In Life, What I read

What I read: The Start of Spring 2020 Edition

Where do I get my books?

A lot of you have asked and I don’t buy books unless they’re secondhand. I read them on my Kobo ereader (also secondhand), and check out books from the library from Overdrive.

If the book isn’t there, I generally don’t read it, UNLESS.. it is a book I REALLY REALLY want to read, then I MAY consider buying it secondhand.

Libraries are a gift, and we pay for them in our taxes yearly even if you don’t use them. I borrow everything from libraries, including DVDs and CDs, and you can even watch some TV shows through your library, and go in to read free magazines or the newspaper.

How do I know what to read?

I don’t. I see recommendations and make notes, or put it on my Wishlist / On hold (still waiting for Michelle Obama’s book.. LOL!). I sometimes go into bookstores and browse, then decide if it is worth getting from the library.

Or in secondhand stores, I pick up or buy books only if they’re photography / style-related where pictures and colour are a MUST (the one drawback to an ereader).

Don’t you prefer physical books?

Who doesn’t!?

But aside from the space they take up, how heavy they are (we have a small bookshelf, most of it is Little Bun), I find them heavy to hold and hard to read in rooms unless there is bright daylight or light (none of which we have because are cheapos who like to keep things dark in an apartment to save on electricity as my partner is sensitive to artificial light (he straight up hates it), plus we refuse to buy lamps because of the little Tasmanian Devil we have running around the apartment like it is a race course.)

I’d rather carry my library around with me in an ebook reader, plus be able to read at night in bed with the backlight on it. <3

In the Land of Invisible Women


This might be one of the best books I have ever read that has reaffirmed for me what it means to be an independent woman. I speak a lot about it, but this book made me truly grateful for everything I have and have accomplished.

She is a Western-trained doctor who is Muslim who in the late 90s went to Saudi Arabia to work there. Her insights, stories, explanations of being there, and feeling like an Other made me think a lot about how we as humans always find a way to separate and group ourselves, even amongst “our own kind” (I hate this term but I am using it here in the context of this train of thought).

It made me truly aware of who I am as a person, what I stand for, and that in the end, I cannot ever agree with anyone who thinks inequality for women is acceptable under the guise of culture and/or religion (see: acid thrown on faces of women as punishment rape victims, and all examples in this book).

I feel sick, I truly do, after reading this book but it was an eye-opening one. Highly recommended for all, but especially for women of all ages – you will learn something and learn something about yourself in this.

Liespotting

I picked up this book based on Meyer’s TED talk – How to spot a liar

And I found her talk fascinating enough to pick up the book.

It goes into way more detail on how to spot a liar, but at the end, I will admit I was overwhelmed. There just seems to be so much to look for – from micro-expressions, to body language, to usage of words – and I picked up a few solid clues on how to spot a liar, but I almost feel like my intuition is better than any tips I could receive on this subject.

At any rate, still a great book to read with excellent examples. I just think I need to really focus / practice on spotting liars to nail it, and I just don’t have the brain capacity for that right now.

For you mom, finally

I love Reichl’s writing. She is a wonderful writer, storyteller, and one of my favourite judges on Top Chef which is how I came to know of her and her books. She seems like a wonderful person to meet – I’d love to meet her one day and just tell her how much I admire her. And I will if I ever see her!

Her words are so warm and comforting, yet strong. She talks about her mother and determined to not become who she was – a bored housewife who had her intellectual gifts wasted on being forced to be a wife to stay at home and raise children.

It reaffirmed to me (like with Ahmed’s book above), how lucky I am to be where I am, having accomplished what I have. I am very happy and grateful to all the women who have fought the fight before, so that it now seems to become a normal occurrence that a woman can do many things, like become a doctor, etc.

Orange is the New Black

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book talking about a year in a women’s prison, but WOW. This is an incredible insight and story. At first I thought it was fictional but as I got into it, this was really her life.

This book surprised me in both good and bad ways – I can’t imagine ever being in a women’s prison, but the kindness and camaraderie really came through. This was an excellent read, if anything, into what the penal system is like.

Secret History of the Mongol Queens

I loved the first half of this book so much. Genghis Khan was such an equalist, it was incredible to read how this author pieced together a picture of him as a strong father and leader, and how much he respected his daughters who helped keep the Kingdom together.

The second half of the book was a letdown because it all turned into patriarchy and crap once Khan died. Ugh. I didn’t personally enjoy the second half but it was a good read to feel disgusted at the way things were and could have been, but all went to hell because of some power-hungry male schemers.

Dress like a Parisian

This is one of the only style books where I have read every page and found myself nodding, or saying: OMG I DO THAT! … It is the book I would have written, had I had any shred of self-awareness to know how I just seem to instinctively put things together.

I just “feel” like the outfit is wrong, or really right. I can’t explain it, but this book did. It is like she somehow got into my brain and laid it out neatly and carefully, going piece by piece and giving style tips or outfit ideas along the way. I don’t 100% agree with everything of course, but a good 99%. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

It is so recommended, it is actually a book I bought secondhand as I will flip through and get more ideas/inspiration when I am feeling in a rut.

If you want to browse other posts on other books I have read they are all here – What I read.

I like books that are interesting. The topic could be economics, but it better be interesting and grip my attention.

I gravitate towards money and style books (obviously!), but will read all types of fiction or non-fiction if interesting enough.

The Barefoot Investor

Ozzies listen up, this book is for you, hands down. Very easy to use and read, and VERY specific on supers and so on. We don’t have that here, I skipped most of that, but he seems to be telling the truth for a lot of it to save you THOUSANDS of dollars.

I am not a fan of his “no credit cards ever” philosophy because not everyone is irresponsible with money and some like us, are very responsible and can get a few thousand back a year (yes THOUSANDS) in rewards, cash, etc.

I don’t see the point of saying “credit cards = bad”. Nothing is bad or evil, it is how you perceive / use it that makes it as such.

Example: Knife — great for cooking, slicing, making delicious food. Also can be used to kill. *shrug* … It’s just a tool. Money and credit cards are the same thing.

I Hear She’s a Real Bitch

Frank, awesome, foodie-adjacent book. Sorry, she hate the word ‘ foodie ‘, amongst other things like stacking your plates for servers when you go out to eat and are finished.

I liked it because she’s an entrepreneurial woman who knows how to get things done, and admits freely to all the mistakes (BIG BIG BIG ONES) she has made.

Excellent read if you like … tough women, business-reading, and learning what not/to do. Plus, very equalist reading for men and women.

The table of Less Valued Knights


Recommended by Adina originally, I was very pleased with this book. Modern plot twists and turns with a satisfyingly funny end. A good read.

The Finnish Way

A great read. Lots of interesting points about exercise equalling mental health (I agree with this), and it spurred me on to try and make it to 3X yoga classes a week. Two 7 a.m. classes and one Sunday morning class. I can do at least 3 a week without affecting my schedule AS LONG AS I WAKE UP ON TIME (read: As long as Little Bun wakes up on time and doesn’t lose his crap by not seeing me in the morning).

I also liked the idea of mental resilience or sisu, which I found intriguing. They have something similar in every culture I suspect, in English we’d call it more than grit, but persistent grit. A pride that you take in overcoming the impossible.

Prince Charming


Is it me or are chick-lit books for me losing all appeal? This was an okay read. I mean in the sense that I read it. But I am not raving about it by any means.


Why are the heroines always a bit messed up / not organized / on the ball? For once I’d like to have a serious badass in charge.

Solo – Modern Cookbook for a party of one

I only skimmed this book for her stories/memories, because I am not a cookbook fan (let’s face it, I won’t cook until I am retired maybe… I don’t have any interest!)

The Single Best Investment

Another great dividend investing book to read and it isn’t as dry as you think! It is actually kind of funny. Lots of great tips, explanations, I don’t agree with some of his calculations (you don’t get 5% raises in dividends yearly, so some of his charts are a little too outrageous to believe), but the solid fundamentals of why I invest in dividends is in there.

First, comes Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

I liked her original starting books so much, but I am seeing she is not my style of chicklit author any more. I really did not like this book. I halfheartedly finished it because I felt obligated to, as she was previously one of my favourite authors, but the whole plot was lacking.

I hated both sisters, I hated the lack of true character development.. and she says this is a book about sisterhood, but I did not really get that at the end to be frank with you.

Pass.

Elemental Series by Shannon Mayer

After posting about how much I loved the work of Sarah J. Maas, I received a DM (direct message) on Instagram @saverspender recommending Shannon Mayer. I really enjoyed reading the series, and basically burned through the entire series in a span of 3 days, reading constantly. I could not put it down.

I love reading books with strong female leads, and I feel like some of their spirits/characters imbue themselves onto my personality and soul, which is a great thing if you’re a young woman working in a STEM career.

There is not a lot of blood or gore with sensitive subjects like in Anne Bishop‘s fantasy fiction, and it is closer to the feel of Sarah J. Maas books.

Rylee Anderson Series by Shannon Mayer


Same author as above, but I don’t love the books as much as the Elemental ones. I like a lot of magic in my books. Power, wind, earth… this one is more just killing. It is fine, but .. you know, I like magic.

Still, I enjoy a strong female heroine. Not sure about the love story arc happening and it feels a bit thin in character / backstory development, but I like how it fits into place with the Elemental series which I read first — I’d suggest that series first, because this series would then make more sense and fit in.

These stories were also SO FREAKING LONG.

After Book 5 or 5 I was about to lose it. I just wanted the big battle to happen. WHERE WAS THE BIG BATTLE!

Sagas should not be longer than 5 books, max. This was just milking it, and really fatigued me at the end.

Falling into place – Amy Zhang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The author is precociously young to be writing so maturely, and Zhang really delivers. That said, I did not love the book because of the plot.

I was bullied as a child, and did not have a happy school life as a result, so reading through the book of all the various mean girl actions, no matter if they were also feeling empty and hollow inside, did not bring back good memories.

Being different was and always will be looked down upon by children until they learn to break away from being sheep in a herd, and learn to think for themselves. Unfortunately, I lived it and relived it in this book.

Would I recommend it?

Maybe if you have people in your life who are mean girls, who need a little perspective, this would be a good book. Or for young pre-teens who need to see that even the cool group is not as stable and secure as they may seem…

It is out of my realm of books I like to read, but the subject matter is perfect for kids starting from grade 5 and up.

Love in a Dish

Essays on food. Basically a food writer’s essays, compiled into a book – interesting, lively, witty.

What I couldn’t read

I couldn’t read them either because the plot/storyline lost me / didn’t feel relevant (e.g. Pour Me, a Life – on being an alcoholic), or it just wasn’t something I could get my head into.

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P.S. – Want more of what I read? Click here for all of my previous book reviews.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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1 Comment

  1. Cindy

    Thanks for these recommendations! Needed something lighter with all that’s going on so I just borrowed The Finnish Way. I’ve always been a huge fan of public libraries as well. I previously used Overdrive but I’m loving the Libby app!

    Reply

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