All About Love

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All About Love: New Visions

Author: Bell Hooks

Publisher: William Morrow, 1999 (Hardcover, 240 pages)

Rating: 4owls

Thoughts:

Bell Hooks breaks down how we are taught about love as children and how that affects us as adults, why our romantic expectations of love aren’t often met, and what the world would gain if we all lived a life of love. I enjoyed this book very much because it made me think of our culture and how we could do better by practicing love for others as well as self-love.

Memorable Quotes:

“Most men feel that they receive love and therefore know what it feels like to be loved; women often feel we are in a constant state of yearning, wanting love but not receiving it.” p. xx

“So many of us long for love but lack the courage to take risks. Even though we are obsessed with the idea of love, the truth is that most of us live relatively decent, somewhat satisfying lives even if we often feel that love is lacking.” p. 11

“One of the most important social myths we must debunk if we are to become a more loving culture is the one that teaches parents that abuse and neglect can coexist with love. Abuse and neglect negate love. Care and affirmation, the opposite of abuse and humiliation, are the foundation of love. No one can rightfully claim to be loving when behaving abusively. Yet parents do this all the time in our culture. Children are told that they are loved even though they are being abused.” p. 22

“Bringing love into the work environment can create the necessary transformation that can make any job we do, no mater how menial, a place where workers can express the best of themselves. When we work with love we renew the spirit; that renewal is an act of self-love, it nurtures our growth. It’s not what you do but how you do it.” p. 65

“In our society we make much of love and say little about fear. Yet we are all terribly afraid most of the time. As a culture we are obsessed with the notion of safety. Yet we do not question why we live in states of extreme anxiety and dread. Fear is the primary force upholding structures of domination. It promotes the desire for separation, the desire not to be known. When we are taught that safety lies always with sameness, then difference, of any kind, will appear as a threat. When we choose to love we choose to move against fear–against alienation and separation. The choice to love is a choice to connect–to find ourselves in the other.” p. 93

“When we see love as the will to nurture one’s own or another’s spiritual growth, revealed through acts of care, respect, knowing, and assuming responsibility, the foundation of all love in our life is the same. There is no special love exclusively reserved for romantic partner. Genuine love is the foundation for our engagement with ourselves, with family, with friends, with partners, with everyone we choose to love.” p. 136

“To know love we must surrender our attachment to sexist thinking in whatever form it takes in our lives. That attachment will always return us to gender conflict, a way of thinking about sex roles that diminishes females and males. To practice the art of loving we have first to choose love–admit to ourselves that we want to know love and be loving even if we do not know what that means.” p. 155

“Sometimes it amazes me to know intuitively that the grieving are all around us yet we do not see any overt signs of their anguished spirits. We are taught to feel shame about grief that lingers. Like a stain on our clothes, it marks us as flawed, imperfect. To cling to grief, to desire its expression, is to be out of sync with modern life, where the hip do not get bogged down in mourning.” p. 200

How I decide on my next read.

I feel like I’m pretty structured when it comes to the books I choose to read each month, but when I look at the books I’ve been reading lately it’s clear that there are a lot of factors that go into making those choices. I tend to choose books based on book clubs, my mood, and if anything on BookTube or podcasts has piqued my interest.

I’m a member of two in-person book clubs and two online clubs through Goodreads. This could easily become overwhelming, so I make it a point to only make an effort with the books I’m sincerely interested in reading. In fact, the online book clubs are more of supplemental reading. I try to squeeze them in when I can.

My mood tends to change depending on the weather, the season, or just things that are going on in my life at the moment. For example, October is the one month where I read horror/thrillers or books about witches. Also, last week I attended a health education conference, so the book I took along was The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World by Michael Marmot.

Though I try to keep a running list of the books I intend to read each month, nothing is set in stone (unless I am leading the book club that month). I update the list often, but it’s more of a way for me to prioritize the books I’d like to get to first. Come to think of it, it’s just a 2016 TBR list broken down by month.

How do y’all chose what books to read next? Let me know in the comments below!

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Publisher: Algonquin Books, 2014 (Hardcover, 258 pages)

Rating: 5owls

Thoughts:

This is one of the sweetest stories I have ever read. Kevin builds a quint island life with a lovely assortment of characters. The relationships that form throughout the story gave me life. I recommend this book if you are looking for something comforting and something to put a smile on your face.

Memorable Quotes:

“Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time.” p. 92

“A.J. walks over to the crime section. He looks across the spines, which are, for the most part, black and red with all capitalized fonts in silvers and whites. An occasional burst of fluorescence breaks up the monotony. A.J. thinks how similar everything in the crime genre looks. Why is any one book different from any other book? They are different A.J. decides, because they are. We have to look inside many. We have to believe. We agree to be disappointed sometimes so that we can be exhilarated every now and again.” p. 237

The words you can’t find, you borrow.
We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone.
My life is in these books,
he wants to tell her. Read these and know my heart.
We are not quite novels.

The analogy he is looking for is almost there.
We are not quite short stories. At this point, his life is seeming closest to that.
In the end, we are collected works.” p. 249

“We aren’t the things we collect, acquire, read. We are, for as long as we are here, only love. The things we loved. The people we loved. And these, I think these really do live on.” p. 251

My most recent 5 star reads.

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten list and everyone is welcome to join. This week’s theme is “10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads”. I have been really particular about the books I choose to read lately, so most of the books I read are 4 or 5 stars for me. These are my most recent 5 star reads as of now, but I have a feeling a few more are coming my way soon!

  1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  2. Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski
  3. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
  4. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
  5. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  6. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  7. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  8. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  9. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
  10. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This list is based on the ratings I give on Goodreads for each book I read, and consequently the ratings I give in the book reviews on this blog. Looking back at this list I was slightly tempted to change a few of the ratings. I imagine that happens with a lot of books as time passes, so I chose not to complicate things by changing ratings. What are some of your most recent favorite reads or 5 star reads? Let me know in the comments below!

The Color Purple

thecolorpurple5The Color Purple

Author: Alice Walker

Publisher: Open Road, 2011 (Ebook)

Rating: 4owls

Thoughts:

I loved the epistolary structure of the novel as it really helped me understand Celie’s perspective. Even though it was really hard to read what Celie and the other women in the novel went through, it was satisfying to experience their growth and the paths they chose to take. I could not put this book down because of the beautiful language.

Memorable Quotes:

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”

“…have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.”

“I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.”

 

Books I love but haven’t talked about in a while.

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten list and everyone is welcome to join. This week’s theme is “Ten Books I Really Love But Haven’t Talked About Enough/ In A While”. Since my blog is less than a year old and I only really post about books on my TBR or books I’m reviewing, I feel like this list might give you a better idea of what kinds of books I’ve enjoyed:

  1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  2. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  4. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  6. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  7. Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  8. The Martian by Andy Weir
  9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  10. Still Alice by Lisa Genova 

What are some awesome books you feel you haven’t talked about in a while? Let me know in the comments below!

Books I’m embarrassed I haven’t read.

I was looking through my to-read list on Goodreads the other day, and realized there are many books I feel like I should have read by now. It’s all in my head, of course, but I can’t help but feel a bit of shame when I see certain books on my list. Here are some of the books that bring me the most shame:

  1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – I’ve picked this book up twice in the past few years, and I just can’t seem to get very far into it. I enjoyed the writing, so I’m not sure what’s holding me back. I would like to try to listen to it as an audiobook this year (specifically the version narrated by Rosamund Pike).
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – Many of the people I follow in the bookish community absolutely love this book. I was never assigned this book throughout school, so I only started hearing about it recently. I also hope to get to this one this year.
  3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – I saw the movie and would love to experience the written story. I even bought the book, I just haven’t read it.
  4. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner – Another popular book that I purchased but never read.
  5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – I’m curious about this book and it was recommended by a close friend. I’m not sure when I’ll pick it up, though.
  6. Beloved by Toni Morrison – I’m actually ashamed that I haven’t read any of Toni Morrison’s work. She is an author that I just learned about in the last couple of years. I need to get to this one soon.
  7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – This is also a book that was never assigned reading for me so it’s fairly new in my world. I went ahead and purchased a copy to read this winter.
  8. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – This particular book came up in many of my public health classes. I bought a copy while in college and just never got around to reading it. This is more of an academic shame and I plan to read it soon.
  9. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – This is one of those books that everyone and their mom has read. I’m not sure why my teachers never assigned this book, but I feel like I missed out on something. Now I’m a little afraid to pick it up in case I don’t like it as much as everyone else does.

These are just some of the books that I feel bad for not having read and I plan to read soon (in the next year or so). Are there any books on your TBR that you feel you should have read by now? Let me know in the comments below!