July ’21 Wrap Up

I honestly can’t believe July has come and gone! My company gives us “Summer Hours” (aka 3 o’clock Fridays) from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I feel like these were just announced a couple weeks ago and now the summer is winding down! I had a great July, we were able to finally go on vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina and I think I am finally starting to work my way out of my reading slump (this didn’t happen until the latter half of the month). So, without further ado, let’s talk about what I read!

The first book I, finally, finished in July was The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold. This was a really, really unique book that was unfortunately about a pandemic. This was definitely a long, drawn out read for me. The story is told from multiple perspectives and it’s extremely confusing when you start out. The book started to come together for me about halfway through but I just wasn’t in the mood to read about a global pandemic (when I’ve been living that for the last 18 months). I knocked out The Electric Kingdom right before leaving for vacation.

While I was at the beach, I managed to read about 1.5 books, starting with The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. This was was AMAZING until the end. One day, Hannah Hall turns on the news and sees her husband, Owen’s, company has been raided for illegal activities. A duffle bag of money shows up at Hannah’s door with a note saying “Protect Her,” the her being Hannah’s High School aged step daughter (Bailey). Thus begins a wild mystery where Hannah and Bailey try to unravel the truth and find out what happened to Owen. This was such an engrossing and fast read. The pages seriously flew by (I read a large chunk of this one on the airplane). The ending was a serious letdown. It just had all the building and build for what, I thought, was a lackluster conclusion. It was still a great and fast read but I think there could’ve been a much better closing. The one vacation read I brought was The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. I absolutely LOVED his debut, The Silent Patient, from a few years ago. I got this book for my birthday and couldn’t wait to tear into it! The Maidens was about a murder that takes place at Cambridge University. The main character, Mariana, has a niece, Zoe, who goes to the school. The murder victim was Zoe’s roommate. From here the story starts to unfold. The Maidens was an excellent overall book but it definitely had a slower start that took 50 or so pages to really get going. There was a lot of setup and exploration in a dark academia backdrop. I really enjoyed the nods to Greek mythology and there were even a few Silent Patient Easter eggs as well!

The last book I decided on was a library eBook, Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran. Wow. This was SUCH a letdown. During the pandemic, I struggled to find engaging shows that were short and could hold my attention. A friend started watching Younger so I thought I’d give it a try. The premise was interesting, a 40-something Liza gets divorced and tries to reenter the working world after being a stay at home Mom for the last 20 years. With this huge gap on her resume, no one will give her a chance. That’s when she decides to reinvent herself – a new hair style, new clothes and she can easily pass as a 20-something. The show was funny, endearing and very binge-able. This is one of the RARE cases where I enjoyed the show so much more than the book. There were actually very few similarities between the show and book. Even the main character, Liza, was name Alice in the book. The novel lacked the charm and charism that the show honestly oozed. The cast was funny, likable and you were curious to see what happened next, this did not translate to the printed page. If you’re intrigued by this synopsis, give the show a try on Hulu and skip the book.

Well, that’s my month in a nutshell! I read some winners and some losers but, overall, I’m feeling good! I think I’m finally back on track with my reading and am anxious to tackle my August TBR (which that post is coming later this week, so keep an eye out)! Did you read anything good in July? What are your favorite books that knocked you out of a reading slump (I’d like to queue up a few to keep in reserve).

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Life Update + My May ’21 TBR… I guess?

To say the last month has been wild, crazy and unexpected would be the understatement of the year thus far! Since I have been neglecting my blog, I thought I’d draft up a quick post about what has been happening and the books I’m reading (or failing to read)! Let’s chat!

A little over a month ago, I was able to get my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. After this last chaotic year, I was thrilled to get the vaccine and start getting some semblance of normalcy back! Once I was fully vaccinated, I decided to take a trip to Harrisburg, PA (I have a couple friends who live nearby). I wanted to make this trip last year but had to cancel due to the start of the pandemic. It was wonderful being able to take a short trip, have a fun weekend and see some friends! My hotel was in downtown Harrisburg, which put me in walking distance to a lot of places. I able to visit the Midtown Bookstore (unfortunately it was only open for an outdoor sidewalk sale), Hershey Park / Store, Troegs Brewery and a ton more! I had dinner with a friend who I met at my old company – it was great seeing and catching up with her (and our meal was absolutely delicious). On Saturday, I drove down to Lancaster, PA to spend the day with another friend and his wife. We spent the entire day driving around and hitting up a bunch of local spots. It was low key and a great way to spend the day! On Sunday, I went for a walk before I grabbed breakfast at this incredible local spot before heading home! Dropping in a few pictures below!

Now onto my reading life! I have been SO slumpy lately. I started The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold and while I’m enjoying it, it doesn’t really grab me (probably because it’s about a pandemic which is hitting a litttttttttttttttle too close to home right now). When I sit down and read, I really enjoy the story – it’s just finding that motivation! I was hoping to finish The Electric Kingdom before my trip because I wanted to start reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson while I was away. That ended up not happening and I STILL started Mistborn. I was so busy when I was traveling that I barely read. Whenever I got back, I co-hosted Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon and had plans to read Survive The Night by Riley Sager. I stuck with that plan and started ANOTHER new book! I am absolutely loving Survive The Night, it’s fast paced and twisty – exactly what I needed to really get me back into my reading. Honestly, the books really haven’t been the problem, it’s just finding the motivation! My plan for May is to try to clean up all my in progress books (and potentially start a new book if I get through everything else). Which is the perfect transition to my last update!

When the pandemic started, I decided I wanted to do something for self improvement or self development. I couldn’t really decide on something though. Back in March, I decided I wanted to enroll in an online certificate program. I ended up deciding to enroll in Cornell University’s Product Management certificate program. The skills that I get to focus on are extremely in demand right now plus they are applicable in my current role plus give me additional career paths in the future. I started the program about 3 weeks ago and so far I am loving it! Each class is 2 weeks long (6 in total) and the program lasts 12 weeks. It’s learn at your own pace too. You aren’t required to take all 6 courses back to back, you can space them out however you want and have 2 years to complete all the courses. I’m planning to take most of the courses back to back and am only taking off 2 weeks for my vacation in July. That’ll put my end date as August 3, 2021! In addition to this online program, work has also been a little crazy. We had a small restructure which impacted my role/responsibilities. This happened a few weeks ago and we’re still trying to work out how we adjust to the changes. I’m hoping that everything settles down here in the next week or two.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. What books are you currently reading? What’s been happening with you? Leave me some updates in the comments!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek