Books of February 2019
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I’m not sure I thought it was possible, but I managed to surpass my January book number in February. Granted I didn’t take a week out to listen to podcasts, although judging from how behind I am again maybe I should have. Regardless, here it is! My February books, from memoir to fiction and personal development to mysteries.
Homebody - 3 Stars. I am a passionate fan of Joanna Gaines and this book does not disappoint. The pictures are beautiful and I rushed through it just so I can proudly display it on my coffee table. I wasn’t always totally intrigued by the writing technique, but I love the topic and was able to more completely define my design style thanks to the book.
You Are a Badass at Making Money - 4 Stars. I had heard that this was the best of the “You Are a Badass” series and that is not an exaggeration. This book helped me to clarify my money perspective and overcome some of my money blocks. I know that I still have a long way to go on this road, but if you want a little boost at the start (like in Mario Kart where you hold down the gas for a few seconds before the race begins) I would highly recommend reading this book.
The Personality Brokers - 2 Stars. Even as someone who has been fascinated by the MBTI for years, this book was somewhat of a disappointment. It was extremely long and spent pretty much the entire book discussing the history behind and creation of the indicator (I did learn that “quiz” is not really the correct term). And since my interest did not lie so much with the history, rather with the MBTI itself, I was rather bored with the content.
The Curated Closet - 3 Stars. This was a really fun book. If you have an interest in fashion or wear clothes (which I know you do), you should read this book. It will help you create and define your personal style and help you make your dream closet a reality. I also really appreciated that the book broke down what has always irritated me about capsule wardrobes - that there is really no one-size fits all list of clothes that everyone would like or look good in! Plus, this book is as adorable as the closet it will help you create!
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work - 3 Stars. Part of what I have loved about Laura Vanderkam’s books are the time charts. Daily Rituals is like the time charts of most of the creative people who have ever lived. If you were ever curious about how Benjamin Franklin spent his days or what time Stephen King likes to get up, this book has it all. The sections are short but very informative and I was enthralled to learn about the lives of these brilliant and creative individuals.
Elephants Can Remember - 3 Stars. What would a month be without a little Agatha Christie thrown in! This story was unusual because so little happened! Normally there is a murder or a theft to get things rolling, but this book launches with a conversation and a decision to investigate a suicide that occurred twenty years previously. It was still fun and exciting, everything that is to be expected from an Agatha Christie novel. What drew me to this book was a rumor I had heard that it was written towards the end of Agatha Christie’s career, about the time she may have begun to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, hence the preoccupation of the book with memories and remembering. When read with this in mind, there is an added level of interest, especially as the heroine herself sometimes struggles to remember.
How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything so They Can Achieve Anything - 2 Stars. I enjoyed the memoir-ish aspects of this book because I love hearing people’s stories. But beyond that, it just felt like a combination of all other personal development books, most notably Essentialism and Pick Three: You Can Have It All (Just Not Every Day). Beyond the personal story, I felt that this book presented nothing new.
Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps - 3 Stars. If you're slightly overwhelmed with adult life and need a light, humorous read that will also provide you with some direction - this is the book for you. It covers everything from looking for a job to making soup, and everything in between. No matter what stage of adulthood you are in, you probably haven’t completed all 535 steps. Which leads me to my only complaint about this book, the term “steps” is kind of misleading, because most of them aren’t one time tasks, and they don’t really build on each other - but I digress, maybe I’m just getting defensive that I still have so many steps left to complete.
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love: - 3 Stars. I read this book because it is part of the Happier podcast book club. As someone who recently shared their DNA revelations (click here to read about those!), I was intrigued to hear about a woman who had her life turned completely upside-down by her results. If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong, or have struggled with your identity, reading about Dani Shapiro’s similar journey will provide you with a bit of peace and a companionship along the way.
I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman- 2 Stars. This book was recommended on several book lists that I found, and maybe I’m just not in the target demographic, but I didn’t really enjoy it. All this book did was make me scared for my neck and the disaster it apparently is going to be in 20 years.
Originals - 4 Stars. I’ve never considered myself to be a particularly original thinker - but this book made me think again. If you’re an entrepreneur, a creative, or want to know about how entrepreneurs and creatives think - read this book. I was constantly talking about it with friends and family, sharing the various insights that I learned. Not only do I now say that I am Original - I am proud of it.
The Princess Diarist - 3 Stars. Carrie Fischer, while yeah, she was great in that metal bikini, truly missed her greatest calling - she is a fantastic and amazing writer. I’m really not a big Star Wars nut, I haven’t seen them all, and I couldn’t even tell you which are the ones I have seen. But I know how iconic Carrie Fisher is and the model that she is for women everywhere. Her writing is fantastic, especially the journal entries she shares from her time shooting Star Wars. The downside to this book is that a large portion (like two-thirds) centers on her affair with Harrison Ford during the first Star Wars movie. And while I’m sure this dalliance holds great attraction for a large sector of the population, it does not for me. So if a very well-written book, Star Wars, or this love affair intrigues you, read this book.
P.S. I Still Love You - 3 Stars. This is the sequel of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and I could repeat much of my review for that book here - but I won’t. This too is a sweet and fun book but one thought played on repeat in my head the entire time I was reading - This is just like the Penderwicks and the Penderwicks is so much better. Trust me, skip this and read the Penderwicks if you haven’t already. And if you have, come over so we can cry about the fact that it isn’t a movie.
Supergirls Speak Out - 3 Stars. I’ve always considered myself to be a supergirl, but it wasn’t until I read this book that I fully grasped what it means when a society of women is completely entrenched in the supergirl ideal. As I read, I realized that I am definitely not as bad as others, I have learned to control my rampant desire to continually achieve, at least somewhat. At least that's what I thought. While I was reading this book I got sick, and it made me realize that maybe I’m much worse than I thought I was - but that is something for an upcoming blog post. I don’t agree with all of the conclusions of this book and some sections are somewhat repetitive, but if you identify as a fellow supergirl or recovering supergirl, read this book.
Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill - 2 Stars. Being the Gretchen Rubin fan that I am, I decided to go and read some of her older works. This book was relatively interesting and I did learn a lot about Winston Churchill that I did not know - and not all good. If you want to learn more about him, this is a helpful resource. However, I’m so glad that Gretchen has found the work that she is doing now and I’m sure that someday she will have a biography written about her.
Blowing the Bloody Doors Off - 3 Stars. Since I grew up in a world where Michael Caine was already getting on in years, I never thought of him as a “star” actor. But his book reminded me of his greatness either way. I never realized how many movies I had seen him in, but sure enough, he has been in some of the greatest films of both this and the last century. It was great to hear his story, but his advice was nothing you couldn’t find anywhere else - however, if you want to hear it read in his voice check out the audiobook. That really makes it the full Michael Caine experience.
Find Your Why - 2 Stars. This book really didn’t help provide me with any goals or direction. Maybe it's because I'm pretty in tune with who I am and what I want, but I feel like I have a very clear "why" in my life and work. If you need assistance with that, this book might help, but if not, you can probably skip it. Granted maybe I need to go read Simon Sinek’s other book about why having a why is so important before I pass my final judgment. Or maybe my why is totally wrong, but I’m going to stick with it for now.
Depression & Other Magic Tricks - 3 Stars. I don’t read a ton of poetry, but this book reminded me that maybe I should venture more often into that world. Depression & Other Magic Tricks is exactly the kind of poetry that I love. It is short, quick, conveys a lot of emotion, and leaves you wondering. If you’ve suffered from depression, you will fall in love with this book and its perfect portrayal of those days and those feelings. If you haven’t, it might help you better understand people you know who have.
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely - 2 Stars. This book is packed full of solid, Biblical truth. If you need a dose of that, do not hesitate to jump in. It is full of comfort for those facing difficult situations and feeling very alone. But even now, having just finished it, nothing particular stands out.
Several of these books were ones that I had on hold at the library and so I felt rather obligated to read them because they were suddenly mine to read. That forced me to push a lot of the books I had planned to read this month off into March, so I’m very excited for what next month holds - whether it be good, bad, or disappointing.
Until next time,