Everything I Never Told You

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Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng, was my in real life Book Club’s next book. I was super excited when I heard this as I loved Ng’s second novel, Little Fires Everywhere, and had been wanting to read this one for awhile.

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

 Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, a Chinese American family, living in rural Ohio in the 1970’s. Her parents are bound and determined that Lydia will live the dreams that they never pursued. All this changes when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, and the Lee family starts to fall apart. In this falling there are family secrets, and resentment seething out of each of the family members.

The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you–whether because you didn’t get to have your say, or because the other person never got to hear you and really wanted to.

This is a story of grief, family struggles, and love. This subtle, suspenseful story  had me flipping the 292 pages so fast that I couldn’t stop. I read this book in two days, and would highly recommend it. Ng has captured the ability to build tension in a story at a comfortable enough pace that you want to read every word, but also need to know what is going to happen in the end. She also was able to have the reader feel so much empathy for each character, and the difficulties they were having. She moved from one character’s train of thought to the next so flawlessly that you can’t help but admire her prose. I found it hard to believe that this is her first novel!

You loved so hard and hoped so much and then you ended up with nothing. Children who no longer needed you. A husband who no longer wanted you. Nothing left but you, alone, and empty space.

This novel was very layered. Obviously the story line of figuring out how Lydia was killed… but even more so you were sucked into the struggle of motherhood, and the complexity of a bi-racial family. In this time period (1970’s), bi-racial couples were not common, but also rarely accepted. Ng was able to tell the struggles that went on within their family, and the marriage.

This was a fantastic book for out book club to dig into. We had tons of conversations about the relationships within the novel, and there were definitely different points of view brought up. I love it when a book can dig up some deep feelings within a reader.

Until next time, happy reading!!

 

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13 Ways to Look at a Fat Girl, by Mona Awad

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13 Ways to Look at a Fat Girl, by Mona Awad was the most recent pick for our book club. In all honesty, I would have probably never picked up this book without our book club reading it. And although the content was a hard read, I think it’s an important book for EVERYONE to read.

Here’s some things you should know about this book:

  • There are some trigger topics that include disordered eating, swearing, and some promiscuity.
  • It’s a short, fast read.
  • Mona Awad is Canadian.
  • This book was a Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist.
  • It’s a short story collection of the main character’s, Lizzie, life.

You are first introduced to an adolescent Lizzie who is growing up and spending a lot of her time with friends in Mississauga. She has never felt secure, and also never liked the way she looks. As she enters into the online dating world, she becomes consumed with the thought that no one else will like what she looks like either. So she starts to lose weight, becoming consumed by calories, exercise, and the war of her weight. You see her get thinner, and other people validate this big life change. But unforunately, no matter how much she loses, her perception of herself will always be the fat girl who is constantly trying to fit into a different size that never will fit.

Later on I’m going to be really fucking beautiful. I’m going to grow into that nose and develop an eating disorder. I’ll be hungry and angry all my life but I’ll also have a hell of a time.

This book was a rough read. The above quote is a very accurate indication of just how tough it was. The main character was not reliable at all, and at times you just wanted to shake her, and tell her YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH.

Like I said earlier, this is an important book in the same way Hunger, by Roxane Gay is. I think it does a great job of showing readers that the only way to validate yourself, is through yourself. You will never be good enough for anyone else, but you can be good enough for yourself. And it may require digging down into the depths of yourself to find what truly makes you happiest each and every day. I have read/listened to a lot of reviews of this book since I finished it and it was very divided on their feelings of it… but every reviewer agreed the writing was exceptional!

Anywho, overall it was a great pick for book club as we had a lively discussion about many of the themes, and topics that were included in this novel.

Until next time, happy reading, friends!

The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman

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I recently spent some time putting together a whole page on the blog dedicated to Book Reviews. While working on this page I decided I would make it easier for readers to find a book they desired based on “Fiction”, and “Non-Fiction” titles. What I realized while working away at this was that since starting the blog, I have read very little… in fact only one… non-fiction book. So in my attempt to read more non-fiction, I stumbled upon The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman and decided to read it as I’ve heard rave reviews.

WOW!!! This book has helped me understand so much about myself, my husband, and even people in my work life. The whole premise of this book is that as our busy lives just keep on getting busier, expressing love to the people in our lives is easily put on the back burner. We forget to say thank you, give gifts, hug, or put out the trash! Gary Chapman believes that we all have a way that we like to receive and give love… according to his philosophy it is in 5 different ways:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

And when we try to give love to people in our lives in the wrong way, it’s easy to feel like you are missing something in that relationship. BUT, imagine if we had the tools to be able to understand why we constantly fight about the same things, or let the same things get under our skin! That’s where this book comes in handy.

Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures. None of us is perfect. In marriage we do not always do the right thing. We have sometimes done and said hurtful things to our spouses. We cannot erase the past. We can only confess it and agree that it was wrong. We can ask for forgiveness and try to act differently in the future. Having confessed my failure and asked forgiveness, I can do nothing more to mitigate the hurt it may have caused my spouse. When I have been wronged by my spouse and she has painfully confessed it and requested forgiveness, I have the option of justice or forgiveness. If I choose justice and seek to pay her back or make her pay for her wrongdoing, I am making myself the judge and her the felon. Intimacy becomes impossible. If, however, I choose to forgive, intimacy can be restored. Forgiveness is the way of love.

The above passage was my “AHA” moment. It was the moment that I realized that it’s  your responsibility to choose to love your partner everyday, or it will be a struggle. Whether the misunderstandings that we experience with out partners are large, or as small as forgetting to turn the crock pot on… we have a choice to let it go, and choose to love!

If you are in a relationship or want to be, I highly recommend this book. It’s short, easy to read, and very insightful. It also has small, practical solutions that you can insert into your life/relationship immediately with intent.

That’s all for today on this one, but stay tuned as I am making it my mission to read and review more non-fiction!

 

Halloween Challenge

Hey friends, for October this year I decided that I was going to challenge myself with some “spooky” and “thrilling” books. This is definitely stretching my comfort reading zone, as I DO NOT read these types of books. My Dad reads stuff like this all the time, and to be frank, it scares the S*** out of me. I’m not saying that I am only reading these types of books, but I am going to try to read some and see why so many people enjoy this genre!

So here are some of the books I’ve been considering to read:

DraculaDracula, by Bram Stoker. This is the most obvious choice on my list… but I’ve never read it. If you haven’t read it, think Gothic atmosphere, vampires, love, and loneliness. From my understanding it follows a young English lawyer, who travels to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to finalize a real estate transaction with a nobleman named Count Dracula. Ekkk… I’m scared already!

 

It: A NovelIT, by Stephen King. Dad, if you reading this… I am finally going to take the plunge and read some Stephen King! This book is about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It. It’s super long, but everyone raves about it! And immediately after I will be watching the movie.

 

 

The Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book, by Neil GaimanI recently (as in today) listened to the WSIRN Podcast, and the guests were talking about this book. Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he’s the only living resident of a graveyard. He was raised from infancy by ghosts, werewolves, and other mystical, spooky, creatures… I’m intrigued!

 

Horns: A NovelHorns, by Joe Hill.  So, in case you don’t know, this is Stephen King’s son. He’s written several books, but I haven’t read any… even though my Dad thinks they are great, so I think it’s worth a shot! Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples. This sounds like the worst hangover ever!!

 

The Bell JarThe Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. This book seems like it’s a little closer to being in my wheel house. It is the story of Esther Greenwood who begins an internship at a popular women’s magazine, but her hopes for a career as a writer are dashed when she returns home to Massachusetts to discover she’s been rejected from a prestigious writing seminar. This is her story of a downward spiral.

 

The Shining

The Shining, by Stephen King. Here’s another one influenced by my Dad. It sounds super creepy as well… Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as winter arrives, the location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister.

 

The WitchesThe Witches, Roald Dahl. Okay… so if you were playing the game “Which one doesn’t belong?!” this would be the winner. But, I have always been a huge Roald Dahl fan, and this one is great. I actually re-read his books all the time, and when I re-read this one recently, I realized how actually scary it is. It’s a story about… witches! You guessed it.

Do you read scary or creepy books? If you could comment with your suggestions I would love to explore them. And hope you will take my October Spooky Reading Challenge with me!

Until next time, happy reading!