I’ve been going out and doing things with other people a lot lately and not spending as much time reading as I normally do. How many books a month do you read? I think when I was working, I would manage 2-3 each month, mostly for book clubs. Post retirement, I think it’s 6-8 maybe. After getting as much sleep as I want, the ability to read as much as I want is my favorite thing about retirement.
Have I told you how awesome retirement is lately?
Enough bragging. On to the book reviews!
The perfect marriage by Kimberla Lawson Roby
I picked this one up because it was small enough to fit in my purse (so I could read it on the bus). The story and dialogue are a bit soapy, but it’s a quick, fun read. It’s about an upper-middle class, waspy couple who battle a secret addiction to cocaine and vicodin and gambling. It’s the story of their downfall and, naturally, redemption.
Fun fact, the author graduated from my high school.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
I started reading the Bloggess’ blog when someone mentioned her to me in the comments a while ago. Her writing is neurotically delightful and this book is in that vein. Her body is out of whack, but she takes it in stride and humor. She’s my people. Except for the whole taxidermy thing. I’m not a big fan of that.
Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon
The author has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that controls her life if she lets it. She talks about her childhood and growing into an adult with intrusive thoughts and obsessive habits. It sounds miserable. Your brain is a hell of a thing. It can be a really good buddy or a really big jerk. She manages the disease and even gets married and has a baby, but it’s a constant struggle.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
I’ve been obsessing over Marie Kondo for a while now, but haven’t actually read her book. I finally bought it, devoured it, and absolutely adored it. I love her simple writing style. I love the ideas she expresses. Stuff exists to make you happy and everything you own desperately wants to be used. When you have too much stuff, you suffer and the stuff suffers because it’s not fulfilling its purpose. Sad.
Purge your stuff! It’s so freeing and so fun! I wish I had read this before I cleaned my parents’ basement. She tells us the exact order of what to purge (with subcategories!), instructing us to go by category and not by room. Such obvious and beautiful advice that never occurred to me.
She also thanks each item for its service before she discards it. So much respect and intention. I’ve started thanking my stuff for its service each day. It feels silly at first, but it’s an excellent reminder of gratitude. Gratitude is the seed of happiness.
Also, she has some fantastic folding advice. I feel like such a dork saying something like that, but it really is brilliant. Fold everything upright so that you can see it all. Don’t stack stuff on top of each other. Let your clothes breathe and relax.
There is so much more useful advice in this and I highly recommend it. If you have a lot of clutter and you go through her method of tidying, I really do think it could change your life. It’s aptly named.
Crosstalk by Connie Willis
Blech. Our protagonist is a woman who decides to get the latest surgery to enhance the empathetic connection with her hopefully soon-to-be fiancé (boyfriend). When she awakens from surgery, she finds that she can read minds. Good premise maybe, but executed in a blech manner. The characters are just too unbelievable. Too cliché and over the top. Plus, the reason she can read minds in the end is a gross racial angle that was rather unnecessary.
Also, the book is too long. Too much content — it could have been 1/3 shorter and not lost anything — but also it was too big to fit in my purse. Of course, I still tried. I carried it in my purse a couple of times, but after counting the number of people who commented on the book to purse ratio (three), I stopped.
Gripping details like this are why you read my book reviews.
The behavior gap : simple ways to stop doing dumb things with money by Carl Richards
Another small book that fit in my purse. I pick up money books because I feel like I “should” but I almost always walk away kind of bored. This is a subject that I’ve just read too much on. We all know this stuff, don’t we?
I like his napkin doodles.
How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
A book written by the bigwigs of Google that explains how Google works. Another aptly titled book. They went a different direction with their startup and decided to let smart people do their thing. Focus on the user. Don’t be evil. The fact that people like this exist gives me hope. Brilliant, capable, dreamers who want to change the world for the better. I love Google.
The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide and translated by Eric Selland
My friend gifted me this book and I squeed because it fit in my purse. She knows me. Very cute and quick read. It only took one bus ride to finish. It’s about a Japanese couple living in Japan and the particular mannerisms and life of a cat who visits them often. The author, a Japanese poet (it was translated from Japanese), writes in exquisite detail. Almost too exquisite. I wonder how much gets lost in translation.