august 2019 books

Happy Labor Day to those of you in the US! I used the slower pace of this weekend to finish my third (and possibly my favorite) book of the month. Here’ s a look at what was on my library check-out list in August:

The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirksy

I technically started reading this toward the tail-end of July…but I didn’t finish it until last week. I found it to be a bit of a slog, so I actually put it aside for awhile to read The Mother In-Law. I generally like reading books about the psychology of happiness, but this one was not as captivating as some of the others I’ve read. All that being said, I’m glad I pushed through and finished this one. It is written by an esteemed social psychologist, so I like that the advice provided is very evidence-based. I think I might have been able to get more out of this book if I hadn’t gotten it from the library–there are a lot of self-assessments throughout the book that inform which happiness activities might be most appropriate. Because this was a library book, however, I couldn’t write in the book and didn’t put forth the energy to copy down answers on a separate piece of paper…so basically, I was too lazy to really use this book to its full potential. I did make sure to find an electronic version of all 12 happiness activities for future reference. As it turns out, I already regularly employ several, but there are a few new ones that I’ll be trying out in the future. I might file these away for some resolutions in 2020…

4 out of 5 stars. 

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

Because I know my own mother-in-law reads this blog, by reading this book I am in no way insinuating that I want to see my mother-in-law murdered! Now that that’s out of the way, I can say that I loved this book. It’s an excellent murder mystery that examines some of life’s most complicated relationships (i.e., those with one’s in-laws). Like any good read, it has a good mix of suspense (obviously) along with humor and sadness. I read this in a matter of days, and it was just the break I needed from the non-fiction I had been reading (see above). I plan on seeking out some more books by this author.

5 out of 5 stars.

Hunger by Roxane Gay

I heard about this book from several fellow dietitians; the consensus seemed to be that every health professional treating patients with obesity needs to read it. So I did, and I’m glad. In case you didn’t know, obesity is rarely simply a case of eating too much. Not only is there a whole lot of complex biology at work in this disease, but there is also intense emotion involved. The author of this memoir explains this fact in a very powerful way. Gay describes in (excruciating?) detail how humiliating it is to be a fat person in today’s world. Air travel sounds like a downright nightmare. We “normal” folks are usually oblivious to how devastating something as seemingly trivial as a chair with arms can be for someone with obesity. There were a few portions of the book that really spoke to me, one being the chapter on why she loves Ina Garten (me too, girl, me too) and another about being perceived as a “cold” person, when really you’re just protecting yourself: “My warmth was hidden until I could find the right people with whom to share it, people I could trust…I am not promiscuous with my warmth, but when I share it, my warmth can be as hot as the sun.” Damn girl, you sure can turn a phrase. As a side note, I’m told this one is particularly powerful as an audio book; the author narrates it herself.

5 out of 5 stars. 

What did you read in August?

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