In August, I read 8 books. Since I’m just posting one month worth of reading (better late than never?), they are listed in the order in which I read them, and the titles are all hyperlinked. The two for which I did not previously post reviews have brief summaries, and the remainder have links to my earlier reviews, listed below the titles.
Washington: A Life (Ron Chernow)
It took me a while to get into this book, but once I did I really enjoyed it. A lengthier biography (928 pages) of Washington, Ron Chernow leaves you wishing you could hang on a little bit more after getting to know the first President so well. It was also an interesting read having finished John Adams in June.
I learned a lot from this book, and reflected much on the ways Washington handled things. Most telling, was his cognitive dissonance about the slavery issue. He was given the opportunity to rid the United States of slavery once and for all, but passed it up in an effort not to displease the States who relied heavily on it. He mulled over this question for most of his life, but in the end could not see how he could remain financially stable while simultaneously freeing his slaves.
He was a tough man, and an interesting combination of true grit and refined tastes. He was not shy about using often degrading corporal punishments to enforce laws and military service. Yet his excellence in taste caused him to go in and out of debt for most of his later years, in spite of the vast wealth he built as a young adult. He never got along with his mother, and he and his previously widowed wife were unable to have children. He was a man of his word and of honor (with varying degrees of interpretation, depending how one might view his emotional affairs with women), but I came away from the book thinking it was his hard-work and toughness that gained the respect he had in his day (and now). And in the end, I was left seeing him as mere man, and very human in his life. (I also realized how little American politics have changed.)
I Will Teach You to Be Rich (Ramit Sethi)
How Children Raise Parents: The Art of Listening to Your Family (Dan B. Allender)
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future (Chris Guillebeau)
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (Laura Vanderkam)
No More Mr Nice Guy (Robert A. Glover)
This book is written specifically for men, and even more specifically for men who are prone to have a martyr complex or live as people pleasers. It was written mostly as a self-help and psychology book for such men, though I did find it interesting that many of the men who the psychologist worked with grew up in a subculture with similarities to the ones my husband and I did (at least, bearing similar labels). Some suggestions offered were helpful and insightful, while others were overly humanistic and seemed to promote narcissism in place of genuine betterment. Nonetheless, it was an interesting read, but not a book I’d get particularly excited about or recommend without plenty of disclaimers.
How Doctors Think (Jerome Groopman)
At the end of August, I had read 63 books (now 65), which is just 12 books shy of my reading goal for 2012. So, I aim to read at least 100 books for the year.
Goodreads continues to be an incredibly useful tool, as well as a source of book suggestions.
What about you? Any amazing reads? Any book suggestions?