Thursday, May 31, 2018

May Books

I am stoked that even with our MoviePass membership, I am still getting in a decent amount of books. Let's be real, not having cable TV to keep me "entertained" gives me more free time to dive into a great book or seven ;)

There were TWENTY-FOUR books in the first four months of the year, so when I add May's FIVE that brings the total for 2018 to TWENTY-NINE! If you're interested in what I read (and how I'd rate them) or need suggestions on a book to grab, make sure to check out my previous write-ups! {January's Books / February Books / March Books / April Books}

  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin - If I remember correctly (which I may or may not... who knows?!), I didn't necessarily get a personal recommendation for this book but saw a few friends reading it (and noticed it on some "must read" lists) so jumped on the waiting list at the library (PS I normally jump in line at the library for books with long wait lists because I assume they must be good, which is not always the case, but figure people must be waiting for a good reason ;)). Thankfully this long wait panned out because I really enjoyed the book. I had no idea what it was about, but it was definitely worth the wait. I liked how the story was told in four different parts (one by each of the Gold children). Each of the characters were so different that it gave the book four different vibes, while still fitting together perfectly. The premise behind the book - knowing the date you will die - was very intriguing. {Had you start pondering the idea of if you knew the date you were going to die, would it change the way you were going to live.} There are definitely some graphic scenes in the beginning (quickly reminding me this was NOT a YA book), but I didn't think it detracted from the story. I'll be honest, I enjoyed the first two parts better than the last two, but still couldn't put it down. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Presence by Amy Cuddy - I don't remember where exactly I came across this book (maybe it was on someone's Facebook post about the most influential book you've read recently), but I was stoked to give it a read. The author has actually given the second most viewed TED talk in history so I was expecting big things from this title. I love self-improvement type books and was hoping this one would have a ton of great nuggets I could take with me. I'll be honest... I was a little disappointed. It felt very clinical to me. I totally understand that she wants to back up her findings with evidence, but I felt like the majority of the book was about studies and experiments as opposed to real life outcomes. Since finishing the book I was able to watch her TED talk and thought it was great. I felt like the talk (maybe because it was only 20 minutes long) really focused on the main points of the book {FYI - The talk came first and due to the popularity and success of it, she then wrote this book to expand on the topic.}. If you have watched the talk or would like the science behind how body language can change your chemistry then this has plenty of info for you. If you would rather have the brief overview of power posing, I'd suggest sticking with the video. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  • 10% Happier by Dan Harris - I will be honest, I added this book to my "On Hold" list at my library over a year ago... Apparently the person who had checked it out last had lost it (or kept it for themselves) and they finally got around to replacing it last week. With that said, I totally forgot what this book was about - but thought the title would be interested enough. Turns out, it's about a news anchor who has found meditation as a way to "tame the beast" in his head and become "10% happier". Let me start off by saying we don't have cable (and even if we did I wouldn't watch the news) so I have no idea who this broadcaster is. Even still, it was interesting to learn about him, his career and his journey in finding meditation. I wish I could say that I walked away with a bunch of tangible steps on how to become happier, but it wasn't necessarily that kind of book (it is definitely more of an autobiography than a "how to" books). I was left a little disappointed because it turned out to be more a book about someone finding meditation, rather than teaching the discipline itself. It did, however, remind me that I need to get back on the meditation train. I would give it a 6 out of 10.

  • The Little Book of Feminist Saints by Julia Pierpont - I saw this book at the library and had to grab it. I didn't know anything about it but would consider myself a feminist (FYI - Feminists are NOT people who hate men, but someone who supports women's rights. Feminists include ALL genders.) and figured I could learn about some amazing women. And learn I did! This book is laid out similar to a Catholic saint-of-the-day book, but instead of short biographies of the 100 women, each entry is a colorful anecdote that makes each woman unique! Like a traditional book of saints, each woman featured in the book has her own "feast day." It was a quick read (only about 100 pages of content, with 100 pages of illustration to accompany each "saint"). It gives you bite-sized information on a bunch of important ladies and why they’re so inspiring. It’s the perfect coffee table book (and one you'll want to gift to your #BadassLadyGang). It definitely introduced me to many women I didn't know much about and appreciate the broad array of feminists included. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish - I think I saw this book on someone's Instagram stories so I added it to my library list. I don't know anything about Tiffany, but apparently she is a pretty famous comedian. When I found that out I was expecting this book to be funny... it's not. It is about her real life experiences that she's lived and that have brought her to where she is today. And let's just say they are real and raw - including things like rape, domestic violence, etc. I think because I went into this book assuming it was going to be a comedy I was thrown off and didn't love it. I appreciate that she was keeping it real and her underlying theme of "if I can get through this, so can you" but it just didn't completely resonate with me. It was a very quick read though so I didn't feel like I had committed too much time not to see it through to the end. (Maybe knowing her and her type of comedy might have given me more insight before picking up the book.) I would give it a 5 out of 10.

With that, May has come to a close. My reading may have slowed (towards the end of May I wasn't too interested in picking up a book... maybe because this month wasn't filled with a ton I loved), but I definitely hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I'm always willing to add them to my queue if our library offers them!

What was the best book you read this month?


Unknown said...

I just read The Final Girls by Riley Sager - it's a little bit of a slasher thriller. But I couldn't put it down, I read it in 24 hours. My husband was shocked. I just added The Immortalists to my library list!

Erica @ Erica Finds said...

I love Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk and think about the V for Victory arms a lot. I listened to 10% Happier on Audible and really liked it - it's read by the author which helps!

Vanessa Junkin said...

I'm listening to "The Immortalists" now — it's for a book club I'm in with my friends. Really enjoying it — very interesting!