on her blog and social media accounts. I enjoyed it, though I think I need to read it again at a later date. I’m very much in a season of actively choosing to take on more, juggle the hustle, dig deeper and go, go, go – which isn’t the season for the rest of my life but it is for right now – and it’s a very different season to the one Shauna writes about so well in Present Over Perfect. In saying that, I still soaked up a number of great gems.

A Praying Life

I’ve been reading this slowly over the last few months as I work through it in a Bible Study with some dear friends. We were going chapter by chapter until we realised just how many chapters there are (they are quite short though!). A fantastic, very honest read on prayer, probably the best and most practical book I’ve read on the subject.

Smarter Better Faster

This book had been referenced in a few others I’ve read recently. I can’t remember exactly, but I probably purchased it on Kindle after falling down the ‘Here’s-what-others-bought’-or-‘Recommended-for-you’-rabbit-hole. A great read on productivity in that social-sciencey style that I really appreciate – a good story, some interesting research, a nice general concept to pull it all together. I underlined a gazillion things and then even wrote down some quotes in a notebook for application to real life.

The Power of Habit

I enjoyed Smarter Better Faster so much I went on to read another book by the same author, Charles Duhigg. Once again, great writing style, interesting material (I’m such a habit nerd!) and some practical ideas to apply to my own life.

How to Become a Straight A student

After ‘returning’ to school late last year, I’ve found myself not only a Public Health student, but a student of distance learning and studying. I somehow stumbled across Cal Newport’s blog and a number of his ideas really clicked (and helped tremendously when I was revising for my exams in June), so I order this off Amazon with Cutting for Stone in preparation for school starting again in October. It covers a lot of the same things I had read on the blog, but I also gleaned some new ideas to study smarter. Now I am wondering if there is anything more nerdy than studying how to study? 😉

Previous book reports here.

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