September’s Book and Bike Break Down

Catch up on what Mandi’s reading and how many miles she’s riding!

Booking and biking my way through 2020.


35. Find Layla by Meg Elison (Young Adult, Contemporary)
I have a soft spot for underprivileged kids, so I knew this book would get me. An Amazon First Reads choice, I finished this short, emotion-packed book quickly on my Kindle. Though the story is fictional, the situation Layla faces is too common for kids. Layla basically raises herself without being given any tools to succeed in doing so. And still, she thrives. While I would never expect someone in her situation to thrive, this story gave me hope for those who do find themselves there. 4 STARS

36. When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (Young Adult, Contemporary)
This was a former Book of the Month choice of mine. I wanted to believe it was going to be similar to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, but nope. While it was a fine book, it felt boring for too long before we got into the thick of the story. I think the story had a lot of potential had it taken off sooner. I loved the point of view, and maybe that played into the boring-ness of it even, but it still just missed something. 3 STARS

37. This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (Historical Fiction, Coming of Age)
Think Huck Finn in every way, but put him in the 1930s. This book has all the makings of a modern classic. A coming of age novel, it closely reflected themes Mark Twain clung to. I loved each section in its own unique way. The thoughts Odie had felt real and genuine. The big inner concepts he grapples with on his journey were real things boys (and girls) face and the author did such a good job of getting into the right frame of mind with this character. They story felt so real. I didn’t always have it placed in the right time frame while reading it because it felt so Huck Finn-y, but that might just go to show that stories on these topics are timeless. Some things never change. 5 STARS

38. Dream Big by Bob Goff (Inspirational Nonfiction, Christian)
This particular genre is not my preferred genre, but when the nonprofit I work for got Bob Goff to agree to speak at our virtual conference, I offered to read his newest book and comb through it for little useful tidbits here and there for our social media approach to promoting our conference. Here’s the thing, though. I think I already dream big. The whole point of this book is to get you to take steps towards your ambitions. I’m 38 books into my 40 book goal and less than 150 miles from my goal of riding 2020 miles this year… and it’s only the end of September. I’ve never really had a problem with dreaming big. I’m a goal setter AND a goal getter. This book just wasn’t written for me. But… I did appreciate his sense of humor. Stay tuned for more Bob Goff thoughts because he has more books and I have more work. 3 STARS


And now, onward with the goal to ride 2020 miles in 2020 on a bike. (And I think that’s the last time I can say “onward” because the end is near…)

This month I made my longest ride – 24 miles, taking turns with my husband, pulling the kiddos. My husband and I rode, on Labor Day, from our house to Upper Macatawa Natural Area in Zeeland, through the trails, and back home, stopping just to give the kiddos a break from the Burley and to make lunch out of a gas station pit stop. In this stage of life, that will likely be my longest ride. And I’m honestly shocked we pulled it off. That’s a long time for the kids to be in the Burley. In fact, Win threw up afterward from the swaying and bumping of the ride. Oops.

My current total: 1878

587 of those miles having been outside (303 of them pulling a kid).

Hope you had a great September!

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