Dare to Lead: Bold Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brene Brown (audible)
Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
Where did the time go? I thought for sure I would get this blog posted up over my winter break, but here I am and it’s already January 6th! Oh well, I try.
Let’s dig in, shall we? Brene. Oh Brene. I get this is your schtick.... but I’m getting bored. It feels like the same information always in the same book but with just a different title. I do like some of the changes that Brene made online to some of her content. You used to have to pay to get a lot of her course content but now in order to make things more accessible she’s made most of it free. Kudos. But now... I’m going to need a new topic or something to stay engaged.
Next up was my 4th of the 9 that I NEED to finish in this lifetime. Zadie Smith. This was the first time I have read non-fiction from Zadie and I both LOVED and hated it... which leaves me with a mixed review. President Obama added this book to his list of his favorite books he’d read in 2018, but he is far more intelligent than I am. There were some essays that had me (like one early in the book that had to deal with her feelings about being in a world where Trump is elected President, it was sooooo good!), or the one about the cultural significance of Key and Peele’s blockbuster hit movie, “Get Out”l but then there were the book reviews for Harper’s Magazine. Insert eye roll here. These reviews took me FOREVER to read. They were so high brow. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I were that intellectual. But I’m not. And couple my lack of intelligence with the fact that I have never read nor have little desire to read any of the books she was reviewing and that equaled snore fest. For like a year of my life. Zadie has another non-fiction essay book (that I own), that I’ve never read, I’ve always stayed away from it for all the very reasons that this was not my favorite. And, this is exactly why I haven’t picked up Jonathan Franzen’s latest (collection of non-fiction essays), I’ve heard that it has a lot to do with his obsession with birds. So I guess the lesson is, I don’t necessarily need to read about the things that influence some of my favorite writers. So, read this Zadie if you are a super fan, but if you’ve never read Zadie before then this is not the place to begin. This is for super fans only.
Next up was number 5 out of 9, it’s the book that has been on my “currently reading” list the longest, I started Wolf Hall in January of 2015! Even though I was dreading it I knew that it was FINALLY time to tackle this beast once and for all... I just literally could not fathom taking it into another year with me. So it moved up my priority list. Let me just say, this book is actually a good book. It just took me a while to get into a rhythm with it. This is not a book that I could read with 5 pages here, and 8 pages there. This was a book where I needed to only sit down with it when I was intentionally carving out at least an hour to read. And I had to place my cell phone in a different room than me. No distractions. And when I would do it, when I would get 75 pages in (in one session) then I found I actually liked it. And I like the way Hilary Mantel writes, I like how she would take us into Cromwell’s head and we would see he was very sarcastic, and witty. I also liked the angle of there being something between Mary Boleyn and Cromwell- I never knew that. It makes me want to research into it. I find it interesting that this first book in the trilogy is named “Wolf Hall” which is the name of the Seymour residence, and Jane is only barely coming into play at the end of the book. I am intrigued to read the rest of the trilogy, but I am going to take a break from this one for now. I accomplished my goal, I finished Wolf Hall, that feels good for now.
After accomplishing that goal, I decided I deserved a break over holiday break from the final 4 books that have been on my currently reading list for over a year. I will make them a priority in the new year, but for winter break I believed I deserved to be indulgent.... and so I FINALLY got to crack open A Place For Us, Sarah Jessica Parker’s first book on her new imprint with Hogarth books. And let me say, if this book is any indicator of the quality of books that SJP will be publishing, well then well done! I am a fan of her style. I kind of figured I would be. This book definitely falls in line with the quality of books that I read last year; a familial drama written by an underrepresented author, Fatima Farheen Mirza. She has written a masterpiece, a story of a family who has roots in India but find themselves in America and balancing their old ideals and values in a very new world. The siblings and the way they love and loathe each other, can feel so familiar to anyone who has a close relationship with their siblings. This is a story of becoming, a story of filling the shoes you think your parents think you will, and the way they actually see you, and the way you actually see yourself. It is beautiful, I highly recommend this read!
That’s it for 2018 folks, I read 44 books. Finished 5 out of a group of 9 that I’ve been reading for way too long, and I found new authors to love. How did your year in books go? I’d love to hear!