I must say that I am kicking ass at my reading goal this year, though I will be honest some of it has felt a tiny bit like cheating because well...audiobooks. My office does not have parking directly below or around it, so our designated work parking is about 0.5 miles away. This means I have about a 25 minute walk (round trip) every day during which to listen to something and in order to not spend that time with my head buried in my phone, I will sometimes fill it up by listening to a book. And I am of the opinion that listening to books still counts as reading them.
Somehow I managed to get all the way through high school and college without ever having to pick up this book, but I took a public health class this summer for which one fo the final paper topics dealt with this book. Having never read it and feeling a little ambitious, I told myself it would be unfair to select another paper topic without first giving this book a go, so I downloaded an audiobook. As pretty much expected, it turned out to be an interesting read (with a healthy dose of incredibly depressing and totally horrifying on the side). For those who've never read it, The Jungle is about a Lithuanian family who emigrates to the the Stockyards of Chicago in the early 1900s and slowly learns first hand about the horrors of the meatpacking industry of the time, while struggling to make ends meet. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending which was basically a 10-page political plug, but it made sense in the context of the book. Sinclair had actually written the book as a way to highlight the plight of workers in the meat industry and advocate for better rights for those workers, but the uproar around the book's release centered almost solely on the egregious practices of the meat industry and led to some of the first food inspection laws with real teeth behind them. Overall, I would recommend this book, but maybe...pick something fun to do after you read it.
Admittedly, I am somewhat picky about narrators in audiobooks, but I LOVE listening to comedians narrate their own books and this book was no exception. Offerman has excellent delivery and descriptions in this autobiographical tale of his life, experiences, and career. It was a light and easy listen with some really good lessons incorporated throughout the book. There were a couple parts where the writing was a little heavy handed for me, but ignoring those, the book was wonderful! I would recommend this book.
Basically as soon as I had finished Paddle Your Own Canoe I went through the end-of-book withdrawals that every reader experiences upon completing a good book. You know, the ones that kind of feel like you just got broken up with? Well, naturally, I did what any good book lover does and jumped right into the next book by the same author so I could listen to Nick Offerman, my new friend, tell me about Gumption. The concept for this second book of Offerman's was pretty unique to me. Instead of writing about himself, he chose to highlight the concept of gumption, what it means, and who he has found to have exemplified the trait. As such, I got to learn about a variety of incredibly interesting people from James Madison and Teddy Roosevelt to Yoko Ono and Carol Burnett, all while laughing heartily. I thought it was a great concept for a book and Offerman had incredible delivery. I would highly recommend this book.