I'm very grateful that I created time this February to enjoy some great reads. As you can see, I'm always reading some combination of fiction and non-fiction (typically spirituality, psychology, or education). A new development this month is that I'm back in school (again!) to earn my master's in English and creative writing with a focus on non-fiction. Two of the books I read were for a very cool paper I'm working on this term where I compare a contemporary work to a classic. Okay enough about me, let's talk about these books!
1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
This is one of the books I selected for the major project in my current grad class in creative writing. The genre I'm exploring is memoir so this is the classic selection that I chose to compare to Love Warrior, the contemporary selection. To be fair to everyone involved, I hope no graduate student ever compares anything that I ever write to the work of Maya Angelou. This is truly a classic. Angelou not only tells her amazing story of survival in the face of racism, sexual assault, and teenage pregnancy, but she paints a vivid portrait of the American South. This is very much her story as a young, Black woman, but it is also the story of a time and a people. Just so, so rich. The secondary characters are round and real. Angelou's bright mind is both her curse and her way out, because isn't that always the way? If you haven't read this, I encourage you to put it on your reading bucket list.
2. Love Warrior
To begin, I love the work that Glennon Doyle Melton is doing in this world. It's brave and necessary. If I accomplish a tenth of what's she's done for compassion, feminism, young women, raising money for refugees, and overall humanity, I'll be in good shape. That being said, I didn't love Love Warrior. I think the story is important and I'm glad she told it. My beef is mostly with the writing style. Since I was reading this for a craft writing course, I had to keep my eye on the prize. Melton relies so heavily on telling over showing that it pulled me out of her story. There were places where she summarized huge swaths of her life that I felt could've been better illustrated via scenes. I know I'm in the minority here so I encourage you to read it and decide for yourself.
3. Meister Eckhart, from Whom God Hid Nothing: Sermons, Writings, and Sayings
I was starting to feel like I was coming across a quote by Meister Eckhart in almost everything that I read, so I decided to go to the source. This is a good starter collection of his main writings. Eckhart is a famous Christian mystic. If you're into this sort of thing, which I am, this is has a lot to offer the spiritual seeker.
4. The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need
I'm tearing through astrology books right now and since I just had my first reading with a real astrologer this is sure to continue. I love astrology. I love everything about it. #Obsessed This is not my favorite astrology book thus far. It felt a little bit fluffy in places as if it was mainly meant to appeal to the masses, which I think it was. If you are completely new to astrology and looking for a light overview, this will work for you. If you are looking to go a bit deeper, check out the other astrology books that I've reviewed.
5. Big Little Lies
If you know my reading style you know that I don't finish a book that I'm not enjoying. I usually give a book fifty pages before I quit. I first read BLL about a year ago and gave up during the first chapter. I couldn't bring myself to care about the rich lady in heels who'd sprained her ankle. But then I saw the previews for the HBO adaptation of the book and I decided to give it another try because I have a strict rule that I have to read the book before watching the show/movie. I'm glad I did. Once I got past the first chapter it was a quick read with a compelling murder mystery whose solution I didn't see coming until the very end. I've watched two episodes of the show so far and I'm enjoying that too. And for the record, yes, I now care about the rich lady in heels.
6. Astrology for the Soul
Holy mac and cheese Batman. Note to self: when reading astrology books on the night of a full moon that's also an eclipse, be prepared to open up your own personal Pandora's box. This book is focused specifically on the moon's nodes as a way to understand your purpose in this life and the tendencies you are meant to leave behind. It has set some major life shifts in place for me and I have a much deeper understanding of this really intricate balance between strengths and tendencies. My tendencies are the path of least resistance in my life, but taking that path is not what serves my highest good. When I step away from my tendencies (still honoring them, but stepping away), I am able to tap into my true strengths. This is a must-read for Earth School. :)
7. The Four Purposes of Life: Finding Meaning & Direction in a Changing World
You might have heard of Dan Millman's previous book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I've previously read his numerology book, The Life You Were Born to Live and loved it. This book is basically a short summary that combines some of his previous teachings. It would be a great gift for someone who's new to Millman's work but for me it was just okay because I'd encountered all of these ideas before in his previous books.
8. The Ramblers
This is a lovely novel about three thirty-somethings living and loving in Manhattan. It was a quick read and I connected with all three of the main characters. I first saw this book in an airport bookstore and added it to my to-read list. I'm glad it came back into my life. I'm also intrigued by the continued work of fellow sober lady Aidan Rowley. I expect continued great things from her.
9. Carve the Mark
Roth is the author of the Divergent series, which I started and gave up on, so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this. But it got great reviews so I gave it a go because I love sci-fi. I'm glad that I did. There's definitely a combination of the Hunger Games and Zodiac series at play here. I love the story behind the universe where this is set and the two main characters are compelling. I'm excited for the next installment.
10. From Intellect to Intuition
There is a whole history behind the author of this book, Alice Bailey, and her organization, Lucis Publishing, that I encourage you to research for yourself if you're into spirituality and meditation. I was drawn to this book because I struggle with overthinking and I want to learn to become more connected to my intuition. The premise behind this book is that we all need to do that, on a global level, as we enter the Aquarian Age. It talks a great deal about Patanjali's writings on meditation. Where the book didn't work for me is that Bailey's tone comes across as harsh at times, almost like she's just had it with all of us and wishes we'd get our act together. While I found it interesting and I'm glad I explored Bailey's work directly, I don't think I'll be reading anything else of hers in the near future. Again, there's no substitute for direct experience so if you're intrigued by her ideas, definitely check them out and decide for yourself.
That's a wrap for February. Happy March!
This blog is focused on exploring ideas around yoga, career, intuition, purpose, and passion. Please leave a comment. Namaste.