Reading Challenge: July Update!

Time for another update on my Challies 2016 Reading Challenge progress!

My summer class is over (yay!), and I think I did pretty well, actually (double-yay!). Once the class was over, I had 2 weeks left in July to dive back into my reading list. I used a combination of audiobooks, Kindle books, and paper books to get back on the Reading Challenge train!

So here’s a list of what I was able to finish in July:

A Memoir: No Hero, by Mark Owen.  I listened to the audio-book of this memoir of a 14-year Navy SEAL. Owen, whose previous book No Easy Day about the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden brought him national reknown, tells a series of personal stories and experiences to expound on the qualities needed to succeed as a SEAL. He highlights attributes like purpose and focus, the necessity of dealing with fear, the power of embracing discomfort, and the vital importance of teamwork and trust. The stories he tells are sometimes redacted, the names have all been changed, but the emotions and experiences are real and are fascinating. If nothing else, books like No Hero can give the reader a renewed appreciation for the sacrifices and selflessness of the men and women who serve in the military.

A Book that won the Pulitzer Prize: A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan. Every person who has read this book had the same reaction when I told them I was reading it: an affectionate, “Aaaaah, Goon Squad!” Though some suggested I may not appreciate it as much as they did because I “wasn’t a girl” (which seems a bit sexist, but whatever), I assured them that I was enjoying the style and language even if the characters weren’t always that likable. I have to admit, though, once I finished the book, I still wasn’t sure if I actually liked it. I enjoyed aspects of it, and I can appreciate the themes the author was going for (the paradox of emotional distance in an age of increasing “connectivity”). But I have to admit, it’s not a book I would ever re-read, and I don’t know if I could strongly recommend it to others. So, there you are: well-written, effective, but in the end, it left me cold.

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And unfortunately, those were the only two I finished by July 31st. I am halfway through about 3 other books, so I’m in good shape to beef up my August numbers. And after some discussion with my beloved wife, we decided that I’m going to postpone my next seminary class until the spring (for various reasons), so I’m back on the Reading Challenge train full-force!  I’ve fallen behind quite a bit over the last 2 months, but let’s see if August is my month to gain ground. I’ll keep you posted as always, faithful readers!

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