Thriftygal’s Book Reviews – October 2016

By | October 11, 2016

Hey, here’s a new thing I’m doing. I like to read and I’ve started writing pithy little reviews of books I finish. Okay, that’s not accurate. Pithy implies short, but full of substance. My reviews are mostly rubbish.

If my review of the book makes it sound interesting and if you click on the link and if you buy the book within a certain time period of clicking on the link and if I correctly set up the Amazon Affiliates program, I may get a few pennies. My goal is seven pennies.

Or you could see if the library has it for free. That’s what I would do.

Do you have any suggestions for me on what to read? Put your recommendations in the comments. My current reading list is the longest list I have, but I love adding to it.

Books That I Read Recently and Remembered to Write a Review For

Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson

  • Letters from a dying septuagenarian priest to his young son. Beautiful prose and a compellingly good main character, but no real ‘story’ as conventionally understood. Gilead is a town in Iowa. I don’t know how to pronounce it.

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

  • Rather dry book about spotting people who have no conscious. The stories she recounts are interesting, but also deeply disturbing and uncomfortable. She repeats herself a bit and I think the book could have been much shorter. Her advice is essentially stay away from sociopaths.

Good-bye and Amen: A Novel by Beth Gutcheon

  • I never realized so many novels explained that they were novels on their book covers, did you? This novel is about three adult siblings who have to split up the remains of their parents house after they pass. It’s told from the point of view of dozens of different people, switching frequently. Good reminder that everyone is the center of their own lives and everyone interprets events differently.


Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

  • This book is about an actual seagull who likes to fly and test the limits of his flying ability. He eventually makes it to a higher plane of existence, but decides to come back to earth and teach other seagulls the extent of their flying abilities. I didn’t really get it, but that’s not surprising.

Committed: A Love Story by Elizabeth Gilbert

  • Part historical research, part personal journey, this book explores the purpose of marriage and commitment. I enjoy the way that the author writes and I think her conclusion on marriage – there is no real conclusion – is probably apt. It’s most certainly not a love story though. She recently split up with the husband that she decided to marry in the book. Kind of depressing.

Successful Self-Publishing: How to self-publish and market your book in ebook and print by Joanna Penn

  • So much information in this little book. It’s a good resource with a lot of specifics. I think I need to read it again after I’ve actually written a book though. Bonus: it’s free!

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau

  • Opportunity exists everywhere. If you can find the right opportunity with your right talents, you can make money. Examples ensue. Pretty lists too.

The 5 Love Languages Military Edition: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman

  • If you can understand how people communicate their love, good things happen. The author figures there are five broad love languages and he believes that if you can recognize your own love language and your partner’s love language, you can communicate and create a loving environment. Good stuff. I read the military edition because that’s the one the library had, but there are a lot of different versions out there.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

  • I read Checklists by this author a couple of years ago and it spoke to my list-making soul. This book, on dealing with the dying part of life, is way more depressing. Basically, communicate your wishes, know your options.


The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion

  • Fun novel with a delightful narrator, an almost 40-year-old man with Asperger-like tendencies. His approach to finding a mate, a detailed questionnaire and his approach to life, his embrace of schedules, all seemed logical to me. The speed of the way he loosens his life up and falls in love with someone that is his complete opposite was just slow enough to be believable.

Funny Girl: A Novel by Nick Hornby

  • The story of a television comedy starlet. Easy and forgettable read, but well-developed characters.

Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) by Kurt Vonnegut

  • A wartime novel told with time travel. So it goes. I don’t get Kurt Vonnegut.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams

  • I kind of want to marry this book. It has so many great tidbits of wisdom on how to think about life and happiness and sleeping and goals and working and eating and control and I could go on, but I won’t. I’ll reread this book again because I know there is more in there I am not ready to absorb yet. There’s no politics talk here either.

What Would Judy Say? Be the Hero of Your Own Story by Judge Judith Sheindlin

  • I want to have lunch with Judge Judy, but I’m afraid I’d just stare at her with my mouth agape the entire time. This is a quick (and free!) read with a lot of wisdom packed into concise writing. I heart you, Judy. Not in a creepy way.

You can hang out with me on Goodreads if that’s your scene.

29 thoughts on “Thriftygal’s Book Reviews – October 2016

      1. Dan M

        Put your back into it means really going at it and in this case means reading books. 🙂

        Reply
  1. Juanita Martinez

    How long does it take you to read a book and do you do it in one sitting?

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      My biggest gift in life: I’m a pretty fast reader. I do often finish a book in one sitting, but it’s usually over a day or two.

      Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      That is a great idea! I do have a Goodreads account I haven’t logged into in a while. I’ll put that on my to-do list and edit the post. Thanks!

      Reply
  2. Joanna Cook

    Cataloochee by Wayne Caldwell. My recent favorite. Takes place in the Great Smoky Mountains.

    Reply
  3. Andy

    I have to say a big thank you for pointing me in the Scott Adams book! Was a read filled with loads of insights.

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth Word

    How about “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle for some immediate gratification?
    Thanks for writing and putting yourself out there.
    lots of love,
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  5. tt

    “We love Jen Weiner’s fiction, and we love her op-eds for The New York Times. For the first time, Weiner releases a collection of essays, and they are just as warm and funny as you’d imagine (and want) them to be. In Hungry Heart, she takes on marriage, love, parenthood, and that one Summer that she was called “the fat Jennifer” with grace, humor, and intelligence.”

    Reply
  6. walter

    i’m not much of a reader. i wish i was a more thorough and efficient reader. successfully getting through law school would require such a reading proficiency. i read a paper by Dr. Atul Gawande about the benefits/necessity of electronic medical records and biostatistical analysis that lead to the creation of the ACA. i just reserved the book “Born To Run” by Bruce Springsteen, from the library. And now you’ve piqued my interest in Scott Adams’ book. i always enjoy Dilbert. thanks for the suggestions!

    Reply
  7. mary w

    If you liked Being Mortal, try When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithe. Written by a neurosurgeon with terminal cancer. A much more personal view of being mortal but with overlapping themes.

    For a much lighter read, try Love, Nina by Nina Stibble. The nonfiction book is a compilation of letters the author wrote to her sister when she was working as a nanny in the 1980s.

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Awesome sauce. Thanks! When Breath Becomes Air has been on the list for a bit now, but I’m adding Love, Nina now too. woot!

      Reply
  8. Vishal

    Some of my favorites, mostly fiction: In search of Lost Time, A Suitable Boy, Narcissus and Goldmund, Love in the time of Cholera, Nausea, Notes from Underground, Conquest of Happiness, Capital in the 21st century. Let me know if you read any of these. 🙂

    Reply
  9. Brad S

    I like Scott Adams too! A favorite of mine is “God’s Debris”. It is a clever way to approach life’s most curious questions. Similarly thought provoking is “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn.

    Reply

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