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Reading with Intention in 2015 (February)

Reading with Intention 2/15 | www.thatwasvegan.com

I learned something interesting in this first month of Reading with Intention, and that is: I can’t actually predict what or how much I’m going to read. Which is okay! This isn’t about doing my homework to get a passing grade. This is really just about tracking what I read, and trying to make sure I’m mindful about my choices, as opposed to just reading whatever happens to be lying around.

Also, I joined Goodreads, based on your suggestions. Here’s my Reading with Intention bookshelf, and please feel free to friend me!

So, last month I set out to read five books. And I did read five, just not the five I thought I would! Funny how that works. Here’s what I read:

  • The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless … This book left me pretty speechless. It was so well written and moving and heartbreaking. If you read Into The Wild and want to learn more of the story, especially about the abusive childhood Chris survived, I can’t recommend this book enough. Unless childhood domestic abuse is a trigger for you, then this might be a tough read. It inspired me to re-read Into The Wild, so you’ll see that on my list soon!
  • The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle … I’ve read two other books by Boyle (When the Killing is Done and The Women) and I have no idea why I haven’t read more of his work. But anyway, this book takes a brilliant look at real-life racism. It’s frightening at times how recognizable some of the characters are, and reading what the undocumented Mexican family goes through is heart-wrenching and eye opening. Obviously I never thought people who came across the border illegally have it easy (far from it!), but this daily struggle just to stay alive was shocking. Really great book. My girl Angie recommended it. She does a lot of posts about books she reads, among other things.
  • 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill … These stories weren’t all scary, which wasn’t what I expected, but I enjoyed them all. Two in particular really stood out for me: Pop Art and Best New Horror. And for totally different reasons- these two short stories couldn’t have been more different (and thanks to Reia for the Joe Hill recommendation!)
  • My Story by Elizabeth Smart … What this young girl went through was beyond horrifying, and the fact that she has rebounded in such a way is truly amazing. It’s difficult not to compare yourself and wonder if you’d have her strength.  This book was very religious, and that part didn’t speak to me at all, but overall a good read!
  • The Feminist and the Cowboy: An Unlikely Love Story … There is no eloquent way to say how much I hated this book. I couldn’t even finish it, I was so sickened by it.  I slogged my way through her self-loathing, and her acceptance of his emotional abuse. Not even just acceptance. I’d say she was bragging about it, how he was a real man because he played mind games and controlled her. WTF!? She finally lost me while defending his moronic opinion that animals don’t feel fear or any emotion at all. The cowboy is a shitbag, that’s all I can say. I’m just glad I got this piece of garbage from the library, because it would be ME feeling self-loathing if I had given these idiots any royalty money.

Books I set out to read but haven’t quite finished yet?

I’m leaving them off the list for February because a bunch of other books just popped up at the library, but they’ll be back on my list soon!


Books for February 2015


  1.  West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan … O’Nan is hands-down my favorite fiction writer. I discovered him sort of on accident, via a book about the Red Sox he co-wrote with his BFF Stephen King. I was interested, so I picked up Wish You Were Here which is my favorite novel, one I re-read each summer. Anyway, this one is about the last three years of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life. Not a topic I was necessarily interested in, but it just came out and as an avid fan of O’Nan, well, it was a must-read.
  2. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran … Can’t even remember who recommended this to me, but it’s supposed to be good! It’s described as “…The Bell Jar – written by Rizzo from Grease”. Sounds like something I’ll enjoy.
  3. Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado … I read an excerpt on Slate and found it interesting and enlightening. It’s an up-close look at the life of the poor in our country, but the author is humorous, honest, and I’m really looking forward to reading this and gaining a better understanding of how so many people in our country live.
  4. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam … A book about prioritizing your tasks to maximize your time. I need this.
  5. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters … A novel about a 1920’s  widow forced to take lodgers to make ends meet. I haven’t read anything by Waters before, but she has a huge following and her books are always being recommended to me.

 So yah, that’s my list for this month. Have any recommendations for me? PLEASE SHARE! And tell us what you’re reading right now!





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{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent February 2, 2015, 7:06 am

    I added you as a friend on Goodreads. 🙂

    I’ll be interested to read your opinion on Caitlin Moran. I read How to Be a Woman and had mixed feelings.

    • Barb February 3, 2015, 3:42 pm

      So far its kind of crazy!

  • Raia February 2, 2015, 6:24 pm

    I just started reading You are a Badass by Jen Sincero and it’s awesome, I can’t put it down. Also, Wild, Torched and Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed are all fantastic.

    • Barb February 3, 2015, 3:36 pm

      I read Wild, and Torched… but I didn’t even know she had a 3rd book! Adding that to my list!

  • Cadry February 2, 2015, 7:17 pm

    I’d flipped through Elizabeth Smart’s book at the bookstore, and your review pushed me to put a hold on it at the library. It sounds like an interesting read.

    • Barb February 3, 2015, 3:40 pm

      It is interesting. I remember when it happened, but never knew that much detail of her story.

  • Bianca February 3, 2015, 3:00 pm

    Ugh. After reading your review, I clicked the description of the Feminist & the Cowboy on Good Reads. And gross. Just gross. Just this line in the description makes me want to hurl: “From their first date the Cowboy makes her pulse race, and she discovers that ‘when men . . . act like men rather than like emasculated boys, you as a woman will find not only great pleasure in submitting to them but also great growth as a person.'”

    Submitting to them? Gag me. Just gag me. I can’t even.

    • Barb February 3, 2015, 3:41 pm

      I know. Horrible. Going into it I knew I wasn’t going to agree with everything, but that’s okay. I was expecting some kind of overcoming-our-differences love story… not this trash. Ugh.

    • AnnMarie February 4, 2015, 8:47 am

      It sounds HORRIBLE!

  • AnnMarie February 4, 2015, 8:47 am

    I read When the killing is done too, and loved it. Adding Tortilla curtain to my list. Thanks for the recomendations!

  • Angie February 12, 2015, 8:39 pm

    I am interested in so many of these books! I can’t wait to hear what you think of them.

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