February 2017 Books

I only read 8 books this month! I worked a lot more in February and just didn’t have as much time to read, plus I was spending more time with Andrew in the evening watching Homeland. I read a book in February that is entering my very small canon of MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS I’ve ever read. I also read some excellent fiction and got a new cookbook! Yay for February!

The Sun is Also a Star, Nicola Yoon, YA Fiction. EVERYONE was talking about how awesome this book was and while I enjoyed it I really don’t get what all the fuss is about.

Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite, Robert Kurzban, nonfiction science. I LOVED this book and it’s changed how I see everything to do with the mind. This is going on my “MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL TIME” list! I wrote about it here.

The Rational Animal, Douglas Kenrick and Vladas Griskevicius,  nonfiction science. This book continues with the same topic as Hypocrite, the modular view of the mind and how we don’t have one self but at least 7 distinct subselves in our minds that specialize in certain evolutionary goals. These modules work together sometimes, communicate sometimes, but mostly take turns being the most activated and hence the one in charge of the decisions we make in different contexts. Best part? Some of them are connected to communication centers of the brain and some aren’t, so these modules are making decisions for us that we don’t have conscious access to (intuition?).

Rules of Civility and Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles, literary fiction. I read these back to back as they both became available on Overdrive at the same time. I loved them both and think Towles is incredibly gifted. If I had to pick only one to keep forever, it would be Gentleman in Moscow. The main character and his way of life are described so perfectly. He has something to teach us all about rolling with the punches, finding deep value and purpose in serving others, adapting to what life sends your way, and dealing with adversity. But also it’s interesting to see how values from one generation can become anti-values in the next, not for any other reason than to just be different. This plays out not just on the personal level, but as this book details, on the level of countries and governments.

Even though I liked A Gentleman in Moscow a bit better, I recommended Andrew start with Rules of Civility because it’s a faster paced book. A Gentleman in Moscow is slow and steady, not filled with exciting moments and big questions. It’s the kind of book some people will read and say “….but nothings happening??”. If you like a quicker and faster paced book, I think Rules of Civility is a better choice.

Primal Fat Burner by Nora Gedgaudas, nonfiction health and nutrition. Saw this one on the new nonfiction shelf at the library and since I am already a fan of ketogenic diets and I’ve read her previous book, Primal Body Primal Mind, I brought it home to look over. I’m pretty well read on the subjects of both the paleo diet and ketogenic diets so I don’t read these books to learn more but to benefit from someone else’s perspective on the topic and maybe get some new recipes. Well, I didn’t find more than one or two recipes that I felt suited my life at the moment. I’m not interested in using expense or hard to find ingredients (although I certainly was in the past). If you are the type that already has coconut aminos, free range chicken livers, grass fed marrow bones, and collagen in your kitchen, then this book might work for you. But if you are like me and do most of your shopping at Aldi or Sams’ Club, go ahead and skip this. I would never, ever recommend this book as a starter book on the paleo diet OR ketogenic diets. It’s just way too hardcore. Reading it makes me almost feel anxious. It’s just not my gig anymore to be that involved about every aspect of my diet. Not to say that she isn’t right. A paleo ketogenic diet is probably the healthiest way to eat for most of us. But it doesn’t have to be this difficult.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, general fiction. This was lots of fun to read after three nonfiction books. I felt like her depiction of PTA mom culture was pretty spot on and funny, all the drama and judging and taking oneself too seriously. The book was different and quirky and a great light read.

Bacon and Butter: The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet Cookbook by Celby Richoux, cookbook. I got back on board with keto in February after flip-flopping around for months trying to do this or that with my diet and nothing sticking. Keto is my home base and this time I dropped into ketosis without any trouble or side effects and have been feeling good. I got this Kindle book for inspiration and have tried at least three recipes already, all of which Andrew and I both liked enough to put into regular rotation. It had a lot of good reviews on Amazon and was cheap. Nothing like a new cookbook to get me excited and motivated about being in the kitchen!

And two books I started but abandoned due to lack of interest:

The Likeness, Tana French, thriller. I got this from the library because it was in this blog post about page turners (btw, I’ve read a bunch of the books on that list including Eleanor and Park, Tell Me Three Things, Sea of Tranquility, Dark Matter, and Rules of Civility) . But I gave it about 50 pages and couldn’t get into it. It’s a longer book and I didn’t feel like wasting more time on it, so I gave up. But everyone else seems to like it, so if this genre does it for you, give it a try.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl, YA fiction. I got this on audiobook and listened to it on the way down to Birmingham. It didn’t pull me in and for 3 hours (and then more time on the way home) I felt like the story was still just getting set up. I gave up. I wonder if it’s just not good as an audiobook.