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I'm Kendra, and I'm here to help you be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don't. Welcome to your people.

Favorite Reads This Summer

Favorite Reads This Summer

Before the summer really began, I shared some goals for reading and my personal stack of books I wanted to read. None of those goals worked out the way I wanted them to (and that’s completely okay). I started off great until I hit a rut in all four books I was reading and lost momentum and stopped reading in my free time. To be honest, I’m still trying to get it back, but I’m also rethinking what that actually means for the fall. I’ll share more about that in a future episode of the podcast, but for now, I’m sharing some of the books I managed to read this summer that were winners for me. 

Recursion - Blake Crouch

Best. Book. This. Year. 

I loved Crouch's first book, Dark Matter, a ton. Like, ohmygosh so much. Recursion blew me absolutely away. Yes, it's science fiction, but science fiction looks more like reality these days because there's so much science around us every day. This book is about time travel but not in a stupid way, and the stakes are crazy. Blake Crouch is an absolute master at building tension, and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. My favorite fiction read of the year without question.

Leaving Church - Barbara Brown Taylor

STOP THE ACTUAL WORLD I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS BOOK PLEASE READ IT NOW. 

This book is a memoir about how she became a priest and then wasn't anymore. It's not "leaving the church" in the sense that the church wronged her; if, for example, you thought about Rachel Held Evans or Sarah Bessey when you saw this title, this book is different from those

Here's why I love it: her writing is superb. Superb. The story is engaging and entertaining, but her observations are lovely and heartfelt and mystical and funny. I didn't think I could laugh so much reading a book about a priest taking care of her parish, but I did. And not in a "can you believe what this guy did?" but more in the way she sees the world. It's just beautiful. I bought another book of hers during a Kindle sale, and I can't wait to dive in. 

A Short History of the Girl Next Door - Jared Reck

I was browsing the YA section of the library, just to see if anything caught my eye. This cover did – pen and ink sketches of windows, all with neon green curtains except the hot pink one. It was a cool, simple cover with a non-Papyrus title font, so I took a risk and read the book jacket. It took a couple of sentences to know it was worth taking home. A teenage boy has been best friends with the girl across the street since they were infants, and then – surprise, surprise – he realizes he has feelings for her. She, however, catches the attention of the most popular senior in school, and things get tricky. 

This book took a turn that completely caught me off guard, and I loved every second, even before the turn. The writing is smart, the characters are so layered and teenager-y without being dumb, there's a lot of basketball in it (which is one of my secret loves), and it feels like real life. There are a lot of F-bombs in this book, something the author actually mentions in his acknowledgments, but they felt natural to me. But if you see YA and think your sixth-grade daughter would be into it, just know that the language threshold is much higher than most YA novels I've read.

Loved loved loved this book. Definitely for fans of John Green or even more for people who like him but think he can go a little sappy (hand raised).

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

I experience the benefits of this book every day since I read it. Learning about the stress cycle and how I haven't been completing it for most of my life has been eye-opening and seriously life-changing. I'm calmer, I keep my cool, I feel less pain in my body, and I don't feel like my brain is going to spin out of control as much. 

If you struggle to keep up with all the demands in your life but want some meaningful, physiological ways to handle your stress, this book is it.

The Crown's Game - Evelyn Syke

This was another book I picked up in the YA section at the library. The title alone got me because anything involving royalty involves the patriarchy, and a game means something big is at stake. When I flipped the book over and saw that the setting was Russia and that there was magic involved, I was like GET IN MY LIBRARY BAG NOW

This book is if The Night Circus and The Bear and the Nightingale had a baby, a compelling, interesting, magical, beautiful, daggum baby. The story moved really fast which I liked a lot because the payoff was more immediate than the worthwhile drudgery (but drudgery all the same) of TBATN. If you liked either of those books, I can't imagine you not liking this one. 

I picked up the sequel, The Crown's Fate, the day after I finished, and I wish I hadn't. Like I said earlier, I can't binge books. They need to breathe, and this little book duo taught me that. I'll pick up the second one when winter hits. 

What I'm Feeding My Family This Fall

What I'm Feeding My Family This Fall

7 Picks for Prime Day

7 Picks for Prime Day