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.

Kill the Spider

What I read: Kill the Spider by Carlos Whittaker

Why I picked it up: I’ve been thinking of using this analogy in an upcoming presentation, and I wanted the full explanation from the person who I heard it from.

How I read it: On audio in just a few hours. It’s short.

What it’s about: Attacking the root of an issue. Instead of sweeping cobwebs every day, kill the thing making the cobwebs. This is Carlos’ account of learning this from his father and applying it to his life.

What I liked: I appreciated the teaching and his openness in sharing about applying it to his life. I follow Carlos on Instagram and know some of his story, but this was much deeper than any of that and I appreciated that.

What I disliked: I might have liked to know some time frames for things. I know he didn’t conquer this all in a 5 day therapy retreat, but sometimes it felt like he did.

Genre: Self-Help, Christian

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth a listen.

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

What I read: Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr. Julie Smith

Why I picked it up: It was available for borrow and I needed a kindle book for a trip (although I did not even start it on said trip).

How I read it: On kindle over a week.

What it’s about: Therapy and mental health techniques! It’s almost a “how to be human” guide. And it’s fantastic. A general overview of mental health, techniques you’d learn in therapy, and help knowing you’re not alone.

What I liked: The wide variety of things she discussed and not one type of therapy either. I felt like there were a dozen things I could apply to my own life.

What I disliked: I should have read this on paper with a pen!

Genre: Mental Health, self-help.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and if you’re a human, this is for you.


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!

Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First.

What I read: Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. by Laura Tremaine

Why I picked it up: Jenna Fischer recommended this over a year ago because she’s Laura’s IRL friend and wrote the forward. I was intrigued enough that I pre-ordered it – and then let it sit on my shelf for a year before I read it!

How I read it: The hardcover, one chapter each evening followed by journaling my stuff based on her prompt.

What it’s about: It’s about friendship and how to share who we are with others. I appreciated that she shared first, got vulnerable with us, and then encouraged us to think through the questions ourselves before sharing with someone else. There were some really deep, thought-provoking prompts that I would love to dive deep into with a friend.

What I liked: I liked the way she broke it down, and I appreciated the interludes between the chapters with different fun lists of ten things.

What I disliked: I appreciated that she shared about how her faith has changed over the course of her life; however, I didn’t love how she seemed to imply that the older, more mature, and more experienced she got the less she needed a faith community. I think this is a failing on our faith communities and the way we share about this fundamental belief we have.

Genre: Self-Help, Celebrity Memoir, Friendship.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes. I think it was a really great exercise in thinking through my own life, what’s been most impactful for me and if I’ve shared that with others. I also think it’s good to consider what I’m sharing with who and if they’ve earned the right to hear that part of my story, if they’ll be there to help me pick up the pieces afterward.

How to be Perfect

What I read: How to be Perfect by Michael Shur

Why I picked it up: I’m a big Mike Shur fan and also The Good Place fan so when I hear about his new book on the Office Ladies podcast, I couldn’t resist picking it up.

How I read it: On kindle via my phone over some days.

What it’s about: Moral Philosophy, what we should do, what we owe to one another, and how to act according to a lot of different philosophers.

What I liked: The summary/primer on moral philosophy that I never got. I also loved the humor throughout!! Mike’s a great writer who is also quite funny. It was a delight.

What I disliked: Three things: 1. He didn’t include any religious or spiritual philosophers which kind of creates a story without a creator (but he’s an atheist so it makes sense). 2. I think he used shame wrongly. Definitely not in the Brené Brown way I prefer. 3. He presumes his thoughts on subjects are the TRUTH and anyone who disagrees with him is on the wrong side of truth.

Genre: Moral Philosophy and Humor.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, especially if you liked The Good Place.

Atlas of the Heart

What I read: Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

Why I picked it up: I’m a huge fan of her work, and also an (almost) completist. I had to read her latest!!

How I read it: One chapter a night for a few weeks with the hardcover.

What it’s about: Emotions and connection! Each chapter is a category of emotions with descriptions of each within. This can easily be read right in a row, but I will continue to use it as a reference book for discovering what I’m feeling and how to work my way through it.

What I liked: All of the emotion descriptions. I also appreciated being able to see her other work within this book, as a way for her to share what she’s continued to learn about the work over decades.

What I disliked: Nothing.

Genre: Self-Help, research, emotional intelligence.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and 100% yes. This is the textbook you need for the emotional literacy class you didn’t know you should have taken years ago. It’s not too late!

Laundry Love

What I read: Laundry Love by Patric Richardson

Why I picked it up: Anne Bogel recommended this awhile ago saying it was one of her favorite books ever. I thought “a book about laundry, no thank you” until the other day when she recommended it again.

How I read it: On kindle, from the library with tons of highlights. Maybe I should have just bought it…

What it’s about: Laundry, stain removal, textiles, washing, drying, and disco ball advocacy (read it and you’ll find out).

What I liked: The massive amount of tips and ease of use of them. I’ve been converted and will be doing some things differently. I’ll be on a quest to become a master stain remover!

What I disliked: Almost nothing, this was a fantastic read.

Genre: Household Self-Help, if that’s a category, with a little bit of a cookbook! Recipes worth the stains they gift you!

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and if you wear clothes, this book is for you. If you don’t wear clothes (and are not an infant or a toddler), start, then buy this book so you know how to care for them!

Act Like A Lady

What I read: Act Like A Lady by Becca Tobin, Jac Vanek,& Keltie Knight

Why I picked it up: A good friend recommended it for our monthly book club and since it was immediately available from the library I downloaded it out of curiosity.

How I read it: Via Kindle over a couple weeks.

What it’s about: Jac, Becca, and Keltie have a podcast and show called LadyGang where they talk all things ladies, support for women, normalizing things normally not spoken about, and creating community. The book dives into Love, Self, Career, and Friends. Each section includes their own personal stories as well as advice.

What I liked: I appreciate anything to helps you normalize the life of being a woman. All of the little oddities that seem to happen to us all but no one ever talks about because it’s not “lady-like” and therefore leads us all to believe we’re the only ones.

What I disliked: Most of the stories. I couldn’t help but think “do you see how your actions are the cause of your own unhappiness?” I thought this many times. My own life looks nothing like theirs and some of their advice, in my opinion, is quite harmful if you want a good relationship with a partner, work, friend, or even yourself.

Genre: Self-Help with a big side of celebrity worship.

Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️ and no. I’ll chat about it with the friend I’m buddy reading with, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re already really into their podcast. I won’t be exploring more from them.

The Comfort Book

Find it on Goodreads

I downloaded this to read in my long trip to see my parents later this week but started it yesterday on a trip across town and finished this morning. It’s so good. It’s delightful on audio but I recommend getting the physical book so you can take it in slowly and pick it up on the regular and read a part that intrigues you.

It’s basically his journal of things that provide comfort. A windows into his journal that he’d go back to when he needed some comfort. I wanted to write tons of quotes down, but I was listening.

Highly Recommend!!

“You have no control over who people think you are. So don’t worry. If they want to hate a fictional version of you that lives in their minds, let them. Don’t drain yourself trying to be understood by people who insist on misunderstanding you. Keep your cup full. Go to the kindness.”