Sunday, December 29, 2019

Book Review - The Final Four of 2019!

For my final four reads of 2019, I was intentional about the books I chose. I wanted to finish the year strong, and I chose four books to accomplish that aim. Read on. . .

The Best Yes by Lyssa TerKeurst was a book that came into my life at the perfect time. It's been on my to-read list for quite some time, but I finally took the time to dive in, and I'm so glad I did. This is an exploration of what our yes means, and how we need to not so freely give of it. It is a faith-based reflection of how stretching ourselves does not help us achieve our true purpose. This is about becoming more comfortable with no as it explores the reasons we can feel we have to say yes. In reality, we need to understand the guilt, shame, and fear of judgment that can cause us to give a yes we don't truly mean or need to offer. As someone who more often than not gives yes as a default answer, this gave me so much to consider and reflect on. It helped me better understand what I am unintentionally doing to myself and how this yes also isn't helping me serve others. As I read, I found myself nodding along as I saw myself in her words, but I also saw a path forward. Every yes matters, and this gave me a path to see this and consider how I can empower myself and how I gave of my time and energy.

Read this book if - You need a reflection on how to better use time and energy. You consider yes to be your default setting.

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile is an exploration of the Enneagram. In 2019, I've gotten more and more into the Enneagram, and I really dig how it allows for an understanding of tendencies, behaviors, and relationships. This is an easy to understand and helpful exploration of all nine types. There can be a tendency to learn all about your type, and this was a great way to do a deep dive into the other eight types as well. What I appreciated was this helped me understand what each of the nine types brings into the world, what makes them tick, and how I can best work with their uniqueness. I obviously know my own type (I'm a 1 which should surprise no one who knows me) quite well, and after reading this, I have a much stronger understanding of the other eight types. For anyone wanting to understand the Enneagram better, this is a really great place to start.

Read this book if - You are just beginning your Enneagram journey. You want to learn more about Enneagram types beyond your own.

Know My Name by Chantal Miller is outstanding. Honestly, I could stop my review with one sentence. This one just blew me away in the power of the words. I cannot remember a memoir with such emotion and authenticity. This is the voice behind a woman that came to be known to the world as Emily Doe. This is her story of that experience and how she learned to rediscover and use her voice. Not only is this her story as a survivor, but this is a story about reclaiming her identity, finding the courage to put words to trauma, and working to cultivate change. For anyone who is working to plan their reading goals in 2020, this book needs to be a part of that plan. It is one of the most beautiful and honest works I've ever read, and her voice will continue to stay with me.

Read this book if - You are looking to read any book. You want a book full of power and emotion that will stick with you.

The Mall by Megan McCafferty is essentially a love letter to a mall, and I'm so here for the nostalgia feels she's summoning. In 1991, Cassie has a summer job at the mall with her boyfriend before she heads off to college. She's pumped to work alongside him at America's Best Cookie, but her plans quickly take a different direction. Along the way, Cassie gets drawn into a mystery involving clues connected to Cabbage Patch Kids. Again, so great with the nostalgia on that one. What follows is Cassie figuring out love and life at the mall. Much of that is navigating the balance of what she'll be leaving behind with the excitement of getting out and moving on. For women of a certain age (e.g. a book blogger in her late thirties), this hits a certain kind of way throughout. Cassie's story is literally told through the stores of the mall. As I read, I was picturing the malls and stores of my youth, and I didn't realize how much I loved and missed that. Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced look at this June 2020 release.

Read this book if - You spent your teen years as a frequent patron of the mall. You often find yourself the days where the mall was the place to be. You love a dose of nostalgia feels as a Gen Xer or older millenial. 

Until 2020 and the new year (of reading)!