New year, New system
I think rather than making one long post about what I’ve read throughout the year, I’m going to do a monthly recap of what I read with my detailed reviews. I think it will be an easier way for me to keep y’all updated and also less scrolling. If I hate it, I’ll change it. But this seems like a better system already. And for those of you who don’t know, i also have a Goodreads account that is a great modality for keeping up with what I’m reading, what I’ve read, and what I plan to read.
So here are the books I read in January 2022…
Big Little Lies
TRIGGER WARNING: this book does contain storylines of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal. Every kind of relationship nuance is featured in this book, I couldn’t put it down.
Pirriwee Public School may seem like your average group of elementary students, teachers, and helicopter parents, but underneath the facade are lies just waiting to be unraveled. Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.
The Power of Habit
I read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear at the beginning of 2021, so it seemed only fitting to start 2022 with another read on habits. Both books are great tools to help you analyze your own habits. But this one was especially unique in the examples it gave of how habits dictate our actions in business, history, and society.
In “The Power of Habit,” award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into grossing narratives, Duhigg briggs to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.
I couldn’t stop talking about this book with my husband after I finished it. The psychology and neurophysiology of why we continue to perform habits and how we make new habits is fascination. But the way this book is laid out makes it feel much more like a compilation of stories than a bunch of data or statistics. It’s engrossing and a great read for the new year ahead!
The Last Thing He Told Me
Listened to this as an audiobook over the weekend. Truthfully haven’t listened to an audiobook in years so that was refreshing. Really enjoyed the plot and the first person point of view. It did feel a little repetitive but the general plot was fascinating and kept me interested.
We all have stories we never tell. Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her.
Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.
Overall, easy to read and engaging. The protagonist can come off a little flat at times because of her desperation to connect with her stepdaughter, but I loved the way the book read and the asynchronous timeline. Also I love a good mystery sleuth story.
Did I read this book in two days? Yes. Was it a page turner? Yes. Did I like the way I felt after reading it? No. Truthfully, I don’t think the author’s intent was for you to have much affection for any of the characters. But it’s quite visceral and disturbing so if you are into twisted, then this may be of interest to you.
This page-turning psychological drama is about the making and breaking of a family–and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for–and everything she feared. Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had. But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter–she doesn’t behave like most children do. This book details all the broken caveats of a mother-daughter relationship through many generations. It’s heartbreakingly tragic as Blythe tries to come to terms with her own misgivings and overcoming the loss of a child.
Definitely cerebral but not something you want to read to lighten your spirits. Well-executed writing but just a little two disturbing for me. I think Violet may haunt my nightmares.
No Cure For Being Human
Some of life’s most difficult questions are detailed in this book. Finitude is one of the toughest human concepts to grasp in this world, and Kate Bowler delicately details her journey of grappling with life and death all at the same time. I loved this book and loved every page of her heart-wrenching story.
Is your life a series of choices? Kate Bowler believed that life was until she discovered, at age 35, that her body was plagued with cancer. In this book, she searches for a way forward as she mines the wisdom (and absurdity) of today’s “best life now” advice industry, which insists on exhausting positivity and on trying to convince us that we can out-eat, out-learn, and out-perform our humanness. We are, she finds, as fragile as the day we were born.
Not your typical light read, but a thoughtful and meaningful story of how one woman of faith sought to find meaning amidst the mystery and rally hope through tragedy. She is a brilliant writer and a gifted story-teller. Worth a read for anyone in healthcare but also for anyone who has friends or family walking through a difficult diagnosis. This book puts eternity into perspective unlike any other book I’ve read. Now I want to read her book “Everything Happens for a Reason.”