First up, a couple of non-fiction titles.
The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley
Absolutely fascinating. Traveling around the world, Ripley explores huge differences between American schools and other education systems. A lot of information was given on the lack of quality education in the U.S. and how other countries manage to achieve higher test scores with less (or more) work. As the parent of a child who will soon be school age, this was incredibly eye-opening. Highly recommended.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
This one has been all over the place and I finally got my hands on one! If you follow me on Twitter, I talk a lot about simple living and not having a lot of stuff, and the author expands upon this idea, teaching readers just how to get rid of stuff and why we should do it. Some of her ideas are a little extreme (thank your bag or sweater for a "job well done" at the end of the day), but overall, a great resource for someone needing that extra push to start decluttering.
A couple of notes on books I haven't been loving lately. I rarely finish books I'm not loving, but I did finish these two and felt the need to chat about them.
Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukoup
I really like the blog this book is based on, also titled Living Well, Spending Less, but I was disappointed in the book. This read more like a memoir (and not a well-written one) of how Soukoup got over her own spending addiction, than an actual guide on how to spend less money and still live well. There were very few actual frugal living tips, instead, briefly mentioning things in a very basic manner, like budgets and not buying things that aren't necessities, then going right back to her own personal story. I was left wanting a lot more.
The Taste of Many Mountains by Bruce Wydick
This was a hard one to get through. Despite the fascinating topic of fair trade coffee (something I'm passionate about) it felt like reading a journal article or textbook every time the characters were speaking to each other. Flat, wooden dialogue with uninteresting characters. What was supposed to be a thrilling story was actually dry and boring. Such a bummer.
Both of these books were sent courtesy of BookLook Bloggers.