Books I Read This Week 2020 – 25

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.

The Feel Good Effect (5 stars): “You have only one life, it is only so long. I hope you’ll spend it feeling good.”

Sometimes a book comes at just the right time and is exactly what you need to hear.

I don’t know Robyn and do not listen to her podcasts (I clearly should!) I took an online class with her and Ali Edwards. And while the class was good, I took it at a time when it didn’t resonate with me as much as I wish it had. So I am not sure what drew me to this book. But I opened it up on Saturday morning just to read a few words and I ended up not moving from my chair until I’d finished it.

Robyn’s voice and her ability to break down concepts resonated 100% with me. This book is chock-full of information but it’s explained in an incredibly accessible way. The book has three parts: mindset, method, and life. Mindset is about ways of thinking and why it’s crucial to reframe your mindset where she explains the Feel Good Mindset. Method is where she talks about the four strategies and habits that help you get lasting results. And finally Life is where you take action and incorporate it all into your life.

For me, this book was like a good friend who is also very smart and kind explaining to me why all the ways in which my striving and my all-or-nothing thinking are not here to serve me in creating change in a lasting way. Robyn explains a lot of what I knew in a practical, consumable way and the best thing about this book is that it makes sense at my core and it gives me small, tangible ways to work towards a way to practice having the kind of life I want for myself.

Robyn’s book really resonated with me and satisfice might become one of my new favorite words.

with gratitude to netgalley and Crown Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review

Your Year in Art (4 stars): I am a big fan of doing something regularly and creating a routine and habit around it. The hardest part of doing something daily/weekly is generating ideas. Coming up with a list of 52 things to do so you can keep learning, expanding and exploring takes time and energy that could otherwise be going into creating.

This book can help with exactly that. The colorful, beautiful, and inspiring drawings in this book come with a different focus/challenge each week, keeping you learning and exploring. Each week is fun in its own way and the variety and depth here is sure to keep you going. The ideas are simple but the art can apply to everyone from a beginner to an advanced artist.

with gratitude to netgalley and Walter Foster Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Anxious People (5 stars): “All we’ve managed to find out about the boundaries of the universe is that it hasn’t got any,”

Backman really knows how to write. He has a particular style and it might not resonate with you but his books have so much heart that it’s not possible to not love his people by the time you finish his books.

This book is no exception.

This is the story of a bank robber who ends up having to run away from the robbery and ends up taking a bunch of people at an open house hostage. Backman tells you that part from the very beginning.

As it seems common in his books, the characters don’t seem all that lovable on the surface. Some are downright annoying. And yet, as he often does, he slowly unwinds the story to show you how we are all connected to each other with invisible strings that tie together all of humanity. How we are each only a handful of steps removed from each others’ lives.

How each of us is struggling and striving to make a life for ourselves in different ways and coping with loss, grief, fear and anxiety.

“But she found ways to cope, to tunnel her way out of herself, to climb down. Some people accept that they will never be free of their anxiety, they just learn to carry it. She tried to be one of them.”

As is always the case, you can’t help but fall in love with each of his characters and they, of course, fall in love with each other too. Each other’s humanity. Each other’s frailty. Each other’s flaws. They see the beauty of each other and help each other. And in return they end up less alone, and more healed.

As if all that wouldn’t be enough, the writing in the book is also so beautiful:
“the sky doesn’t seem to bother even attempting to impress us, it greets us with the color of newspaper in a puddle, and dawn leaves behind it a fog as if someone has been setting fire to ghosts.”

And here’s the other magical thing about Backman: he leaves no loose ends. Everything ties up in this book, even the things you didn’t remember, he does. Everything comes full circle. There are surprises, sadness, happiness and of course hope. So much hope.

I cried big, fat tears as I finished this one. I am so so grateful I got to read it, especially in the middle of all that is going on in the world right now, I needed a book with this much hope and heart in my life. Thank you, Frederik Backman.

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

The Science of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion (5 stars): You can never go wrong with a Kristin Neff’s work. She is phenomenal. This SoundsTrue audio class was no exception. I wish she had more publicly accessible work. Like Brene Brown and Tara Brach and Kelly McGonigal, Kristin Neff’s work speaks to me and I have to revisit it regularly to train my mind and unlearn+relearn.

Stray (4 stars): This was an honest, raw memoir about Danler and her upbringing, the poor choices she’s made along the way in her life and how she is reckoning with all of it. It isn’t trying to paint a pretty picture of anyone (including herself) and it isn’t drawing out life’s lessons for the reader, it’s not a redemption story either. I think books this honest and real (and yet not melodramatic) are rare.

Little Eyes (3 stars): I read this because one of my friends really loved it. I didn’t know what to expect and hadn’t read any of the blurbs. It was somewhat hard to follow on audio. While I enjoyed parts of it, I could never fully get into it and I felt the author was trying to make too many points at once. Didn’t love it but I did enjoy how weird and unusual the plot was and I did enjoy the exploration of both the up and down sides of such creepy/unusual technology.

And there we go, grateful to be reading.

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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