Book Review | The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

I read this at the same time as my 5th grader. We both really enjoyed it. It is the wonderful journey of a little girl (13) who goes to sea and has the adventure of a lifetime. This juvenile historical-fiction work will appeal to all ages!

I really enjoyed this and I’m glad I was able to read this along with my oldest daughter. This year we are reading another one of her books at school together and I’m also enjoying that. I’m happily surprised by the choices her school/teachers are making. This is a fun book to read no matter your age. Five stars!

Quick tip, looking up vocabulary words on a kindle is a lot easier than in a print book!

Book Review | Follow the Geeks: 10 Digital Innovators and the Future of Work

Follow the Geeks: 10 Digital Innovators and the Future of Work
Follow the Geeks: 10 Digital Innovators and the Future of Work by Lyndsey Gilpin, Jason Hiner

I originally picked this book up because Leo Laporte was featured in it. I have been a fan of his for years and watched him on TechTV, the listened and watched his podcasts. I still try to tune in from time to time and listen or watch a podcast. But a treat I didn’t expect was to learn about many others who crossed Laporte’s path and some that didn’t. Lisa Bettany, Tom Merritt, and Veronica Belmont are some of my favorites in this book. If you enjoy these geeks and want to get a short biography on them then this is a great book for you.

Four out of five stars here! I bought this in 2016 just as it was published, but didn’t get around to reading it until 2019. Bummed it took me that long, but so happy I ended up reading it.

Book Review | Ride Your Way Lean: The Ultimate Plan for Burning Fat and Getting Fit on a Bike

Ride Your Way Lean: The Ultimate Plan for Burning Fat and Getting Fit on a Bike by Selene Yeager

I ordered this book as a Zip Book. My library ordered it from Amazon and shipped it directly to me. When the library opens again I will return directly to the library and it will become part of the circulating collection. Very cool option!

I’ve been wanting to read Selene’s book for some time after listening to her on the Paceline Podcast. She is also known to Bicycling Magazine readers as the Fit Chick. She breaks down losing weight while cycling in an easy to read and digestible way. I can also tell you from my experience she is absolutely correct.

I’ve lost over 30 lbs mostly riding on my bike. During the COVID pandemic, I’ve been riding indoors and you can burn a huge amount of calories riding if you stick with it. Indoor tools like Zwift make it easier to stick to riding by gamifying the whole thing.

If you are a cyclist or interested in how the low-impact exercise of biking can help you lose weight this is a great read!

Book Review | A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

This is deep stuff. There is a lot of good in this book, but it’s something I will need to study, not a light read. I listened to this on audio and I think I’ll have to go back and re-read this. I would recommend it.

I listened to this audiobook. To be honest, I thought it might be a too new age for me, but it had a lot of people’s recommendations so I gave it a go. I gave this book 4 stars, but I stick with my initial review above, I think I need to read this again. Maybe the next time in print and take my time with it. I’d also be open to reading more from Tolle as I know he has written some other books that have become very popular. No, highlights from the book to share with you as this was the audio version.

Book Review | Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to Make More Room for Happiness

Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to Make More Room for Happiness
by Gretchen Rubin

Wonderful. I really enjoyed this book. It encompasses much that has been said elsewhere and adds more to it. It also is not filled with too much other stuff or reiterating over and over. Very well done. One star removed for the final chapter “Add Beauty”. I felt that this last chapter “adds” too much when the idea is to declutter. But as with all books and learning, take away what you want and leave what you don’t. Wonderful book!

Book Recommendations:
A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander
Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern

Top Ten Tips for Creating Outer Order
1. Make Your Bed
2. Follow the one minute rule: anything you can do in less than one minute do without delay
3. Have a weekly power hour: make a list of tasks you’d like to accomplish and spend one hour, once a week, tackling the items on the list
4. Make it fun to get the job done
5. Don’t let yourself fall into empty
6. Don’t put things down, put them away
7. Don’t stockpile: that is, don’t store more of an item than you can realistically use
8. Keep mementos that are small in size and few in number
9. Keep things organized, but not overly organized
10. If you can’t find something, clean up

Book Review | Dwelling: Simple Ways to Nourish Your Home, Body, and Soul

Dwelling: Simple Ways to Nourish Your Home, Body, and Soul
by Melissa Michaels

The author writes this book specifically for women, mentioning makeup and other female-only topics. The author also spends a lot of time speaking about religion and if you are not Christian you may find this off-putting.

Lowest rating for 2020 so far. I just couldn’t relate to this author and her story as she was too focused on the religion and women for a story that I think is bigger.

Book Review | The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
by Cait Flanders
The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
by Cait Flanders

My first audiobook of 2020. One woman’s journey to do with less. Less spending and less alcohol specifically. Flander’s relates her difficulties in addition to shopping and drinking and how a bargain with herself to spend less and stop drinking benefitted her life.

I’ve never had these struggles myself, but can certainly understand that they would be difficult addictions to part with once established. While I can certainly do with less (buying and possessions) I didn’t feel like this particular story really spoke to me. I’m married with children, I don’t have a drinking problem, and my wife and I discuss any purchase over $50.

I do think that many of these experiments seem to be young people who are unmarried and without children. These circumstances make it easier for them to make large changes in their life. Not saying it’s not possible for those who are married with children, it just poses more challenges. 

This was another book that only received 3 out of 5 stars. I listened to it in only 3 days, but I just couldn’t relate. Not at all a fault of the writing or the author.

Book Review | Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch
Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

Good, but drier than I thought it would be. Interesting stories, but I wanted something more. Something more fun and interesting, that was here but there wasn’t enough of it for me I guess.

Maybe I was overly excited for this one, but it lead me to only 3 out of 5 stars for my review.

In the book, Gretchen mentioned a podcast: Lingthusiam, which I listened to and it also left me wanting more. And that was the only note I took in the 327 pages of text in this book. Sorry for the meh, review, but it was kinda a meh book.

Book Review | Waste

Waste by Kate O'Neill
Waste by Kate O’Neill

Very thick and full of references. I learned a lot which is why it gets 4 stars. I wouldn’t say this is for the casual reader.

55% of waste in the US is buried in covered landfill.

Kate O’Neill

Besides the above I learned that I live in the state, California, with the largest landfill in the US, the Puente Hills landfill, which was close in 2014.

Books O’Neill references

Roughly a third of food produced of human consumption every year–approximately 1.3 billion tonnes–is lost or wasted.

Kate O’Neill

52% of fruit and vegetable produced or purchased in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand is discarded. Wow!

Documentary mentioned: Plastic China (2016)

This book was 4 out of 5 stars. I have a lot to do to improve here and I look forward to reading the books that O’Neill mentions above.

Book Review | Educated

Educated by Tara Westover
Educated by Tara Westover

Sad. This book had some difficult parts to read, but they did tell the story and the author can write well. The story is one that spoke to me in regards to the divide that develops between the educated and the less educated.

I gave this book 4 out of five stars. When I first started reading the book I actually though it was about the education system, but it is a biography of a woman who grew up in a very strict mormon family. They didn’t allow anyone to seek medical attention or see doctors for any reason, including child birth.

It is a wonder she and her siblings survived this upbring. As I said in the beginning it really did remind me that an education is so very important, and just the ones available at institutions like public or private school, but those you can gain yourself just by reading.

This book was powerful and a reminder that people with drastically different views on the world and really any issue have that view for a reason. Don’t count them out, speak to them and try to understand where they are coming from. You both might learn something.