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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Books of June 2016

June was a fairly low key month. We ran a trail race, volunteered at a beer event, and I participated in a lot of group runs. We also bought a new mattress, moved our bedroom to a cooler room, and I made baby steps in my clutter removal. In addition to decent life progress, I read some good books. I think I'm getting back into classic lit (I'm in the middle of Northanger Abbey right now), which is a pleasant surprise because 2015 was a classic lit drought. Without further ado....

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Hansons Half-Marathon Method by Luke Humphrey, Keith Hanson (Contributor), Kevin Hanson
Review: 4 / 5
Easy to read and I'd recommend to anyone looking to amp up their training. 

I skimmed some areas (gear, race day prep) and focused on the science behind the plan, workouts, and paces to use. Currently, I'm in the first month of my 18 week plan. The milage is high for a half marathon schedule. I do believe goals can and will be reached if one adheres to the plan (which is based on cumulative fatigue), but I'm not quite sure if I want to devote my free time this summer to training (and it may not sync up with my running group's workouts). I think the basis is solid and if followed to a T, I think a PR is almost guaranteed. 

My only gripe: I think Hanson's could use one more plan between Just Finish and Beginner. Just Finish is too bare bones and the Beginner is already a big jump in milage and feels more Intermediate. Based on the plan descriptions I should use Advanced, but there is no way I can fit in that kind of milage and maintain sanity. I'll do a recap of my Hanson's experience when I finish. 

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Review: 3 / 5
First off (before I rip it apart), this was well written and I was able to get through it quickly. I enjoyed reading it, even if parts made me mad. 

Unfortunately, I hate-read the last bit. I'll try to avoid spoilers, but there were a few things that nearly ruined the story for me. First, it was so similar to a Stephen King short I just read in Full Dark, No Stars. Second, Helen being helpful. Why all of the sudden? Third, it was unnecessarily graphic. Some scenes felt like they were added for shock value. We get it, he's nuts. Fourth, Claire was so unlikable near the end. Her (saint) sister took on so much and to be forced into hard labor after everything is absolutely ridiculous. [My Goodreads review had a spoiler that I've removed.]

Ultimately, this brought on my post-Gone Girl genre fatigue. I read a lot of similar books last year (multi narrator, time shifts, twists and turns, so much violence against women, etc) and I still feel icky. What made Gone Girl (and other Flynn books) so good was the lead character taking control (even the meek Dark Places girl). And Amazing Amy wasn't a victim. These girl-thriller books are getting grosser and grosser. No longer mysteries, but almost glorifying torture and rape. Yikes. Oh, and the last chapter from the dad's journal was creepy. Get a grip dude. Kids grow up. 

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Review: 5 / 5
I gave this a low rating in 2008. I wonder if I actually read it or if I listened to a BBC drama and considered myself informed. Either way, it's good. Not the best ever, but better than 90% of books I read so I'll keep it at a 5. Anne Elliot is another great protagonist. I'd write more, but this is a classic and really speaks for itself. 

Review: 5 / 5
I found out about Jasyoga through Oiselle (of course) and by extension Erin Taylor's book Hit Reset. I'm not a yogi, nor have I participated in a yoga class. I've done some free yoga before a 10k and tried to follow YouTube videos, but I don't keep up with it even though I've enjoyed it in the past. 

This book is a great collection of pre- and post- workout stretches. They're quick, easy, and effective. I don't often have time to find my zen, so it was nice to pick up the book and get going. There are great descriptions and introductions, but my favorite part of the book is the full-color photo-based layout. I appreciate the work that went into getting various athletes (and the author) to demonstrate each move. I also like that it's divided into regions. So far, it's been a great guide for someone like me who has a casual interest in periodic deep stretching.

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Review: 4.5 / 5
This is a book I've had for a while, but was too afraid to read in case it was super dry and depressing. It is sad, of course, but told in a straightforward manner which makes it a relatively quick read for such a heavy topic. I was thankful for the different perspectives and divided sections of the story. The writing is simple, but well done. 

Alex and I talked about Japanese internment after I finished and each confessed to learning very little about it during our World War II units in school. I hope schools are reading this (or something similar) these days.
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As always, these reviews were taken from my Goodreads. For past months, click here.

What did you read in June?
What are you reading now?


  1. You make me want to go to the library and look for a book now!

    I have been intrigued with everyone doing the Hansons training plan and although I never delve into myself, it seems like more running than I am capable of. I'm anxious to hear more of what you think about it.-M

    1. I had bad luck with books a few months ago - everything I picked up stunk! But I think I back in a groove. Hanson's should be interesting. I think it may be too much running, but for as much as I talk and think about running I might as well give it a try. I'm not afraid of dropping it halfway through August when it really ramps up!

  2. Hit Reset is an awesome book. I've bought it 3 times to give to friends.

    1. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed it! Great for all levels, too!


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