The Deathly Hallows (#15/50)

I remember when I first bought this book. We were driving down to Lake of the Ozarks during summer vacation. It was early in the morning the day this book was released so my sister and I made our parents stop at Walmart so we could each buy a copy. I read that thing the entire way there and into the night, and I was done before the end of the next day. It’s not my favorite book in the series, but I appreciate it in a different way because it is the final installment of a truly magical literary journey. No matter how long it’s been, reading this series again feels like returning home. (After all this time? …Always.)

Title – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Author – J.K. Rowling

Page count – 759

**Minor spoilers for the plot (and if you haven’t read previous books)** Continue reading “The Deathly Hallows (#15/50)”

No god but God (#14/50)

Lesson one: Colonization is never a good idea.

Lesson two: Money and power concentrated in the hands of a few usually results in greed, corruption, and violent attempts to maintain control.

Title – No god but God: The origins, evolution, and future of Islam

Author – Reza Aslan

Page count – 292

Considering (*sigh* yet again) our current political climate, I would highly recommend this book. It was dense, yes, but as easy-to-understand as a history book can be. Aslan lays out clear, relatively objective commentary on how the religion of Islam came to be and how it has evolved throughout history alongside its cultural and political companions. Continue reading “No god but God (#14/50)”

The Half-Blood Prince (#13/50)

We’re almost to the end! I don’t think some (esp. older) people truly understand how Harry Potter was so defining for my generation. The books came out while we were the same age as the characters so we basically grew up with them. I realize I can re-read the books, but it somehow always feels so final as I approach the end of the series.

Title – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Author – J.K. Rowling

Page count – 652

**Spoilers if you haven’t read the previous books (which, at this point, should be none of you. I mean, really.)** Continue reading “The Half-Blood Prince (#13/50)”

The Order of the Phoenix (#12/50)

I forgot how much I like this installment in the series. The Goblet of Fire has always been my go-to answer for “which is your favorite Harry Potter book?” But after reading them in quick succession…now I’m not so sure. I forgot how sarcastic book-Harry gets (explaining to Uncle Vernon why he’s been watching the Muggle news: “Well, it changes every day, you see.”), and how there’s SO MUCH backstory with Aunt Petunia and Neville that’s completely skipped over in the movies (not to mention the barely-touched-upon Grimmauld Place, O.W.L.s, Quidditch, and Fred & George’s joke shop). Plus all the bits of foreshadowing that seemed insignificant but when you re-read are like WHAT??? HOW DID I MISS THAT?

Title – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Author – J.K. Rowling

Page count – 870 (I would say “oh, it’s a quick read,” but it really is a MASSIVE book. Like, the kind you set under a small child as a booster seat.)

**As usual, spoilers ahead. You have been warned.** Continue reading “The Order of the Phoenix (#12/50)”

The No Complaining Rule (#11/50)

This wasn’t a bad book necessarily, but I don’t know that I would recommend it to just anybody. My hopes were really high because I read another book by this same author called The Energy Bus. It was recommended to me by a co-worker, and if I were ever in a management-type position (not my cup of tea, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared), that book is one I would use to craft my management style. This book? Meh. The general premise perhaps. Still doesn’t mean I think reading it was worth my time.

Title – The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work

Author – Jon Gordon

Page count – 131

I’m not going to relate this too much to my personal life because it is usually not wise to talk about work stuff on the internet. All I will say is read between the lines and message me directly if you’re curious.

The general premise of this book is that mindless complaining (that is, complaining with no desire to find a solution) is unproductive, brings down morale, and reduces both individual and company performance. I would agree with this statement. There are two main reasons I didn’t care for this book Continue reading “The No Complaining Rule (#11/50)”

Statistics update #1

So my very first post, outlining my Rules for this Fifty Book Challenge, said that I was to have 1) no more than half of my books be re-reads, 2) at least half of the books be by women, and 3) at least one quarter of the books be by people of color. Let’s see how I’m stacking up so far…

The Invasion of the Tearling (Erika Johansen), Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Rebecca Wells), Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik), The Lord of the Rings, part two: The Two Towers (J.R.R. Tolkien), Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church (Rachel Held Evans), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling), Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God (Elizabeth A. Johnson), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling), The Thing Around Your Neck (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

Re-reads: 5/10 (just squeaked by on that one)

Women: 9/10 (about what I expected, tbh)

POC: 2/10 (and that’s only because I’m counting one of the RBG co-authors who’s Israeli-American…let’s just say there’s room for improvement here)

The Thing Around Your Neck (#10/50)

I originally went to the library to look for Adichie’s Americanah because it’s been recommended to me by so many people. I’m kind of glad that particular branch’s copy was checked out because I found this collection of short stories instead. I feel like Adichie is going to be my new Toni Morrison: every book of hers I pick up, I enjoy very much; and even though I don’t totally understand the culture about which she is writing (because I am a relatively privileged white American), I can’t help but feel transported and captivated by it. Which is what storytelling is all about, yes?

Title – The Thing Around Your Neck

Author – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Page count – 218

Each of the twelve stories in this collection either takes place in or involves people from Nigeria (which is where Adichie grew up). She uses multiple frames of reference and frequently handles the themes of ethnicity, nationality, and immigration; gender roles, sexuality, and marriage. My favorite stories Continue reading “The Thing Around Your Neck (#10/50)”