Books I Read This Week 2020 – 08

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

Weird (4 stars): “But believing that your weirdness is your superpower can also be hugely beneficial. There is evidence that thinking about your circumstances in a different way—a process called cognitive reappraisal—can help you cope with challenges better. Perceiving what makes you weird as being what gives you strength can, ultimately, make you happier. If you already possess the lemons of social rejection, you might as well make a really odd lemonade.”

I’ve had a mixed relationship with this book. From the get-go, I should have realized that maybe I was putting too much pressure and had too high expectations. I have always, always felt weird and lacked a sense of belonging regardless of where I was and how I got there. It didn’t matter if I passed exams, if I got promoted, if I made it through an interview, or if I was invited. I have constantly had a voice in my head that repeated that I just didn’t belong there. Regardless of where “there” was. And that I was different, weird, and would never just be like others.

So when I came upon this book, I was like: I will finally have all the answers.

I assume you can see why it might not be possible for this book to meet my expectations. And, alas, while it did not, it was quite a good book to read.

“When we hear a dissenting view, we think more critically about what we’re hearing.”

The book is full of stories. Many of the people in the book are different because of an outwardly visible trait. There are a handful of examples where it’s an invisible difference but many of those are also things like religion or cultural background, etc. and even though I am also outside of my country and culture, I felt this way when I was back home, too. The closest, maybe, example for me was the author herself and I appreciated her honest account of her own life and her own journey with feeling weird and the anxiety this has created for her.

There were some really wonderful bits in the book, ideas for me to try, ways in which for me to feel less alone about who I am and how I feel (which is where the comparisons to the book “Quiet” come from, I assume.) Seeing the ways in which others have found their ways around has been tangibly helpful to me. But, of course, there wasn’t the one true answer to how I could either feel differently or suddenly just be ok with who I am. No such answer exists.

‘I told Chloe that my boyfriend naturally takes criticism in the Joyable-approved way. “When you criticize him, he seems to say, ‘That’s interesting! I’ll assess your viewpoint along with all the other evidence,’” I said.’

I loved this because it’s a similar experience to how I feel with my husband. I think there’s a fundamental sense of belonging that many have which makes taking this type of feedback more palatable but if you don’t have that grounding sense of belonging, well everything is up for grabs.

There are two things I wish this book had more of. One is stories of people more like me. People who feel weird and different but not for any obvious reasons. That might be too much to ask and I understand that.

The second thing that I missed was the author’s summary of her findings, the book ends with a story and I found myself craving for the author’s distillation of all she learned, all she’d recommend, just one more reiteration for me. Many non-fiction books have this and sometimes it does get on my nerves but alas this time I found myself looking for it.

with gratitude to netgalley and Hachette Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Perfect Little Children (3.5 stars): I was craving a fast-paced mystery this week so I started this story without knowing much about it. I knew it was going to have some craziness and hoped it would be enjoyable.

It totally delivered.

I read this one in a single breath. It was crazy, twisted, but also really enjoyable. The characters weren’t well developed, there was much suspension of disbelief and just a whole bunch of crazy. But I expected it all and wasn’t looking for anything else. So it was perfect for me at that moment in time.

The Holdout (3.5 stars): After my last crazy mystery I was ready for some more. This one promised the same kind of twisty mystery so I picked it up and started reading it. I enjoyed the twists in the story, a handful that I didn’t see coming at all. I liked the characters and the plot. It wasn’t deep or literary but it also wasn’t silly and completely unbelievable like some of these stories can be. It also didn’t assume the reader was stupid like some of the plot twists can do. All in all, it was another super fun read for this week.

And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.

Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 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.

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