April 4, 2017

What I Read in March 2017

So first off, I don’t want to keep you all hanging with my post yesterday about medical issues! I met with my neurologist this morning, but she didn’t really have much info for me. Essentially, she is ruling out stroke/TIA because of my age and health, and she said that while I had a lot of tests come back with abnormalities, they don’t match with the symptoms I reported, so she believes those are incidental. So she’s diagnosing by exclusion that I had an acephalgic migraine with aura (migraine where I don’t have any headache but I do have other symptoms – namely, a loss of cognitive ability).

I would be so happy if an acephalgic migraine with aura is truly what I had, because it’s certainly a less worrisome diagnosis than many other things, but I’m not really comfortable with how my doctor got to that diagnosis. I’m getting some second and third opinions to try to figure this out once and for all, but in the meantime, am taking comfort in the fact that least one doctor said NBD!

With that update, let’s move on to what I read in March? It was an average month of reading for me, with nine books read, but two of those were actually short stories of 50-100 pages that I’m not sure should count as books! I made significant headway in Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans, though, a 650+ page book that I finally finished a few days ago (albeit in April). So, not terrible.

My favorite books this month were How To Deliver a TED Talk and all three books in Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Street trilogy.

5 stars:

Winter Stroll, by Elin Hilderbrand – This was part of a three book series, and this second book was my favorite in the series! (You’ll find the other two down in my four star section.) I loved this continuation of the first Quinn book, which I read in one night. The stories wove together nicely, and it was interesting to see the choices each character made. After reading this one, I couldn’t wait for the last book in the series!

4 stars:

How To Deliver A TED Talk: Secrets Of The World’s Most Inspiring Presentations, by Jeremey Donovan – I’ve now read two books on this topic (the other being Chris Anderson’s Official Guide), and both were equally valuable. I was worried this would be repetitive but I picked up a lot of great tips here! Definitely recommended for anyone who wants to improve their public speaking skills.

Winter Street, by Elin Hilderbrand – This is the first book in the series, and it definitely got me hooked. There are a lot of protagonists in these books, and at first I found it a little difficult to keep track, but that eased up as the story went on. I also appreciated that while I liked some characters better than others at the beginning, I was eventually able to identify with all of them.

Winter Storms, by Elin Hilderbrand – The third and final book in the trilogy, I was really disappointed to finish it and have the series be complete! The characters were so interesting and I’d love to read more about them. However, this wrapped things up nicely while still providing a lot of twists and turns along the way.

3 stars:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert – I read this for my women’s book club at the office. I had heard a lot of people rave about this one, but I found it a bit hit or miss. There were some parts at the beginning of this that were incredibly inspiring, but overall I just didn’t love it. Overall a decent read, but parts of it were too hippie-ish for my taste. (Note: I was reading this book when I lost cognitive ability in that incident, and it took me longer than it should have to realize I had stopped being able to read, as I thought I just wasn’t focused / interested in the writing… which just goes to show how dull parts of this book were.)

Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner – This is a classic modern novel that basically spawned the entire chick lit genre – I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read it yet! From the beginning, I didn’t love the main character – she complained a lot and was kind of annoying. But, the story was interesting (if a little too fairytale by the end) and I could see why Weiner made such a splash with her debut novel. I love many of her subsequent books, but this one wasn’t quite as good.

The Tailgate, by Elin Hilderbrand – A cute short story about Dabney (of Hilderbrand’s The Matchmaker); it was neat to get a glimpse of her hopes and fears in college, but too short to really get into.

The Vanishing American Corporation: Navigating the Hazards of a New Economy, by Gerald F. Davis – My college chose this as part of an effort to get all their alumni and students to read the same books, then discuss via webcast. Unfortunately, the webcast was canceled due to a big snowstorm, but I had already finished the book! I found this a bit dry, but the last few chapters made it all worthwhile. Davis has great support for the ideas he posits, and I fully bought into his idea of what the future economy will look like (essentially, a big sharing economy with mobile workers rather than people tied to one company). I would strongly recommend this book for anyone in the business world.

2 stars:

The Half Life, by Jennifer Weiner – I was so excited to realize this was a story about a consultant! But I think too many writers don’t realize that consultants aren’t all about firing people (a la Up in the Air). This didn’t really capture what it’s like to travel for work, relying on a cheap affair as a plot device. Plus, while I knew ahead of time that it was a short story, I didn’t realize quite how short – not enough meat to really get into.

Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.


8 thoughts on “What I Read in March 2017”

  1. I recommend you read the article “Overkill”in the New Yorker by Atul Gawande. It is about the medical over testing in US healthcare and how nobody is really normal. For me, I had an MRI for one problem and found out I have a benign tumor in my liver. My father had angiography for a tumor in his heart and found out he only has one kidney (among other things). It’s really unsettling to have these things that are abnormal, but we all have them!! Hope you never have a repeat of symptoms…

    1. I’ll have to look up that article, sounds interesting! I went to urgent care once when I was having a panic attack because I was convinced that I was having a heart attack. (Yes, I realize this makes no sense, but anxiety will make you do crazy things!) They gave me an EKG to prove to me that my heart was fine, but it turned out that I have a sinus node arrhythmia. Which was not comforting at the time, but it’s actually something that is really common and harmless. I even got a full work-up by a cardiologist to confirm that I was fine.

      Hopefully the second opinion will be just as reassuring! Glad you at least have some kind of answer.

    2. What a great article! I completely agree that everyone is bound to have some abnormalities, and it’s really tough to figure out what’s related and what isn’t. However, what’s bothering me about this is that I had a very abnormal symptom that doesn’t have a great explanation yet, and my doctor is still ruling out things because they aren’t typical of my profile. Fortunately, I’ve had all the tests I need at this point – I’m just hoping that seeing someone else to read the results might result in more clarification.

      Article link here, for anyone else who wants to read it. I’ll be sharing it in my Links I Love this Sunday as well!

  2. I finished Before the Fall yesterday and frankly I found it to be lame. It just dragged on with these long winded biographies about each person on the plane. There was no drama and the ending was so anti-climatic – I was expecting some twist, but no.

    Some books I have liked lately are Little Beach Street Bakery; Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China; Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, and One Louisiana Home; The Boston Girl; Unbowed; and the Invention of Wings.

    1. So sorry you weren’t a fan of Before The Fall! I think I was prob more into it because it was about the airline industry.

      Thanks for all the recommendations! I’ve read “The Invention of Wings” but not any of the others – adding them all to my Goodreads To Read list. Little Beach Street Bakery and Love & War especially sound great!

  3. That sounds like such a frustrating appointment. I do hope it was nothing more than a migraine.

    I recently read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and it was amazing. It could very well be my favourite book of 2017 because it will take a lot to beat it.

    1. Wow, that is a strong recommendation from you! And OMG just realized it’s Taylor Jenkins Reid – I love her books! I’m definitely checking it out.

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