February #HWRbooks: Burnout: The Secret To Unlocking the Stress Cycle

Announcing February’s #HWRbooks selection:

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Burnout: The Secret To Unlocking the Stress Cycle by: Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Nagoski, DMA (Ballantine) – Pub Date: March 26, 2019

From the publisher:

This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.

Burnout. Many women in America have experienced it. What’s expected of women and what it’s really like to be a woman in today’s world are two very different things—and women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap between them. How can you “love your body” when every magazine cover has ten diet tips for becoming “your best self”? How do you “lean in” at work when you’re already operating at 110 percent and aren’t recognized for it? How can you live happily and healthily in a sexist world that is constantly telling you you’re too fat, too needy, too noisy, and too selfish?

Sisters Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, are here to help end the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of asking us to ignore the very real obstacles and societal pressures that stand between women and well-being, they explain with compassion and optimism what we’re up against—and show us how to fight back. In these pages you’ll learn

• what you can do to complete the biological stress cycle—and return your body to a state of relaxation
• how to manage the “monitor” in your brain that regulates the emotion of frustration
• how the Bikini Industrial Complex makes it difficult for women to love their bodies—and how to defend yourself against it
• why rest, human connection, and befriending your inner critic are keys to recovering and preventing burnout

With the help of eye-opening science, prescriptive advice, and helpful worksheets and exercises, all women will find something transformative in these pages—and will be empowered to create positive change. Emily and Amelia aren’t here to preach the broad platitudes of expensive self-care or insist that we strive for the impossible goal of “having it all.” Instead, they tell us that we are enough, just as we are—and that wellness, true wellness, is within our reach.

I like to keep these buddy reads as easy and carefree as possible so everyone can enjoy the book and not get too freaked out or worried.

The discussion for Burnout: The Secret To Unlocking the Stress Cycle will be on Saturday, February 22, 2020.

There will be a post on my Instagram feed (find me here: @happiestwhenreading) with some discussions relating to the book. There is no specific time to check in and discuss – because if your life is anything like mine, it’s chaotic. When you have some time, check in and throw your thoughts out, respond to some other people, and continue to do that…obviously, the more interaction, the more fun this will be!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let me know!

Until then, happy reading!

My Week in Books {1/29/19}

I am over the moon that January is almost over! It’s been long, emotional, and exhausting…I’m ready to kiss it goodbye!

In case you missed them, here are some links to my recent posts:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 10.21.55 AM📖 *** A Long Petal of the Sea by: Isabel Allende (Ballantine) – Pub Date: January 21, 2020

What an incredible story – and history lesson – this one was! I knew absolutely NOTHING about the Spanish Civil War, so this book blew my mind! Just before WWII broke out across Europe, Spain found themselves in a battle for their own country. Admist talks about a giant war looming on the horizon (WWII), Spainards still fled to France as refugees. There, 2200 Spanish refugees were removed from the French internment camps by poet Pablo Neruda, put on the SS Winnipeg ship, and sent to Chile under President Pedro Auirre Cerda‘s endorsement. This story takes off from there, following one family through their experience. It’s a little heavy on the factual information and that is kind of detracting from the character development a little bit, but overall I found this to be an outstanding hostorical fiction novel! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖 *** The Wolf Wants In by: Laura McHugh (Spiegel & Grau) – Pub Date: August 6, 2019

Do you like dark and gritty books? Then this book is for you!

It gave me all the Marlena, Sugar Run, and The Line That Held Us vibes. It’s a literary mystery that had me immersed…not only for the whodunit? aspect, but for the deeper nuances the author explores. It’s not a long book (under 300), but everything about it was perfection (well, except for the many cast of secondary characters that were somewhat difficult to keep placed properly within the story). ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖 A Curse So Dark and Lonely by: Brigid Kemmerer (Cursebreaksers, #1) (Bloomsbury YA) – Pub Date: January 29, 2019

Finally, finally a book that gave me a glimmer of hope that my reading life might start to pick up again!

I first heard about A Curse So Dark and Lonely from the Currently Reading podcast (one of my favorites!). YA is hit or miss for me, but when Meredith mentioned that she’s jealous of those that get to read it for the first time, she had me convinced!

The book is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (though I’ve never seen the movie so I can’t say how closely it follows the storyline or if that even matters), and I loved every page of it. All the characters – main and secondary – are incredibly well written, I loved the world of Ironrose, and the fantasy/conflict aspect was well executed! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

I’m excited for the second book, A Heart So Fierce and Broken, which was just released on January 7th!

Also, I’m including a link to Kemmerer’s Goodreads account where she talks about highlighted passages from the book. I love these reader insights into the author’s mind as she was writing!

Currently Reading:

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 10.23.42 AM📱 *** Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me by: Erin Khar (Park Row) – On Shelves: February 25, 2020

This book piqued my interested because I’m always fascinated by the motivations behind drug use. I’m about 25% into this one and it’s not offering the insights I was hoping for…I’m giving it a bit further, but I’m not super hopeful at this point.

📖 Little Women by: Louisa May Alcott ( Roberts Brothers) – Pub Date: September 30, 1868

I have zero motivation to pick this one up. I’ll give it until the end of January, but may have to rethink this purchase. 🤔

DNF (aka: Not For Me and/or Skipping For Now):

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 10.26.38 AM📖 Maybe In Another Life by: Taylor Jenkins Reid (Washington Square Press) – Pub Date: July 7, 2015

Love the concept of this book: alternating chapters that explores what happens if one choice is made over another…and how that one decision plays out. But I couldn’t get past the simplistic writing style, cheesy dialogue, and predictability. This is my least favorite TJR book so far. DNF at 40%.

#DNFingWithoutApologyin2020

Libro.fm’s Bookstore Link – Allowing you to easily buy physical books from your favorite indie bookstore!

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Why should you choose Libro.fm over other audiobook companies?

Because as a Libro.fm customer, you:

  1. Keep money within your local economyProceeds from audiobooks purchased through Libro.fm are shared with your local bookstore. Shopping locally keeps 25% more money in your community than when you shop at a national chain. That means more of your tax dollars are also reinvested into your community!
  2. Create local jobsLocal businesses are better at creating higher paying jobs within the community.
  3. Protect the environmentBuying local means less packaging and less transportation. Plus, digital audiobooks have an even smaller carbon footprint!
  4. Make a differenceLocal businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
  5. Nurture your community’s uniquenessLocal bookstores curate their selection based on what they know their community members are interested in. When you buy from local booksellers, you are participating in the conversation that shapes your local culture.

If you enjoy listening to audiobooks, Libro.fm is the first audiobook company to make it possible for you to buy audiobooks directly through your indie bookstore of choice! They offer over 125,000 audiobook titles so there’s something for everyone. With no monthly obligation, you can’t lose!

From here on out, when I provide a link to a book, it will be through Libro.fm’s Bookstore Link. Through this link, you get to choose which independent bookstore you’d like to support to purchase physical copies of the book of your choice – and you can feel good about the fact that you’re supporting REAL people who care about YOU and YOUR COMMUNITY!

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By now, I hope I’ve convinced you to make the #audiobookswitch. Use promo code HAPPIEST to get 3-for-1 to get yourself started with one of the most friendly companies I’ve ever worked with!

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My Week in Books {1/22/19}

It’s been a week! I’ve been humbled beyond and I’m thankful for the opportunity to grow and be better (what the heck am I talking about?!?! Read To the Latinx Community: I’m Sorry for Being Part of the Problem.)

In case you missed them, here are some links to my recent posts:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

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📖 *** American Dirt by: Jeanine Cummins (Flatiron) – Pub Date: January 21, 2020

Again, please read To the Latinx Community: I’m Sorry for Being Part of the Problem.

And then read some #ownvoices reviews. What’s an #ownvoice review? It’s a person from the actual culture of the main characters in the book you’re reading. They’re the people who actually have personal insight into how the culture is represented – speaking to the accuracies (or lack thereof) within the plot. If #ownvoices aren’t standing behind the book, it’s important to give some reflection on why that is…and possibly chose a different book to read that’s less offensive, oppressive, racist, or ignorant.

📖 *** Followers by: Megan Angelo (Graydon House) – Pub Date: January 14, 2020

I just don’t have feelings one way or another about it, and that’s largely unfair to the book. Please look to and read other reviews to make a decision about whether this one is for you or not.

I’m sure it’s due to the week I’ve had, but I think the writing is confusing and I was bored a lot of the time, despite an overall interest in what “The Spill” is…(I’m still not sure.)

I’m including this interview with Megan Angelo so I can refer to it when I have some time to read it!

If anyone has read this, feel free to give me the cliffnotes version.

Currently Reading:

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📖 Little Women by: Louisa May Alcott ( Roberts Brothers) – Pub Date: September 30, 1868

I didn’t even crack the cover of this book this week. It definitely doesn’t hold my intrigue; I picked it up because it’s a classic and I feel like it should be on my read shelf…I’m going to try a few more pages and hope it picks up.

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

 

To the Latinx Community: I’m Sorry for Being Part of the Problem.

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I read American Dirt last week. It was a book I couldn’t put down; it had me captured from the very first beginning. When I finished the last page – even after having read the Author’s Note at the end – I thought this was an important, timely, and necessary book. As I wrote my quick review, I was becoming more aware of the controversy surrounding this book but really only on a surface level. I finished the review and posted it.

Here is my original review (posted to my Instagram, Goodreads, and Twitter accounts but have since been deleted so as not to add to the promotion or hype):

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I had no idea the ways I was perpetuating harmful stereotypes. The comment section quickly exploded…and I genuinely welcomed the conversation. I consider myself to be open-minded and appreciate people pointing out my blind spots. The comments were insightful and I immediately got the sense that I had got this one wrong. I am always on the side of bettering myself, and I don’t ever want to be on the side of harm – be that through oppression, racism, stereotyping, or ignorance.

I began searching #ownvoices reviews.

Here are some to start with:

I read them and then would sit with them. I reread my review through that new lens. I started examining how my promotion of this book was offensive to people who have actually lived this life – not some fictionalized and sensationalized version of the truth.

I used the example of Sin Nombre, a movie produced years ago, that never fell under criticism, as a defense of my feelings. It was rightfully pointed out that this is a Straw Man argument – “an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument” (via dictionary.com). Again, my mind was in overtime…finally starting to get a sense of where the #ownvoices people were coming from.

My intention was never to hurt anyone, but I now realize that my intention isn’t what is important here. What’s important is that by giving this a 5-star review, I perpetuated oppression and stereotypes.

I hurt people.

And for that I’m truly sorry.

If you’d like to purchase books from #ownvoices authors, go to @lupita.reads instagram profile and check out the story highlight labeled “Mex Lit”. Also, Daci (@daciandthebooks) has created a graphic with some books listed as well. (Again, I know there are more…this is just to give you a starting point!)

I will be purchasing some of the books listed tomorrow when I head out of town!

Also, I will be deleting the original post so as not to add to the hype and promotion of this book. 

Thank you to this community for helping me learn, grow, and be better. Though it’s not your job to educate anyone, I appreciate those of you who are.

Again, I am truly sorry and I hope to do better next time.

Special shoutout to Oscar (@booksteanhenny): thank you for taking the time to DM me. You were genuine and kind and respectful and I probably learned the most from you. I appreciate you helping me be better.

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My Week in Books {1/15/20}

I’ve been quiet here; I’m not sure where my motivation is, but…

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In case you missed them, here are some links to my recent posts:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

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📱*** Such a Fun Age by: Kiley Reid (Putnam) – Pub Date: December 31, 2019

**Unpopular Opinion!** I may be the only person in the world that isn’t a fan of this book! While it was readable, the writing was juvenile at best. I honestly thought I was reading YA (and believe it would have been better within that genre). There were a lot of disjumbled plot points (the husband’s racist remark on air) that were never fully explored that left me frustrated. At times I felt like Reid was trying to solve too many issues, leaving most of them half-finished. I thought the characters were horrific with no redeemable qualities; Emira was my favorite character, but she was a little too naive for my total endearment. (I did love little Briar though!) Overall, I was extremely underwhelmed by this story and won’t find myself joining everyone else on the bandwagon. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖 The Library Book by: Susan Orlean (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: October 16, 2018

This book has been on my Unread Shelf for awhile and as part of my committment to reading my Unread Shelf in 2020, I finally picked it up! I have heard high praise for this one, and while I mostly agree, I was a bit bored. There is  A LOT of research and information about libraries (specifically the Los Angeles Public Library), and after awhile, I found myself skimming parts of it. (It also talks about the fire of 1986 that decimated the LA Public Library which was absolutely fascinating!) This book truly is a love letter to libraries, librarians, and even LA itself. It’s worth the read, but also not as good as I was hoping! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Currently Reading:

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📖 *** A Long Petal of the Sea by: Isabel Allende (Ballantine) – Pub Date: January 21, 2020

I know absolutely NOTHING about the Spanish Civil War, so this book has been blowing my mind! Just before WWII broke out across Europe, Spain found themselves in a battle for their own country. Admist talks about a giant war looming on the horizon, Spainards still fled to France as refugees. There, 2200 Spanish refugees were removed from the French internment camps by poet Pablo Neruda, put on the SS Winnipeg ship, and sent to Chile under President Pedro Auirre Cerda‘s endorsement. This story takes off from there, following one family through their experience. It’s a little heavy on the factual information and that is kind of detracting from the character development a little bit, but I’m really enjoying this historical fiction novel!

📖 Little Women by: Louisa May Alcott ( Roberts Brothers) – Pub Date: September 30, 1868

Oh boy…I’m going to keep trying to push through this one for a little bit, but I’m starting to see why “classics” is not the genre for me. I really wanted to read this one before the movie is released on DVD in March, but I may have to DNF – and skip the movie?!?! 🤷🏼‍♀️

DNF (aka: Not For Me and/or Skipping For Now):

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📖 The Garden of Small Beginnings by: Abbi Waxman (Berkley) – Pub Date: May 2, 2017

I DNFd The Bookish Life of Nina Hill earlier this year, and now I’m DNFing this one as well. I think Waxman’s writing is just to cutesy for me. I don’t know – but I was bored and I’m not going to force myself to read anything in 2020. #DNFingWithoutApologyin2020

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

My Week in Books {1/9/20}

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I’m a day behind already and it’s only January 9th!

In case you missed them, here are some links to my recent posts:

Best of 2019 Posts:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

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📖 Me by: Elton John (Henry Holt ) – Pub Date: October 15, 2019

It’s January 3rd and I’ve already found my first ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read of the year!

I grew up listening to Elton John’s music in the background of my house on Sunday mornings. I can’t say I knew it was Elton John actually singing, it’s just a familiarity I had to his music when one of his songs played (let’s be honest, I still don’t know artists to some of my favorite songs 🤷🏼‍♀️). But who doesn’t know Tiny DancerBenny and the Jetts, Rocket Man…I could go on and on.

Anyway, my true love for Elton John came when he put on a concert in Laramie, Wyoming after the tragic death of Matthew Shepard. He played for hours in a tribute to Matthew Shepard and also in an effort to raise awareness to the inequality LGTBQ community experienced (and sadly, still does). He was incredible, playing for hours on end in the Arena Auditorium. I will never forget that night, not just for the concert he put on, but for the humbling experience that it was.

ME is the first and only autobiography available. In it, Elton John holds nothing back. He spills it all – from his horrifying parents to his drug use to juicy celebrity gossip to his beautiful family with David and their two sons. It is unflichingly honest, even when it makes himself look terrible. He was an addict and it made him treat some of the people closest to him poorly, but he checked himself into rehab and completely changed his life around, all while managing a career that has spanned over fifty years!

Also quite inspiring to me is Elton John’s work within the HIV/AIDS community. Since his nonprofit, Elton John AIDS Foundation, was started in the early 1990s, it has raised over $450 million dollars “to challenge discrimination against people affected by the epidemic, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS”.

He’s quite the individual and I will forever remain a loyal fan.

I also highly recommend the movie (which follows ME in the big areas), Rocket Man. It’s incredible in its own right as well!

📖 *** Dear Edward by: Ann Napolitano (The Dial Press) – Pub Date: January 6, 2019

This was my first selection of 2020 for #HWRbooks, my personal online book club I run through my Instagram page, @happiestwhenreading! The discussion post will go live on Saturday, January 25 and I’d love to have you join in the conversation!

The synopsis of this one pulled me in! It’s a coming-of-age story about a young boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash. It examines the effects that accident and his grief then have on his teenage years.

For me, the book was too easy. I was looking for some serious examination of survior’s guilt and grief, but it lacked in these areas. I found many parts of the story unrealistic and I found myself continually hoping for more. One aspect I really liked was Edward’s relationship with Shay, a girl who lived next door from his aunt and uncle. She provided the grounding Edward needed to deal with his new circumstances.

The discussion post for Dear Edward will be up on January 25th, so I don’t want to go into too much more detail on my thoughts, so keep an eye out for it!

📖 *** Saint X by: Alexis Schaitkin (Celadon) – Pub Date: February 18, 2020

This one started off strong! I was really enjoying the island vibes and the mysterious disappearance that was reminiscent of Natalee Holloway, an 18-year-old woman that was in Aruba with others from her high school graduating class who disappeared in 2005 and has never been seen or heard from again.

Around the last 50% mark, the book slowed way down – which I don’t mind at all! I enjoyed the writing and I was completely invested in how the story was going to play out. Then around the last 25% of the book, it took a very unrealistic turn and the climax that was building throughout the story was completely disappointing. Because of that ending, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the book overall…I’m going to have to let it be for awhile and see how it sticks with me over time.

(As a side note, I couldn’t help wondering how a book like this might make Holloway’s family feel. There are many similarities to her case and I think, as a mother, I wouldn’t enjoy this publication too much. Also, because this book really looks at the afterlives of a family after the disappearance of their loved one, this story would feel unsettling to me. If you’ve read it, what do you think about this aspect?)

Currently Reading:

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📱*** Such a Fun Age by: Kiley Reid (Putnam) – Pub Date: December 31, 2019

Just started this one but the buzz is everywhere!

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)