Books I Read: June 2017

Books I Read: June 2017

I spent most of the month trudging through a very long and dense book, which really cooled my reading fire. After finishing it around the middle of the month I was just so burnt out and didn’t want to read. I have been trying to do better about putting down books that aren’t fun to read, for this exact reason. But this book was kind of interesting, AND I felt like I ~should read it for various reasons, AND it was for a book club that I actually love to attend and discuss. So I finished. But then it took me a while to jump back into reading. Once I did, though,  I started with really great books that were inspiring and easy and great. The flame reignited and now my holds list is full to bursting.

It’s so funny how that works. We can go through such full and empty reading stages. I highly encourage everyone to keep a Goodreads account or at least a Note on your phone of books you want to read and try to always keep 1-2 titles on hold at your library or in your Amazon wish list. The gaps always seem to happen when I don’t have anything I’m particularly excited about, and the best days/weeks/months of reading are when I feel like I have so many amazing things to read that I find every possible free minute to dedicate to reading. It takes a little planning and coordination, but it’s well worth it to keep your reading flame alive.

One Hundred Birds Taught Me To Fly

book review

ok. THIS BOOK YOU GUYS. I have a billion trillion things to say about it and just loved it so much. I can’t do it justice here, so I think I’m gonna dedicate a whole post to it soon. But I read it in June and about halfway through I ordered it on Amazon because I wanted my own copy to highlight and re-read again and again. It was just beautiful and tender and inspiring and affirming and spiritual and wonderful. This is now my top book recommendation and I urge you all to request it from your library or possibly just buy it on Amazon too. Especially if you’re a Millennial Mormon, wondering about how your faith is growing and changing, or just wanting a good spiritual boost. You need this.

Americanah

This novel weaves the stories of two Nigerians as their love story blossoms, dies, and unfolds again across several nations and many years. Ifemelu finds herself studying in the United States and writing a popular blog about race in America. Obinze leaves Nigeria only to return and build a successful life for himself there. As each navigate the struggles of race and identity within different nations and through different relationships, they change and develop in ways that surprise them.

This was a pick for Bon’s Book Club in June and it is SO different from any books I’d choose to read myself. I thought it would at the very least be very good for me and fun to discuss. While I think it was very good for me, I wasn’t able to attend the discussion this month and maybe that would have changed my final opinion of it. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend it and didn’t really enjoy it, fair warning.

Good

  • There’s no denying she’s a good writer with mastery of word craft. I really liked her use of words and her flow within their thoughts.
  • There were several LOL moments, which I always like.
  • I feel like I learned a lot about race in America. As a white blonde Mormon in Utah County I’m not super aware of racial issues, although I do try to educate myself and be as #woke as I can be. This definitely helped. There were so many things I had never thought of, and never would have known. Like the distinctions between American and non-American Blacks, variations within the black female community regarding hair & beauty, variety of dating traditions and mini-cultures within culture. Very interesting and enlightening.
  • I really loved Ifemelu & Obinze’s love story. I thought they were a great couple and enjoyed especially hearing what she thought about him and remembered in flashbacks.

Less Good

  • It is so long and drags on. I feel like I liked it right away but then about 1/3 in it slowed and I had to force myself to finish the final 2/3. Not great.
  • She can’t write as well from the male perspective. Obinze’s chapters were SO BORING I skimmed or skipped them.
  • Infidelity in relationships is never something I can support, and this book seemed to treat infidelity as if it’s no big deal or justified in certain cases. I hate that.
  • At first I liked Ifemelu, then disliked her, then hated her. And not in a “I’m a complex character!” sort of way. In a “I should have put this down 100 pages in” sort of way.
  • Seriously I kind of wish I just hadn’t read it, because it took so much time and left me with book fatigue.

Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home

In this beautiful guide, the editors of Domino magazine walk you through styling and decorating your home to reflect your taste and the things you love most.

I absolutely loved this book. I think I might buy it. One of my goals for HOME 2017 was to better understand my personal interior design style and taste, and to make my home a reflection of what I like and want, a peaceful place to meet my family’s needs. A couple of weeks ago I left the library with a huge stack of interior design books and I’ve been happily plugging away at them. I count it as a book because, well, it *is* a book, but the emphasis is on photos with some text to explain and discuss. Definitely helpful if you’re looking to refresh your home or discover your style.

Good

  • It’s beautiful. Just absolutely beautiful on each and every page.
  • Helpful. I learned so many terms and phrases and practices that I just simply didn’t know before. Now I can better describe the things I like and know more descriptive search terms for Pinterest and online shopping.
  • Easy. I worked my way through this book in a little over a week, just flipping through a few pages at a time while I nursed or ate or before bed.
  • It’s realistic. A big issue I have with some of the other books I grabbed and many online resources is that they’re like Parade Homes and super design-y homes. This book definitely had fancy stuff, but they emphasized the things you own that you love and how to make your home feel like YOU, not a pinterest board.
  • This would make an excellent gift or coffee table book.

Less Good

  • The type is really hard to read at times, since it’s tiny and often against colors.
  • As someone who likes to tote my books around with me (upstairs/downstairs/outside/diaper bag/car) this one is not particularly convenient.

Design Mom

This book helps you see that your home doesn’t have to look like a McDonald’s Play Place or a museum. There is a balance of making your home beautiful AND functional as you have children. She shares different methods that she’s tried with her family (6 kids) and that she’s seen others use. Each area of the home is tackled by chapter, and photos help demonstrate what she means. 

I really really liked this one too, and highly recommend it to anyone with kids. It was really eye opening and illustrative. You can read a hundred pinterest articles about organizing your home with kids, but she does a good job of helping you walk through it with YOUR family. She’s pretentious but you definitely get the feel that she knows what she’s talking about.

Good

  • Great photo inspiration on every page.
  • I really like going through the house by area. Rarely, if ever, do you see a functional laundry room for a big and messy family in a cute design blog or pinterest pin, but she goes through the laundry room and how to make it work for YOU based on how your family does laundry. I really appreciated that.
  • She takes great care to think outside the box, and give you lots of different options and questions to ask. There are no “wrong” design choices as long as they work for your family, basically.

Less Good

  • The biggest turn off was just how pretentious and braggy she sometimes sounded. “Oh well when we are all playing our instruments together…” “If my kids want to read a book about the upcoming election we leave the biographies of candidates out on the coffee table…” K.
  • I wish there were a few more sections – outdoor, garage, porch, etc.

 

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3 thoughts on “Books I Read: June 2017”

  • 2 weeks ago

    Which would you recommend i read for figuring out decorating our new house – design mom or domino? I feel like we are going to finally be in the place long enough and I have the extra funds to decorate, so I want to do it so I love it.

    • 1 week ago

      I would definitely recommend Design Mom for you! It’s all focused on a house with kids, where Domino is more aesthetics and fancier stuff. Both are great – so see if you can’t get both from a library but definitely start with Design mom!

  • 2 days ago

    I really want to read One Hundred Birds Taught Me To Fly now.

What do you think?