Thursday, February 28, 2013
February Book List
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
For a long time, I was hesitant to read this book. I thought it was another "You're a wimp, and your life will be devoid of meaning until you take epic risks and HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE!" book. I'm so weary of that message (especially from Christians. I mean, really). But Daring Greatly isn't like that AT ALL. It's about shame and vulnerability: how vulnerability is key to living a full, "Wholehearted" life, and how we can't achieve vulnerability until we face and overcome our shame. It shows us how we can dare greatly even in the smallest challenges and the most mundane parts of our lives. Much as I believe that everyone can benefit from counseling, I believe everyone can benefit from and should read this book. It's revolutionary and applicable to everyone. Every point is backed up by years of extensive data and interviews conducted by the author, as well as her personal experience. It reminded me of The Happiness Project in tone, so if you loved that, you'll love this too! I seriously need to re-read it already. FIVE STARS.
Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Beautiful Creatures movie inspired me to finish reading the series. Lena, Ethan, & co.'s actions at the end of the second book - which unhinged the magical Order of Things - have brought about the apocalypse, both literally and figuratively. In book 3, Gatlin suffers under Biblical-level plagues, and the gang searches for a way to prevent the end of days, resulting in a shocking sacrifice. So I can't say much about book 4 without spoiling book 3! The increasing roles and complexity of the supporting characters in the later books is one of the best things about the series (even though, overall, I enjoyed the first two books more). Honestly, by the end, I liked Link and Ridley more than Ethan and Lena! Give those crazy kids a spinoff.
French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano
I picked this up at Goodwill after several Francophile friends raved about it. I enjoyed it, but with mixed feelings. Mireille and her descriptions of French life and philosophies are charming. I completely agree with her that Americans desperately need fresher food, increased physical activity, a more moderate and inclusive attitude toward eating, and more joie de vivre overall. What simultaneously encouraged and frustrated me is that I'm already trying to practice most of those things. And building lots of exercise into your daily life and commute (thus avoiding the gym) and getting all your food from farmers' markets sounds lovely, but it's not a reality for those of us who live in suburban and/or corporate America - not in NYC, Paris, or on an idyllic farm in the French countryside. We just have to do the best we can. However, I'm aware of my tendency to take "diet books" way too personally.
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Netgalley read; I reviewed it here.
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith
In this sweet 13th (!) installment of the series, newlyweds Mma Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti are building their dream house; the detectives investigate Mma Potokwane's wrongful dismissal from her job as matron of the orphan farm; everyone rallies behind the younger apprentice mechanic, Fanwell, when he's accused of a crime; and Mma Ramotswe's hero, renowned detective Clovis Andersen, appears on the doorstep of the agency. I love how the bonds between these characters deepen with each book! (Aside: am I the only one who totally forgot Mma Potokwane was married? Where is her husband the rest of the time??)
Books for February: 6
2013 year to date: 13
PS - Happy birthday, Sarah! :)