my bookshelf

It's been some time since I shared some of the books I've been reading, but this past week I blew through two books and figured it was high time I share a list of books I've enjoyed lately.  I think if I flew on planes consistently I'd probably read a book every flight, for some reason I get on a plane and just want to power through a book.  All of these, I found, were really quick reads.  Pretty much all of them were read in a couple days to a week.  

Have you guys been reading any great books lately?  I've found that I'm much more into non-fiction than fiction, for some reason.  I just really enjoy reading true stories.  Not that fiction isn't great, but 9 times out of 10 I'm drawn to a non-fiction book.  In some ways I think real people are way more interesting than fictional ones, just because they aren't made up.  That being said, I've thought about reading the hunger games series, just because I've seen the movies and found them to be fun, and I've heard they're fast reads, so I might track those down at half price books someday.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
I read more than half of this book at once on my flight home from Sitka and finished the rest in two evenings.  It's a quick read and rather fascinating.  It tells the story of Susannah Cahalan, a 24 year old gal who ended up with a mysterious disorder that sent her spiraling into complete psychosis before finally being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune encephalitis.  It's a great read.

If I Live to be 100:  Lessons from the Centenarians 
On my first day in Sitka I saw this book on the counter and picked it up.  It seemed appropriate to read, since I'd be spending time with my grandparents, who are 93.  It's the story of an NPR journalist who went around the country interviewing centenarians, those who've lived over a century, asking them about their lives and the major events of the 20th century.  In the few nights I was in Sitka, I blew through the book.  It's introspective and a relaxing read.

Hyperbole and a Half
Kristi gave me this book, and if you've ever read the Hyperbole and a Half blog, then you know exactly how hilarious this book is.  Actually I was a little surprised at how dark and serious it is in a lot of ways.  Allie shares a lot of her struggle with depression in the book, in her typical dark humor way, but it's still rather raw and real.  She's self deprecating and honest.  I think my favorite chapters were the ones about her dogs, simple dog, and helper dog, probably because I've always had dogs and it's just so spot on I couldn't help but laugh out loud at parts.

I read this one a while ago, last summer I think.  It's the story of Cheryl Strayed, who hiked part of the Pacific Crest Trail.  She wasn't an avid hiker, just a girl who needed to push the 'restart' button on life and just went for it.  I had a couple friends who'd hiked the PCT a few years ago, so it was interesting to read about the trail they hiked.  It was well written and captivating.

Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs
This book grabbed hold of me and held me hostage.  It's by Heather Lende, who lives in Haines, AK and has written for various newspapers and magazines, including a column in the Anchorage Daily News for years.  She's also written "If You Lived Here I'd Know Your Name," which I haven't read yet, but want to.  Anyway, I was given the book for Christmas when we were in Sitka, and, of course, every time I go to Sitka it makes me desperately want to move back to Alaska.  Reading Heather's book right after being there only heightened that desire to a fever pitch and I spent weeks searching real estate and jobs in Sitka online late at night.  The story follows an accident in which she had been run over by a truck while riding her bike, and her recovery.  Haines is a much smaller town than Sitka, I spent a few days there on my Winne trip back in 2010, but the feeling is the same.  She brings small town Alaska to life in a way that made my heart yearn for home more intensely than usual.  I think the next book I'm going to read is "If You Lived Here," just to keep my small town Alaska vibes going strong.