Good Morning, Monster

What I read: Good Morning, Monster by Catherine Gildiner

Why I picked it up: Anne Bogel recommended it last week for people who liked Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, which I did.

How I read it: On audio while driving – in large chunks, which I’d recommend.

What it’s about: The author is a retired psychologist from Toronto, and she chooses five “psychological heroes” from her career to profile. Each story is unique while also a little interconnected since she has learned things from each person that she has put into practice in other areas of life.

What I liked: I appreciated seeing the entire arc of their story between 1 and 5 years of their lives as they worked through childhood abuse, trauma, and more.

What I disliked: I disliked that any child has had to undergo any of the terrible, awful, unloving, abusive events these five people did.

Genre: Memoir, self-help.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely. Be aware of the triggers, but this is a good listen.

Flat Broke with Two Goats

What I read: Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha

Why I picked it up: This was on a list somewhere a while ago and I finally accepted the available hold and listened.

How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed.

What it’s about: It’s about a reluctant homesteader in rural North Carolina with a mix of escaping an abusive relationship, financial issues, motherhood, teaching, chickens and eggs, and goat farming with cheese making.

What I liked: I appreciated the window into this life that is so different from my own, and that it was set almost in my backyard (hours away, but same state).

What I disliked: I wanted more about her cheese making adventures – the goats seemed to come in late in the book, but were still a delight.

Genre: Memoir, homesteading, abuse,

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth the listen!

Crying in H Mart

What I read: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Why I picked it up: I’d heard about this awhile from Anne Bogel, but didn’t put a hold on the audio until my sister-in-law read and loved it this summer.

How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed this weekend and while driving today.

What it’s about: Michelle shares the love her mother had for her and all of the things that now reminder her, like being in H Mart around everything from her childhood as a Korean.

What I liked: I loved hearing both the good and the hard of her childhood and how that’s made her into the woman she is today.

What I disliked: I think I missed some things because I’m not all that familiar with Korean culture. I would have loved some accompanying photos, which don’t come with audiobooks.

Genre: Memoir, mothers, grief.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely.


What I read: Hunger by Roxane Gay

Why I picked it up: I cannot remember why I put a hold on this at the library. I also have had it for at least 4 months before I read it in an entire day.

How I read it: On paper in a day.

What it’s about: I thought it was a story of living in a larger body, an understanding of how to navigate the world as someone who doesn’t conform to the world’s standards of beauty. It is that, but it’s more about the author’s lifetime response to a gang rape at the age of 12. She’s tried to protect herself by making her body bigger, which has the effect of making her almost invisible in the world.

What I liked: It’s a very hard subject (why I put off reading it) written in short, simple, conversational sentences.

What I disliked: No one saw she was hurting and helped, that was hard to read.

Genre: Memoir, sexual assault.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think this would be good for almost everyone to read, it’ll be good for your empathy.

Good Enough

What I read: Good Enough by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie

Why I picked it up: I debated ordering Kate’s new book but had a 15% off preorders coupon so I threw it in the cart. My sister-in-law introduced me to her via her memoirs about cancer, which I highly recommend too, and now I can’t get enough.

How I read it: On hardback with her Lent accompaniment one decoration a day in the evening.

What it’s about: Faith and striving for a real faith, not a perfect one.

What I liked: So much, everything. This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. I also think it could be a good introduction to faith for someone far away.

What I disliked: The fact that’s it’s over.

Genre: Spirituality.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes!! It might be a gift for some people this year!!

Even If Not

What I read: Even If Not by Kaitlyn E. Boichilliom

Why I picked it up: A few months ago I saw a post of hers on Instagram that really spoke to my single heart. Then o learned she wrote a book so I ordered it. And six weeks later I realized that although Amazon and the Post Office said it was delivered, I had not received it. So I splurged and bought a new copy.

How I read it: On paper over the course of a day.

What it’s about: Finding the Lord in the middle and seeing Him as good even if He does not answer prayer as you want. It’s a series of blog posts, not really a cohesive book. But I think that was her intention. Kaitlyn’s in her mid-twenties while writing this book (published 2016) and has some stories to share, we all do. However, I felt there were more “one liners” and “platitudes” than I really prefer. She needs a little more time before she’s ready to write a memoir I’m interested in reading.

What I liked: The reminder of “even if not” was good, but I got that in the intro, then there were nine more chapters.

What I disliked: The format wasn’t for me.

Genre: Spiritual Memoir, mid-twenties.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I’d say follow her on Insta or read her blog, her stuff today is really great, while I thought this was okay.

Sitting Pretty

What I read: Sitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig

Why I picked it up: Someone I follow read it and loved it a while ago and I just got around to putting it on hold at the library.

How I read it: On paper.

What it’s about: It’s about disability in a seriously ableist world. I’ve never had to think about most of the questions Bekah raises, understood the hardship of finding my way in a world not made for me.

What I liked: The vulnerability that she brings to these essays so we can see into the heart and mind of her life, disability, and triumphs.

What I disliked: I don’t know what to do next with the new insights and information I’ve learned. I don’t design spaces or have control over the world, but I will share my insights in the small arena I have influence over.

Genre: Memoir, disability.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and this should be required reading. I’ll be looking at disabled protagonists and supporting characters different now.


What I read: Wintering by Katherine May

Why I picked it up: Anne Bogel has recommended this many times over the two years. I initially thought it wasn’t something I would be interested in, but finally gave in and put the audio on hold.

How I read it: On audio in about a week.

What it’s about: It’s about the concept of wintering which she takes from how nature works. Trees aren’t dead in the winter, they’re just doing their “winter” thing instead of their “summer” thing. And like nature, we all have stages when we are hibernating or healing or processing something big or small going on in our lives. This might happen during the actual winter (for many of us it naturally does each year) or it might not be seasonal and rather experience based.

What I liked: I loved her voice (or whoever narrates it) but even at 1.75x speed it was a little slow. But that’s the nature of the book, to slow down.

What I disliked: I had a hard time relating to her many analogies. It just wasn’t the right book for me right now.

Genre: Self-help, memoir.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and this is a great book, just wasn’t right for me right now. If you’re experiencing something like a winter, I’d recommend it to you!

You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey

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Humans – stop being ridiculous. These stories should be fiction, but the fact that they are real … we’ve got to do better. A lot better.

This book is excellent – it’s mostly Amber telling us her sister, Lacey’s, stories of stupid racist things that happen to her while living in Omaha. The writing is delightful – the stories, well I wish they didn’t need to be told – and that they never happened.

I’m struggling with the words to convey what I was thinking while reading this book. After the first story I thought, “really? that happened? what kind of jerk would say that?” … and then I’d read the next story and think, “seriously? you thought it was okay to say that?” … and then the next story – how these ladies had the energy to write this book in a humorous way is beyond my capabilities.

Amber is a talented comedian so I pressed on – but I’m the most disappointed in humanity after reading this. We’ve got to do better – it’s on all of us. We’ve got to do a lot better.

“When you hear this stories and think, None of these stories are okay, you are right. And when you hear these stories and think, Dang, that’s hilarious, you are right. They’re both.”


No Cure for Being Human

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I wavered between reading this book all at once because it’s so good and savoring it so I could just learn the lessons over the course of time through Kate’s life and never need to experience them on my own.

Then, as it says in the title, there’s no cure of being human. There’s no shortcut through the suffering you’re dealt. It’s yours and who you are is all you’ve got.

Her journey over the past six years being diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and now living with it is absolutely fascinating. Her interweaving of Christianity is inspiring.

This is a book for all humans to read!!

“But I cannot outwork or outpace or outpray my cancer. I can’t dispel it with a can-do attitude.”