I’m sharing books that I choose for my own reading enjoyment in my monthly Quick Lit posts. Not books for review, but because I’ve been wanting to read them or they caught my attention. Most of them have been talked about ad nauseam or have been on my to-read list for a long time so they don’t really need a full review. But, I’d still like to give them some space here on the blog, so instead, I’m offering mini-reviews of the books that won’t get full-page space here.
I’ll be linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and her monthly Quick Lit link-up. Be sure to head over to see others share their Quick Lit posts. This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read more about that.
This month’s books include 5 audiobooks and one hardcover that took me ten months to read. Five of them were non-fiction and one historical fiction. Five of these were library holds and one from my own shelf.
My current reads are THE CHICKEN SISTERS which is our book club read this month and PERSONAL EFFECTS: What Recovering the Dead Teaches Me about Caring for the Living is a book for review. I’m also starting THE ACCIDENTAL SUFFRIGIST this week which is for review. I’m expecting a library hold or two will also come in soon as well.
THIS IS GOING TO HURT
Secret Diaries of a Medical Resident
By: Adam Kay
Published: September 7, 2017
An OBGYN resident shares his daily journal entries of patients he saw, babies he delivered, and other calamities that you wouldn’t even be able to imagine. He tells the stories with a straightforward, honest, funny, and snarky approach that makes it a fun listen. Unfortunately, a case gone wrong causes him to leave the medical field. His speech at the end made me stop doing the dishes and just listen to him. It was passionate, honest, and frankly, sad that this is the state of our medical system. The author narrates it himself and it’s a worthy listen if you like medical memoirs.
HOW TO BE FINE
What We Learned from Living by the Rules of 50 Self-Help Books
By: Jolenta Greenburg and Kristen Meinzer
Published: March 17, 2020
Publisher: William Morrow
I’m familiar with the “By the Book” podcast with Jolenta and Kristen. I’ve jumped around and listened to episodes on books that piqued my interest and wanted to hear more about. If you aren’t familiar, Jolenta and Kristen choose a self-help book and then follow the guidelines in the book meticulously for a few weeks and then report back on the podcast.
In this short book, the two friends offer a deep dive into the self-help books that were most impactful for them including books and exercises on gratitude and positivity. But they also share about those books that were NOT helpful, especially those in dieting and or getting up early to tackle those to-do lists.
I found their lessons learned thoughtful, with the style of the book feeling like we were sitting around a table have a conversation. The book also includes letters from listeners which the two authors answer related to the question topic. I appreciated both Jolenta and Kristen sharing about their personal lives and how these books helped or didn’t help them. I think their responses were realistic and relatable. I even found myself agreeing with them about some of the books and their disappointment in the lessons touted in the books.
I listened to the audio version and both authors take turns narrating and offering insight. It was a quick listen and I enjoyed it.
THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN
By: Lisa See
Published: March 5, 2019
This book is based on the true stories of the women divers of JeJu Island off the coast of South Korea. The story focuses on two best friends, Mi-Ja and Young-Sook and their families. There is a bit of a dual narrative story including a present-day and then a flashback to the lives of these two women growing up in the haenyeo. The lives of these women divers, their role in society, and how they provided for their families were quite fascinating. Through the conflicts with the Japanese, WWII, and the Korean War, Mi-Ja and Young-Sook fight hard for their families. Their struggles were heartbreaking and their friendship takes a toll. I’ve always been a fan of Lisa See’s writing and find that I learn something from every one of her books. Since I listened to the audio, I am not sure if there was an author’s note at the end or not, but was wishing there was one so she could share her reason for writing this story. I have since looked up the Haenyeo divers on my own and found their stories fascinating.
This story is one of family, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness. It’s a story of amazing survival, hard work, and perseverance. There is so much sadness in this story, so be prepared for that. Fans of historical fiction, friendship, or family dramas, and those who love learning about different cultures will really love this one.
An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones
By: James Clear
Published: October 16, 2018
I chose this as my First Book of 2021 and yes, it took me ten months to read it. I thought it was the perfect book for kicking off a new year and starting some great new habits. I did get a lot of great tips and it reinforced that some of the habits and habit-building that I was doing were correct. But about midway through the book, I got a bit frustrated with the author’s assumptions and recycling habit advice from other popular habit books. Since the author is a man, I felt the book was a bit too slanted towards male-focused habits and not relatable if you are a mom with young kids or a mom with a full-time job AND young children AND a house to manage. I put the book aside for a few months and then decided it was worth finishing. I did feel that the book was helpful and I highlighted several tips and instructions on habits. His website also has additional information and printables to assist with building habits that stick. Overall, I thought it was a great read with lots of advice, but if you have read other books on habit-forming there may not be much new information.
CRYING IN H MART
By: Michelle Zauner
Published: April 20, 2021
I didn’t intend to read this immediately after The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See. Library holds have their own order. But, the similarities were interesting and she even mentions the women divers when she makes a return trip to Seoul. I listened to the audiobook and the author narrates it herself which is remarkable to narrate your own words about such an emotional topic.
Her story of growing up Korean in America with a Korean mom and American dad is full of family dysfunction, love and devotion, and so much food. I’m not a seafood fan at all, but when she describes the meals her mom would serve her and later try to create herself, it was meditative and calming.
This memoir is one for fans of family stories, those dealing with grief, and those who took the road less traveled in life. Michelle Zauner is a talented singer as well as an author and she has found her audience in both formats.
BRING YOUR BAGGAGE AND DON’T PACK LIGHT
By: Helen Ellis
Published: July 13, 2021
This is my first Helen Ellis book. I first heard about it through one of Anne Bogel’s Quick Lit posts and actually requested it through my library. It arrived in my Libby app and I gave it a quick listen. At just 3 hours or under 200 pages, you can easily read it in an evening or weekend. Ellis and her friends all pushing 50 gather at a resort and she shares stories of their lives, both past and present, through essays. Note that many of these essays are “R” rated and shouldn’t be listened to around children. But, as a woman on the cusp of turning 50, I could relate to many of her and her friend’s situations. You will hear stories about s*x, motherhood, health issues, marriage, and plastic surgery. It’s raw and honest, funny and spicey, and most of all, full of love for her friends.