Books I Read This Week 2019 – 48

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.

If Only I Could Tell You (3 stars): This book covers many, many serious and heavy subjects and it’s about what secrets do to a family. How what we think we know about others (even our closest family members) can determine the course of our whole life and can also be completely wrong. As I was reading this, I felt like the author couldn’t decide whether this should be a serious book or more of a light one. There are a long list of very serious subject matter in this book including suicide, serious illness, miscarriage, and it covers deeply broken relationships between husband and wife and daughter-parent and siblings and yet, there topics aren’t really handled at depth (maybe in an effort not to have the book become too heavy?) which left me a bit unsatisfied. I still enjoyed reading the story quite a bit.

Permission to Feel (4 stars): “But the trigger is inside us, not out there. We have to take responsibility for our actions rather than shift the blame elsewhere. It may not have felt like a choice, but it surely was—we decide how we’ll respond to life’s provocations.”

I find it interesting that so many people are unhappy with the title of this book. The way I interpreted it was that if we really own the feelings we have, name them, and let ourselves feel them, we can then decide how to respond to them. To be able to get to the place of responding it’s really important to actually feel your feelings. Lack of awareness, lack of naming, are, in my opinion, all ways in which we don’t always give ourselves permission or space to feel the feelings. Maybe I misinterpreted what the title was trying to say but alas this interpretation made the title totally make sense for me.

I’ve seen Marc Brackett live before when he visited the elementary school my kids attended at the time, I’ve sent my kids to SEL-heavy schools all the way from elementary to high school. I believe strongly in Marc’s assertion that a high EQ is going to be crucial to one’s success in life. So I was already a primed audience for this book.

And it didn’t disappoint. I think the parts where the book shines are where the author shares his own journey and experiences. I wish there were more of that. I like the RULER framework: recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating. I’ve found journaling can really help me with the first three and I am constantly working on the latter two. 

It was painful to read the chapter on emotions at home and understanding how much of my learning comes from my own history and how much I am impacting my children’s story. I am grateful that there are opportunities to course-correct but I also am reminded how much more I have to work on this in my home (and in my work!) 

Even if the title makes you uncomfortable, or maybe especially then, I would recommend this read. IMHO, emotions are there whether we acknowledge them or not and they have the capacity to wreak havoc when we don’t.

thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae (3.5 stars): I liked this sweet novel about a girl who gets a heart transplant and is learning how to live on her own, make her own decisions, choose her path. Her relationship with her mom is the heart of this novel, in my opinion. Her grief, her hope, her resolve, her gratitude, and her learning how to navigate life are all the highlight of this sweet novel.

The Family Upstairs (3 stars): I didn’t read all the reviews of this book until after I was done. I am not sure if that would have deterred me from reading it but it probably would have helped me get a sneak peek into how totally messed up the plot is. I loved the way the seemingly unrelated characters came together in this super twisted story. It was a great little escape if you’re looking for a quick, fast-paced read that has twists and turns as long as you don’t mind the relatively creepy subject matter.

A Warning (3 stars): Not even sure why I read this. There was nothing new here and while it was a short, quick read, it towed the line between trying to be preachy, sensationalist, and informative. For me, it ended up being none of them and mostly just a waste of time. 

The Starless Sea (3 stars): I can’t even begin to explain how excited I was to read this book. The Night Circus was one of my favorite reads (and an amazing listen) and I was beyond excited that the author had a new book coming. Alas, this one didn’t end up working as well for me. So much so that I took a long break to see if I would get into it more if I walked away for a bit. 

There are many, many fantastic and glowing reviews of this book so I know that your experience might be very different. The language and writing are beautiful, the characters are interesting, and this author just knows how to weave stories together. While I didn’t love this particular one, I will continue to read anything Erin Morgenstern writes for as long as she continues to write.

And there we go, a bunch of reading this week, ending my week is 360 reads for the year. 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.

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