Books I Read This Week 2019 – 42

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.

Nothing to See Here (4 stars): “How else would we protect ourselves?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I answered. How did people protect themselves? How did anyone keep this world from ruining them? I wanted to know. I wanted to know so bad.

The blurb of this book is not typical and I am not sure what drew me to it but I am so glad I read it. Even though this book sounds like it’s about two kids who light on fire, the fire itself is such a small part of the overall story. It’s really about parenting, family, friendship, neglect, and belonging.

“She was holding it in her hands, cupped together. It looked like what love must look like, just barely there, so easy to extinguish.”

I am not usually a fan of dark humor but in this case, I think it was beautifully done and added a tiny bit of lightness into this story which at its core is actually a very sad story. If you’re looking for a funny, clever story about kids who spontaneously burst into flames, this is not your story. 

If you’re looking for a touching story about belonging and family with bits of dark humor sprinkled in about politics and wealth, this is your story.

I loved reading it.

With gratitude to netgalley and HarperCollins Publishers for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Well Met (3 stars): This was a really fast, sweet read. I could tell what was going to happen from about page 1 so I found parts of the characters behaviors irritating. But if you’re in the mood for a predictably sweet romance without too much heat, this one is perfectly fine.

Little Faith (4 stars): A beautifully told story of a family whose daughter falls in with a church that feels more like a zealot cult. The details in this story are so visual and beautiful. I loved each of the characters, telling this very emotional story in a quiet way. My favorite definitely was Lyle’s best friend and watching the relationship between Lyle and Isaac. Since the story is told from Lyle’s perspective, IMHO we don’t get to see Shiloh’s perspective as much as I wish we did. But the feeling of helplessness and trying so hard to balance the love you have for your daughter while really disagreeing with her choices was so vivid, so visceral that it’s hard not to feel it alongside Lyle. 

I loved all the descriptive writing, the rich character development, and the quiet but strong emotional tug of this story. Really well-done.

Red at the Bone (4 stars): Woodson is the master of the short and poignant novel. She is fantastic at bringing together a cast of characters and telling enough details in just the right way so the characters are now 3-dimensional and you are attached to them. She’s the master of beautiful writing. This particular story was wonderful and I also felt like it spoke to so many issues in such a short space. Feminism, motherhood, racism, love and so so much sadness in one small book. 

I loved finding about each of the backstories of each of the characters and the impact of the one decision one teenager makes on all of their lives. Another wonderful novel by Woodson.

Broken Man on a Halifax Pier (3.5 stars): “I realized there was no such thing as a life without consequences. Every little thing—or big thing—you do in life sends out ripples in the pond that keep getting wider and wider.”

Reading this novel was an interesting journey. The two main characters meet on a Pier on a random night and end up having a meal together. The dialogue is unusual in that it’s almost immediately witty and they are quoting literature/poetry at each other which was amusing and also annoying at the same time. The interesting part is that this doesn’t really continue throughout the novel all that much.

The characters, Ramona and Charles, meet and immediately hit it off and then decide to do an impromptu drive to Charles’ hometown which he hasn’t been to in a long, long time. This starts off a chain of events that add complications to both of the characters’ lives. The issues get serious very quickly and the two characters get enmeshed in each others’ lives. 

While the story was engaging and I kept wanting to read it, I did feel like the emotional intensity required to so heavily and fully invest into another person whom you just met (especially when in the context of some of these very serious issues) was not really clear in the story. It always felt a bit distant. We didn’t get to see the depth in any of the characters and understand their motivation for continuing to get/stay engaged in each others complex lives.

Having said that, I really did enjoy the story and enjoyed some of the secondary characters like Jack and BethAnn and the story continued to be engaging and worthwhile. The writing was engaging and it was a great story about second chances, small towns, people looking out for each other. 

With gratitude to netgalley and Dundurn for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Water Dancer (3 stars): I had a mixed relationship with this book. I loved the writing, the magical realism and the story was very powerful. I wasn’t able to stay fully engaged throughout the story and found certain bits really interesting and other bits didn’t seem as much so I found myself flowing in and out of the story. Overall, I am really glad I read it and the writing alone was worth every minute I spent on it.

Living Beautifully (5 stars): “We don’t sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation so that we’ll be more awake in our lives. Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself. We can use everything that happens to us as the means for waking up.”

This beautiful journal is full of meaningful quotes from one of my favorite writers. Her words of wisdom are always so simple and yet so profound. A constant reminder that we are whole just as we are and the goal is not to change who we are.

“Don’t worry about achieving. Don’t worry about perfection. Just be there each moment as best you can.”

The simplest advice/reminder is always the hardest to follow in my opinion and Chodron’s words are just like that: deceptively easy looking.

“Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.”

The idea of befriending who we are already is both so profound and so simple and so, so hard.

“Whether we’re conscious of it or not, the ground is always shifting. Nothing lasts, including us. It’s up to you how to use your life. Maybe the most important teaching is to lighten up and relax.”

This journal is full of quotes like this one. If, like me, you need regular reminders of these simple and yet so, so profound words, you will love this journal.

With gratitude to edelweiss and penguin publishing group for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

And there we go, a solid 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.