Mini Book Reviews: Q3 of 2019

I can’t believe it took me this long but I’ve finally found the secret to surpassing my reading challenge… In August, I really got into audiobooks. I’ve been listening to them while doing chores, riding my bike, and walking my dog! I also discovered a few new favorites.

Q3 of 2019: An Overview

I read 3 books in July, 5 books in August, and 4 books in September. Out of the 12 total books I finished, 6 were fiction and 6 were non-fiction. Of the 8 books I own physical copies of, 8 will get to stay on my shelves.

Books read in July 2019:
  • Desnoods de hele wereld by Eva Louise Bakker ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Less Stuff by Lindsay Miles ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • When The Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Books read in August 2019:
  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧
  • Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧
  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Books read in September 2019:
  • A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind by Shoukei Matsumoto ⭐️⭐️ 🎧
  • Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding by Paulien Cornelisse ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧

Less Stuff ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Lindsay Miles

Genre: non-fiction (minimalism, sustainability)

Goodreads | The Book Depository

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Less Stuff is the perfect read for people who want to simplify their life without sending everything they declutter to landfill. It’s like having a tiny professional organizer on your shoulder, helping you every step of the way. Except this one is way cheaper and doesn’t fill your shelving units with plastic bins! Would recommend!

Check out my full review of this book to learn more!

“The more you let go, the more you loosen your grip on your possessions — the more you learn to notice the resistance you’re feeling and let it pass. The more you get rid of, the more you realize that there are no terrible repercussions or nightmares, and it’s easier than you thought.”

When The Lights Go Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Mary Kubica

Genre: fiction, thriller

Goodreads | The Book Depository

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book got me out of my reading slump! Turns out, a mysterious thriller full of twists and turns was all I needed to get back into fiction after reading almost primarily non-fiction for months.

When The Lights Go Out was a twisty and interesting read, a bit of a slow burn. In the end only got 3 stars from me because everything went in a direction I wasn’t expecting and the ending kind of ruined the book for me.

For most people, this seems to be a “love it or hate it” type of book, and you’ll have to find out for yourself which side you stand on. I enjoyed the read, but it’s not something I’d think to mention if someone would ask me for thriller recommendations.

“I close my eyes and even though sleep is there within reach and I stretch my hand out to grab it, it’s unattainable. Elusive and shifty. It moves away, mocking me. Laughing in my face.
For as tired as I am, I still cannot sleep.”

Digital Minimalism ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧

by Cal Newport

Genre: non-fiction (minimalism, self help)

Goodreads | The Book Depository

I sometimes long to be a digital minimalist. I have always admired those people who have rejected the smartphone trend and still use a flip phone that can only make phone calls and send short text messages. I know I will never be one of those people, but there are definitely things I can do to spend less time on my devices and more time in the real world. That is why I picked up this book.

Cal Newport’s method is nothing new: a 30-day tech cleanse in order to figure out what is truly important to you. This is all Digital Minimalism is: delete all your apps and only reinstall those that actually serve a purpose. That’s it. You have now read this 300+ page book.

Although I definitely enjoyed listening to this book while doing chores and riding my bike, I felt it was quite a dense read filled with random segues into stories that I felt had little to do with the subject matter. (I don’t care about those American presidents and your endless rambling on Henry David Thoreau!)

Digital minimalism definitively does not reject the innovations of the internet age, but instead rejects the way so many people currently engage with these tools.

Running Like a Girl ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧

by Alexandra Heminsley

Genre: non-fiction (fitness, running)

Goodreads | The Book Depository

Running Like a Girl is perfect book to help you gather motivation to pick up running (again).

The author hilariously and honestly describes the experience of first becoming a runner, with all its high (runner’s high, your first race) and low points (desperately needing the bathroom, various injuries). In between stories about her personal journey of going from couch potato to marathon runner, she provides plenty of tips & tricks that will be useful to beginners and intermediates alike.

If I’ve convinced you to pick this up, I recommend trying the audiobook. It was very fun to listen to while running!

“Lacing up and leaving the house is the hardest moment of any run. You never regret it once you are en route.”

The Flatshare ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Beth O’Leary

Genre: fiction, romance

Goodreads | The Book Depository

Content warning: emotional abuse, gaslighting, manipulation, stalking

I’m not a big romance reader at all but this was such a fun read, and it made me hungry for more! I picked it up solely based on the hype and the tagline: “Tiffy and Leon share a bed. Tiffy and Leon have never met.”

I was expecting something fluffy and cute, which I definitely got, but it turned out to have some more serious aspects to it as well (see content warning). As a person who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship myself, I can say that that aspect of the book was handled very well and made me tear up a couple of times.

When you start reading and are confused and/or irritated by the writing style of Leon’s chapters, keep reading. It gets better (or you get used to it).

I’m eagerly awaiting Beth O’Leary’s next book, The Switch Up, coming out in April 2020.

It’s weird how easily you can get to know someone from the traces they leave behind.

Bored and Brilliant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧

by Manoush Zomorodi

Genre: non-fiction (self help, productivity, technology)

Goodreads | The Book Depository

Bored and Brilliant is a helpful guide on regulating your technology use, but it is not the book I was expecting. While it did mention the topic of creativity, I didn’t feel like I learned enough about how to cultivate creativity by using my phone less. The book is not anti-technology but helps you re-evaluate your relationship with your phone.

Although I haven’t done any of the challenges (yet), I do feel like this was worth reading. I’m constantly listening to audiobooks and podcasts just to avoid the slightest feeling of boredom, and this book has made me more aware of that (through audiobook format, ironically) and I have since taken a few walks without distraction.

“Boredom is the gateway to mind-wandering, which helps our brains create those new connections that can solve anything from planning dinner to a breakthrough in combating global warming.”

The Hate U Give ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Angie Thomas

Genre: young adult fiction, contemporary

Goodreads | The Book Depository

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Believe. The. Hype.

I started this a couple of times before finally plowing through, because the slang made it hard for me to get into. Once you’ve gotten over that initial hurdle, though, you won’t want to stop reading.

This is such an important book for everyone to read, but especially white people. Many people know about the issues of police brutality and racism, but as a white person who lives outside of the US, I never completely grasped its seriousness and absolutely devastating effects on communities until I read this book.

There are people who actually believe that racism is a thing of the past, who believe that white people have become more tolerant and that people of color are overreacting. Those people need to sit their asses down and read this book immediately. I’m looking at you, Zwarte Piet supporters.

My only real problem with this book was that it was trying too hard to be relatable to teens with countless references to pop culture like Harry Potter, Tumblr, and other such things.

I watched the movie adaptation right after finishing the book and although I did love the book, the movie may be even better. Gasp! I know! I suggest you read the book first and then watch the movie for the full effect!

“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, Starr,” she says. “It means you go on even though you’re scared. And you’re doing that.”

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind ⭐️⭐️ 🎧

by Shoukei Matsumoto

Genre: non-fiction (minimalism, simple living, mindfulness)

Goodreads | The Book Depository

I’ve always been interested in and have a lot of respect for the way the Japanese care for their environment. This book offers an insight into the daily life of Zen buddhist monks in Japan.

The cleaning advice is nothing new, but I couldn’t help but be fascinated by all the rituals.

Although the book was only okay, it was an interesting one to listen to while doing my own not-so Zen cleaning, so I didn’t feel like I wasted any time.

“Nothing starts out as rubbish. Things become rubbish when they are treated as rubbish.”

The Turn of the Key ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Ruth Ware

Genre: fiction, thriller

Goodreads | The Book Depository

Another suspenseful, atmospheric, and creepy slow burn mystery thriller. Words!

I really enjoyed the setting of a Victorian-style smart home and that was the sole reason I picked up this book (plus the hype!). Why it didn’t get 5 stars: 1) I didn’t like one of the twists at the end, and 2) I felt like it was trying too much at once. Overall, solid mystery. Kept me guessing until the very end.

“I could spin you a web of bullshit about what a perfect, caring, saintly person I am — but it would be just that. Bullshit. And I am not here to bullshit you. I want you to believe that — I want it more than anything in the world.”

Dutch books

Desnoods de hele wereld 🇳🇱 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Eva Louise Bakker

Genre: fictie

Goodreads | Koop bij je lokale boekwinkel! #VasteBoekenprijs

Nederlandse boeken leen ik vrijwel altijd van de bibliotheek, maar dit boek vond ik zó goed dat ik het, middenin het bieb-boek, op mijn verlanglijstje heb gezet. Voor mij als autist was het alsof ik mijn eigen dagboek aan het lezen was, en ik denk dat dat veel andere mensen (vooral vrouwen) met autisme dit zo (zullen) ervaren.

Het boek is vergelijkbaar met een van mijn favorieten — Judith Visser’s Zondagskind — maar korter, met meer plot, en een tintje mysterie.

“Er was iets mis. Boven aan de lijst van overschrijvingen stond een vreemde storting. Iemand had een kapitaal naar mij overgemaakt. Ik had exact dertigduizend euro te veel.”

Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding 🇳🇱 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Paulien Cornelisse

Genre: non-fictie (taal)

Goodreads | Koop bij je lokale boekwinkel! #VasteBoekenprijs

Dit boek heeft me jarenlang aangestaard vanaf planken in boekwinkels, kringloopwinkels, en de kasten van mijn vrienden en kennissen. Altijd dacht ik: “Die ga ik echt snel eens lezen!” En dat deed ik toen niet. Nou, het is eindelijk gelukt hoor, jongens!

Er is een wereld voor mij open gegaan met dit boek. Wat heerlijk om zulke korte, grappige stukjes te kunnen lezen over onze gekke taal. Na één stukje gelezen te hebben wilde ik het boek al voor mezelf hebben, en heb die bij mijn eerstvolgende bezoek aan de Slegte gretig uit de kast getrokken, samen met het vervolg En dan nog iets. In de kringloopwinkel had ik tussendoor ook nog Taal voor de leuk gevonden, dus geef mij maar zo’n T-shirt van de Paulien Cornelisse fanclub, want ik hoor er eindelijk bij.

“Het woord waardoor Nederlanders altijd verraden dat ze Nederlands zijn is ‘hè’. ‘We went to Disney World, hè, and the kids really liked it, hè.”

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