Archive of ‘General’ category

A Reading Funk

I could feel it coming. I would binge a few great books and then stare at my library pile with apathy. Indecision meant starting multiple books before setting them aside.

I was in a Reading Funk.

The fact that reading keeps me sane means a reading funk is no good. I picked up a few quicker romance reads and that kept me going for a few more weeks.

But then I was back to aimlessly staring at covers, my fingers slipping over the spines but ending up empty handed. It was time of the big guns.

The only thing that can save me from this situation is a good old fashioned reread.

Sometimes it only takes one more trip to Paris with Anna and Etienne to pull me out of my funk, but this time it felt bigger than that. I needed a series reread, but Anna wasn’t calling to me.

Sookie Stackhouse was calling to me instead. In the past few days I’ve read the first and second, and am starting on the third. I needed something fast, dramatic, and familiar, and this series gives me exactly that. I don’t know if I’ll reread the entire series (though that would surely help me recover from my lackluster beginning of the month) but I figure I’ll reread until I see an unread book on my shelves that jumps into my waiting hand.

What do you do when you hit a reading funk/slump? Power through? Take a break? Reread?

Review: Run Like a Mother

Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving- and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity, by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea 

Reluctantly, over the last year, I’ve become a runner. I started as a walker, setting out in the mornings and looping around our neighborhood or on paths near our house while the kids started to stir. Around the same time, my husband took up running during lunch breaks and started asking me to enter races with him, so I upped my pace. And it was fine. I was fine. Sometimes, I even enjoyed it. Last summer and fall, I ran two 5Ks and took part in the relay portion of our local marathon. Since it got cold, I have given up altogether but honestly, I miss it. My husband and I were discussing this a couple of weeks ago and got ourselves so wound up that we decided to run a half marathon in September. 13.1 miles seems do-able but when I think about it, I get crazy  nervous. I picked up this book and it’s companion Train Like a Mother because they sounded just right up my ally.

And I liked this, I really did. I thought that maybe it was aimed mostly at runners who were a bit further into their running careers than myself, but that’s fine- it was inspiring to read that someone’s favorite course to run was the 15 mile loop around their local lake. I loved reading about the nutrition changes and gear purchases I’ll need to make as my milage wracks up. Running low milage has meant that not eating before and wearing cotton legging has been fine, but I knew that all of this would probably need to change and it was great to get tips on that. I thought that the women who wrote this were funny and smart and open about their running struggles, which I really liked. I liked that there was one woman who was competitive and serious about numbers and one that wasn’t. I cannot at all relate to running to beat someone else, but running as a stress reliever, that I can get behind.

I felt like there was a big connection here to the little community we’ve built at WSR. These are women who have refused to give into the mom-bot “I am a mom. I am programed to mom” attitude- they have decided that this thing, running, is important enough to continually pursue. I feel like at WSR, we’ve said that this thing, reading, is important enough to keep doing although it doesn’t seem like there is enough time. This idea wasn’t ever really explicitly stated but kind of draped here or there in different chapters and it really stood out to me. What they were saying was that we, as humans, are important enough to have hobbies that can seem inconvenient for the sole reason of just plain old loving the hobby. Running, reading, whatever it is. I connect deeply with that.

However, the chapters on their kids and husbands? That I couldn’t really get behind. The kids chapter was more understandable for me- a mother running is important for them to see for many reasons (showing a healthy lifestyle, letting them understand that you have needs too, etc) as well as keeping you sane enough to love them when you are with them, also important. But how Sarah talked about her husband made me really sad. Pretty much she painted a picture of resentment and duty which made me really uncomfortable. I don’t know how to describe it except to say that if running were putting me in that place in my marriage, I wouldn’t do it.

All this to say, I think that the promises in the subtitle didn’t exactly come through for me. Yes, it’s a great guide on the hows/whys of running, maybe less so on family management.

Hi! Remember Us?

Hellooooooooo! Happy 2016…like six weeks ago.

Here at We Still Read last year got busy and crazy and blogging to a way, way backseat. There were reading slumps, promotions, new creative and physical hobbies, kids growing, moving, and just general life.

BUT! We are back! :) We can’t guarantee we will be posting every weekday or even every week, but we all miss our little internet home here, and that means we’ll be blogging more and more active on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

We hope you’re enjoying 2016 so far! We’d love to hear what your favorite book has been so far…comment here or on Twitter or Facebook.

<3

Review: The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

From Goodreads: Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Jennie’s Thoughts: If you haven’t picked up a Trish Doller book, DO SO NOW. She writes H-O-T romances and beautiful hearts and real emotions and crazy awesome suspense. For example, this book here. From the very first page, I knew this book would be the type that would keep me up overnight listening for bumps and bangs from the boogeyman. I had to force myself to stop reading it at bedtime…okay, okay, an hour past my usual bedtime.

I finished it the next day during the kiddo’s naptime and I was still totally creeped out, even in the daytime. The end was heart-pounding action and I probably left finger imprints on the library book’s binding from gripping it so hard.

Cadie was the perfect teen narrator, not perfect as in does no wrong, but perfect as in, a real person frustrated and overwhelmed, with dreams worth going for. Only she gets a little turned around with the hottie cousins she meets at a campground one night and things get insane.

I highly recommend this book!

Review: Yoga for Emotional Balance

 

From Andrea—-For my Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), one of my homework assignments was to read and review a yoga-related book. I thought I’d share here :)

Summary: This book specifically addresses how breathwork and yoga can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Forbes explains in detail how the two conditions can exist in tandem, while having opposite effects on the body. She touches on the prevalent use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, and how they are often taken together with both beneficial and contradictory effects

Forbes breaks down her book into two parts: The Path to Emotional Balance and Breathwork and Restorative Yoga. The first part is then broken down into five sections: Understanding Anxiety & Depression, What Gets in the Way of Change, How True Healing Happens, Five Ways to Transform Your Emotional Patterns, and Finding Meaning in Anxiety & Depression. Each of these five chapters shares anecdotal stories and explanations of the topic from Forbes’ psychotherapy and yoga sessions. The chapters each end with a breath work exercise. Each exercise begins with establishing a baseline, doing the breathwork (1:1, 1:2, etc) and noticing the difference after the practice.

The second part of the book focuses completely on determining your emotional style and developing a Restorative Yoga practice based on that. There is Anxious Mind/Anxious Body, Depressed Mind/Depressed Body, Anxious Mind/Depressed Body, and Depressed Mind/Anxious Body.

Review: I found this book to be very enlightening and applicable to my own life.( I especially like the anecdotal method of explanation, as I was a bit concerned that a book by a PsyD would be rather clinical). You can tell that Forbes genuinely lives her yoga, and isn’t out to make a buck off people looking for a quick fix. In fact, at the very beginning of the book she tells the reader that they can either read the chapters or not, but that the heart of the “cure” is in the practice, and in consistent practice at that. She acknowledges that reading the book in its entirety, combined with consistent practice, would be the most beneficial method, but really stresses the breathwork above all.

Forbes is able to explain the effects of the breath on the mind and body in an easy-to-understand manner. She suggests a 1:1 breath to maintain a calm, balanced mind, or a 1:2 breath to calm a racing, anxious mind.

I think this book would be beneficial to offer to anyone who struggles with anxiety and/or depression, provided they are open to the commitment of steady and consistent practice vs a quick fix.

Andrea’s second quarter wrap-up

If you’ve been paying attention, you probably caught on by now that I haven’t posted a review in 2 months. Part of me wants to blame it on a slump brought on by a slew of bad books, but the truth of the matter is I’ve been incredibly busy, incredibly stressed, and smack in the middle of the worst episode of depression I’ve had in 10 years. PLUS I hit a really bad patch of rotten books and couldn’t bring myself to finish any. So it goes.

BUT! All hope is not lost. According to Goodreads, I’m only 3 books  behind schedule, so I’m still hopeful to gain ground before my next quarter round up. I did read or listen to 5 books since my last review. Three of those were pretty crappy, to be honest, but two of them were pretty dang good and you’ll see those reviews soon. I’m currently at 22 of 52 books for the year, I’m about a quarter through the way of Song of Susannah on audio. It’s kinda bogged down for me but I have faith in the King to bring it back up.

I’m looking for any recommendations to bring me out of my slump- sometimes I think I get hung up on my obsession with long, serious dialogues and miss out on the not-so-serious  reads. I am looking at re-reading some old favorites to kick my butt into gear, but give me what you got, dear readers!

Review: Americanah

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From Goodreads:  As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.

Erin’s Thoughts:  This is the second novel I’ve read by Adichie, and I’m fairly certain I’m in love.  Adicihie has quickly become my favorite contemporary author.  Her writing is gorgeous, engaging, funny, and thought-provoking.  In addition to being an amazing writer, she’s just a smart, smart person who I could listen to for hours.  Her TED talk, The Danger of a Single Story,  is one of my favorites.  I highly recommend giving it a watch.

So.  About Americanah.  On the surface it’s a coming of age story, a love story, a finding yourself story.  That alone will be enough to make you love this novel.  But, the current that runs through this novel is race.  What does it mean to be black in Nigeria vs. what does it mean to be black in America?  How is race perceived differently?  What are the differences between being a Non-American Black and an American Black? Adichie manages to hold race up in front of our faces in an open, honest, experiential way.  She tells a story, but she also makes us think.  Reading this had me considering my own privilege in ways I’d never thought of before.  Considering the current racial climate in our country, this novel spoke to me in so many ways.  I have always loved reading fiction from cultures outside of my own because it can be such an eye-opening experience, a way to learn about our world, and a powerful way to reflect on my own values and beliefs.  I know not everyone does this regularly, but I not only highly encourage you to step outside of your reading culture every now and again, I cannot say enough times that this novel should be one of the steps in your literary travels.  Read it, and then let’s chat!

 

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