Although in general I tend to pick up books on topics such as self-improvement, diet, health, cookbooks, lifestyle and business I noticed that the last few weeks I tend to reach for something ”less preachy”, if you know what I mean. I love these books and they have helped me grow in so many ways, but the current change feels good. Books that don’t necessarily tell me how to become better.
You could say that lately, I have been enjoying reading for the sake of pleasure. I’m enjoying a storyline and appreciate the writing. It’s an amazing way to escape life for a moment and to not feel the pressure to become better while reading a book can be such a relief. I don’t know how long this change will last, but I’m currently enjoying it.
If you are always looking for books to improve yourself, try to change and see how you feel when you’re reading a book that transports you into a different world with an impressive storyline.
Since I buy a lot of books and the new library here in town is still not open, I wanted to look for a way to reduce the environmental impact with the use of printed paper and shipping. I ended up buying this Kindle Paperwhite and I love it! For some weird reason it makes me read ten times faster and I can read at night without the light on. It has been my best purchase in 2019!
Psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl’s memoir is one to keep on your book shelf, a book to treasure and gift. The first part of the book first published in 1946 is about life in Nazi death camps. Eventhough, it’s at times hard to read and ofcourse not very uplifting, he shares a lot of lessons for spiritual survival. The second part is about his own experience and the stories of his patients, on how we can make life worth living regardless the circumstances. Viktor Frankl argues that we can’t avoid suffering, but we can choose how we deal with it, and how we can even find meaning and purpose in it. His theory (logotherapy) explains that the human drive is not seek pleasure, but the pursuit of finding a meaningful life. This book is a classic and one of the most influential books in America, for a good reason.
I will probably read the second part again, because it’s that good. Although this book is short, it’s full with notes and highlights. A short but very intense book!
”Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”
”There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is meaning in one’s life. There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” – Viktor Frankl’s
I don’t really remember why I picked up this book. I’m actually not particularly interested in the genre ”young adults” , but I’m happy I did. Although the fiction part of the book did not really grow on me, the story line did. The book is about the twins Jude and Noah, they are inseparable and creative in their own way. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the boy next door, while Jude hangs out with the boys and cliff-dives. Due to certain events (no spoilers here) they become very different and are barely speaking to each other.
The story goes back and forth between the perspective of Jude and Noah in an amazingly well written way. Eventhough the story has layers, it is still easy to follow. Each tell their story and each have only half of the story. They need to come back to one another in order for you to know the full story, and you just want to know how and when. A book that is funny, sad, heartbreaking, and uplifting.
Bill Gates recommended this book as one of his favorites of 2018. I was curious about this book since it seemed to pop up everywhere. Non-fiction books are my favorite genre, so I was excited to start.
In this bestselling memoir, Tara Westover writes about her childhood as the youngest of seven children. She was raised in a fundamentalist Mormon home in Idaho. Her parents believed in isolating the family from mainstream society, including the health and education systems, so she didn’t set foot in a classroom until the age of 17. Her dad believed the end of days could come any time and also the government could knock on the door any day. Her mother was a midwife and healer. Tara worked for both her parents. The toughest work was at her father’s junkyard. No one intervened when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.
“You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them. You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.” ―
Her father doesn’t allow anyone to be treated in hospitals. Burns and concussions from explosions, were all treated at home with herbs. The family was so isolated from society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education.
Just like one of her brothers, Tara began to educate herself and was admitted to Brigham Young University, then to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Of the seven children, three of them (including Tara) left and all three have earned Ph.D.s. However, once she left, her dad (and mom) believed she is possessed/crazy because of her new life and decisions. Tara writes in an excellent non-judgmental way the struggles of what it means to lose and grief over your family in order to find yourself. She writes, without being judging, the pain of family loyalty versus the quest of her own self.
“It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.” ―
This book is more than just about how to educate yourself. It’s about the will to change, and the price she needs to pay for that. It’s about an extreme version of something everyone goes through with their parents.
”At some point in your childhood, you go from thinking they (parents) know everything to seeing them as adults with limitations.” – Bill Gates
Big Magic from the worldwide bestselling author of ”Eat Pray Love” and every creative person in my life seems to have read this book. I think this book is not so much a self help book. It’s more about her own perspective on creativity. I find the writing a bit simplistic and even a bit too spiritual at times. Such as when she speaks about ideas that fly around in the universe to look for a host. You either believe in that, or you don’t. The book sometimes seems to be an ode to all the people she knows. But if all of the above is not a hurdle for you to pick up this book, you’ll find some beautiful lessons in the book.
The lessons are about letting go of the pressure we put on ourselves (creativity and financially). Although the book feels like it’s more about the art of writing, I think many of us can appreciate the messages she shares to live a life more creatively and passionately.
The general message in this book that appealed to me is to not be creative for the sake of being creative. Wanting to be creative should be a passion. And if you feel called to create (to write, photograph, create music, whatever), then create. Create as if no one is watching, without a pressure. Joyfully and playfully, even when it’s tough, even when it doesn’t pay the bills. Own your creativity, but also stay light with it.
I had never read a book by Sally Rooney before, but was curious about this one. This book was a Man booker prize long list nominee and Costa book awards nominee. This book didn’t fit me that well. Although it wasn’t a horrible read and I could easily finish this book, it was as if I was continuing in this book hoping for something to happen.
The storyline is about two characters, Connell and Marianne. Although they are both intelligent, their life is quite the opposite in school and at home. Connell is a popular athlete living with his single mom who is a house cleaning lady. Marianne is living in a big villa, but is lonely and not very much liked at school. Since school they have been falling in and out of love, both with each other and others.
Connell comes from a warming family and Marianne not. The theme of abuse comes back in her family and relationships. They always stay in love with each other while they also let each other free, and Connell remains a safe haven for Marianne.
Like I said, not a bad storyline but it just didn’t fit me. At times, I just felt too old to read about a high school and student relationship that doesn’t seem to happen.
I think there will be a movie coming out based on this book.
Since this book is not available in English when I read it (I read it in Dutch), I’m going to keep it short for you. Also, it is very difficult to summarize this book. Magic realism is not a genre that I like to read. I can’t even remember the last time I read a book in this genre, but this book was great! I have read reviews about this book and everything I have read is true. This book makes you indeed happy and this book does indeed remind you me ”Amelie”. I loved the characters. The book is both funny and sad, both real and magical. It was genuinely a sad moment when I finished this book. and days after reading it I missed the characters.
Did you read any of the above books? Or do you have a great book recommendation for me? I’d love to read it in the comment section below.
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