Books I Read This Week 2020 – 29

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.

Frends and Strangers (3 stars): Usually, I tend to love books where “nothing happens.” That generally means the book is focused on characters and that I get to see them and dive deeply to the characters’ experiences, thinking and choices and see their growth. In this story, even though “nothing happens” I didn’t feel the kind of depth I wish were there instead. I didn’t dislike the book but I also didn’t love it.

What’s Your Enneatype? (5 stars): I have never been a fan of the enneagram (or other tests TBH) but for some reason I really wanted to read this book so in preparation for it, I took 6 tests online just to see how consistent they would be, and of course, they disagreed with each other. But through the process, I found a number that I thought might be the most likely fit for me.

Thanks to this lovely and beautifully designed book, I was able to dig a bit deeper and the more i read, the most it resonated with me. I have since read several other books and have now become slightly obsessed with enneagram (like so many seem to be.)

This book is not a fully standalone book. It doesn’t have a test (but you can easily find several online for free.) and it doesn’t go into pages and pages and pages of depth for each number but it does have a lot of the basic and layered information for each number. So if you’re like me and wanted to take the plunge but didn’t think you could ever really find your number, this might be a good fit for you, too. And if you know your number and appreciate well-designed books, you will love this, too.

with gratitude to netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Kawaii Doodle World (4 stars): I got this book so that I could do some of these lovely drawings with my little one. The characters and decorations are really fun and the author does a wonderful job of both breaking them down and building them up so you can see how to make really simple drawings and then how to use those skills to create more complex scenes. It’s the perfect starter book if you or your kids are interested in drawing these cute doodly characters.

with gratitude to Quarto Publishing Group and netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Ordinary Hazards (3.5 stars): “It occurs to me that the expression ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ carries with it a false idea of forward progress.”

This book was hard for me to connect with it. At its core, this is a story about grief. Most of the story takes place at a bar, where the main character goes back and forth between being in the present day and recounting what’s going on in the bar and unwinds her story to tell us what happened until now.

The grief this character is feeling is so deep that there’s disconnection and numbing which made it very hard for me to connect with the character. If she’s not feeling her feelings, it’s really hard for me to feel them. I have to imagine them.

While I totally understand that this is an absolutely valid reaction to grief, I feel my feelings so much and so deeply that it was really hard for me to sit with this character with all that’s going on both in the past and the present and not be longing for more. I wanted to dig deeper. Deeper into her and her husband too (whom we get to know so little of really.)

I think while the story might be similar to some of Celeste Ng’s work, the feeling of this book definitely resonated more with the Claire Messud comparison for me. That empty feeling is so hard for me to reckon and connect with.

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

The Dilemma (2 stars): I grabbed this because I wanted to continue to read something easy and fun and fast moving. I liked “The Breakdown” and thought it was really fast moving. Alas this one is wildly different. No major twists, no major revelations, just a husband and wife musing and worried about two different and major things, never talking to each other and then then when they do, they do, and nothing really happens. Very much unlike The Breakdown.

Know My Name (5 stars): I put off reading this book for quite some time. I live a handful of streets from Stanford and had, of course, heard of Chanel Miller’s story. I knew this book would completely break my heart and make me angry and sad. I didn’t know it would also make me hopeful. Chanel’s bravery and willingness to speak up didn’t result in a positive outcome for her but it did cause some tangible change for those who will come after her (because unfortunately there will always be more.) There are new laws now because of her. The judge is now gone because of her. These are permanent changes as a result of her willingness to speak up, her willingness to endure the pain and incredibly long journey of standing up for herself in court. I am so sorry for all she’s endured and so grateful for victims who’re willing to speak up and help the world become a juster place for everyone else in the process.

Self Care (3 stars): I am of two minds on this one. I liked both the punchy and seamless incorporation of jabbing fun at the wellness industry and social media. I liked the references dropped all over the book that make you smile (or chuckle) with knowing. It was laugh out loud funny at parts.

And yet, the characters were so one-dimensional and there were some dark issues that the book explores (especially towards the end) that just didn’t fit properly into this sarcastic and funny novel especially because they were not treated with the gravitas they deserve.

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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