what I've been reading - The Dainty Squid

what I've been reading

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Guess who read two books last month and feels super accomplished! It's meeee! I know that I mention it every single time I talk about books but I really miss reading. At one point, a few years ago, I was a reading machine but these days I have trouble making the time to do it. Flights are the one time it's a guarentee I'm going to read so last month not only did I go on a road trip, I knocked out two books as well!

I used to always have a big stock pile of things to read but have honestly been having trouble finding things that interest me lately. Before leaving for vacation I ran to Half Price Books hoping to find Mary Roach's new book, Grunt. They were sold out but I spotted Bossypants on sale for around two bucks. I couldn't resist!

Let's drive right in! Bossypants, the book everyone and their mom was crazy about when it came out! I thought it was pretty good. I definitely had high expectations after seeing it everywhere for so many years. It was enjoyable but I felt like it jumped around a lot. There were also a few chapters that kind of just seemed like filler. Had Tina Fey not written it there's no way it would have been as popular of a book as it was. That's not to say I didn't like the book though, I chuckled out loud on the plane more than once, and was surprised to also find lots of advice sprinkled throughout. I particularly enjoyed short chapter titled "The Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat." Even though I have no ties to or interest in improv comedy the advice was SOLID. I bookmarked it and would actually love to find a summarized version to print out.

All in all, Bossypants was a pretty decent book. Nothing that will be added to my shelf of favorites but I'm glad to be able to finally cross it off my to read list.


I was nearly finished with Bossypants after the flight there and kind of panicked about what I'd do on the flight home. In Roswell, right down the street from our hotel, there was a Hastings. They're going out of business so I figured I could stop in and pick up something. The store was in complete disarry. I browsed for the longest time, trying to find something that looked interesting. I finally gave up and as I was heading out the door I spotted Grunt on clearance! SCORE!

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. Yeah, to be honest, that doesn't sound interesting to me at all. A war book? Blerg. Based on the title, had it been written by anyone else, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. Mary Roach is my favorite non-ficton writer though. She can write about anything and somehow make it incredibly interesting so I knew no matter what it was actually about I had to read it.

Sooo, what sort of things does she write about in this book? Oh, I'm glad you asked! Medical maggots for cleaning wounds, combat medics that train on a re-purposed movie studio with amputee actors, and genital transplants! Also, military stink bombs! Literally "evil-smelling substances" made with purpose of "contaminating individuals' clothing!" Grunt does not disappoint. Its a real eye opener to just how complicated even the simplest seeming things can be to our troops. Her writing makes all of the subjects approachable, even to the layperson. I thoroughly enjoyed Grunt! My only complaint is that there wasn't more. I am forever left want more and more of her writing.

Of course, if you've never read anything by Mary Roach I can't recommend her enough. Gulp, Spook, Bonk, Stiff, and Packing for Mars are all excellent reads as well. I'm a massive fan. I want her to teach me about everything. Honestly, I cannot think of a subject she could write about that I wouldn't want to read about.

Also, I couldn't write this post without adding this in - LOOK WHAT I GOT IN THE MAIL! Mary Roach signed a book for meeeee! Dolly, you are the sweetest human being. I may or may not have cried when I opened this package.

What have you been reading? I'm always looking for recommendations! Normally I have a pretty large collection in my to-read pile but like I mentioned above, I'm struggling to find subjects that interest me right now. I need some new books in my life, especially since bathtub season is coming up. ;)
xoxo

You can take a peek at all the other books I've blogged about under the "books" tag, and a list of my favorite books can be found here!

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23 thoughts

  1. Mary Roach is amazing and, since I am fascinated by all things "war," will have to pick this book up! For some reason I did not know it existed. Thank you so much for putting it on my radar!

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    1. Well, sounds like you're going to LOVE it then! :D

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  2. I've always read and was adamant I would NEVER get a Kindle. But, after receiving one for Christmas 2 years ago, I read more than ever. It is just the basic one, not a Fire. It has turned out to be SO much easier to take it everywhere with me and fit in 5-10 minutes here and there. If you do spring for a Kindle (the basic one is $79 but with holidays coming up, you can easily snag one for $50 or less) getting KindleUnlimited is worth the $10 a month. But between my local library, many libraries have online ebook service once you get the card, KindleUnlimited I am never w/o something to read.

    The #1 thing I would suggest to help you find books is to use BookBub. You put in your preferences and then get suggestions by email daily. It is for EBooks but my mother uses it to purchase paper books. It is extra great for EBook people because it gives you daily deals as well as recommendations.

    I love seeing what you are reading. :) Have read several based on interest after you review.

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    1. I go back and forth on wanting a Kindle. I hear so many people say they read more after getting one but I guess my main concern is that I won't use it enough and it'll be a waste.

      BookBub sounds amazing! I will definitely look into that. Amazon was so good at recommending me books for a while but it's suggestions have been super weak lately. So thank you!!!

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  3. Like you, I wasn't super intrigued by the subject matter of Grunt when I heard about it, but I love ever other book she has written so I knew I was going to end up reading it anyway. So I am glad to hear you enjoyed Grunt! I started so strong this year on the reading front but have come to a halt again, argh LIFE! But my favorite books so far this year have been: The Book Of Lost Things (I cried and had a book hangover from this one), John Dies at the End (THE most absurd but lol book I have ever read. Some people can't hang with the weirdness, but I really recommend leaning into it and going with the flow haha), and This Book Is Full of Spiders (a more "refined"/approachable follow up to John Dies at the End but still as weird as the original). Based on your other readings I think you will enjoy all of these if you haven't read them already!

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    1. Well, tell ya right off the bat, I aint reading anything that makes me cry! Haha! Seriously though, I can't hang with books or movies that make me cry. For example, I LOVE Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind but I literally can't watch it anymore. It bums me out too much.

      BUT I do like weird books! I'll definitely check out the others! Thanks.
      :)

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  4. I just finished the Miss Peregrine trilogy after reading only the first one when it first came out and I got SO wrapped up in the story I couldn't finish it at the store because I didn't want to get interrupted. I'm so sad it's over but LOVED it.

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    1. I went last night!!! Ok. So. I don't want to ruin it for anyone so we can discuss over email if you want but I was....a tiny bit disappointed. I LOVED the imagery. Ol' Tim backed off on the CRAZY colors a'la Charlie and The Chocolate Factory so that's good. And I don't think anyone could have done it better except maybe David Yates. The hollows were scary but not scary enough. Those friggin things gave me nightmares when I read it the first time. All that to say I'm really glad it was made and Rob didn't read the books and liked the movie.

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  5. ha, I'm literally reading bossypants right now after Amazon recommended it to me. I agree its not groundbreaking writing, but funny and I'll take a smile from a discounted book anyday :) the next book on my nightstand is "A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail" which was recommended for introverts with social anxiety who want to smile... yea, there is a list online for people that like! Then its picking something from my amazon list next. https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1NQD15HS32S0C/ref=cm_wl_sortbar_o_page_2?ie=UTF8&page=2

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  6. I got into Mary Roach some time ago because of you! I've read Stiff, Gulp and Bonk so far. She truly is brilliant. I've been reading more than ever this year, and I love it. I hadn't checked your reading posts for some time but it seems like you've had a lot of flops lately! Easy to get discouraged with reading when things aren't striking you as much. A few of my favorites from this year...
    - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - I couldn't put this one down! It was beautifully written. Any book having to do with a circus (Something Wicked This Way Comes is another favorite) gives me this weird lovely feeling of nostalgia.
    - The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh - I think you'd appreciate this one with your love of plants/flowers! It's a coming-of-age orphan tale intermingled with all sorts of lovely feels haha.
    - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - I've been devouring Gaiman this year. He's a phenomenal author, but I think you'd really like this book in particular!
    - Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived - such an adventure of a life! I just wanted to love and squeeze my pets while I read this, it's such a beautiful example of animal/human connection.

    I could go on! These are some real goodies though!!

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    1. Ah! I really need to read Neil Gaiman. SO many people I know are into his work, seems like I should be too!

      So happy to hear you're loving Mary Roach! I just love her so much. Her work is amazing.

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  7. Oh wow! I have never heard of Mary Roach, but I was a history major and find the social and physical implications of war so fascinating. That's why All Quiet on the Western Front is one of my favorite books! I read a book in college it was called Nurses at the Front by Margaret R. Higonnet. It was about Nurses in World War I. I also read an interesting book about small pox in America, but I can't remember what it was called. I usually hate nonfiction history books on things other than social aspects of war, but that book was really interesting. I'm not sure of you are a nonfiction history fan, but if you are I can recommend some about Nazi history.

    Other books I'd recommend: World War Z by Max Brooks, but I'm sure you've probably read this one. If you haven't it sounds lame, but it's actually really interesting. It's written like a history book. Bird Box by Josh Malerman is probably my favorite book. I like post-apocalyptic books and this is like that but with an interesting twist. The ending was... weird, but I liked the rest of the book. Finally, anything by John Green. He writes books for young adults, but his writing is so entertaining and he has a lot of higher level thinking in his books. It takes me about a day to finish. If anything, I'd recommend Paper Towns because I feel like you like scavenger hunts.

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    1. Okay, you would totally love Grunt then! It definitely could be considered a little gross for the average person but it's awesome!

      Bird Box sounds amazing. I will definitely look into grabbing a copy. Thank you!! :D



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  8. I just read The Dumb House by John Burnside. It is super weird and twisted, so you might be into it! It is about a man who reads a legend of a place where they raised children in silence to see if they would create language so he wants to recreate it. I won't give anything else away but it was quite a read.
    Also, I recently read Columbine by Dave Cullen. I don't read much non fiction but I found this to be fascinating. It explains how much the media misreported on Columbine, and tells a very detailed account of what actually happened. I was in middle school when it happened and pretty much everything I thought was wrong.

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  9. Oh! And Shrill by Lindy West. It is a memoir that is about finding your voice and feminism and i have never laughed out loud so much reading a book. I woke my husband up once because i was reading in bed and couldn't stop cracking up. Loved it.

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  10. I HAVE to read Grunt! I'm currently reading a few books, one being Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Highly recommend. Stop by my blog if you want to know more about it or find out what else I'm reading!

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  11. Have you ever seen Rosemary's Baby? If not- I suggest reading the book by Ira Levin. It is really great, but the book and the movie are very close to each other, so if you've seen it it won't be as surprising/interesting. It is a little spooky but still rooted in reality.

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  12. Ooh, I think I need to check out Grunt. I enjoyed Bossypants but agree that, while fun, it wasn't my favorite memoir ever. I recently read Lindy West's Shrill & LOVED that; now I'm on Glennon Doyle Melton's Love Warrior, which is a terrible, cheesy name for an otherwise incredible-so-far book!

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  13. I haven't had as much time to read lately as I hoped that I would (damn you, senior year bachelor's program!) Because of this, I've become ADDICTED to audio books through Audible. I have a long commute to school (an hour to and from) so I've claimed it as my time to listen to the books that I don't have a chance to sit and read. I just finished listening to the Lunar Chronicles Series (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter, and Stars Above). They're imaginative retellings of fairy tales in a futuristic sci-fi world. They were WONDERFUL. Plus, the narrator, Rebecca Soler, did such a phenomenal job bringing the characters to life through her voice. I'd definitely recommend.

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