November: What I Read & Watched

What I Read This Month

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What I Watched

I seldom watch much but this month I watched a few noteworthy things:

 Before the Flood

This National Geographic documentary breaks down climate change and global warming into terms we can all understand. Plus you get to see Leonardo DiCaprio with a goofy man bun.

Morgan Spurlock Inside Man: The Truth About Toxins

I heard about this series when someone recommended an episode where Morgan Spurlock attempts to follow his trash. I didn’t have any luck finding that one, but I did stumble across this one. It gives a good overview of all this chemical-free/nontoxic stuff I’ve been talking about.

November Reads

I traveled this month and had a few holidays off work so I read a lot!

Call of the Mall: The Geography of Shopping by Paco Underhill

I really loved Why We Buy by the same author and so I had high expectations of this book, but unfortunately I was let down. While it still contains some interesting information, it didn’t go as far into consumer science as I’d hoped. It was a lot of history about malls and a little awkward that it’s written in a way where you “pretend” you are at the mall with the author.

The Recovering Spender: How to Live a Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life by Lauren Greutman

This book is different from your typical personal finance book. It truly gets personal. It goes beyond the “here’s how to save money” and gets into the root of the problem. I really enjoyed the first half as Lauren told her story and got so open and honest about her experiences. I think many readers that are struggling with money would appreciate that! There were times where it was a bit difficult to follow timelines, but it was good. The second half wasn’t my favorite, but it would be helpful. It’s the practical “how-to” portion. Parts of it seemed a bit like a sales pitch for her course so that turned me off a little, but I did like the examples and shared experiences from others.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin

After talking with Jeff of Intentionally Wandering, I am trying to do better at stopping books that don’t interest me and this was one of them. It’s written in a style of like tons of blog posts put into a book. I don’t know what it was about this one, but it just didn’t do it for me. Good message I think, but very redundant.

We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan by Elizabeth Norman

I visited Washington DC years ago and it was one of the most memorable trips. I love history, especially military history, and there was so much to soak up. While I was there I came across SO many intriguing books and topics I wanted to learn more about, so I kept a running list in my phone. This was one of those books and it was really good. I’ve read a lot of WWII but mostly the European front, not the Pacific, so this was a new view for me. It was especially interesting to me to read about the history of women at war.

Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

I discovered these guys and their blog early into my minimalism journey. (They’re actually the ones that inspired the Minsgame I did a year ago) I loved their story and everything they had to say. They started a podcast and it was one of my favorites. But…it might have been too much at once because they started to wear on me after a while. Thus, this book sat on the shelf untouched for many months. I was ready for some of their wisdom, so I cracked it open and I’m glad I did. I just wish I’d read this one years ago when I started getting into living with less. This chronicles Joshua’s minimalism journey and even though I’d heard the gist of it on the blog and the podcast, this goes into much more detail. It’s sort of a long conversation between him and Ryan and reaffirms many of the lessons minimalism has taught me.

Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom

I love reading about the psychology of why we buy and ways marketers and brands trick us. It fascinates me. I recently read Martin Lindstrom’s book Brandwashed and really liked it and the two books are basically about the same topic.

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran

I’ve had an interest in China and Chinese culture since I had the opportunity to spend a week there with my grad school program. I’ve been fascinated ever since. Such a complex history and culture, and I know much of what I saw when I was there was just scratching the surface, the picture the government wants to paint. This book gets at the parts of history and culture that are not often shared. It was a sad book, but so good.

The End of the Perfect 10: The Making and Breaking of Gymnastics’ Top Score by Dvora Meyers

I have been obsessed with gymnastics since I was young. I spent much of my youth running around in a leotard. I loved watching Dominique Moceanu at the 1996 Olympics and read many gymnastics books. I guess at some point I decided I was “too old” for these books and didn’t read many again until 20 years later. I watched a lot of the Rio games this year and followed gymnastics closely. As a kid I just knew I wanted the gymnasts to stick their landings, but as adult, I suddenly wanted to understand more about the scoring and rules behind gymnastics. That’s how I found this book and gave me all the info I was looking for and even more. It was actually a super interesting history of the sport. It also led to me spending a lot of time watching gymnastics videos on YouTube…

Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance by Simone Biles

See above about the reemergence of my interest in gymnastics books…

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