Since my last “What I’ve Been Reading” post, I’ve been feeling a little better about my reading pace. I haven’t included everything I’ve read in the past month in this list, but these are my favorites. Find me on Goodreads if you want to check out everything I’ve been reading — I’d love to be your friend!
What I’ve been reading:
The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang
Prince Sebastian likes wearing dresses and in dressmaker Frances, he has found an amazing fashion designer and confidante (his parents have no idea he crossdresses and they are pushing him to find a bride). Frances creates the most cutting-edge, fabulous garments for Sebastian and he takes on the persona of Lady Christallia whenever he wears them. Lady Christallia parties all night with Frances by her side, but how long will her identity stay a secret? What will the king and queen say if Prince Sebastian is exposed?
I. Love. This. Book.
Well, to completely accurate, it’s a graphic novel, but whatever! It’s wonderful! The art is adorable and the message of acceptance is one that we should all be reminded of.The ending is a little too good to be true, but I didn’t care. It’s the ending I wanted.
The War I Finally Won, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
This sequel to The War That Saved My Life picks up with WWII still in full swing and with 11-year-old Ada about to have surgery to fix her clubfoot. While in the hospital, she finds out her mother (an awful woman!) has died and that she and her brother Jamie are now permanently under the care of Susan, the woman they have been living with as London evacuees. The family of three moves into the cottage of the wealthy Thornton family, as does Ruth, a Jewish refugee from Germany. Life is tense on the Thornton estate and with so much change, Ada struggles to learn who she is and how to trust and accept love in her life.
I enjoyed this one, though not quite as much as The War that Saved My Life. The emotional impact didn’t hit me as hard. But it’s still a really solid read and you’ll find yourself cheering for Ada as she evolves and grows.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living a Good Life, by Mark Manson
It feels a little funny to read a book on how to “live a good life” by an author who is younger than I am, but Mark Manson does an admirable expletive-filled job. The title might give the impression that he’s telling us to just stop caring completely, but what Manson is really getting at is that we should be more discerning about what we choose to care about. On an initial reading, the chapter titles sound very negative (titles like “You Are Not Special” and “You Are Wrong about Everything”), but I think Manson is just trying to make the reader feel indignant enough to want to read on and find flaws with his argument, but then be convinced by his explanation in the end. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who is averse to the f-bomb because there are a lot of them, but Manson’s approach to living a good life is one that I think a lot of people could benefit from.
The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer
I read The Female Persuasion for the inaugural book club meeting at my local Barnes & Noble, but I’d wanted to read it anyway. It was on almost all the most-anticipated books of 2018 lists and I loved The Interestings, so it was high on my TBR.
In The Female Persuasion, we meet Greer Kadetsky, a super bright but very shy college freshman, who in her first weeks of school is groped by a slimey guy. As a result of this repulsive experience, Greer is moved to speak up at an lecture given by feminist icon, Faith Frank, which changes the course of her young life. Greer eventually works for Faith as part of a women’s empowerment foundation and spends the next decade messing up, growing up, and learning that even her beloved mentor isn’t perfect.
This book has been touted by some as “a feminist book,” but I think it’s more than that. It’s an exploration of different kinds of feminism and how, as imperfect humans, the two main characters often have the best intentions but sometimes fumble when it comes to practicing what they preach. I really enjoyed the book, especially because Wolitzer fleshes all of the characters out so well. Her use of language is also excellent.
How To Meditate: A Practical Guide To Making Friends with Your Mind, by Pema Chodron
I started meditating in January and find it to be a very positive and grounding part of my daily life. While I’ve made progress in my ability to stay in the present moment and to be accepting of my present self, the good ol’ perfectionist in me still rears its ugly head quite often. One area that I want to perfect is…my meditation practice. Kinda silly, I know, but that’s why I picked up this book.
Chodron does a nice job covering both the practical aspects of how to sit down, quiet the mind and meditate, as well as the more philosophical side of things (you know, all the searching for enlightenment stuff). She gives exercises to try and constantly reminds the reader to be gentle and friendly with yourself. If you’re new to meditation or want to give it a try, this book would be a nice companion on your journey.
What have you been reading this past month? Please share in the comments below!