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January book recap – The Fitnessista Leave a comment


Sharing the books I read in January and if I’d recommend adding them to your collection!

Hi friends! How was the weekend? I hope you had a great one! We were in Phoenix for an awards ceremony, and hiked at Camelback before heading home.

For today’s post, I wanted to share a recap of the books I read in January. I really wanted to hit the ground running with books, enjoy some fun reads, and I finished five books last month. They were a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and I enjoyed all of them.

Here’s a recap for the month:

January book recap

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing

I was hesitant about this one because I love Friends and love Matthew Perry dearly. I’d heard some people say that this made them like him LESS, and I didn’t want that. The good news is that for me, it did the exact opposite and I found myself loving him even more. I think many of us grew up watching Friends, and feel connected to all of the characters. Even though I was in 5th or 6th grade when it started, I watched almost every single episode, starting with the very first one. My wise 11 or 12 year old self recognized that it was something special.

This book is heartbreaking, as can be expected, and gave a true glimpse into the struggles that addicts face. Addiction took over his life, sabotaging his relationships, affecting work, and impacted his mental health. It was also devastating to learn that all he really wanted was a wife and kids. He had *everything* but also at the same time, he felt like he had nothing. I recommend listening to the Audible version so you can hear it in his own voice. 8/10

From Amazon:

“Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.”

So begins the riveting story of acclaimed actor Matthew Perry, taking us along on his journey from childhood ambition to fame to addiction and recovery in the aftermath of a life-threatening health scare. Before the frequent hospital visits and stints in rehab, there was five-year-old Matthew, who traveled from Montreal to Los Angeles, shuffling between his separated parents; fourteen-year-old Matthew, who was a nationally ranked tennis star in Canada; twenty-four-year-old Matthew, who nabbed a coveted role as a lead cast member on the talked-about pilot then called Friends Like Us. . . and so much more.

In an extraordinary story that only he could tell—and in the heartfelt, hilarious, and warmly familiar way only he could tell it—Matthew Perry lays bare the fractured family that raised him (and also left him to his own devices), the desire for recognition that drove him to fame, and the void inside him that could not be filled even by his greatest dreams coming true. But he also details the peace he’s found in sobriety and how he feels about the ubiquity of Friends, sharing stories about his castmates and other stars he met along the way. Frank, self-aware, and with his trademark humor, Perry vividly depicts his lifelong battle with addiction and what fueled it despite seemingly having it all.

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that is both intimate and eye-opening—as well as a hand extended to anyone struggling with sobriety. Unflinchingly honest, moving, and uproariously funny, this is the audiobook fans have been waiting for.

The Paris Daughter

Kristin Harmel has become one of my favorite WWII historical fiction authors. She does an incredible job intertwining various characters, storylines, and perspectives. While this one wasn’t my *favorite* I loved the ending and how everything came into place. It was an unexpected ending for sure. 7/10

Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

Paris, 1939: Young mothers Elise and Juliette become fast friends the day they meet in the beautiful Bois de Boulogne. Though there is a shadow of war creeping across Europe, neither woman suspects that their lives are about to irrevocably change.

When Elise becomes a target of the German occupation, she entrusts Juliette with the most precious thing in her life—her young daughter, playmate to Juliette’s own little girl. But nowhere is safe in war, not even a quiet little bookshop like Juliette’s Librairie des Rêves, and, when a bomb falls on their neighborhood, Juliette’s world is destroyed along with it.

More than a year later, with the war finally ending, Elise returns to reunite with her daughter, only to find her friend’s bookstore reduced to rubble—and Juliette nowhere to be found. What happened to her daughter in those last, terrible moments? Juliette has seemingly vanished without a trace, taking all the answers with her. Elise’s desperate search leads her to New York—and to Juliette—one final, fateful time.
An “exquisite and gut-wrenching novel” (Lisa Barr, New York Times bestselling author) you won’t soon forget, The Paris Daughter is also a sweeping celebration of resilience, motherhood, and love.

Allergies: Disease in Disguise: Healing your Allergic Condition Permanently and Naturally

I’ve become extremely focused on allergies over the past 9 months, especially since I realized that my eye issues were a combo of autoimmune-type inflammation and allergies, from the environment and food. Once I got my allergies under control, my eyes stopped flaring (knock on ALL the wood…). As I was reading, I realized that I was using some of the strategies in this book, and she explained it in a way that made so much sense.

Allergic reactions don’t always depend on a single allergen, but are the result of histamine load — the compound effects of what you’re doing. This is why I’m ok with a tiny bit of fermented food, but if I have a lot of fermented food, plus more high histamine food, and I’m stressed, and I pet a hairy dog, and it’s windy with pollen outside, I’ll flare. I’ve been trying to pay more attention to my histamine load, and have eliminated my food sensivities, which has made a huge difference.

Something else that resonated with me: anti-histamines don’t solve the problem. When we’re having the histamine response, a flare is the sign that there’s a fire in the body. The anti-histamine is simply removing the smoke alarm; it doesn’t extinguish the fire.

While I don’t agree with everything in the book (she recommends a high carb, low protein, mostly raw diet), I learned a ton and would highly recommend it if you’re a fellow allergy sufferer. 9/10

From Amazon:

Allergy is generally misunderstood. Left untreated it can lead to serious degenerative disease. Asthma, migraines, arthritis, ulcers and obesity have all been linked to allergy. Fatigue, irritability, body aching, digestive problems, and other vague ailments are typical of allergy. Dr. Bateson-Koch provides insight into why allergy is becoming more common, how it relates to environmental factors, food additives, diet, digestion, body chemistry, addiction, yeast, molds, parasites and childhood illnesses-and why enzymes are the key to healing. Following her program, you won’t have to give up your pet, get allergy shots, rotate foods, keep diet diaries or cook allergy-free recipes for the rest of your life. You will not only recover and enjoy an allergy-free life, you will gain invaluable understanding of health and well-being.

Don’t Make it Weird

I’ve followed Colleen for years, and was so excited for her book. Her content always cracks me up and inspires me, so I pre-ordered this as soon as I could. Definitely check out the Audible version so you can hear it in her voice. I highly recommend this one if you work in the online space in any capacity, especially if you’re struggling with creating content and putting yourself out there. 9/10

From Amazon:

Have you ever actually engaged with someone’s lame dance video on Instagram? Probably not, if you’re being honest. Gimmicks just don’t work, but the pressure of having an online presence can make people do weird things.

Eventually, you have to call bullsh*t. The good news is that when you cut out excuses and ditch the self-sabotaging performances, you can learn to be a real human on the internet.

In Don’t Make it Weird, Colleen teaches you how to bring your whole personality—the messy, awkward, and mundane—to your online presence to create true connection and community. And, of course, to sell to people without making it weird.
Whatever it is you want to do, you can. Just Don’t Make it Weird.

The Room on Rue Amélie

This was another Kristin Harmel novel, and it’s definitely in my top five of her books. It was heart wrenching, hopeful, and beautifully written. I definitely wept at a beautiful and satisfying ending. I definitely recommend it if you’re into historical fiction. 9/10

From Amazon:

When newlywed Ruby Henderson Benoit arrives in Paris in 1939 with her French husband, Marcel, she imagines strolling arm in arm along the grand boulevards, awash in the golden afternoon light. But war is looming on the horizon, and as France falls to the Nazis, her marriage begins to splinter, too.

Charlotte Dacher is 11 when the Germans roll into the French capital, their sinister swastika flags snapping in the breeze. After the Jewish restrictions take effect and Jews are ordered to wear the yellow star, Charlotte can’t imagine things getting much worse. But then the mass deportations begin, and her life is ripped forever apart.

Thomas Clarke joins the British Royal Air Force to protect his country, but when his beloved mother dies in a German bombing during the waning days of the Blitz, he wonders if he’s really making a difference. Then he finds himself in Paris, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and he discovers a new reason to keep fighting – and an unexpected road home.

When fate brings them together, Ruby, Charlotte, and Thomas must summon the courage to defy the Nazis – and to open their own broken hearts – as they fight to survive. Rich with historical drama and emotional depth, this is an unforgettable story that will stay with you long after the final minute.

Ok friends: what was the best book you read last month? What’s on your TBR list right now?




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