Nerd’s Corner

Historically, we’ve both been light readers – occasionally digging into a good book, but never truly committing to any reading goals.

Well now we have a goal of at least 2 books a month each. In this section we’ll tell you what books we’ve read and how we felt about them – for whatever it’s worth.

Andy’s List:

1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

kite runnerThe Review: 10 out of 10. The Kite Runner took me all of about 2.5 days to finish (and I’m usually a slow reader). Every time I put it down, I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again. The coming of age novel follows an Afghan boy named Amir through his childhood into adulthood. The trials and tribulations of his relationships with his father and servant Hassan left me on a rollercoaster of emotions. As soon as Hosseini puts you down, he is quick to bring you up again.


Favorite Quote: It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.”

Verdict: Read it.

2. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

catch 22

The Review: If everybody’s crazy, is anyone really crazy? Catch-22 is a classic that perfectly outlines the contradictory situations we’ve all been in. This book was that for me.I wanted to finish it, but I didn’t really want to keep reading it. But I couldn’t finish it without reading it. Around and around we go. Alas, I finished it, and it was worth the read… I think.

Favorite Quote: Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.”

Verdict: Yeah, read it. It’s a classic and all, so you should. 

3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

alchemistThe Review: I’m not a spiritual guy, but this book takes me on a spiritual journey and is one of my personal favorites. It’s a super quick read that hits home about following your heart, or as Coehlo call is, your “Personal Legend”. This is my second time reading it and it’s even better than the first.

Favorite Quote: “Everyone, when they are young knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize what their Personal Legend is.”

Verdict: Everyone must read it (at least) once. 

4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

5 peopleThe Review: Another quick, easy read here. You can finish this one in just a couple hours. It’s my second “spiritual” book in a row – I don’t know what’s gotten into me. This one takes you through the five people that Eddie meets in heaven and what they represent. Overall, a good quick book with a strong message: everything… and everyone is connected.

Favorite Quote: There are no random acts… we are all connected… You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.”

Verdict: It’s short and simple.. so go for it. 

5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

phantomThe Review: I heard this one described as the “Alice in Wonderland for boys”. It’s about a boy, Milo, who thinks everything is dull until he finds his way (through a phantom tollbooth) to an alternative universe where he learns the wonder and powers of lifes most simple aspects – words and numbers. I was supposed to read this back middle school I think – so definitely on the younger reader side. I didn’t love it… but I could see why you would. Overall, great message behind the book. 

Favorite Quote: “For always remember that while it is wrong to use too few [words], it is often far worse to use too many.”

Verdict: I guess… If you’re into this kind of thing.

6. A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II by Adam Makos

higherThe Review: Loved this one. A true story of how a German Air Force Pilot  American Bomber during WWII. I don’t want to spoil the story for you – as you should read it yourself. A pure display that even amongst enemies, humanity is above all else. The historical setting of the books is fascinating in itself, but its the story of courage and the unlikely relationship between two “foes” is what keeps you turning the pages.

Favorite Quote: “Always do the right thing, even if no one sees it.”

Verdict: Read it. 

7.  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

41WDBsL9cDL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_The Review: Back to one of the classics for me. I’m always skeptical when I read “a classic” because I still have PTSD from my high school English teacher making me read Wuthering Heights. Fahrenheit 451, however, proved my skepticism wrong – as it’s truly a great read. It depicts a book burner struggling with the societal norm (of burning books) and what he truly believes in his heart. The question that he battles, as we all do, is “are the consequences worth it?

Favorite Quote: “Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” 

Verdict: A classic you actually have to read.

8. The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vazquez

16171259The Review: I was inspired to read this one after we left Colombia, as I wanted to get a firmer understanding of the tumultuous history in the country. The book recounts a story of a man and his life, as well as his encounters with the lives of others. While fictional, it gives a good glimpse into the lives of people in Bogota during the 1980s and 90s.

Favorite Quote: “There is no more disastrous mania, no more dangerous whim, than the speculation over roads taken.” 

The Review: Solid book and pretty quick. Go for it.

Sam’s List:

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

evelynThe Review: 8/10. Think Marilyn Monroe. Think Old Hollywood glam. Think Harvey Weinstein scandal. Think of your deepest heartbreak. Think of your best love. Think of your most proud accomplishment. Now intertwine all of those story lines, add some mystery, sprinkle in some sex, flurry in lot of deceit and you’ve got yourself one hell of a page turner. In all seriousness, this novel was a great first read. The author intricately described each of Evelyn’s relationships with her husbands so you got the full run down of how each marriage started and inevitably why each marriage ended. Plus, the best part. Twist at the end. Gotta love those!

Verdict: Read it.

2. Forever is the Worst Long Time

foreverThe Review: The storyline begins with, guy falls in love with bests friends girl. A bit predictable I thought. The book takes a turn and gets a little more exciting but overall it was kind of a frustrating read and depressing to say the least. You wanted to reach your hands into the book and shake the characters in so many situations. The ending turned out to be better than I thought. Quick read!

Verdict: Meh, if you’re in the mood for a good cry.

3. The Last Mrs. Parrish

parrishThe Review: One word to describe this book: addictive. This novel is a psychological drama that brings you through twists and turns, filled with deceit, suspense and envy. Reminded me a little of Big Little Lies in a way and I can definitely see this becoming a movie or mini series, for sure!! The end has a great twist.

Verdict: Read it!

4. The Kite Runner (Andy said I had to read it)

kite runnerThe Review: AMAZING. So glad I listened to Andy 🙂 Brings you back to Afghanistan pre-Taliban and makes your heart break for everything the Afghanis had to endure when the Taliban took over. This is a story about a young boy and the tribulations he endured as a child and the demons he carried with him throughout his life. The story comes full circle and wraps up all loose ends before its over. Couldn’t put it down. I have to note that I read this in 1 day. Only saying this because Andy read it in 2.5 days. Hehe, beat ya!

Verdict: Must Read

5. Eleanor Oliphant: Is Completely Fine

eleanorThe Review: How to describe this book? Hmm..oddly intriguing. I couldn’t figure out the main character, was she psychotic, socially awkward, just plain weird? Either way, it was a page turner and you wanted to figure it out. Come to find out, she had gone through some extremely traumatic episodes as a child and it left her completely incapable of opening up to anyone. You learn about her past and come to realize exactly why Eleanor is the way she is.

Verdict: Yeah, I think you should read.

6. The Five People You Meet in Heaven 

5 peopleThe Review: This book was on the list of books you need to read before you die. Fitting because this book starts with the main characters death. I thought the book was going to be sad the entire read, and there were definitely some sad parts but overall it was a great read with an even better message behind it. I hope Heaven is exactly how Mitch Albom describes.

Verdict: Read it

7. Single State of Mind 

andiThe Review: I know. I had to. I needed a quick, easy, mindless, beach read. And that is exactly what I got. Previous Bachelorette, Andi Dorfman, wrote this book talking about her escapades as a single lady in New York City. This book was pretty pointless and the only thing I enjoyed about it was the restaurants she talked about going to in NYC and made me miss my city.

Verdict: Nah

8. The Hearts Invisible Furies

heartThe Review: The first couple hundred pages were slow for me to get through. But it picks up, so don’t quit! It turned out this was my favorite book so far! I loved how the characters intertwined and you really got to know these people over the course of the book. I felt invested at the end, like I was a part of their lives somehow. That’s when you know the book is good. I don’t want to give this one away because I really hope you read it. Quick overview, a young Irish girl gets shunned from her village because she’s pregnant out of wedlock. She makes a life for herself in Dublin and you find out everything else that happens to her & her baby along the way…

Verdict: Read it!!!!

9. Small Great Things

51Qry6Ul0-L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Review: I couldn’t put down this book. It was seriously amazing! It’s about an African American woman who has a great career as a Labor & Delivery nurse. She encounters a racist couple that just gave birth to their first son and they refuse to have Ruth be anywhere near this child or care for him. Find out what happens when something goes terribly wrong and Ruth is to blame…

Verdict: A must read!!

10. It Ends with Us

27362503The Review: Great read! As a teenager, Lily falls in love with a homeless boy that ends up finding shelter in an abandoned house next to her childhood home. The boy helps her in so many ways, but especially with dealing with Lily’s abusive father to her mother. Years later, the story comes full circle when Lily is all grown up, living in Boston. She meets a successful man, falls in love and encounters hardships that will forever change her view on relationships.

Verdict: A MUST!

11. The Nightingale 

51BqKV6TlpL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Review: Truly loved reading this book. Set in WWII this book is a story about 2 sisters who, on the outside, lead different lives, but there comes times in this book where they both internally are extremely similar. Fighting for their lives, and the lives of their family and innocent victims of the horrific war, these women act as heroes. Sometimes difficult to read when speaking about the concentration camps and life during the war, this book offers suspense, tragedy, love & sacrifice all wrapped in one. Couldn’t put it down!

Verdict: A definite must read!

Guys- quick update, I’ve read so many great books so I’m going to just add them here and then my reviews later! I highly suggest them all 🙂

Before The Fall

In Order to Live


Firefly Lane

Maybe Someday

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

We Were the Lucky Ones

The Great Alone

All the Light We Cannot See

Lilac Girls

All We Ever Wanted

Night Road