Now that I’ve finished with the ol’ commute for the year, it’s time for my final ‘what I’ve been reading lately’ of the year. Cos we all know the real reason I work a 90-minute bus ride away is so I actually have time to read! ;)
‘scuse the lack of photos for most of the accompanying reviews. Someone forgot to photograph her library books before she returned them…
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
When I love a book and characters feature in subsequent releases from that writer, I have to keep reading as I need to know how their life turns out. Like many people, I loved Me Before You. After You was an interesting follow-up, but it didn’t hook me in as much as its predecessor, yet when I saw that Louisa Clark was going to appear in another book, I knew I had to read it.
While in the first two instalments I was interested in following Louisa’s life, I got a bit bored the third time round. The fish out of water storyline was good but the long distance relationship did nothing for me and I was much more interested in the supporting characters, most notably the doorman and elderly neighbour. I don’t think I’d read another Louisa Clark story.
Aaru: Halls of Hel by David Meredith*
Last year I reviewed David Meredith’s Aaru and was so hooked by the story of life after death within a computer (really!) that I had to read his latest instalment.
I’m not usually a sci-fi fan but the blurb sounded like something I’d watch on TV so I thought I’d give it a go. Halls of Hel was a bit more fast-paced than Aaru and there was plenty of conflict to keep it moving. With topical discussions including religion, celebrity, mental health and fulfilment, this is certainly a book which makes you consider your own moral values.
I’m not sure of the target audience for these books, as the story focuses on teenage girls (14 and 16 at the start), yet the subject matter often feels too mature for such a readership. Maybe I’m just starting to show my age.
Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr*
Earlier in the year, Penguin sent me some of their mini modern classics. They’re great to pick up for the commute when I’m already near the end of the book as I hate being stuck on the bus with nothing to read, yet also don’t want to end the working week part-way through a new book.
Last week I finally read Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr, which also includes The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life. Originally written in 1963 and 1967 respectively, these publications are still so eye-opening and relevant. I need to get my hands on more of his sermons. This part is my favourite:
Darker yet may be the night
Harder yet may be the fight
Just stand up for that which is right
Calm the F*ck Down by Sarah Knight*
The Queen of Sweary Self-Help is back with what could be her most relatable book to date. In her earlier titles, anti guru Sarah Knight taught us how to give less fucks, get our shit together and put ourselves first. Now she’s back to help us deal with our anxiety. And you don’t have to be living with a mental illness to benefit from this book. It’s all about ‘acknowledging your worries, recognising your unhealthy reactions, and beginning to reverse them’.
Whether you’re an over-thinker or someone who likes to avoid their problems, there are plenty of tips and tricks here to help you to reduce your anxiety levels. Get ready to think less ostrich and face your shitstorms head-on. It’s all about mental decluttering and managing your freakout funds, so you can ‘acknowledge what’s happened, accept the parts you can’t control, and address the parts you can’. Bring it on.
Calm the F*ck Down is released on 1 January 2019.
Write Yourself Happy by Megan C. Hayes
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a big believer in the benefits of journalling. Since I joined the working mum club, I’ve found it so helpful to take time to sit down with a notebook and pen. Whether I’m recording treasured memories, showing gratitude for the little things after a stressful day, or noting progress I’ve made on goals I set earlier in the year, taking some quiet time to reflect on something personal makes me feel more centred, productive and hopeful.
Megan C. Hayes appeared on a recent episode of Hashtag Authentic and I was fascinated by her study on positive journalling and her recent book. While my own experience of journalling tends to focus on goal setting and noting the negatives as well as the positives, I’m really interested to try focusing on positive emotions and see how that affects my day-to-day life.
‘Positive journalling should not be confused with simple goal-setting… it is a constructive practice in and of itself, not merely a means to an end… character strengths, growth mindset, self-compassion.’
Megan notes three benefits to positive journalling: ‘we feel directed, we change our perspectives, we do more than react to what happens’. If you’re looking for tips on getting started yourself, this book is great for identifying positive emotions and suggesting prompts, including addressing joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, awe and love.
Look out for my posts in the new year to see how I get on. I’m hoping it’ll help me with my other goals too, as my traditional method of journalling appears to focus on processing events, whereas positive journalling appears to enable progressing in life.
What have you been reading lately?
*I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes and all thoughts are my own
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