Books of 2019 (part 1)

I’ve made another goal of 40 books this year. I’ve read 12 books so far. Here is what I’ve been reading in 2019.

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

This is the continuation of Crazy Rich Asians. It was just as readable as the first. It’s a story you can sink into because it has nothing to do with real life. The books are fun. They are ridiculous and silly, but they are also able to make me laugh or bring tears to my eyes. Sometimes they make me roll my eyes. I don’t know what else you need in a book. I’ll definitely read the next one at some point.

I don’t have a lot to say about it. Some stories were better than others. The Kitty and Bernard story was my least favourite. It was the most unbelievable in the unbelievable world. It was still a good read. I think I liked it more than the first.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

We use the library a lot lately, but I don’t often take out books for myself. Usually because I never know how long it will take me to read a book. This was a ‘blind date’ book from February. My son and I each borrowed a book that was a mystery book. It was wrapped up, and we opened them when we got home. He loved the one he picked up. The one I got wasn’t the kind of book I normally would read so it was a lot of fun to try something new.

This was my first graphic novel. It was a novel about very realistic life issues in graphic form. It was a strange read. At times, it was a heart breaking read as well. It was written about the author’s family. It was about her father. I want to write this with no spoilers, but he’s not the best father. He’s not a good human being. It’s strange reading the most intimate moments of another person’s life in comic book form. I know it’s not a comic book, but that’s what I relate it to.

I think I would probably read another one. Although, I would probably pick a lighter one. I kept asking myself if I would read this in novel form. I might, although it wouldn’t be a happy book. There were a few moments while reading that I wanted more information, and I definitely would have had that in a novel. I guess because it was in a graphic novel, I was forced to move past the sad or bad moments quickly because the book itself moved on. This is also a musical. I don’t think I’d watch the musical.

What Would Unicorn Do?: Magical Rules for a Happy Life by Sarah Ford

I read this in the library one day while my son was playing with the puzzles. It’s a quick read, but a fun book. I’m pretty sure there must be a collection of unicorn books by Sarah Ford, but this was the only one I saw. It’s basically a book full of life advice from Unicorn. I think it’s part of a series.

There isn’t much to say about this one. It’s a really cute read. Who doesn’t want advice from Unicorn?

The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore

I read this one a month ago. It was an easy read, but I’m not certain I’d ever read it again. It was about a bunch of young people who live in New York. It had a lot of pretentious 20 somethings that pretend they aren’t pretentious. It was also a bit of a murder mystery. It had a few too many stories mixed into one. There was romance included, but I don’t think I loved it. I really think there were too many things. The murder. Past loves. Present loves. It all connected with the love of mix tapes. Memories from music of the past. That was the only thing that was relevant to me.

The Upside by Abdel Sellou, Caroline Andrieu

I listened to this one on my library app. (Libby). It is also a movie, and it’s a true story. I haven’t watched the movie, but this memoir is written by Abdel Sellou. He wanted to write it from his own view, and be honest about who he was in life.

I loved it. Books like this give you perspective about your own life. It seems like he wants people to know he isn’t a hero. However, reading about life changing experiences, and seeing how a person can change is always inspiring to me.

The story is about a friendship between an Algerian con-man, and a man who is paralyzed from the neck down. Abdel’s life changes when he starts to work for this man. His life changes as they become friends. The story between the two men only starts later in the novel. We get a glimpse into Abdel’s life before. He’s both likeable, and at times unlikable.

I’ve heard many people say that people don’t change. I always disagree. People are constantly changing, and sometimes don’t even realize it’s happening. This book is a good example of that.

How to Be a Grown-up by Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus

This was an easy read. I got through it quickly. I was invested, but at the same time, there were moments that were pretty unrealistic to me, and moments when I hated every single character.

I enjoy reading books from a momma’s perspective. However, sometimes I get sick of the mom that is constantly dumped on throughout the novel to such an extent that it’s almost ridiculous that she’s still putting up with it. I’ve read other novels like this, and I do like when the mom rises up at the end. I like when she finally sticks up for herself. I just sometimes think they get stomped on one too many times before this happens.

Also, her husband was such a horrible bag of crap that I spent most of the novel trying to figure out why anybody would be interested in him ever. He was a horrible father. He was an even worse husband. This isn’t a book about abuse. Just an inconsiderate man who couldn’t take care of himself, much less a family.

Also – I think if you are a parent, you should be a grown-up. She had to go back to work, but she was a grown-up before that. In fact, she was the only person who made rational decisions most of the time.

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

I liked this book. At times, I didn’t love the main character, but I liked the book. I think it does a good job showing the frustration mothers have. It’s hard. Being a mother is hard, and some days running away seems like a wonderful option.

She has a heart attack, and somehow still has the weight of doing everything on her shoulders after she’s released from the hospital. There is a line in the book about how mothers sometimes are grateful for the hospital stays because they’re exhausted. They need the break. I am paraphrasing, but it rang true. When she came home from the hospital, she had kids to take care of, a husband that worked a lot, and a mom that was no good at being helpful.

So she ran away. She sent her husband an email explaining why she was leaving, and she packed up and left. She was searching for her birth mom to find out more about her family history.

I understand her needing to take a breath, and do something for herself, but she left her kids without a word, and I have a lot of trouble with that part of it. I can’t relate to actually leaving her kids, but I can relate to the feeling of wanting some sort of escape.

After a lot of silence, she and her husband start emailing one another. I liked this part of the novel. Sometimes with email, you have to listen. It was interesting watching them finally communicate.

The end of the book was a little too neat. Everything was solved. There were still questions, but life started making sense, and she learned about herself, as well as how to communicate with the people she had been pulling away from.

SPOILER: I don’t think it was ever a question for me about her going back to her kids. I just kept thinking about her throughout the novel, and how this was going to stay with them all of their lives. These kids will have memories of their mom leaving. I guess this isn’t quite a spoiler, but it is without being specific.

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler

I listened to this on my Libby app. I’ll be honest, I wanted to read it because of the title. I have heard that saying a lot. Everything Happens for a Reason. I hated it when people said it to me.

I didn’t go into the book knowing a lot about it. I knew the title. It’s a memoir about a women facing a diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer. Before she was diagnosed she fought for herself, and she fought for her health. It wasn’t an easy diagnosis, but she didn’t give up. She didn’t stop fighting and asking for help until she was diagnosed.

This book skips a little back and forth between before her diagnosis and after. It was sometimes hard to figure out where we were in her life.

I cannot imagine facing death. I cannot imagine facing it with a baby. One of the things that helps her through the fight of her life is her faith in God.

I am not religious, and religion is an important part of the memoir. I’m okay with that. I think people need to find help in anyway they can. If praying helps bring people peace of mind, then I’m all for it.

She is able to write a book about her experience. She’s alive, and writing about it. That’s inspiring. She writes about all the things that people say to you when you’re in that situation. I’ve never had an illness like this, but I imagine people are unsure of what to say, and sometimes don’t think before they speak.

People try to say the right things, and it falls flat. This won’t change. I think it’s best to just listen. To be there. It’s hard not to try to say something comforting though. I enjoyed reading her thoughts about how she felt supported or not supported.

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham

I listened to this on my libby app. All I knew about it was that Lauren Graham wrote it. I’ve read her fiction novel, and her memoir. I’ve also watched her on Gilmore Girls and Parenthood.

I didn’t realise that is was really short. It took two drives to finish it. I think the book itself is only about 50 pages. It’s an expansion of a commencement speech she made in 2017.

It’s filled with motivational words and advice about the future. I enjoyed it. I love inspiration and motivation. She talks about her acting career, but really the words can be used for any future goals or dreams.

And of course, the most important words: In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

This is the second book I’ve read by Jenny Lawson. I think this was the one she wrote first though. Furiously Happy is written about her struggles with mental illness. This one is about her childhood, her marriage, her child, her blogging, and her mental illness.

She writes about her life in a way that makes me laugh. She’s honest and real. She’s a blogger, but I admit, I haven’t read her blogs yet. I will have to check it out. Basically her books are a collection of stories about her life. Just like a blog.

I listened to this one as well. I like listening to books that are read by the author.

Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani

I borrowed this from the library, but because of the waiting list, I wasn’t able to finish it in time. I then got on the waiting list on my Libby app. I listened to it on my phone.

I don’t like comparing books or authors, but I’m going to because of how much I love this book. There are so many motivational or self-help books around. This one is my favourite.

There are a lot of people I know who LOVE the books by Rachel Hollis. I almost understand the appeal, but never felt quite the same. I didn’t fall in love with what she was saying. Reading Brave Not Perfect was different. I did fall in love with Reshma Saujani’s words.

There were so many moments when I nodded and agreed. There were so many ah ha moments. This is a book for any woman who doesn’t know how to be brave without adding in perfection first. It’s for the women who watch others be brave, but they want things to be done right before jumping in. It’s for the women who didn’t apply for the job because they didn’t have the perfect qualifications. It’s for the woman who hasn’t sent her novel in to a publisher in four years because she’s worried it will never be perfect. That last one is me. This book was for me.

I do think I’ve been brave with my life at times, and long ago learned that perfection isn’t my thing. I will try new things. But, those feelings of needing to be liked and perfect do limit me a lot. This book tries to help take away the limits we put on ourselves.

Using her own examples, and examples of people she knows and has spoken to, Reshma Saujani is able to recognize and talk about the women who don’t always live up to their potential because they are scared. Fear gets in the way in my life all the time.

I plan to buy this book. When I really love a book, all I want to do is read it again and highlight the words that speak to me.

Honestly, just give it a read. It’s fantastic. Also follow her on Instagram. She has a #failurefriday which helps people see that you don’t need to be perfect. Especially on social media.

I’ll be There for You: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller

I saw this one in the library, and had to borrow it. I’ll admit I wanted to read all about a show that I’ve watched in both my 20s and 30s. I’ll probably continue to watch it into my 40s. It’s one of those shows that I can still laugh at, but I’m also able to put it on as background noise and do other things at the same time. I can clean or write while watching it. Taking a break to watch a scene when I need to.

The book itself talks about the actors, the show creators, the show, and about the topics that wouldn’t be acceptable now. It also talks about the lack of diversity in the show. This show started in 1994. I was 14. I don’t think I watched it back then, but I can see how people watching the show now for the first time would be put off by certain things that aren’t okay now, and shouldn’t have been okay then.

There isn’t a lot I can say about the book. Honestly, if you loved the series, you will probably love the book. It’s easy to read, and had many things in it I didn’t know about. I did want her to expand on certain topics, and speak a bit more about characters and story lines later in the series.

That’s it. I’m currently listening to a book, and reading one, so my book blogging will continue in a couple of months.

I’m raising my kiddo to be a bookworm just like his momma.

Happy Reading.

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

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