December 2017 – Books, Music and Kittens.

Books I read, music I listened to and kittens I found

This has not been much of a reading month. Life has been distracting me and I think along the way I lost my mojo. I haven’t really felt the need to pick up a book for most of the month. As someone who reads 3-5 hours most nights I found it a bit weird to start with, but then I decided to go with it. I watched tv, harassed my husband more, paid a bit more attention to the family and completely ignored this blog.

It was an up and down month, with some really exciting things happening. I flew to Victoria and spent the weekend with my sister and mum. We went and saw Fuel live for their 20th anniversary tour. It was a big tick on my bucket list, their singer still has a great voice and I was quite glad my 15-year-old self’s dreams of marrying him didn’t come true. I loved being able to share the night with my mum and Sister. Shimmer absolutely went off. It was epic. I’m not sure if I’m remembering correctly, but I think it was mum that introduced me to their music, I think she recorded a gig they did on late night TV here in Australia because she thought I would like them. If that’s the way it happened, thanks Mum. My sister is pregnant so I spent half the weekend talking to her itty bitty stomach. It’s so damn cute, I’m looking forward to my next trip over to meet my niece. She is going to be spoilt with so much love.

Anyways, in bookish news I read The Subtle Art of not giving a Fuck on the plane ride home. Yes I stole it off my sisters shelf on the way out the door. It was an easy read, interesting, a bit different and it contained so many fucks. I’m sure a lot of people have read it by now, it has a sticker on the front saying it’s a New York Times Bestseller, so that means its super popular right? I’m convinced it’s because it has fuck in the title. People love that shit. I’m not going to lie, that was what made me look at it twice and read the synopsis, so points to the author and team for an awesome marketing strategy. It’s a self-help book, it’s one of many on the shelves, and it has some great chunks of wisdom in there. I think the book is very good at making you look deeper at yourself, intentions and your interactions with other people; why do we act certain ways, are our values what we think or at our core are we totally different? This is where the book stands out above other self help books. The book is broken up into chunks and as you progress you go from asking yourself ‘why do I give a fuck about that” to “holy fuck, I do that for a completely different reason than I thought”. For me personally everything boils down to insecurity and needing other peoples approval. For example; I’ve always prided myself on giving amazing gifts, I love giving people things, I love making people happy and I love the excited face on people when they get a gift they love. This sounds innocent enough until I realised that I don’t just give someone a present and leave it at that, I need them to know I got it for them, I ask if they love it and even in a secret santa situation I usually tell the person it was from me afterwards. Seeing them enjoy it isn’t enough, I need to be validated. I don’t think this book is for everyone, but it was decent enough for this type of book. Some of my favourite quotes –

‘The ticket to emotional health, like that to physical health, comes from eating your veggies–that is, accepting the bland and mundane truths of life: truths such as “Your actions actually don’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things” and “The vast majority of your life will be boring and not noteworthy, and that’s ok.” ‘
‘Who you are is defined by what your willing to struggle for.’
“Victimhood Chic” is in style on both the right and the left today, among both the rich and the poor. In fact, this may be the first time in human history that every single demographic group has felt unfairly victimized simultaneously. And they’re all riding the highs of the moral indignation that comes along with it. Right now, anyone who is offended about anything feels as though they’re being oppressed in some way and therefore deserve to be outraged and to have a certain amount of attention. The biggest problem with victimhood chic is that it sucks the attention away from actual victims. The more people there are who proclaim themselves victims over tiny infraction, the harder it becomes to see who the real victims are.

That last one is my favourite.

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter –  The Cows is about three women, total strangers and how they become linked after one possibly life changing event. This is the type of book that makes me wish I was part of a monthly book club. The themes are really timely and would make great discussion points. The effect social media has on society and how the media itself can control people’s opinions, create hysteria, distort the truth and really reinforce peoples need to be constantly offended. It discusses the way woman judge one another, how we can let our insecurities colour our perception of reality. For me this really hit home. I had my daughter when I was 21, I was a single mum until she was 5, I worked a lot so she was picked up by daycare most days, I found the school drop off really tough. I felt like I was judged for being a young mum, I felt like I was judged because I was single, I felt like I was judged if I missed an event and talking to all these women who looked like they had their shit together was intimidating. Truth is, I can look back now and say they probably weren’t judging me, I was judging myself, the guilt you carry when you become a parent is intense, which also comes into play throughout the story. The Cows also spent a lot of time discussing expectations, how people can find it difficult to accept peoples lifestyles when it doesn’t align with their own. The Cows was a witty, well written, insightful look into women in today’s world. Well worth a read.

York (The Shadow Cipher) by Laura Ruby – This was a quick middle grade read. Set in an alternate New York, Theo and Tess have to crack a puzzle, that no one has been able to in over 200 hundred years, to save their family home. York contains fantastic machines, adventure and mystery. I enjoyed the story, although I found it to be a bit repetitive and drawn out, it could have been at least 100 pages shorter. But its a book that I’m finding myself forgetting very quickly. It’s the first in series, which I wont be continuing. I would recommend York to 11-14 year olds though. I’ll be passing it onto my daughter when she is looking for something new to read.

That’s December wrapped up, there were another couple of books, you can see my review for Red Sister if you click there and Tweak was pretty hit and miss with a strong focus on the miss, so I’m skipping over that. I was browsing back over what I’ve attempted to write so far and can I just say as someone who is predominately a fantasy reader, I really finished off the year in a contemporary type binge.

Oh and completely non book related, but life related  – My daughter found a kitten that had been dumped in the middle of the road, on her way to school. I went and got it, we found a rescue for her to go to, took her to the vets and then my husband being the awesome guy he is decided we should keep her. Best early Christmas present ever. We have had her for about 2 1/2 weeks now, she is no longer covered in fleas, she has settled in, she tries to sleep on my pillow, still hisses at the dog every time the dog even thinks about looking at her and she seems convinced that everything in the house is here for her playing pleasure. Her name is Spitzi which is short for Spitfire. It suits her.

 

 

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