January Book Review

I love a good book review and clearly many of you do too! I have developed a love for reading over the past 18 months and I hope my book reviews motivate you to read a certain book (or to stay away from a book haha). Since people are spending more time at home nowadays, why not spend any extra time reading books?! It’s so fun to get wrapped up in a story and go on an adventure!

Just to be crystal clear, I did not read all five of these books in January. I read Sea Wife this month and the rest are from 2020 – I just haven’t written my reviews of them yet 😉 My goal in 2021 is to read 21 books so I hope to have more book reviews for you in the future.

Let’s get started!

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

This book tells the story of a family who decides to leave their home and live on a sailboat, though not every family member was completely enthusiastic about this decision. As I read this book, I could feel the stress that the parents (Michael and Juliet) were taking on. The stressors of living on a sailboat with two young kids, learning all about sailing, and of course, not having a thriving marriage was a heavy burden to take on as a reader. So, pretty early on I could sense it wouldn’t be a positive or uplifting book (especially since we know Michael doesn’t make it back home alive). The more I read this book, the more depressed I felt when reading about Juliet and Michael’s relationship and how they communicate with each other. It is so clear that they are not happy and who wants to read page after page about an unhappy couple trying to communicate with each other? Not me. Something I did like about this book was how it was written. Readers are either reading from Juliet’s point of view on the boat or after she returned home (without Michael) or from Michael’s captain log. I could tell that slowly both points of views were going to come together and we’d figure out what happened to Michael. And yet, I finished this book feeling really confused and like I missed something big. A character, who is clearly a significant character (or I think is a significant character…), never really came full circle for me. I had to read spoilers and other book reviews to fully understand the ending.

Didn’t See That Coming by Rachel Hollis

I was so excited to read this book because I loved both Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing. Both of these books gave me such gusto to chase after my dreams and make them a reality. I knew Didn’t See That Coming would be a little bit different because it’d be more focused on navigating hardships and the unexpected twists and turns that life throws at you, but still went into it hopeful for another big source of motivation. Unfortunately, this was not a favorite of mine and fell way short of my expectations. I didn’t find any part of this book to be very enlightening about how to navigate hardships, no matter what it is you’re facing. I found the advice to be very “surface” advice without much meat, depth, or details to support it. Part of me feels like this book was written too quickly. If you are looking for a book to help you through a hard time, I would not recommend Didn’t See That Coming.

Run to Overcome by Meb Keflezighi

Oh, how I love Meb and all he has to offer in terms of running advice and sharing his experiences, both from running and his life outside of running. This book begins with Meb in Eritrea, his birth country and where he lived for most of his young adult life. I really enjoyed reading about Meb’s upbringing and how much his parents sacrificed so he and his siblings could have successful and bright futures. It’s clear that Meb’s parents are a huge reason why he’s been so successful in running. Another reason why I loved this book is because a person looks at Meb and thinks, “Ok, he’s won a ton of races!” because of his fame and how well known he is in the running community. But in actuality, Meb finished so many races below the top 3 and faced many injuries and setbacks that I think would send an average runner into a downward spiral and think, “Well, running clearly isn’t for me”. Meb’s perseverance and belief in himself is what led him to be the successful runner he is today. This book is one that I’ll hold onto and can see myself rereading in the future.

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel

This book drew me in as soon as I heard what it is about. A guy living in the woods without human interaction or being found for…almost 30 years?! What?! How is that possible and I need details, now! I quickly dove into this book and was intrigued by Christopher’s lifestyle – living in complete solitude outdoors in Maine for so many years. I was so eager to read about his bear and wild animal encounters, all the scary things that happened, and how he almost lost his mind from isolation over the years but they never came. There was a lot of discussion about hermits in general and what I felt like was prying into Christopher’s life after he had been found in the woods, even after he asks to be left alone. I finished this book feeling like there were so many details and stories about Christopher’s years in the woods that weren’t shared and like the advertisement for this book is not really what it’s about. Personally, I wanted to hear more about Christopher and his reflection on his life in the woods, not the author trying to figure out why Christopher chose this life for himself.

Going to Extremes by Joe McGinniss

This book takes place in Alaska after the oil boom in the late 1970s. McGinniss travels to Alaska and explores all parts of the state and documents his experiences and interactions with people in great detail. The author does a phenomenal job of describing his experiences traveling through Alaska and sharing personal stories from people he met along the way – some hilarious, some scary, some that turned me off to parts of the state. McGinniss accurately portrays what it’s like to live in different parts of Alaska – what the lifestyle is like to what is weather like (some scenes sounded so bitterly cold, I found myself so thankful to be reading in a cozy, warm bed). I feel lucky to have traveled to Alaska (summer after my sophomore year of high school for a Wilderness Ventures camp) and hope to return again one day.

I’ve got some books on my 2021 reading list that I’m looking forward to reading and sharing my thoughts with you. Have you read a book recently that you loved or couldn’t put down? If so, please share below!

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