Books I Read This Week 2019 – 40

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Inspired Artist: Draw Every Little Thing (3.5 stars): This sweet book has creative prompts and drawing exercises for things around the home, outside, everyday life, and around town. it also has some lovely crafting projects. If you’re brand new to drawing and want to look for inspiration, this is a sweet book that you can flip through and read whichever section speaks most to you. It has a few steps for how to draw things but I think it’s too hard for a true beginner to make the leaps in between each step.

If you’re more advanced, you can also use this book for inspiration but it might seem a bit too basic for you. I fall somewhere in between and while I really enjoyed my time with this book, I don’t think there was a major take away for me. There were 1-2 wonderful ideas in the book that I would like to try which is enough to make me happy that I read this book. Not to mention a few hours of lovely inspiration.

thank you to netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Grace Year (4 stars): “I wonder what would happen if we all said what we really felt…just for one night. They couldn’t banish us all. If we stood together, they’d have to listen. But with rumors swirling about a usurper among us, no one is willing to take that risk. Not even me.

I read this book in one day, in pretty much one sitting. I have read so many YA dystopia novels about 5-6 years ago when they were all the rage that I am not even a fan of dystopia anymore so I am not sure what compelled me to request this book to begin with. But I am glad I did. Usually I don’t agree with the comparisons they make in the book blurbs but I think calling this a mix of “Lord of the Flies” and “Handmaid’s Tale” is pretty spot on. Especially the first one. This might be the closest to an all-girls version of “Lord of the Flies” I’ve ever read. 

“The things we do to girls. Whether we put them on pedestals only to tear them down, or use them for parts and holes, we’re all complicit in this. But everything touches everything else, and I have to believe that some good will come out of all this destruction.”

In the end though, this book is a feminist book. It is about the power of women. It is about how the world, and the men in this book, try to break the women. Try to pit them against each other at all costs. It’s about how both love and betrayal can come from unexpected sources.

“There’s a place inside us where they can’t reach us, they can’t see. What burns in you burns in all of us.” 

It’s about survival. About not losing hope. Not letting yourself be broken. It’s a powerful book that made me feel angry, dejected, hopeful and proud all at once. I am glad I read it and I am glad it’s out there.

Thank you to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Box, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse (5 stars): “We often wait for kindness, but being kind to yourself can start now, ” said the mole.

This very short story is a pure delight. The story is about the magic of friendship and beautiful, vulnerable conversations we have when we have close, supportive friendships.

“Sometimes I worry you’ll all realise I’m ordinary,” said the boy. “love doesn’t need you to be extraordinary.” said the mole. 

The drawings are incredible and add so much layer and texture to these beautiful words that the friends share.

“The greatest illusion,” said the mole, “is that life should be perfect.”

And it’s all such a good reminder of the beauty of life, the joy of belonging and the gratitude of friendships.

“Is your glass half empty or half full?” asked the mole. “I think I’m grateful to have a glass,” said the boy. 

With gratitude to edelweiss and HarperOne for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

A Mindful Year (3.5 stars): This book is structured in a way that encourages daily reading of 1-2 paragraphs on a concept/idea/thought/encouragement. Each day starts with a quote and then an example/story relating to the quote/idea and then a small encouragement of something the reader can try out or think about in this same area. Here’s one example:

“Today why not feast on life? Once we’re gone this world will go on without us in almost exactly the same way, just as it did before we arrived. Feel what it’s like today to fully inhabit this life. This is your time.”

There are bits and pieces from research, from famous writers, from inspirational quotes, etc. 

“Research has shown that we’re prone to “hindsight bias,” meaning we factor our current knowledge into decisions made in the past.”

There are many invitations to reflect, to look back, to set goals, to be in the present.

“What have I learned about myself? In what ways have I changed? What will I miss about this chapter in my life? What will I be glad to leave behind? What will I take with me?” 

If you’ve read extensively, like I have, none of these are thoughts you never heard before. And they are all reminders I appreciate regularly. so, for me, this is a perfect bedside companion to start every morning with and end each day with. 1-2 minutes to help make myself more mindful is a precious gift. 

thank you to NetGalley and the publisher Blackstone Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

How To (4.5 stars): How can you go wrong with a Randall Munroe book? You can’t. We listened to this book read by Will Wheaton during a car trip as a family. Yes, I know this book is meant to be read since it’s full of Munroe’s excellent drawings but we were stuck in the car and I didn’t want to wait one more moment to read the book. So we listened and it was excellent! Now we go back and reread so we can enjoy all the excellent drawings, too. 

I deeply appreciate someone like Munroe who can make science both fun and interesting to kids and adults alike. So grateful.

Nature Tonic (4 stars): “The thing with humans is that we systematically underestimate how good nature makes us feel, while at the same time, we overestimate how good we feel when indoors. Scientists call these flaws in our predictions “forecasting errors.” The problem is that we base our actions on these flawed forecasting skills. We choose comfort, only for it to make us feel bored in the end.”

I picked this book because it has the three things I love: art, mindfulness and nature. One of my goals for 2020 is to be out in nature even more and I thought this book would be the perfect encouragement. I was not disappointed. 

This book has 365 bits spread over 12 sections and each bit consists of a fact, an encouragement, an invitation to draw or reflect or go out into the world. The sections range from “in the forest” to “the life aquatic” and “traveling and tramping.” It’s all about being outdoors in nature in all the ways you can.

I really liked all the information and all the encouragement in this book. I plan to keep it close to remind myself why I am choosing to get off the couch and spend my time outdoors. 

thank you to netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Twice in a Blue Moon (4 stars): When I started this novel I knew that there was a high chance I was going to have to clear out my day because many of the Christina Lauren novels have been books I can’t put down once I start. 

And this was no exception. 

I pretty much read it from beginning to end in one spot in one day. Their ability to bring characters to life and have the reader empathize and root for them and cheer them on in unparalleled. Their books always seem to have the sweet romance that has strong chemistry between the characters. This book’s first section has the characters at a considerably younger age than other books I’ve read by them (18 & 21) which I think sets the tone a bit for the novel. Even after almost 20 years, the characters still don’t develop the more typical slightly snarky tone some of their novels have.

Which, for some, might have been a loss, but for me felt just right.

I loved the extra texture in the novel around trust, family, support, vulnerability. I also loved Luther and Roberta’s story and how that layered here with small glimpses into some of the racism of the time. It did not at all address the issues around racism or feminist thinking or even really the drug/sex issues in the movie industry from the past. There are a bunch of mentions but no real depth in any of them.

At its core these novels are always about the romance, the redemption, the forgiveness and self-journey and this one was no different. I knew what to expect and it didn’t disappoint. If you’re a fan, I think you will enjoy this one.

??Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

A Pure Heart (3 stars): Sometimes a novel comes at the wrong time and maybe the right thing to do then is to stop reading and wait for when it’s the right time which is probably what I should have done with A Pure Heart. This thoughtful novel of two sisters who grew up in Egypt and took very different paths and were both filled with grief and guilt in their own way was a very interesting read that just didn’t keep my attention for long enough for me to really fall into the story. And this was not a story you want to be in the periphery of, it’s deep and sad and textured. It’s talking about how people are and life is complicated. And how things aren’t as black and white as they seem. I could tell it could have been a profound story but it just wasn’t for me at this time.

And there we go, a great week of reading. Here’s to another great week next week.

Books I Read this Week 2019 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.