Book Challenges- Week 13

Popsugar Challenge


Unknown-2A book about a problem facing society: Fast Food Genocide, by Joel Fuhrman, MD, with Robert B. Phillips– Since 2010, I’ve increasingly stuck to a vegetarian diet and become more and more invested in how I can improve my health through diet. I’ve tried to follow Dr. Fuhrman’s teachings and his nutritarian diet for the past few years, and I’ve seen positive health changes. In 2010, I had gallstones, and doctors wanted to remove my gallbladder. Because I didn’t want that, I consulted with a naturopath and changed to a vegetarian diet (and not even a particularly healthy vegetarian diet, I now realize). My gallbladder issues completely disappeared.

If you’re looking to make positive changes in your health, but don’t know where to start, any of Fuhrman’s books are good. I especially like this one, though, because it includes the historical context of how fast food and processed foods became ubiquitous in our lives. All of Dr. Fuhrman’s claims about how processed foods damage our health, and what we can do about it, are backed up by well-designed studies. He also talks about how some studies saying certain foods are okay are actually flawed in design or conclusion.



A book you meant to get to in 2017 and didn’t: Turtles All The Way Down, by John Green (YA)- I’ve already talked about this one earlier today in my A to Z blog (A is for Books About Anxiety), so I won’t go into it other than to say that I loved it.







A book about or involving a sport: Bleachers, by John Grisham (Contemporary)- I enjoyed this book well enough while I was reading it, but it’s not going to be a favorite or anything. It’s a story about members of a high school football team who go back to their hometown to hold a vigil for a coach that they both loved and hated. It was a fast and enjoyable read.

While I Was Reading Challenge

(4/12) No progress this week

The Unread Shelf

Running Total: 3

5 Classic Books

(0/5) No progress

Miscellaneous Reading

None this week


None this week.

2018 Running Total: 34


Have you made any progress on your TBR or book challenges?

A is for (Books About) Anxiety

Welcome to another year of blogging A to Z, when I yet again started preparing in February and then didn’t write any posts.

Procrastination, I know thee well.

Anyhoo… For A to Z 2018, my theme is Books About ____. If you’re stopping by from your own A to Z blog, feel free to leave a link. If you need help with how to do that, you can look here.

If you’re someone looking to read a lot of great blogs, here’s the link for the A to Z challenge.

Anxiety is one of those things that a lot of people suffer with. People talk about it more than they did in the past, and I’m glad some of the stigma is going away. I think that fiction books are an important part of that process since we can see the inner lives of characters in a way that we can’t (and don’t want to) see our neighbors’, or friends’, or our family member’s anxiety.

Turtles All The Way Down, by John Green (YA): The main character in this book is struggling with obsessive-compulsive behaviors, which significantly interfere with her life. I thought this book did a great job of showing Aza’s anxiety without beating you over the head with it. I also loved that she and her best friend argue, but end up understanding one another and loving one another more than before.

Sushi for Beginners, by Marian Keyes (romance): Ashling is never diagnosed as anxious, but she worries about everything. She has a huge purse which has everything anyone could possibly need in it: band-aids, rescue remedy… everything. When she takes a new job, she has to deal with her perfect boss and the boss’s sexy boss, who probably hates her because she tries too hard. The characters in this book undergo a lot of change and learn to accept themselves and others.

Uncanny, by Sarah Fine (YA science fiction/ thriller): Cora doesn’t remember the night her sister died. She turned off her Cerepin (the computer attached to her that records everything) and even she suspects that she might have done something to her sister. She’s always struggled with anxieties and fears, but her anxiety gets worse as she tries to avoid remembering what happened that night.

Fan Girl, by Rainbow Rowell (YA Romance): Cath is uncomfortable with new people and new situations. So when she gets to college, and her twin sister doesn’t want to room with her, she’s thrown way out of her comfort zone. Her only consolation is the fanfiction she writes. But as various people push her out of her comfort zone, she realizes maybe she can have a life in the real world.

I’m trying to keep these lists short since I know there are a lot of A to Z blogs to read.

Are there any books with anxious main characters that you’d add to the list?

H is for Hazel

Hello, and welcome to Blogging A to Z 2017! Thanks for stopping by. Fellow A to Z-ers, please make sure to leave a link to your blog in the comments.

My theme this month is 26 of the Best Characters in Fiction.

IMG_8357The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, is one of my favorite books. It’s about two teens, Hazel and Augustus, who met in a cancer survivors’ support group. Hazel has been terminal with cancer for pretty much her entire life, and Augustus is in remission.

I loved the interaction between these two teens. Hazel comes alive off the pages; she’s a real girl, flawed and unsure, yet so witty and smart. Hazel and Augustus spend a lot of time discussing philosophy, and it rang true because they’ve both had intimate brushes with death. It’s a moving book, full of interesting concepts to discuss. I highlighted the text liberally.

I didn’t see the movie (yet), so I don’t know how it compares to the book. (I’m always behind on these things!). If books make you cry, this one probably will, but it’s worth it. It was the first John Green book I read, and it’s still my favorite.

Do you like books that make you cry? If you’ve read this one (or seen the movie), what did you think?

S is for Stories

So many books!  They're everywhere.

So many books! They’re everywhere.

For me, it’s all about the story.

I don’t care what you’re talking about: books, movies, people.  I love a good story.

I’m more liberal than most people about what makes a good story.  I don’t really care if there are plot holes or if the story has been done before.  I just care about how well the story is told.  Ordinary can be interesting in the same way that extraordinary can be boring.

A lot of people complained that Avatar was a cliched story, but I loved it.  Even if it’s a story I’ve heard before, I liked the way it was told, and it had enough new and interesting elements to keep it fresh.  People complained that Twilight had poor writing, but if it did, I didn’t notice when I read it.  I was too drawn in my the story to worry about the fact that Bella and Edward have an unhealthy relationship dynamic.  The story was interesting and fun.

I like literature.  I like reading about psychological theories.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy things at the other end of the spectrum, and everything in between.  As long as there’s an interesting story, I don’t mind if it’s cliche.  I enjoy stories I’ve read before, and I enjoy reading them in different forms, from different perspectives.  But then, I’m also the person who can read the same book over and over again and still have emotional reactions to it as if I were reading it for the first time.  (Where the Red Fern Grows makes me sob every. single. time.)

Stories connect me to the past.  Growing up, I loved Cinderella and Snow White, and remembering those stories gives me warm memories of my parents and grandparents.  I love sharing stories (discussing books and movie plots) with other people.  We all see the same story in different ways, and it’s interesting to hear other people’s perspectives on a story.

I know people who love sitcoms and comedy memoirs, but it can be hard for me to get into those things because I feel like too often, they focus on the punchline rather than the story.  There are always exceptions, of course, but my favorite stories are the ones that make me feel deeply, that make me cry or touch my heart.  I love characters who feel so real to me that they become part of my life even after I’ve closed the book.  Harry Potter, The Fault In Our Stars, Watership Down, Me Before You, and Watchers are just a few of the books that made me feel this way.

What’s your favorite type of story?  Do you have a book whose characters feel like part of your life?

The Fault In Our Stars- A Review

UnknownThe Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, is new to my favorites books list.  The author is careful to state that the book is non-fiction.  It’s about Hazel, who has been terminally ill with cancer since she was 13.  She’s now 17, and knows she’s lived longer than she should have.  Her mother thinks she’s depressed and makes her go to a cancer support group, where she meets Augustus.

Augustus lost a leg to cancer, but is now in remission.  He and Hazel share a dark and unique sense of humor that made me laugh even while it made me think.  Despite Hazel’s death sentence, she and Augustus fall in love.

There’s more to this story, much more, but I wouldn’t want to spoil even a moment for you.  For some people, this book might be depressing, and I’ll admit that there were times it made me cry.  But the fact that the kids lived despite so many things is uplifting to me.

I raced through this book and then bought it.  I can’t wait for it to show up so that I can highlight parts of it.  Yes, THAT’S how much I loved it.

Highly, highly, highly recommend it.  I need to borrow other people’s thumbs in order to give it enough thumb’s up.