april 2020 books

Another month later…and we’re still at home! I don’t exactly have oodles of free time between simultaneous work and childcare duties, but I did manage to read two books this month. I’ll be honest, I’m kind of choosing random titles to read these days because the library remains closed, and the options available as eBooks (without a mile-long waiting list) are somewhat limited.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

As is the standard these days, I have no idea where I even heard about this book, but it was on my ever-growing list of titles to check out, so here we are. This book begins with the arrest of a husband and wife, and what follows is how this life-changing (life-ruining?) event impacts their closest family members, including their two daughters and the wife’s two sisters. I found the story a little slow, so it took me a while to get into this book, but I was quite fascinated by the characters. In particular, I wanted to read more about the sister named Viola who is a highly educated psychologist who struggles with relapses in disordered eating. According to the afterword, this book actually began as a book with Viola as the protagonist…and I kind of wish the author had stuck with that plan. Her particular mix of challenges and “otherness” were quite compelling to read about, and I loved the chapters that were written from her perspective. Overall, this was an entertaining read with quality writing, but I’d like to read about this same family in a different story.

3.5/5 stars.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Newsflash: if you’re 32 years old, and you express yourself best through an online journal, you might be an introvert. So, yeah, it’s no surprise that I am an introvert.  I’ve definitely grown up in a world in which being charismatic, bold, and confident are the ideal. I am not any of those things. As pitiful as it sounds, I think I resigned myself to the fact that I am shy and anxious, therefore I am less valuable. You didn’t know you were going to be reading a self-psychoanalysis when you started reading this book review, did you?

The point of that background is to say that I really needed to read this book. As Cain points out, roughly one-third to one-half of the world identifies as an introvert, so we are not a small minority, and we contribute valuable and very necessary skills to almost every workplace you can imagine. Cain lays out exactly what introversion is, as a dimension of personality as well as a physiological profile, then applies it to an array of highly useful entities: leadership, collaboration, public speaking, business, cultural ideals, relationships, and parenting. I gleaned a lot of practical advice from this book, and I finished with a sense that being shy is not some scarlet letter that I have to carry around for the rest of my life. I just need to know when to pretend to be an extrovert (which as it turns out, most introverts are very good at, due to their keen sense of observation), and when to retreat to my “restorative niche.”

5/5 stars.

What did you read in April?

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