I have a reading goal every year and I try to increase it each year. Last year was 45 and this year’s is 48. I’m a bit behind, percentage-wise, but I know that a lot of my book completions for the last few years have happened in November and December. Something about the holidays and cooler weather just makes curling up on the couch with tea and a book sound like perfection. Regardless, this summer I’ve still been trying to plug away at this year’s goal, so here are my top picks for books I’ve finished in the last few months.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Obviously this book is all kinds of all over the place right now because of Hulu’s series (that I also binged with my fiancé, and oh WOW did they do a stellar job). This was a very quick read for me, not necessarily because it was super easy but because it was so engaging. There are many things that scare and unnerve me, but Margaret Atwood did an impressive job at introducing a new fear, one that feels so very real and attainable at the moment. I have recommended The Handmaid’s Tale to many different people (friends, family, coworkers) and I think it’s a great starting point for an important conversation to have with the people you surround yourself with. A+ would definitely (and probably will definitely) read again.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Another book-to-other-media read for me, The Circle has been talked about lots because of the movie that came out in April. It definitely sparked a fair amount of thinking about how much social media plays a part in our lives for me, as well as what kinds of things I’m sharing and doing online, and who or what is tracking it. Very interestingly, a device not unlike the one used in the book was released recently and, I’m not going to lie, it sounds like the worst idea. If ever there was a time to hold back and restrain on one’s live streaming capabilities, it seems like it should be now.
My First Five Husbands…And the Ones Who Got Away by Rue McClanahan
This was a total chic-lit, beach read! Very much an escape (especially compared to the two above that sparked quite a bit of thought on our current political and social climates), but Rue had such a way with words and descriptions. There were many laugh-out-loud points in the book that had me reminiscing about her days on The Golden Girls, as well as lots of great story telling. I know this is probably the case with lots of celebrities and limelight figures, but I was truly surprised at how layered and fascinating her life had been. A really great read for spacing out and just loving life!
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte
Ok this is a 180 degree flip, but this book has changed how I see things in the world! It is very definitely nerdy to the highest extent, but there is so much to know about the graphs, statistics, and analysis of the world! This book does an incredible job of breaking down graphical displays of information in great depth, but in ways that are very accessible to a non-mathematician. Beyond theory and practice of statistics and data display, the book gives concrete visual examples of right vs. wrong ways to show certain data, as well as the many gray areas between those two black and white axes. A fascinating read that has since made me look even harder at all images and graphs that accompany articles and reports.