Wednesday, July 3, 2013
June Book List
Sorry this is late!
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (5 stars)
An amazing exploration of what it means to be introverted in an extrovert-oriented culture. An introvert herself, Susan Cain researches how the outgoing, "hail-fellow-well-met" salesman personality became the American ideal, and how deeply it permeates our society. She interviews successful introverts from all walks of life, including many who have learned to act like extroverts for their professional and social survival. Throughout the book, she affirms the value of introverts and encourages parents, bosses, and friends to stop trying to force the introverts in their lives into an extroverted mold. This book blew my mind. I never fully realized how much I've been discriminated against as an introvert, or how often people have tried to "fix" me - and I'm pretty close to the middle of the I/E spectrum. I can understand why some extroverts have been offended by this book, but I don't see it as an attack on extroversion at all. It's just an attempt to balance the scales and remind everyone that there's more than one way to be.
The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements (3 stars)
I reviewed this here.
Why Is My Mother Getting A Tattoo? And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had To Ask by Jancee Dunn (5 stars)
While But Enough About Me focused mostly on Jancee Dunn's career as a rock journalist and VJ, this memoir is about her lovable, tight-knit, crazy family (and friends). Stories include a trip with her Southern mother to Savannah, her siblings' plot to revisit their childhood home (long since inhabited by another family), how Dunn announced her surprise pregnancy to her husband (with her whole family as an audience), and the titular story of her mother getting a tattoo. She also transcribes several ordinary but hilarious conversations with her best friend, Julie, who calls her at the same time every morning. It reminded me of the daily calls I used to have with my sister as we both drove home from work. Anyway, this book is total comedy comfort reading.
This Girl by Colleen Hoover (3 stars)
I reviewed this here.
Off Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu (4 stars)
Most Americans remember Dominique Moceanu as the youngest member of the Magnificent Seven women's gymnastics team that won gold in Atlanta in 1996. Her talent and determination caught everyone's attention. But behind that facade, she was enduring constant abuse at the hands of her father and coaches, under a level of stress no child should have to experience. Now an adult, happily married to another gymnast and a mother of two, Dominique is clearly coming from a healthier, more confident place. She tells her story honestly, without sugarcoating past events OR demonizing those who harmed her. That's a hard line to walk. Especially when she finds out, shortly before the birth of her first child, that she has another sister whom she never knew existed. Some reviewers are skeptical whether a lot of these events really happened, but sadly, it all seems pretty believable to me.
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park (and companion novella, Flat-Out Matt) (4 stars)
When Julie arrives in Boston for her freshman year of college, her apartment rental turns out to be a scam. So her mother's former roommate takes her in, and she's suddenly part of their unusual family: kind, geeky, and exasperating MIT student Matt, precocious and quirky preteen Celeste... and a life-sized cutout of their adored older brother, Finn, who is away on a long international trip. As Julie grows closer to Matt and Celeste, she has a growing certainty that something's very wrong in their household. I don't want to say much more about the plot, but suffice to say I read the entire book in one night. LOVED IT!!! Aside: Even though it's clear in the book that Julie is from Ohio, I kept imagining her as British. I finally realized that her "voice" reminded me a LOT of British-American blogger Holly of Nothing But Bonfires.
The God of the Mundane by Matt B. Redmond (4 stars)
In this short and excellent book, former pastor Matt Redmond debunks the prevailing attitude that our lives don't count unless we're doing Something Big for God. He observes that our celebrity-worshiping, success-oriented, everyone-is-special culture has fully assimilated into the Church. I especially liked his point that, while the Church urges us to live big, daring lives like the apostles, the Bible never actually commands such a thing. Instead, it encourages Christians to aspire to a quiet life, doing the work God has put to our hands. While this book is a little repetitive considering its length, a lot of the statements in it profoundly encouraged me. I really need to take its message to heart.
Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid (3.5 stars)
I reviewed this here.
Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (2.5 stars)
Ten years after the events of The Devil Wears Prada, former enemies Andy and Emily are best friends and co-founders of a successful high-end wedding magazine, The Plunge. Andy has just married the handsome, charming heir to a media empire. Other than her mother-in-law's disapproval of the marriage, her life is going great, and her nightmarish year working for Miranda Priestly is far in the past. Then Andy gets several unexpected surprises, and Miranda makes an offer to buy The Plunge that the girls can't refuse. I was really excited for this novel, but it didn't live up to my expectations. I somehow expected a more lighthearted plot. A lot of what happens in the story is disappointing and sad.
Books for June: 9 (woo hoo!)
2013 year to date: 37