Monday, May 26, 2014

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

Three Wishes is the first novel by Liane Moriarty who also wrote The Husband's Secret that I raved about back in January. It's about three Kettle sisters who are triplets turning 33 years old. The story opens up with a fork-throwing scene in a restaurant, and the rest of the book goes back and forth explaining everything that leads up to this scene.

A so-so book. It would be great for a lazy afternoon. I'm happy to say that Moriarty's writing and storytelling improves in her later books. This one seemed a bit sloppy and long-winded.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I liked the Eat and Pray sections of Eat, Pray, Love and I liked Committed. I hadn't read any of Gilbert's fiction until this one. I really liked it and was pretty consumed by it for a week or so.

It is a sprawling novel following the Whittaker family, particularly Alma Whittaker. The story goes from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam and is full of wonderfully researched detail about plants, great character development, plot twists, and humanity..


Monday, May 12, 2014

Holding Silvan: A Brief Life by Monica Wesolowska

I am in the stage of life where I am being invited to baby showers and birthday parties for young kids (Just for the record, I don't attend baby showers, but thanks for inviting me!!). Birth announcements take up about a quarter of our fridge magnet space. And now friends are having their second and third kids. I'm in charge of remembering the kids' names since my husband claims that he can only remember the name of the firstborn of each family. The rest of the names is up to me. Why I know all of the names of his college friends' kids seems funny to me.

Anyway, I think that we forget what a miracle it is for a full-term, healthy baby to be born. So many things have to go right and there are so many things that could go wrong.

Weslowska has a normal pregnancy followed by what seems like a normal delivery. However, her son, Silvan, is given a very grim prognosis in terms of his life expectancy and quality of life. Monica and her husband decide to remove all life support (include nutrition) from Silvan.

A heartbreaking, difficult, and loving memoir about quality of life and the love a mother has for her baby. The content of this book sounds awful, but I loved this book and read it in a day. It addresses issues that we don't talk about and is frank and honest in telling how and why this set of parents decided to do what they did.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown

"Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness." --Brene Brown

I first heard about Brene Brown when I listened to one of her TED talks about shame and vulnerability (find it and listen to it!). I believe that she has several TED talks out there.

I liked this book so much and want you to read it, and I'm so tempted to write out the entire Table of Contents so that you know what it holds. She goes through Ten Guideposts like Authenticity, Self-Compassion, Play and Rest, and Calm and Stillness and what we need to let go of in order to cultivate these qualities in our lives. For example: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth. How many times have you answered "Busy!" when someone asks how you're doing??

Just the other day as I was finishing up this book, a friend asked me what I did that afternoon. I actually didn't have a very "productive" afternoon in terms of getting any type of work done. However, I napped, took a walk around the neighborhood, did some yoga, and read. And yet, I was tempted to lie and say that I did other more "productive" things. Alas, I remembered what I had been reading in this book and I told the truth...and realized that I had a very nice afternoon of self-care and that's nothing to be embarrassed about!

I recommend this book to you. You need to be in a certain place though in order for it to speak to you. I think there has to be some part of you that is tired of chasing and is ready for change.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

What to say about Hyperbole and a Half???? It is a quirky piece of work. Brosh so accurately portrays such things as depression and procrastination, it is quite neat. I didn't love it as much as some of the people that I've talked to about it, but I did appreciate her understanding of being human.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus, MD

This book lives up to its name. It is a short book but it is full of tips about living a healthy life. For example: Never skip breakfast. Stretch. Learn CPR. Some things to avoid: fad diets, detoxes, stilettos.

Easy to read and helpful. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Marriage Act: The Risk I Took to Keep My Best Friend in America, and What it Taught Us About Love by Liza Monroy

When Liza's high school sweetheart boyfriend breaks off their engagement, she marries her best friend, Emir, who is facing deportation. They agree to marry, live together, and still date their respective boyfriends.

After Emir gets his green card, Liza does marry for "love," but she finds out that her "fake" marriage to Emir actually had more respect, love, and support than this "real" marriage.

I almost stopped reading around the 100 page mark, because I didn't know where this story could go. I am very glad that I kept reading. There is more depth and complexity to Liza's story than first meets the eye. She really does learn about love and what a supportive marriage requires and looks like. I ended up caring about both her and Emir. I think they would be neat people to have coffee with.