reading list

Although I read voraciously year round, I really ramp it up in the summertime, when the publishers release their best!  I've included here my favorites lately, including one particuarly excellent novel and a fairly life changing memoir.  I'm so excited to share these awesome books with you, so let's get into it!  

Although this book has been very highly publicized this summer, I've actually anticipated its release for about a year now.  I've been a longtime reader of the blog "Cup of Jo" and the author is Joanna Goddard's brother in law.  During his fight with lung cancer, he published several moving essays about being a cancer patient, and the inner turmoil he found as a patient who was also a doctor.  He struggled to balance his theological views with his medical ones, and the book certainly explores that.  It also outlines the difficulties and surprisingly the gifts his illness gave his struggling marriage.  The book finishes with a rumination on their decision to have a child during the culmination of his life, which you may see as controversial but I found heartbreaking and beautiful.  It's filled with stirring passages like this one from a letter to his daughter: 

“That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.” 

It's a short read, as Paul wrote it while he was sick and apparently wasn't completely able to finish it.  I highly recommend reading it, but you will really only need tissues towards the end.  For the first 3/4, it's more introspective and observant about the patient doctor relationship than it is tear jerking.  10/10.  

Another essay by Paul, if you'd like to see more of his writing here, and his obituary here.  

The Royal We

Okay, on to lighter fare!  This book is fairly fluffy but REALLY fun to read.  Very juicy, it feels as though you're in on the secrets of Will & Kate's relationship - even though it's purely fictional and only loosely based on them!  I'd highly recommend it for a long plane ride or a beach vacation.  

Underground Airlines

I heard about Underground Airlines on the NPR podcast "Fresh Air."  (You can read their far more comprehensive review here!)  I probably would have never picked it up otherwise!  It's a dystopian novel about a future America where slavery is still in practice in 4 states.  Unlike in the 19th century, slavery is more of a factory labor practice in current day and age, with merchandise marked like "fair trade" coffee (except labeled "clean hands")  and America is essentially Cuba to the rest of the world.  Not a part of the UN, with many trade embargoes against us.  It's got a crazy plot twist in the end, and I'd be surprised if it didn't come out as a movie somewhat soon.

May Cause Miracles
This one is a bit different....I've been meaning to start a meditation practice for some time now, and although I'd read a couple of Gabby's books before and LOVED them, I never put her techniques into action.  So I picked up this 40 day guidebook and bought the Audible read along with it.  Each morning and evening, there's a reflection passage and intention to set that you meditate on.  I've found it to be the easiest way to add meditation to my routine of anything I've tried so far.  Have I done every day perfectly?  No.  I actually got stuck on day 9 for FOUR DAYS so there's that.  But it has been an undoubtedly positive thing to add to my days.

I Quit Sugar

You might be ready to close out the window now, but stay with me!
I read this book in an attempt to break my full on addiction to all things sweet.  I have always been a relatively healthy eater.  I eat a mostly vegan diet, I eat a ton of vegetables each day, and I workout 4-5 times a week. But, anytime I'd want to lose a couple of pounds I'd really struggle with giving up something sweet before bed, and I felt like this was a major detriment to my goals.  I was totally addicted to it.  So after finding the author on Instagram I picked up her book...and I was completely right.  I ended up going on a week long "sugar cleanse" (still haven't done her 8 week program, but I might in the winter!)  where I eliminated any superfluous sources of fructose from my diet - yes, even fruit!

I have to say, it was amazing how much my mood stabilized and how much more energy I had.  However, it was REALLY HARD.  Sugar is in EVERYTHING!  It makes everything taste good, so the food industry puts it in anything they can get away with it in, and this book made me so much more aware of that.  It also referred me to THIS video (if you feel like getting really scienc-ey.)  These days, am I still eating sugar?  Well, some, and more fruit, but not nearly as much as I used to and I'm always on the lookout for lower sugar items that I can eat.  

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