Category: Non-Fiction

Review: Reading People


Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything

My personality traits don’t determine my destiny, they inform it.

If you listen to Anne Bogel’s podcast What Should I Read Next or read her blog Modern Mrs. Darcy, you’re probably aware that she’s more than a little into personality. (And if you don’t know who Anne Bogel is, for shame! Just kidding. But seriously, go check out her blog and podcast. They are very well done!) Before Anne, I wasn’t really aware of all the personality typing books and programs out there, aside from whatever quiz we were made to take in high school that supposedly told us what job we would be good at. Now? I’m fascinated.

Anne’s book, Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, is no boring textbook. It is a primer that covers the basics of the most popular personality typing systems and why they can be helpful. And not just for understanding yourself, but understanding your family and friends, and how to communicate better with them. She has done all the hard work of extensively researching popular personality frameworks (such as the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, and the Five Love Languages) and putting the most important information in a book that is, honestly, fun to read. And quite enlightening.

As I read the book, I kept thinking, “yes, yes, yes, this is me, and this explains a lot.” (And in case you’re wondering, I’m an INFJ, enneagram 2.) Anne is a talented writer, and she explains that different personalities, and how we often mis-type ourselves, so well. For example, I’ve been told for most of my life that because I was involved with theatre and choir and wasn’t shy onstage that I was an outgoing extrovert. So I always wondered if something was wrong with me because I really prefer staying home with my family to going out, often have to talk myself into going out with friends (not because I don’t want to see them, but because I would just rather be at home), and have anxiety over making phone calls to strangers. Turns out, I’m not crazy, weird, or an extrovert. I’m an introvert who happens to be comfortable on a stage. (You really can’t see the audience when those blinding lights are on.) If I had realized this earlier, I think it would have helped me make some different decisions, or at least make more informed decisions. I identified with almost zero extroverted traits, and almost all the introverted ones, and that was eye-opening.

In addition to realizing some important things about my own personality, I was able to learn how to better communicate with people who have different personality types than my own. Knowing where I’m coming from, personality wise, and understanding where another person may be coming from, has already helped me become less frustrated. (And I’m sure helped my family become less frustrated with talking to me!)

For me, Reading People was life changing, and I don’t say that about many books. Anne makes all the personality types and research incredibly accessible, when all of that information can be overwhelming due to the sheer volume of it. Her insights in mis-typing yourself because of environment or how other people have typed you are worth their weight in gold alone. If you have always thought of yourself in a certain way, and don’t understand why you don’t quite fit into your environment, or never really connected with the type you thought you were, this book is for you. It will help you understand more about your own personality, as well as those around you.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

EXTRA!

Another thing I love about Reading People is that you don’t have to read straight through. You can pick and choose the chapters that are interesting to you, only read about your specific type, and then go back and read some more if you want more information. It is truly a great resource.

Review: We Are All Shipwrecks


We Are All Shipwrecks: A Memoir

Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for providing me with a digital galley of this book – all opinions are my own.

 

I realized that all day I had actually just been lonely. It wasn’t, I realized, that I wanted to get away from people; I just wanted to get away from these people, because as much as I loved them, I didn’t belong to them anymore.

I don’t read a lot of memoirs, but every once in awhile one will grab my attention. Kelly Grey Carlisle’s We Are All Shipwrecks caught my attention and didn’t let go. Carlisle, a professor of English at Trinity University, has been published in prestigious journals such as Ploughshares and The New England Review, but this is her first book, and she had quite a topic to work with: her childhood.

Carlisle grew up on a boat in the L.A. Harbor with her grandfather and his wife, who made their living from the porn store they ran. She never met her mother, who was strangled when Carlisle was a newborn, or her father, who was in jail at the time. But to singularly define her childhood as eccentric (which it most definitely was) would be a disservice. Perhaps her situation was far from what a lot of people have for childhoods, but she also struggled with many of the things we all do: wanting to please her parents but also wanting to be herself, not fitting in at school, and being embarrassed by her parents. However, the overarching mystery of who killed her mom, and the resulting hardship of being forced to take on too much responsibility at a young age, really drive this memoir, and she delves deep into how that affected her childhood and her future.

At one time or another, we’ve all felt like we don’t belong in our family of origin. It’s just natural, and that is at the heart of this memoir. Not knowing your birth parents, much less how your mother was murdered, would only add to the stress of that, and I could feel how desperately she wanted to learn about them, about her own history. Carlisle wanted to fit into her family more than anything, and it took her many years to realize that instead of forcing herself to fit into a place, she needed to find a place where she fit. She says it beautifully:

“Who you are” also happens after you leave home. You are turning into “who you are” your whole life.

Carlisle drew me into her life, broke my heart, and still managed to leave me with a great feeling of hope for what can be accomplished in a lifetime, against all odds. Happiness and belonging can be found in any life situation, and she is living proof of that. I loved We Are All Shipwrecks, and if you enjoy reading memoirs or mysteries, I really think you will too.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Summer Reading

 

Images from Goodreads

Summer is a great time to get a little extra reading done (although it doesn’t help my to be read pile AT ALL), and this year there are several books that I can’t wait to get my hands on! Here are a few releases that I’m excited about, and a few that I’ve been able to read already!

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
From the publisher:
“Kevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel of a family driven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia’s greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance.”

I have wanted to read all of Kwan’s novels for awhile, and my plan is to pick a weekend this summer and read all three back to back. These are fun, gossipy books, perfect for summer! Crazy Rich Asians is being made into a movie, and I want to make sure to have them all read in plenty of time.
May 23

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
From the publisher:
“Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.”

This is going to be a difficult book to read because of the subject matter, but I can’t wait to read it anyway. It is based on a true story that sounds like it couldn’t possibly be true, which is makes it all the more horrifying. I’ve heard great things about this one, and a box of Kleenex will be nearby when I read it.
June 6

Camino Island by John Grisham
From the publisher:
“A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars.”

What’s more perfect for summer than a new John Grisham novel? A new John Grisham novel about a library, a bookstore, and a novelist with writer’s block. This sounds perfect for book lovers, with a great mystery, and just right for the beach.
June 6

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
From the publisher:
“In a graveyard outside the walls of Old Delhi, a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet. On a concrete sidewalk, a baby suddenly appears, just after midnight. In a snowy valley, a bereaved father writes a letter to his five-year-old daughter about the people who came to her funeral. In a second-floor apartment, a lone woman chain-smokes as she reads through her old notebooks. At the Jannat Guest House, two people who have known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around each other, as though they have just met.”

This is Roy’s first novel since The God of Small Things was published in 1997, so there is most definitely an excited buzz around this book. I love character-driven books, so I can’t wait to delve into the lives that Roy has shared with her readers. This is not going to be a fluffy summer read, but perfect to curl up with on a humid, rainy day indoors.
June 6

Love Story: A Novel (The Baxter Family) by Karen Kingsbury
From the publisher:
“When John Baxter is asked to relive his long-ago love story with Elizabeth for his grandson Cole’s heritage project, he’s not sure he can do it. The sadness might simply be too great. But he agrees and allows his heart and soul to go places they haven’t gone in decades. Back to the breathless first moments, but also to the secret heartbreak that brought John and Elizabeth together. At the same time, Baxter family friend Cody Coleman is working through the breakup of his complicated relationship with Andi Ellison. He is determined to move on when a chance sighting changes his plans—and heart. Can Cody convince Andi to give their love another try, or is it time for them to say goodbye for good?”

I haven’t read any of Kingsbury’s Baxter series, but this one sounds so good! Family sagas are great for any season, but if you have time to binge read a series during the summer, this one might be the one for it!
June 6

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
From the publisher:
“Just because twins look exactly the same doesn’t mean they’re anything alike–and Tabitha and Harper Frost have spent their whole lives trying to prove this point. When a family crisis forces them to band together–or at least appear to–the twins come to realize that the special bond that they share is more important than the resentments that have driven them apart.”

Hilderbrand is the queen of summer reads, and this year’s publication looks to be just as juicy and fun as her other books. This is high on my summer reading list, and I can’t wait to devour it by a pool!
June 13

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
From the publisher:
“Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.”

So far, this is my favorite book of the summer. I absolutely loved it (Read my review of the novel HERE.), and I’ve added all of Reid’s books to my to be read list. This is a perfect summer read, but it’s not as fluffy as you might think. Be prepared to read this one from cover to cover in a couple of days, and to have the characters stick around in your head for awhile.
June 13

Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Fiction by Diana Gabaldon
From the publisher:
“A collection of seven short stories set in the Outlander universe, never before published together, including two original stories. This riveting, romantic collection includes: “Besieged” (original novella), “Survival” (original novella), “Virgins,” “The Space Between,” “Lord John and the Plague of Zombies,” “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” and “The Custom of the Army.””

It’s Outlander. What more do you need?! For all of us who are anxiously waiting for Gabaldon’s next Outlander novel, this is the perfect in-between book, full of short stories.
June 27

Final Girls by Riley Sager
From the publisher:
“Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. “

This is the debut novel from Riley Sager . . . but not really, since it’s a pseudonym for a previously published author. There’s another mystery to be solved there. 10 years after the Sack Man went on a killing rampage, it appears that he is targeting the Final Girls. Will they be able to escape a second time? I’ll be reading this one with ALL the lights on!
July 11

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown
From the publisher:
“It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a beautiful, charismatic Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. No body—only a hiking boot—has ever been found. But then Olive starts having waking dreams—or are they hallucinations?—that her mother is still alive. Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, their family, and the stories we tell ourselves about the people we love.”

I’m in the middle of reading this one, and it is quite the page-turner! Brown slowly draws you into the story so that you are fully invested in finding out what happened to Billie, and why Olive is seeing her mother’s . . . ghost? Or something else?
July 11

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
From the publisher:
“Something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three best friends she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten. Theirs is no cozy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, after what they did. At school the girls used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. But for some, did the boundary between fact and fantasy become too blurred?”

The flap copy for this one is sparse, and I think it is so for a reason. Sometimes it’s better to go into a book not knowing much about the plot, and Ware’s books are definitely in that category. After In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, I can’t wait to see what she’s come up with now!
July 25

Glass Houses: A Novel (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel) by Louise Penny
From the publisher:
“When a mysterious figure appears on the village green on a cold November day in Three Pines, Armand Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, knows something is seriously wrong. Yet he does nothing. Legally, what can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.”

If you are a Louise Penny fan, you’ve probably already pre-ordered her thirteenth novel in the Inspector Gamache series. I’ve been putting off reading her first, Still Life, because I know I’m going to love them and want to read them all at once. This series will most likely be my binge-read this summer. Will I be able to read all 12 before this one comes out??
August 29

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Review: Born a Crime

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, is the king of smart comedy. He can tell a joke while skewering every political party, cultural group, and line of thought, and it’s only later that you realize there was more than a grain of truth in what he said. I couldn’t wait to read this book because I knew it would be good, and Noah did not disappoint. (more…)

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Review: Killers of the Flower Moon

“Tell everybody, when you write your story, that they’re scalping our souls out here.”

Killers of the Flower Moon is the best non-fiction book I’ve read this year, and possibly ever. Let me preface that by saying that if I had seen this book at a bookstore, I might have passed it by. Because we all judge books by their covers. But thanks to the wonderful Book of the Month Club (I have zero affiliation with them. I’m a paying member and it’s the best thing ever.) I’ve taken a look at books I wouldn’t normally give a second glance to. This is one of those.
(more…)

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