Fresh Reads: Summer 2016

I've definitely gotten back in the reading groove since Holly Madison almost broke me with that last read. Haha! I've even committed to reading 50 books total this year in the Goodreads Challenge. I'm a little behind since I took a month and a half from reading anything, but I'm determined to blow fifty out of the water.

Here's what I've read lately:

Like everyone else with a pulse, I read Harry Potter & the Cursed Child with the greatest immediacy. Like, I read it in maybe four hours. I saw a lot of readers online who didn't really care for it, but I liked it. I also went into the book knowing it wasn't going to be a continuation of the series we'd grown to know and love over the years. Also, it's a script written by people who aren't J.K. Rowling, inspired by a story that was written by her (where is this story btw?) Anywho, I liked it. I didn't love it. I'm not really sure how to talk about it without giving away spoilers. It's a little trippy and I find it hard for anyone to not like - or maybe even hate - Harry Potter. Let alone his own offspring! Everyone loves Harry Potter. Fight me.  If anything, I am excited to see it live in the fall!

Where do I start with Brené Brown's Rising Strong? Phew. Everyone talks about Daring Greatly, but this one just destroyed me. De. STROIT. What do you do when the hard work of breaking past your holdups is laid out so neatly in front of you? While Daring Greatly focused on vulnerability, Rising Strong goes in depth into the stories we create from our interactions, assumptions, and thoughts. Then Brené shows us the tough questions we need to tackle within (I love that she refers to this as "the rumble") if we are to eventually break cycles of fear, unhappiness, anger and insecurity to rewrite the story's ending. Think about this next time you have that same argument you've been having with your significant other or child. You say this, they do that, both parties end up angry and upset. You've been there a million times. Imagine having the courage to rewrite that argument's ending and put in the work to come to a much better resolution. I was in tears a lot while reading this book. This really should have been its own review so I can go into more depth about all the things I loved about it, but ya girl just doesn't have the time. Read the book. I really, really recommend it!

I love Russell Simmons and will read every book he puts out, even if I'm not necessarily looking to be about that life. The Happy Vegan is his latest release and the perfect example of this. I was definitely not trying to be vegan when I started reading it. I admire Russell's commitment to true compassion, which includes veganism (or not participating in the torture and killing of animals for our consumption.) I have avoided watching documentaries like Fast Food Nation and Forks Over Knives because I know awful shit goes down before things make it to my plate, but I couldn't avoid it in this book. Russell's writing style is as strong as his personality, and in The Happy Vegan, he makes a strong case for why he eats that way. I'm taking baby steps in eating more consciously - I'd like to one day give up dairy and meat - but it'll be a process for me. I also recommend this quick read if you're considering a healthier diet!

Words from a Wanderer is a super quick read and one that's great to have on your nightstand. I follow Alex Elle on Snapchat and Instagram and fell in love with her vibes. Words from a Wanderer are quick love notes and poems to herself, at a period of time where she was searching for love - in a relationship, and with herself. I wouldn't call myself a creative writer, but you can't help but be inspired to write the "Dear Self" love notes you need to see and hear after reading this.

Since we're in the throes of the Olympics, I thought it was a good time to read Nadia Comaneci's Letters to a Young Gymnast. I find it insane when people don't know who she is, but I have to remind myself that I was maniacally obsessed with her when I was a kid and was first able to understand what the Olympics were. She's a legend. She's the Muhammad Ali of gymnastics. She changed the game, and in her book, I understood how she had to find the courage to change her life and deflect from communist Romania too. Her writing style wasn't my favorite, but I still recommend this if you are high on Olympics fever and want to absorb what it's like to train and live like an Olympic legend.

See what I'm currently reading and books I love on my Goodreads profile!

Read all my posts on the Year to Flourish here.