Book Reviews – June 2017

By | June 21, 2017

Oh man, I just realized I haven’t logged into Goodreads in months. I’m so bad at these social medias. I just spent some time entering in my reviews trying to catch up. It’s not very fun and I don’t know how to make myself care about stuff like this. I want to care because I think that is how you grow your audience. Caring.

We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson

This book took me a while to read. A dumbed down and simplified summary of what we know about the universe around us, how we have come to know it, and what we still have no idea about. The authors use humor and adorable cartoons throughout to explain the concepts. I still found it rather difficult to absorb. I think it’s just a very large and very particular topic. And I’m stupid.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

A book on the power of introverts. I don’t know. Seems kind of obvious. Everyone has their strengths and those strengths are useful in different circumstances. Introverts are perhaps more comfortable doing solitary work and because solitary work is a requirement of deliberate practice, they’re good at certain things. Like writing. They’re not distracted by shiny objects so they find it easier to persevere.

She mentions introverts hating open floor plans for working. I completely agree with that one. Having my own office when I was a lawyer and not a cubicle was seriously the best thing about being a lawyer.

I related to the author. She used to be a Wall Street lawyer and found that when she would catch up with law school classmates, she would always feel jealous of the ones who had altered their careers to become writers and psychologists. Now that her life is a mixture of those two fields, she’s much happier. I hear ya, sista!

The Descendants: A Novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Engaging fiction novel that was apparently made into a movie starring George Clooney. Our narrator is a man whose wife is in a coma. The doctor advises him to withdraw care and let her pass as she won’t get better. Plus she has a living will, so it’s not really his choice anymore. During this process, he finds out his wife was cheating on him. His daughter is the one who tells him. I see why they made it into a movie. It has the right pacing.

Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to the Legal Issues of Self-Publishing by Helen Sedwick

Excellent book if you are looking to self-publish. I’m not sure why you would be reading this book if you weren’t, so it’s pretty binary. There are so many bureaucratic hurdles to jump through when publishing that you would have no idea about if nobody told you.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

Aziz is hilarious in everything I’ve seen him do and his book did not disappoint. I picked it up because it was a book club book and not specifically for Operation Don’t Die Alone, Please, so it was a happy accident that it seemed to confirm a lot of the relationship advice I’d also been reading about.

He goes out and talks to a bunch of people in different parts of the world asking them about dating and romance. He talks to psychologists and researchers who study relationships and dating and such. It’s an impressive amount of research. He eats all the way through and talks about it all with a funny and engaging voice. I bet the audio book for this is excellent.

My favorite part of the book is the conclusion. I nodded and chortled at pretty much everything he was saying and I wish I could reproduce it in its entirety here, but the copyright laws I just learned in the book above would not condone it. This book deserves its own post and will likely get one at some point. I highly recommend this book.

Calling in “The One”: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life by Katherine Woodward Thomas

Basically, a therapy course for you to do in an attempt to figure out why you’re single and to change that. Lots of good information and insight, but the author ended her marriage to the guy she married in the book. Kind of a depressing reality. She wrote another book after that called Conscious Uncoupling, a phrase made famous by Gwenyth Paltrow.

I found some of her advice a little bit too new-agey, spiritual, religious, for me, but I did appreciate some of it. If you think it’s impossible to find love, it will be. You have to be open to it. Envision your ideal relationship so you know what you’re looking for. At the same time, you have to not be too attached to the outcome. It’s the process that matters.

Here’s my takeaway: I’ve spent so much time and energy convincing myself that I’m a confident, independent person and I’m reluctant to give that up. It’s a lot harder for me to feel confident and independent when I’m in a relationship. I’ve been drawn to emotionally unavailable guys because I’m emotionally unavailable. I hate the idea of giving up my autonomy and my control, so I don’t let anyone suitable close enough to hurt me. And a bunch more stuff that I’m not going to write on my blog. But hey, now I know and I’m actively trying to change. I’m optimistic and hopeful. Optimistic and hopeful about 75% of the time anyway.

20 thoughts on “Book Reviews – June 2017

  1. Steve

    Thanks for posting the book by Jorge Cham – looks like a gem I’ve overlooked – look forward to reading

  2. AdventureRich

    I heard Susan Cain speak at a conference last year and was really impressed! I’ll have to check out “Quiet” soon!

  3. Herman Hudson

    At first I was attracted to your blog because of your professional past. I am a practicing lawyer and am envious of your postmortem lawyer success. After reading your missives on the struggle to become attached, I realized that you are a carbon copy of my yoga teacher. She is of Indian descent, intellectual, driven and lonesome. Relationships, like dancing, work when one half leads and the other one follows. You are the lead dancer. Pick the music you like and your dance partner will appear.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I wonder if perhaps the problem is that I don’t want to be the lead dancer. Or is that a metaphor and we’re all the lead dancer?

  4. Dennis Cahillane

    Hey, I loved the Aziz book too, although maybe I’m Doing It Wrong because part of my approach to dating is to read a bunch of books and do research, like everything else I try to do? Tonight I’m going to a co-ed kickball game in Brooklyn so that’s a bit of a stereotype.

    Re growing your audience by caring: I’m building software right now for people like you. Bootstrapping entrepreneurs, using the internet to make a living without a boss, investors or consulting. Blogging is one of the toughest businesses, it requires constant hard work and takes years to pay off big if it ever does. Let me know if you want to give advice or chat sometime…

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Thanks, Dennis. I’ll shoot you a message on facebook (Dennis and I went to law school together).

  5. Rudi

    The Descendants….a great flick and a great book. If you haven’t seen the movie–rent it, and if you haven’t been to Kauai, go there. Your reading list is amazing. Thanks.

  6. Ally

    Ho boy – years wondering why I can’t hold together a long-term relationship for very long, and the last paragraph of your post nailed it. Yes, emotionally unavailable (beyond the superficial), autonomy and control. interesting. I did that whole ‘calling in the one’ book with a friend about 10 years ago. It was hard work. Did end up in a two year relationship right after that, but control won out, and deservedly so.

  7. Karen

    I listened to a woman on Oprah ( years ago) who said that if you have had trouble finding the right man you needed to approach it as you would if you were looking for a job. She tried to set up as many dates as she could each week. The dates were always for coffee in the morning or afternoon. She could usually tell if there was a connection by the end of the date. She had over 150 dates in a year and eventually met the man who was perfect for her. Her premise was that you had to actively look and be serious about meeting the right person.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Since coming to Denver, I’ve been on 30+ dates. I’m not sure this is the right approach though. I’m getting tired of having the same conversations over and over and over again.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I think relationships require a depth of intimacy and vulnerability that I’ve been unwilling to give. It’s all superficial for me.

  8. Jessica

    You might find this book interesting for purposes of Operation Don’t Die Alone, Please:

    Based upon your descriptions of yourself, I am going to go out on a limb and assume you are mostly what the book refers to as avoidant. As a fellow avoidant personality, I suggest it for purposes of knowing yourself better, and for being realistic about the type of person that might be a good match for you. But, at the same time, be sure not to take anything you read too seriously. Listen to your heart. 🙂

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Avoidant! I agree with you completely. I’ll put that book on my list and I love the last two sentences of your comment. 🙂

  9. Swe

    You should definitely check out the audio version of Aziz’s book. He uses a lot of different accents and tones and inflections, and of course hilarious site bits, such as throughout the readings, he berates the listener for being so lazy that they couldn’t bother to just read the book by themselves. It’s like listening to his stand up comedy! Thanks for your recommendations! 🙂


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