What you should read next – May 2019 – “You know, it’s really not that hard to put food on the table if that’s what you decide to do.”

By | May 1, 2019

I have a lot of beautiful people staring at me from my desk this month. They’re all books designed to motivate and educate on fitness.

If I’m honest, I’m rather sick of self help books and it seems my reading list is brimming with mostly those. Any suggestions for good fiction thrillers? Or memoirs? Maybe a biography. What other genres are there?

Body By Simone: The 8-Week Total Body Makeover Plan

by Simone De La Rue

I really like the author’s dance workout videos on Youtube, but this book was rather dull. Everyone has different advice. She suggests eating breakfast and small meals throughout the day. I prefer intermittent fasting and fewer and bigger meals. She’s got a rocking body though, so maybe she’s right.

The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body

by Cameron Diaz with Sandra Bark

This is a surprisingly scientific read. I can’t tell how much of this was written by the actress and how much was written by the coauthor.

This book also recommend eating breakfast and many smaller meals and specifically says not to workout on an empty stomach.

It’s so hard to know the right answer. I don’t think Cameron Diaz has been in anything in a while, but I remember her body being rocking too, so maybe I’m wrong.

If I eat garbage, I’m going to feel like garbage. If I eat good healthy food full of energy, I’m going to be full of energy.

–Cameron or Sandra?

She has obvious common sense advice. Eat whole, healthy food that comes from the ground. Working out is the best invention. Drink water. More water. I’ve started chugging water as soon as I get up. Put a full bottle next to your toothbrush and it quickly becomes a habit.


by Julie Murphy

Novel about a girl entering a beauty pageant. I don’t know. I thought all the characters had minor problems with minor solutions. It all felt very low stakes. Fluffy.

The Glass Castle

by Jeannette Walls

Maybe I disliked Dumplin’ so much because I was reading it at the same time I was reading this book. Along the lines of Educated and Hillbilly Elegy, this is a memoir about a woman growing up with lazy, infuriating, and perhaps mentally ill parents. Just wow. You’ll be angry, but it’s a good read.

Appreciate your childhood and your family by seeing how dysfunctional other people’s lives can get.

You know, it’s really not that hard to put food on the table if that’s what you decide to do.

Three of the four kids managed to escape poverty while the parents remain homeless. Fascinating book.

The No Meat Athlete Cookbook Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts

by Matt Frazier and Stepfanie Romine

Sometimes I think vegan is the best diet. It’s the most ethical, in my opinion, and I think it can be rather healthy if you do it right.

Health can be expressed as the total amount of nutrition we get divided by the total number of calories we consume in order to get those nutrients.

In other words, eat food that is as natural as possible and you’ll get all the micronutrients and macronutrients you need without extra, empty calories. Apparently even olive oil can be extra, empty calories and the authors give oil free options (using vegetable broth).

I tried making:

  • versions of avocado toast (delicious with nutritional yeast and smoked paprika on rye bread)
  • versions of buddha bowls (basically, a grain, a green, and a bean in one bowl)
  • that’s it

This is a pretty good cookbook and one I would consider buying if I was the type of person who bought things.

I also like that one of the authors spells her name “Stepfanie.” Why pick between ph and f?

The Five Flirting Styles: Use the Science of Flirting to Attract the Love You Really Want

by Jeffrey A. Hall

The author of this book talked to a bunch of eHarmony dating website subscribers and identified five flirting styles. The styles are:

  • Physical Flirt – you show interest by touching the person you’re interested in. My love language is touch, so this is my predominant flirting style as well. If I’m interested in you, you know it.
  • Playful Flirt – you show interest in everyone because flirting is fun. You talk with everybody and get confidence from people flirting with you.
  • Sincere Flirt – you show interest only when you really like someone and never flirt with someone you don’t like.
  • Polite Flirt – you show interest by just talking to your crush like a normal person and being interested in what they say and you think crude come-ons are crude. You’re crazy polite to the point that nobody has any idea that you’re interested in them.
  • Traditional Flirt – you show interest by being the man and taking the woman out on dates. You take courtship seriously.

I schlepped through this book. It took a lot longer to read than it should have because I thought it was dull. I wouldn’t recommend. Love languages is better.

61 thoughts on “What you should read next – May 2019 – “You know, it’s really not that hard to put food on the table if that’s what you decide to do.”

  1. Erin

    I’m so impressed by the discipline with which you power through all those self-help books and books in general that you don’t like.

    I’m currently really enjoying Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer. I realize science-focused writing is a niche genre, but I thought I would mention it since you liked How to Change Your Mind.

    1. Jerri Jones

      I agree. Her ability to read a dull book is amazing.

    2. Jerri Jones

      The Rachel Carson books are wonderfully scientific too

      1. Thriftygal Post author

        Silent Spring? I read that in college with the foreward by Al Gore. It made me vote for him. 🙂

    3. Thriftygal Post author

      I should give up on books I don’t like more, but there’s a part of me that feels sad when I don’t finish a book, like I didn’t give it a fair shot.

      Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Jonathan

    I just finished The Iron King by Maurice Druon, it’s the first in a whole series of historical fiction about the start of the 100 years war. Apparently it was a big inspiration for George R.R. Martin in writing Game of Thrones (he provided the forward of the version I read). Lots of political intrigue mixed with romance, a terrible curse, and Italian bankers. It’s a page turned, I got through it in about 4 days.

  3. Lydia Kirkes

    The Glass Castle definitely sounds like one to add to my own list. Here’s some of my favorites from the past year:

    Hand to Mouth by Linda Tirado – About the day to day struggles of the working poor in America.

    Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – Excellent mystery drama/thriller? (not sure where to draw the line into thriller) about young girls being murdered in a journalist’s backwoods hometown. Same author as Gone Girl.

    Circe by Madeline Miller – A Greek mythology epic that tells some of the stories most are familiar with from a perspective that you’ve never heard.

    Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – If you really feel like a new genre that it doesn’t sound like you typically get into, this is fantasy. Imagine a grown-up fairy tale. Dreams, strange creatures, foreigners who came from the sky, a lost city in the desert similar to Atlantis …. It’s a really lovely book.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Oh, hand to mouth was so good. Terrifying and sad, but so good. I loved Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, so I suspect Sharp Objects is good and I’ve read Circe! Thanks for the recommendations!

      1. Melissa Yuan-Innes

        Yeah! Sharp Objects was chilling. I read and recommend all of Gillian Flynn, although Dark Places’s description of poverty was painfully accurate. Not that you’d expect a farmhouse murder to be lighthearted.

        I highly recommend Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren. She loves science and trees with such passion. I told my husband afterwards, “It was great to read a memoir by a woman that wasn’t about suffering from abuse or mental illness.” In fact, Jahren is bipolar, but she has a higher purpose.

        You should be able to find Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak books. The first one I read was Hunter’s Moon, which blew my mind, but should NOT be read first because it could spoil all the preceding books.

        JoAnn Mapson describes horses and humans beautifully, like in Solomon’s Oak.

        And since you don’t seem to mind spam, especially from people who’ve read and reviewed your book, my Hope Sze medical mysteries have been recommended everywhere from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine to The Globe and Mail: http://www.melissayuaninnes.com/.
        Shoot me a line and I can send you a free copy!

  4. Rebekah

    I, too, prefer bigger meals, intermittent fasting, and working out on an empty stomach! I think you have to do whatever makes you feel good! The idea of a bunch of small meals throughout the day would drive me nuts.

    Book recommendations – The Professor and the Madman (Simon Winchester) was awesome! I also just re-read The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) for the hundredth time.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      not spammy at all! Also, you reviewed my book!! I’m too afraid to click the link because I’m a coward. 🙂 Thank you! I appreciate it greatly.

  5. jeannabarnett

    Have you read Joy On Demand by Chade-Meng Tan (or his other meditation book Search Inside Yourself? I really loved them.

    I’ve read quite a bit on fitness — but am very attracted to James Smith’s (of JSA) no-nonsense approach (reminds me a lot of Mr. Money Mustache, but for fitness).

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I haven’t read any of those books, but I love the meditation books I have read. Does James Smith (of James Smith Academy) have a book? Or just the daily emails?

  6. Willoughby

    Hi Thriftygal! You mentioned wanting to read something less serious. I just finished a short book series that I really loved: Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud. The first book is The Screaming Staircase. It’s young adult, but me and all my siblings loved it (we’re kind of adults).

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I love young adult! I’m trying to write a young adult because I feel like a young adult. Thanks!

  7. Don Mertle

    I just read “Dr Mary’s Monkey”, non-fiction history investigation. Also “Dewey” a true story of a cat and the town he impacted. Everyone should read “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” to understand foreign policy today.

  8. BK

    Currently reading Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson, highly recommend.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I’ve read that and loved it! Ben Franklin is my jam and who I want to have at my dinner parties. I got the idea for my resolutions chart from him and Gretchen Rubin.

  9. Charles

    History books normally put me to sleep, but historical fiction makes it enjoyable. Try Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      History was my favorite class in school, so I think I’ll like this one. Thanks for the recommendation!

      1. C

        I think I read this one in high school and quite liked it as well, if it’s the one that centers on a few families living near Stonehenge over time. May have to reread.

  10. Julia

    The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. Mind blowing, recommend the audio book.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I read that book a few years ago and loved it! Such a fascinating concept and I totally want that superpower.

  11. Ying

    Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons. It’s a pretty long fiction book (about 800 pages or so) and I would be interested in hearing your take on it. I read it a few years ago and I still don’t know what to think about it but it left me with some very strong emotions.


    In Search of Lost Time by Proust. My favourite book if I had to choose one.

  13. Ms. Vine

    Do you have amazon prime? If so, take advantage of kindle first reads. Most of the choices aren’t super serious, intense books and that’s a nice change of pace for me. When I feel in a book genre rut, I’ll often look to travel—choosing a book that’s set in or about a travel destination that I love or where I have a trip booked. Book clubs are also great and you can find them online, too—Reese Witherspoon and Emma Watson both host online book clubs.

    Here are some of my personal recommendations There there by Tommy Orange; A tale for the time being by Ruth Ozeki; The Things they carried by Tim O’Brien; My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (this seems like one you might have read already); and anything but Haruki Murakami.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I don’t have Amazon prime, but I do agree that reading a book set in a place you’re about to visit is a really good idea! I’ve read an excerpt from a tale for the time being and remember it being very good. Thanks for the recommendations!

  14. Tom

    It’s a completely different genre, but 1776 by David McCullough is a fascinating read about the 1st year of the revolutionary war.

      1. Jeanna

        I love all of David McCullough’s work. I loved his Greater Journey (about Americans in Paris)

  15. veronica

    A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. If you’ve not yet seen the TV series, read the book first. Best science fiction book I’ve read in a long time. All the more cool because Margaret Atwood is not a science fiction writer.

    I would also recommend Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. I sobbed for 30 minutes straight after finishing the book because the ending was so bittersweet.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Handmaid’s Tale was my favorite book as a teenager, so I trust your opinion. I’ve loved everything Margaret Atwood has written. 🙂

  16. Jeanna

    Have you read Joy On Demand by Chade-Meng Tan? It’s a follow-up to Search Inside Yourself — brilliantly clever and amusing books on meditation and applying it to modern life.

  17. R

    I’m reading the Lies of Locke Lamora. I don’t usually like fantasy books, but this one is mostly character driven and is very good. Certainly very different from the books you’re reading now which is what you asked for. Do you not buy books as implied in your post?

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      No, I never buy books. Maybe one book every 2-3 years.

      Thanks for the suggestion! It sounds exactly like what I’m looking for.

  18. Beth S.

    The Glass Castle author, Jeannette Walls, also wrote “Half-Broke Horses”. I just remember both books being very gripping. I’m grateful to have your suggestions to consider.

  19. vivi

    This has nothing to with this post, but your recipes are killer for eating well on a budget. Thank you!

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Vegetarian food is so much cheaper than meat! I think. I’ve never actually purchased meat 🙂

      1. vivi

        Except cheese. Cheese is expensive. It’s hard to live without cheese. Maybe even more so than yogurt! These recipes are awesome due to their tastiness without pricey, pricey cheese. Oh, and almonds and cashews. Those are pricey too, but you have peanuts, which are not so pricey. Thank you.

        I noticed that you are worried the recipes aren’t healthy. Sacrilege though it may be, I cut down on all the rice/bread /potato/sugar parts of any veg recipe and bump up the legumes, veggies, nuts etc and replace refined white rice/flour with whole grains, and I imagine this would make a difference. What do you think?

        1. Thriftygal Post author

          I think that is absolutely 100% the correct approach. Cut down on rice/bread/potato/sugar and bump up legumes, veggies, nuts. I couldn’t have put it better.

          Although I just ate a big lunch of naan, rice, kofta, peanut chutney, and yogurt. Peanut chutney is happiness. I don’t always practice what I preach.

  20. SharonW

    I’m currently reading Island in the Sea of Time by S.M. Stirling. The island of Nantucket and a coast guard training ship get weirdly transported to the bronze age. It’s gripping. Also my favorite book of all time was published in 1949, but seems current in an odd way… Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. A disease wipes out most of humanity and only a few immune individuals remain. I cried when I finished it, because I didn’t have any more of it left to read (I was fifteen).

  21. C

    If you like urban fantasy (i.e., vampires and werewolves) I recommend Patricia Briggs. I really like her series about Mercedes the volvo mechanic (and sometimes coyote). I’ve generally thought her character development to be pretty good and internally consistent.
    I also liked (and am rereading) Raymond Fiest and Janny Wurts’s Empire series although in the second one Mara (main character) does some thinking with her nether parts which I always HATE. The fun in this series is political machinations.
    For more science fiction, I thought John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War books were good.
    For mysteries, Laurie King does an entertaining take on Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell — his much younger, relatively liberated, highly competent, and Cambridge educated (theology and chemistry) wife… but you have to get over the huge and somewhat creepy age difference of 30+ years.
    I do also recommend the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy.
    And totally random but really good (though long): Watership Down. Who knew rabbits were so interesting?

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Thanks for all the recommendations! I’ve read the first of the Crazy Rich Asians and Watership Down when I was a kid. That’s definitely one to reread!


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