We’ve almost reached the end of another month, so I figured I would go ahead and share my thoughts on my February reading material. I’m not sure if anyone reads these posts, but I enjoy writing them, and perhaps I’ll appreciate having these to look back on in the future. Anyway, as for this month’s books, I once again managed to finish three books, even with taking about a ten-day hiatus in the middle of the month to stress about my candidacy exam. I’m predicting that this will be the monthly tally from now on; it seems to be a sustainable reading rate.
The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
Last month, I really enjoyed Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and was really excited to read another one of her books. Unfortunately, this one was not as much fun to read. It was informative and provided helpful guidance on how best to deal with the four tendencies in her framework (Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, and Rebel), all different perspectives on how we as humans handle explanations. I highly recommend taking the online quiz to determine which tendency(ies) dominate your personality type. Seth and I both took it…and we both are Upholders. However, it’s worth noting that I think we have different “secondary” tendencies–he leans more toward Questioner, whereas I lean toward Obliger. Anyway, it’s always fun to learn more about yourself and those you interact with on a regular basis, but most of the suggestions seem like common sense for anyone with a basic level of emotional/social intelligence. I will say that I got some helpful tips for how to handle children of each tendency–parenting tactics are always welcome! Overall, I think I just like books that document some sort of long-term self-improvement project (e.g., Year of No Clutter), which would explain why I so enjoyed The Happiness Project but was a little bored at times with this book.
Goodnight, June by Sarah Jio
After reading a few non-fiction books in a row, I was ready to read a novel, and this one was so fun and lighthearted. The book is intended to be the origin story of how the classic children’s book, Goodnight Moon, came to be. The story centers around June, who slowly learns of her Aunt Ruby’s past through a series of letters hidden in the children’s bookstore she owned for decades. There was nothing too deep about this book, but it was a quick read that kept me engaged for an entire weekend. The ending was a little too neat and tidy (i.e., not realistic), but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I picked up this book after seeing several people on social media rave about what a good read it was. It must be pretty popular, because my local library had something like 27 copies in stock, and all were checked out! I have to say that I was a little disappointed, however. The book begins with the immediate aftermath of a family’s house being burned to the ground, ostensibly the latest act of rebellion by the family’s youngest daughter. What follows is the telling of a series of intermingled dramas within the Richardson family and the idyllic community of Shaker Heights. The book is set in the late 1990s, so I did appreciate the subtle references to antennaed cell phones, Aerosmith songs, and Clueless-esque fashion choices, but the book didn’t really stir any real emotion for me. Perhaps the problem was that I didn’t identify with any of the characters, and none of them seemed to have any kind of real “awakening” as a result of all the disruption to their formerly peaceful lives. It wasn’t an unenjoyable or boring book, but it didn’t live up to the hype it seems to be getting.
What did you read in February? Next on my list is Carnegie’s Maid, but after that I’m looking for some non-fiction. Send any recommendations my way!