Currently in major limbo with our living situation. Hopefully, good news is coming (and if not it’ll at least be an epically ridiculous story to tell anyway) but because so many things have been up in the air, I was extra drawn to reading this month. It was the only thing before bed that would help me switch off the million things I was thinking about.
Here’s what I read this month though:
THE POWER OF HABIT: 5/5 Stars
I did a full post about how much I loved this book. It’s that good. Habits are something we all should be paying attention to, to make sure we have enough good ones and keep bad ones at bay. I learned a lot from The Power of Habit and it’s one of those books that can really inspire someone to change their life. It sounds so simple, but the book breaks down why habits happen and how to stop bad ones and start good ones. It doesn’t matter what you want to start to do or learn to stop, this book will give you the foundational tools to get on the right track.
BRAVING THE WILDNESS: 5/5 Stars
After watching the Brené Brown special on Netflix (if you haven’t watched it yet, you must!!!!!) and sharing my love for it on my Instagram story, Brené’s publisher sent me a few of her books to read too. I started with Braving the Wilderness and I’m just so, so glad I did.
It should be required reading given the current political and cultural climate we’re living in. Seriously. Despite the fact that it’s a quick read (you could easily bang it out in an afternoon), it’s packed with useful research. It’s inspiring without being fluffy. The overarching theme is “belonging” but it really goes so much deeper than that covering the dangers of both loneliness and the “us versus them” mentality. It made me rethink how I approach certain things in my life and I can honestly say that I walked away from the book wanting to be a better person.
FROM SCRATCH: 5/5 Stars
From Scratch was Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick for the month of May and I absolutely loved it. If you have the chance, I can’t recommend listening to the audiobook enough. The author Tembe Locke narrates it herself and it’s phenomenal. I cried right along with her through points and smiled through her descriptions of beautiful Sicily. It’s technically a memoir, but it read like a very beautiful love letter to both her late husband and Sicily.
There are so many poignant elements of the memoir but I thought the chapter about her daughter’s adoption touched me the deepest.
AMERICANAH: 4.5/5 Stars
This book was highly recommended to me and it lived up to the hype. While I didn’t think the plot was that strong, the actual meat of the book was strong enough to stand up on its own. It’s about two Nigerian young adults, in love, who find themselves in two different worlds as Ifemelu navigates her new life in the United States and Obinze navigates his as an undocumented person living/working in London.
It’s about race, immigration, and education. It opened my eyes to a world completely different from mine and had me reflecting on a number of things as a white woman born and raised in the United States.
What I thought was particularly brilliant about the book was how every character had a unique story. From the cab drivers to the children of immigrants, every person had a different experience and it was reflected in the story.
THE RUMOR: 3.5/5 Stars
After having so many incredible books under my belt for the month, I was bound to have a few “meh” ones, right? I generally love Elin Hilderbrand’s books. Even if they’re not that great, I still enjoy reading them. They typically fall right in that guilty pleasure beach read category. The Rumor, unfortunately, was just not as good as her other ones. I was pretty bored throughout it and felt like the story was insanely predictable. Even though it fell short, I liked the premise: how quickly rumors can spread throughout a small town like the island of Nantucket.
I OWE YOU ONE: 3.5/5 Stars
This was another book that I found super predictable and frustrating. The main character is navigating life professionally while she helps manage the family store and personally as she works through previous and new relationships. I liked the ending, but actually trudging through it was hard. At one point I literally said out loud, “Oh come onnnnn!” I think the biggest problem for me was that the main character was both incredibly emotionally aware AND completely incompetent. It frustrated me.
MARLENA: 3/5 Stars
While I thought this was a fairly well-written book, I found the premise to be entirely cliche. I don’t love “the good girl befriends a bad girl and her teenage life spirals out of control” story. I feel like I’ve read this kind of coming of age before and I’ll probably read it again. I think it was harder to read it from a 30-year-old’s perspective. I just kind of wanted to shake the mom and say, “Snap out of it! Save these kids!!!!”
PPS Let me know what you’re reading this summer!