April Reads | The Life of K: April Reads

Friday, May 6, 2016

April Reads

I've been reading the same book now for what feels like weeks so when I look back on this list I'm amazed at everything I read. Just like with March, I can't pick a favourite.

14. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert


In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. 

What I thought

Everybody's heard of this book, right? It's a best seller that got made into a movie. I was never interested. I did try the movie but couldn't get into it. Then I read Gilbert's Big Magic in March and fell in love with her writing style. I told myself I'd give Eat, Pray, Love a chance. Well, I loved it!

I'm envious of Gilbert's bold move to leave everything she knew to go out on a crazy adventure. It's an escape to read about her journey.

15. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari


For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

What I thought

This book wasn't exactly what I was thinking it would be. Would have helped if I'd read the summary first, but still. It's a lot of research into relationships and how we go about finding them, written with comedy by Ansari. He's a funny guy and a lot of it made me think of his show. Interesting for sure.

16. The Illegal by Lawrence Hill


The Illegal is the gripping story of Keita Ali, a refugee—like the many in today’s headlines—compelled to leave his homeland.

All Keita has ever wanted to do is to run. Running means respect and wealth at home. His native Zantoroland, a fictionalized country whose tyrants are eerily familiar, turns out the fastest marathoners on earth. But after his journalist father is killed for his outspoken political views, Keita must flee to the wealthy nation of Freedom State—a country engaged in a crackdown on all undocumented people.

There, Keita becomes a part of the new underground. He learns what it means to live as an illegal: surfacing to earn cash prizes by running local races and assessing whether the people he meets will be kind or turn him in. As the authorities seek to arrest Keita, he strives to elude capture and ransom his sister, who has been kidnapped.

Set in an imagined country bearing a striking resemblance to our own, this tension-filled novel casts its eye on race, human potential, and what it means to belong.

What I thought

This was an incredibly captivating book. You're rooting for Keita the entire time. Runner or not, you should read this book.

17. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown


Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?

In The Gifts of Imperfection, BrenĂ© Brown, PhD, a leading expert on shame, authenticity and belonging, shares what she's learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living--a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn't change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.

What I thought:

I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I mean, I liked it and got really into it, but as soon as I'm done, everything I read leaves my mind. I just hope some of it stayed and makes me a better person.

18. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

What I thought

This is a short book, very quick to read, and fun. I got swept away in the story of Santiago and his search for treasure. I'll be checking out Coelho's other books for sure.

What are you reading?

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