Books · life · reviews

Recent Reads and Rising Strong

I’ve started a bit of a Brene Brown reading marathon and plan to share a bit about it below but first I’d like to briefly share a few other recent reads.

It’s been hot hot hot this weekend so I’ve indulged in a novel (thanks Libby!) starting and finishing The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore from Goodreads:

Two kids with the same name lived in the same decaying city. One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison.

I found this a powerful description of the environment these boys both grew up in. Reflecting on reviews people were disappointed that they book was all about the ‘what’ rather than the ‘why’ but I think that could be part of the moral of the story – the why is up to the decisions we each make, the interpretations we make and yes environment hugely shapes that but our potential is always there.

Two other recent great reads were Say Hello by Carly Findlay a disability activist and The Art of Taxidermy by Sharon Kernot, a surprising and incredible piece of prose with a theme of grief and a unique Australian flavour. Get reading these two folks.

Last night I also caught a fantastic movie on SBS, The Dark Knight. Edited from Wikipedia:

Based on the real-life story of Genesis Potini, a brilliant New Zealand chess player who suffered from severe bipolar disorder. He is released from hospital into the care of his brother. Upon hearing about a chess club run by his old chess buddy, he asks to join with permission given on the proviso he promises to not “rock the boat.” Genesis lead sthe Eastern Knights Chess club  to the Junior National Championships in Auckland.  The movie also brings in Genesis’s nephew and his father’s gang.  The movie won many awards and I was suitably moved.

But back to Brene, who had been on my radar for awhile before I picked up one of her books from my local library at the end of last year. It took me a little while to get through it but already I’ve found myself referencing it in conversations with friends and clients. Unfortunately I got an email this week to say it was due back and I was unable to extend. Fortunately I AM determined to go through the notes I wrote as I read and I’m doing it RIGHT now!

This book was about vulnerability, shame, failing and a suggested mud map for ‘Rising Strong’.

Brene defines vulnerability as the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome, indeed perhaps with some expectation that you may stumble, fall and get your ass kicked (she doesn’t mince her words). She believes that such vulnerability is part of wholehearted living – waking up in the morning and thinking, no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. I am worthy of love and belonging.

She describes that failing is painful. She describes that it fuels the should and wouldas which I feel I know so well. She describes how with these thoughts judgement and shame often lie in wait. It took me the whole book to really resonate with the idea of shame and I look forward to reading some of her earlier books to learn a bit more about this. I don’t think many people would easily identify their feelings as shame…although perhaps it’s just me. She also talked about how if we stop caring what people think we lose our ability to connect but even worse perhaps is when we are defined by what people think. Similarly she explains that comparative suffering is a function of fear and scarcity.

Brene’s path to rising strong was a lot to do with curiosity, particularly curiosity about our emotions and being brave enough to face discomfort straight on. So step 1 is recognising emotion and step 2 is getting curious about it and asking lots of questions, step 3 is pay atttention to it  and then keep practicing. She believes we are born vulnerable but in order to self protect we turn to certainty and false beliefs for example doing not feeling fixes problems. Often case we are taught that feelings arn’t worthy of our attention. Brene states that recognising and feeling our way through emotions is choosing freedom, with the alternative of avoidance taking over our lives.

There were many metaphors about our story – integrating our whole story and human beings being wired for stories. Rising strong is to defy how we choose to end our stories. In our lives we often make up our own stories – our own reasoning of why people are acting a certain way. It’s hard to be vulnerable and open up about these stories we tell ourselves with others.

Briefly:

  • She  spoke about expectations of others being resentments waiting to happen
  • ‘The middle is messy but it’s also where the magic happens’. When you are in the middle of a story, it isn’t a story, only confusion and darkness.
  • You can’t skip day 2
  • Connection doesn’t exist without giving and receiving we need to give and we need to need.
  • Perfectionism and shame. Shame derives power from being unspeakable, it loves perfectionists.
  • Failure feels like powerlessness, a lost oppurtunity leading to fear and desperation.
  • You can do everything right and still fail
  • Regret is a call to courage and a path toward wisdom
  • Brene believes hope is a cognitive process.

 

Wow – a job done, almost can’t believe it! Have you heard of Brene Brown? Do you enjoy reading non-fiction? What has been your favourite recent read/movie?

Praying we can all Rise Strong as we move into a new week and month.

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Books

Six degrees of separation from the French man’s wife to the Australian convict

Six Degrees of Separation is hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  and gets you to take one title, and link through five other titles to see where you end up.

January’s starting point is The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles. I was randomly gifted this book at our annual bookclub Christmas bookswap however never finished it.

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Another older book I recieved at this annual event was Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert. It appears unread in my Goodreads account but I’m sure I finished this thanks to it also being a bookclub read. I seem to remember an interesting feminist discussion was had.

Madame Bovary’s title characters first name was Emma which takes me to another more classical book Emma by Jane Austen. I don’t believe I’ve read this book nor seen the complete movie however I do know I have watched the complete series of Pride And Prejudice along with reading the book which I seem to remember enjoying.

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Another classic I’m sure I’ve read and enjoyed was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte when I was a teenager living at home. It sounds like I need to re-read a few of these to refresh my memory. Another book I read from the shelves at home was For the Term of his Natural Life by Marcus Clarke which for a long time I’ve wanted to re-read to see if it still as good as I remember.

Well I didn’t mean to take a classical theme but there you have it.

Do you have any thoughts on these links/books? Happy Reading 🙂

Books

Dewey’s 24 hour readathon

I’m about to go to bed, not having just been reading but watching an episode of the West Wing….after watching the opening of the Invictus Games…I did start Black Beauty by Anna Sewell as I watched that one though, which I think may be a re-read for book club.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Australia, this years host of the Invictus Games

 
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? hmmm….I have a few non-fictions I’ve started which would be great to finish off.

 
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Anything chocolate – if I allow myself (on again off again dieting!)

 
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! Mum of three, wife of one, a unique awesome individual :p

 
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?  I’m looking forward to learning more about this community and maybe getting my head around how it actually works.

If you’d like to join in here are the links, otherwise Good night and Sweet dreams

Enter your finished books into the DATABASE here!

Check out the mini-challenges ANY TIME YOU WANT! 

Cheer your fellow readers!

Join our Goodreads or Facebook groups!

Tag your posts with #readathon on all your social channels!

Books

6 degrees of separation – from Atonement to …the Light Between Oceans

Six Degrees of Separation is hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  and gets you to take one title, and link through five other titles to see where you end up. August’s starting point is Atonement by Ian McEwan. Although I’ve heard about this book and it is generally highly rated I’m not compelled to read it because….

…the only Ian McEwan book I’ve read is The Children Act which I won at a joint bookclub meeting. I only gave it 2/5 and it won’t entice me to read any more of his books in a hurry. Although I did enjoy learning about the antagonist’s perspective as a judge.  This novel reminds me of another book with children in the title…

The Children of Men by P.D James. This was a fairly unsuccessful bookclub pick although again generally highly regarded. It was a suspenseful science-fiction novel with the one lasting image for me of prams with dolls. Goodreads synopsis sets the scene as ‘the human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace.’blogAgain the theme of children reminds me of another thriller science-fiction book I read and unfortunately rated lowly, Perfect People by Peter James, again only 2/5.  John and Naomi lose a child and then get the chance to have another baby  guaranteed to have none of the genetic illnesses  passed from the parents. It doesn’t quite go to plan when they end up expecting twins who very quickly show signs of extreme intelligence.

I think I read all of these books around the same time, one of life’s funny coincidences, however to get away from my bad reviews lets move to…

…Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp again covering the issue of infertility except this one I liked :p I guess I’m just not a sci-fi girl (even if I do find the plot-lines very interesting). This book was much more focused on the stories of two mothers whose lives become intertwined.

This leads me to my to-read list with The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman which I keep reading great reviews about. Again based on consequences from decisions surrounding fertility, I can’t wait to read it and think I will make it my next choice!

This link certainly stuck to a theme! Hope you all enjoy your August reading 🙂           What books have you been reading lately, heard of any of these?

Books

WWW Wednesday 10th July 2018

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Now I’m back, I’ve been waiting all week to update this meme! Our host is Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s fun and simple, with just three W questions to answer: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post here.  

What did you recently finish reading:

The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide 

Whilst last week I was a bit unsure about this book, I ended up loving it. From Goodreads

Delia has made a living writing an acerbic advice column and a series of wildly successful modern household guides. As the book opens, she is barely 40 but has only a short time to live. The novel charts her preoccupation with two things: how to make provision for her husband and daughters – and how to make her peace with her past.

I think it was a bit slow starting but in reflection, considering the topic I believe it probably needed to be. The time shifts weren’t smooth but the overall pacing and characterisation were great. I have an interest in palliative care and it was from this perspective I read the book and it delivered. From blood sausages to messages left in the lawn, it was quirky and meaningful and I gave it 5/5.

My only other complaint comes from my christian perspective which didn’t quite fit with the ending but I can cope with that.*

What are you currently reading:

I have quite literally just read the first page of The Break by Katherena Vermette so I could tell the truth in this section! One of it’s opening quotes is, “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any” by Alice Walker, which rings truth to me and reminds me of a clip I saw on my facebook feed today of a graduation speech:

 

What do you think you’ll read next:

I’ve added a few books to my Goodreads list this last week but it’s Windfall by Penny Vincenzi I’ve requested from the library. I was on a bit of a doctor theme a few weeks back.

High-five to the reading Wolfpack 🙂

 

* I’m just not sure the world can in times to come – a post for another day (or a question to be asked)

Books · Uncategorized

WWW Wednesday 4th July 2018

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This is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s fun and simple, you just have to answer the three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post hereI’m only a little late posting…might still be Wednesday somewhere….

What did you recently finish reading:

The World Unseen by Shamim Sarif (goodreads link)

I really enjoy listening to this audiobook. I think listening to books from different cultures works well for me because they get all the pronunciations right. The story was set in South Africa in the 1950s with the two main characters being Indian. The book touched on apartheid in a really authentic and saddening way but was primarily about women, their positions in relationships and society. The ending was perhaps a little unsatisfying but took nothing away from the wonderful growth of the characters. 4/5

(The book also came with movie dvd, not sure yet if I’ll make the time to watch it)

What are you currently reading:

The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide

I’m not quite sure to make of this book yet, the protagonist is preparing for her upcoming death and author has used a few timelines to share her story which I’m not quite on top of, still interested to see where it leads to.

What do you think you’ll read next:

The Break by Katherena Vermette is our next bookclub read but I’m also looking at When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke for a quick fix as needed.

Happy Reading Everyone 🙂

The World Unseen

 

blogging · Books · mental health

June: Six degrees of WWW

I’ve been wondering how to bring myself back into the blogging world after somewhat of a hiatus (just one post since end of March). There are a few drafts sitting around, most of which would take a lot of effort to get back to where I was when I started them.

Today though I finished a great book (not the first since March!) and it may just be my Tipping Point – this months chosen starting title for the meme, Six Degrees of Separation  hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest. The meme gets you to take one title, and link through six other titles to see where you end up.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell sounds like my kind of book. I’m a big believer in small acts of kindness and my big ambition in life is to make a difference. His focus however it seems is in how products sell so perhaps not so much my thing.

My most recent depressive experience has turned into quite a tipping point for me – I’ve quite my job, not completed one uni subject and extended another. These are pretty big changes and I wouldn’t normally advocate for making such decisions as a result of depression but after good discussions with my hubby, various friends and lots of prayer I’m feeling pretty comfortable.

Alright, now how I am going to link this to my next book….

Yeah I’m not, instead here’s the list of awesome books I’ve recently read:

  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  • The Kite Runner by Hosseini, Khaled
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • The Very Grumpy Day by Stella Jones

Also for your enjoyment here’s a bit of a review from a WWW Wednesday I attempted rather awhile back

What did you recently finish reading: Tell Me Your Here by Anne Deveson this last (haha) weekend. I really like Deveson’s writing style which in this autobiography (much like her book Resilience)  shares a lot of information and personal story. It showed a harrowing image of mental health care particularly for schizophrenia and around homelessness which thankfully in her Afterword suggested improvement although I’m sure not enough.

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What do you think you’ll read next:

I have Anthony Lehman’s (an Australian comedian) book This Shirt Won’t Iron Itself which I’m looking forward to having a read of – in fact I finished it last week. There was a bit about country living and families I could relate to, especially the bar man brother but the author and I are very different people so majority of the book was really not my thing.

Thanks for having me back WP, hope you readers are all doing well, I’d love to hear about some of your recent reads or maybe a tipping point in your life.

God bless

GJ