What I read: The Summer 2019 Edition
I know it seems like all I do is shop and eat, but I do read books on occasion when I can get some free time to myself and shoo Little Bun off to either his father, or to leave the apartment completely and sit in a cafe to read books alone, undisturbed.
Now I know what all of those people are doing in cafes — they are all escaping little clingy children at home because they can’t get a moment’s peace to read one dang chapter…!!
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
I basically live my life like this. I say no a lot, I don’t overbook myself, I don’t answer emails that have no value added for me.
It is a nice reminder, of what is truly important in life (hint: it isn’t work).
I highly recommend reading this if you feel overwhelmed, overworked and stressed as a parent, as a career person and someone who needs to scale back, breathe and pare down.
Sarah Maas Series — A court of …
I read the entire series above in a span of 2 days. Read? No I DEVOURED.
If you love Anne Bishop as a writer, you will go nuts for Sarah Maas. VERY similar writing style (slightly less graphic, gory and sickening, I’d say), and the plot is just as twisty, interesting, and engaging, with similar themes — Fae (Fairies), magic, court deceit and torture, etc….
I kept reading and reading while I did everything (even brush my teeth) because I WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN.
It was so SO damn good. I could not recommend her work fast enough. I am eagerly waiting for the library to have her other books ready to read. Definite must-read if you are a fan of this kind of literature.
They left us everything
What a fantastic memoir of lives lived and death. It is non-fiction, based in Toronto of a woman going through the things her parents left behind. It is truly fascinating, a wonderful read, but also reality for most of us as our parents age into that bracket.
It also makes me think of all the stuff my son will have to go through once I pass. I think I’d like to get rid of most of it before I go into my old age, so he has less to disperse of.
For now, I won’t think of such things, and continue to wear nice clothes, and have nice things, but it is now something I am conscious of.
Flat Broke with Two Goats
Reading about her going through a foreclosure was very painful. I FELT her pain through the books, my inner PF self was screaming… but it is an interesting memoir going from having had the “perfect” life, with kids in private school, bake sales… to homesteading.
There is also a little bit in there that is a bit disturbing related to domestic abuse, and that one, I cried when I read it, I won’t lie. My heart hurt.
But the message overall of this book is good, and I really REALLY enjoy McGaha’s writing style.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
This is a tricksy book to read. I say this not to discourage you, but to warn you that you need to have enough sleep and a brain to really understand the twists and turns of this really unusual murder mystery.
I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it is a murder mystery, and by the first chapter I was hooked and could not put it down until I FOUND OUT WHAT HAPPENED, and all the secrets in this book.
Very, very well done. My brain sort of hurts now, after reading it. It was also difficult to follow all of the characters without a lot of solid sleep, and a little boy who always on you to play and entertain him.
If you have ever read Nickel and Dimed, this is a similar book but with personal, written experiences of a working poor maid who was just like a normal girl, living in a normal world, but extremely poor.
I found the book very humbling. Revealing, and painful at times to read especially that she was caring for a little girl. Man, those stories hurt.
It also made me very conscious of my privilege and money and I liked that. I do need reminding now and then, and I am even more conscious of it now, and wondering what my life would have been if it was any different.
I liked that it brought me back down to earth, and I need that.
If you want to be scared about the stock market, read this book.
Tasmina Perry – Gold Diggers, Daddy’s Girls and Original Sin
I absolutely loved these books. They are fun, addictive, and great beach reads. It’s chicklit of course, but such good chicklit, very page-turning.
What I also found reading these books, is that after reading them, I am SO SO turned off by the idea of living in such a consumerist world where your hair colour, your clothes and all that stuff matters for everyone else but you.
I do this style thing, this money thing, for me. I don’t really do it for anyone else. Sure, it’s nice to get compliments, but I just really enjoy dressing up and looking (to me) very nice. It’s for me, not for anyone else.
To hear how money changes people, to hear about gold diggers and from the perspective of them, and the men.. it makes me all the more determined and sure that my path is the one I really want — independence. To find love without having money as a big part of it is difficult, and when you find it, if money ruins it, that’s just … the worst thing I can imagine.
I like financial independence too much, not having to depend on anyone for my money, and to buy what I want without “asking permission” or feeling like I am doing something wrong.
Anyway, this is chicklit but it stirred up a lot in me, money-wise, independence-wise, and just what being a strong individual is all about.
If you have ever wondered how to behave while eating, this guy is the one to teach you. I like reading through all the different things for eating, the manners and so on. I had no idea some of these things existed!
A light read, not anything very difficult.
Yes, Chef – Marcus Samuelsson’s Biography
I like reading food books, chef books, biographies on foodie people, anything really, that is food-related, so it should come as no surprise that I picked up this one.
Marcus Samuelsson’s story is quite incredible, an Ethiopian boy, adopted with his sister by Swedish parents, growing up in Sweden and feeling unmoored — not Ethiopian, and not Swedish either, sort of caught in between two worlds.
He is also the winner of Top Chef Masters and owner of Red Rooster in Harlem, NYC. I did not really like him on the show to be honest, but I like him more after reading this memoir.
Well worth a read if you feel any connection to food, chefs, race, Ethiopia or Sweden. Or you just want a really good, gripping read.
The Happiest Kids in the World: How Dutch Parents Help Their Kids by Doing Less
I very rarely these days, read parenting books any longer. I am not that crazy obsessed mother I was when I first had Little Bun, and a lot of what I read turned out to be common sense for the most part, and best for just relieving my fears of being a parent.
I have read a whole plethora of them (list of Parenting Books for new parents here), and out of all the ones I have read, those are the only ones I liked.
I absolutely see the NEED for parents to let go and let their kids be more independent, and while I cannot implement half of what is in this book (letting my school-age child go to the park alone? I’d be arrested by child services..), I want to implement the guiding principles in this book.
I want Little Bun to grow up independent and confident, but I also have to face up to the fact that I do not live in Sweden, and kids ARE going to be judged and graded to get into universities, no matter how idyllic the lack of competition would be.
I simply do not live in this environment, and I cannot do things I would like as a parent, because the society is not structured to accept it. For sure, I’d have child services called on me if I tried to let’s say, ride on a bike with my child balancing in front with no helmets on. Just saying.
I did like that the book made me loosen up a little and I have been trying to let Little Bun walk alone without holding my hand and encouraging him to tell me the way to the park we visit, and asking him if he knows where to go next, and what to do if anything happens. Some of this has backfired on me, as he burst into tears on the train when I told him what he should do if he ever found himself alone (stay where you are OR if you are on the train or bus, get off at the next stop and DO NOT MOVE). He was imagining being alone and without Mommy or Daddy and he just started blubbering.
A good read, and great entertainment.
What Alice Forgot
I did not think I would like this book as much as I did. You know how when you pick a book to read, if the topic is already known like that it’s about this person’s life, or is a study of consumer behaviour, you know what to expect?
In fiction it is a hit and miss for me. Some recommended books are big yawns and I cannot continue so I don’t (ain’t nobody got time to be wasting on books you don’t enjoy!), and other random reads have become favourites.
This is truly and interesting book about basically, a woman who loses her memory. It goes into her life of what it is today, and she can only remember from 20 years ago, as if she is a 20-year old who is trapped in a 40+ year old’s body and cannot even remember her children.
I won’t spoil it any more for you, but it was an engrossing, great read. I was hooked by chapter one (good writing does that), and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation
I would not recommend reading this book. I only read it, and kept reading it because my brain would not let me just let it go until I knew what happened, but it was a thoroughly boring, though well written, uninteresting, bland plot for me.
It follows the life of a beautiful pillhead who basically lives her whole life on pills, in and out of consciousness.
It is also a very odd book, along the lines of the style of 1Q84 by Murakami if anyone has read that. Kind of listless, flowing along kind of writing, no set agenda or plot to discern of… that kind of wishy-washy-ness annoys me, and that’s why this book (though I completed it), was an absolute bore.
The Little Book of Hygge
Hygge is pronounced: Hoo-Ga apparently.
I keep thinking of it as “hygg!” .. but it is not.
Anyway, hygge is that intangible, warm, cosy, feeling of togetherness that is hard to describe and is constantly trying to be achieved via candles, books and foods. This book tells you how.
I won’t be going out and buying a billion candles to help hygge up my pad, but now it explains why they are all obsessed with tealight candles at Ikea… it is to sell to the Danes!
I like the idea of hygge – comforting blankets, wrapped up with a cup of tea and a good book – but it isn’t central to my life the way it is to theirs. I just find it interesting to read about and that they have an actual institute dedicated to Hygge.
I wanted to love this book but I hate half memoirs / half recipe books. I want to read a memoir. Or a recipe book. NOT BLOODY BOTH.
I couldn’t finish it, sorry, Dale. I read through one chapter and said “Nope.”
I do like him though, from what I saw of him as a chef on Top Chef. It’s cool with me that he’s a bit of a jackass, I get where he is coming from.
Nickel and Dimed
I liked this book a lot. Reading what it is like in the day of the working poor is eye-opening.
I can’t imagine a life outside of my own -very poor or very rich – as I have never lived it, but to hear things described in such detail was really quite something.
It makes you have compassion and empathy for what they go through, the discrimination and fact that they work 2 jobs to keep afloat.
Of course, I don’t agree with EVERYTHING in the book, but I liked that it made me think, and opened me up to seeing what it is like in the Day Of..
How to look expensive
I cannot recall anything specific from this book. I read it, and I think I already knew about it, and/or I clocked the info but then ignored it.
Closet Essentials: 60 Core Pieces
I liked that this book showed each piece like a denim shirt worn 4 different ways with various illustrations. Or a pencil skirt.
SUCH good ideas, such great outfits and it is such a great book that really gave me a few outfit inspirations. I am even considering buying this book to keep it around and flip through if I am feeling bored and want some inspiration.
I like that it took core pieces and tried to show different layering options — something I am actually not really instinctual at.
I mean, I am okay with basic layering — a jacket over a top, with a bottom.
But layering where it is a tank top with a button up shirt on top, then a jacket? I can’t imagine having three or even 4 layers. This is something worth experimenting and trying out, and this book helped me see a few options.
The Index Card
I like reading money books on occasion but generally whenever I read them, I sort of already know everything is in there.
Reading them is like a refresher for me. A reminder to keep up on my money habits and management, and it DOES help me rethink my purchases and scale back.
I always go on this rollercoaster of spending spending spending, then guilty saving saving saving. It has helped and worked thus far obviously, but I think if I feel the throes of spending coming on, I should pick up a new money book and read it to squash my desires.
Anyway, this is a great book to read. It is based off the idea that everything about money can be written on one Index Card with 10 ideas, and it sort of went viral from there.
I would agree with this actually, and an index card IS enough to learn about money, but only once you know what each of those lines really means. For instance if someone says — stop investing in individual stocks — you’re confused until you realize that there are mutual funds, index mutual funds individual stocks, etc… you need a lot of research and work behind learning what each line means before you can just pick up an Index Card as a reminder and be done with it.
A non-fiction set of short stories / memoirs, told by David Rakoff.
I read it all the way to the end but would not recommend it. Some of the stories were a bit disturbing and I remembered that vivid description of the story for so long, that it grossed me out from eating normally.
Don’t bother unless you like oddball, short stories written from the perspective / thoughts of one person. You know, a bit like what David Sedaris does with his books.
What I couldn’t read #ByeBye
- What if it’s us — Didn’t grip me from the first chapter. Bye bye