Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Book List

I cannot believe it is already December!  November was a pretty good month for reading, and I can't wait to finish the year out strong with a few books I've been longing to devour. 


The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile: I knew absolutely nothing about the Enneagram types even two months ago.  I started hearing about this system that splits people into one of nine types based on their personality, and then I came across a new book that was out about the topic.  The Enneagram system is supposed to help people grow spiritually, and The Road Back to You is a great guide.

It's not always easy to find out where you fall in the Enneagram.  There are pros and cons for each type, but by knowing where you are it's easier to make changes.  It's also wonderful to realize where friends and family fall in this system, and it has helped me understand more about the people around me and how we interact.

I highly recommend this book to anyone, whether they are an Enneagram novice or an expert.  It was eye-opening.  For the record, I'm a two. 

I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi: I just finished this one today, so it might technically be a December book, but I'm including it because you should go read it before the end of the year.  If you don't know Luvvie Ajayi from her popular blog, Awesomely Luvvie, you should.  She is hilarious and honest, sometimes to the point that it hurts. 

In her manual for how to do better, she covers everything from toddlers to racism, rape culture to adult promise rings.  Her writing is laugh-out-loud funny, but her messages are often spot on, and she can take concepts that seem so hard for people to understand, like systemic racism, and break it down so it's hard to deny the truth of what she is saying. 

Grab this one and get ready to laugh and nod along.  Luvvie is here, and she's judging us.


When in French: Love in a Second Language by Lauren Collins: I desperately want to learn another language, and Collins memoir about learning French so she could communicate more intimately with her French husband made that desire even stronger.  Collins' writing is full of research that is interwoven with personal stories of her journey, and it all adds up to a very readable book that will make you think about language and how it influences our every day lives.  Though I think I'd be a horrible French person since they are apparently not supposed to get excited about everything and claim to love pie and Erin Condren planners(mine for 2017 came in today!), or other non-people items, Collins paints a beautiful picture of the language.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Alternate History

Judenstaat by Simone Zelitch: I can't recommend this book and I can't not recommend this book.  The premise drew me in, but I kept picking it up and putting it down because I couldn't get emotionally connected.  However, I did finish it and was glad I did.

In an alternate history, the Jewish people have a Jewish state in Germany as a form of reparations for the Holocaust.  The belief was that they shouldn't be forced to leave Germany, and many came back to this area, designated Judenstaat, to live. 

Judit, the widow of a Saxon conductor, is the central focus as she puts together documentaries, sees her dead husband appear as a ghost, and finds out that all is not what she thought about Judenstaat.  The book left me with a lot to think about, but the disconnection I felt from the writing made it hard to push to the end.


The Boat Rocker by Ha Jin: Jin's protagonist, Feng, is a Chinese man who lives in America and writes journalism often attacking his homeland.  His ex-wife has written a book that capitalizes on the tragedy of 9/11 and is being hailed as a book to bring China and America together.  But who is hailing it, and how is it supposed to be such an amazing piece of work when the writer is known to be subpar?

That's what Feng seeks to find out, but in the process he stands to lose his livelihood.  This book deals with identity, prejudice, and what finding out the truth means.  It was well written and interesting throughout.

Submission by Michel Houellebecq:  Francois lives in France a few years in the future, and he has lost all zeal for life.  While he is living in his self-absorbed state of mid-life dissatisfaction, the world around him is changing as political parties collide and France's Islamic party comes to power.  Suddenly, new rules are in place, and to have a life that involves his former academic career, all Francois has to do is convert.

I've seen this book described as dark and funny, and it's both.  It's also thought provoking.

Not that this was some big, huge thing that I almost did cartwheels over, but the BookPage List of Top 50 Books for the year is out in this months magazine that you can grab at your local library.  I've already read six from the list just by coincidence(Collins' When in French was chosen), and I can't wait to get started on the rest.  Here's the list online in case you want it.  I'm also reading the latest Harry Potter, and I am sad that not all is well in Potter's world, but I'm also excited because it means good stories.  Is that wrong?

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