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 · 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 · Uncategorized

Six degrees of separation: a new meme!

Special thanks to Luvtoread for choosing to follow me this week and introducing me to this meme – Six Degrees of Separation hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest, where you take one title, and link through six other titles to see where you end up.

The book for February is Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. I haven’t read this book or even a full synopsis. In fact the main reason I’m doing this meme today is to talk about a book I’ve almost finished, so I was super glad to read Amazon describe it as ‘a moving and original father-son story’ because the book I want to discuss is a mother-daughter(s) story which is a good enough connection for me!

Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly caught me by surprise. I picked it up from the library without thinking too much about it, just to have an audiobook available for some long drives. I wasn’t overly drawn into the first half, enjoying the characters but finding some details (clothing descriptions) and writing styles (so many character perspectives) not up my alley but the second half proved to be much more than fluff listening with deeper emotional issues addressed which really impacted me. One of the topics was schizophrenia which is making me especially keen to start reading a library book I already have out –

Tell Me I’m Here by Anne Deveson. Anne writes this as mother of a son with schizophrenia and having already read her book,

Resilience (again by Anne Deveson) I trust it will be an interesting and informative read. A book I saw on another of Luvtoread posts was

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl which from my understanding also addresses resilience and which I’m also very keen to read, particularly having had studied a bit about Frankl in my counselling studies. Another book on my tbr list which came to my attention through study is

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks which conicidentally was again in one of luvtoreads posts on an Amazon ‘100 books to read in a lifetime’ list no. 78.

Man that was quick, six books already – I really do love this concept! From Lincoln to a hat….well fancy that :p

Lincoln's+hat

I would like to include another special thanks and shout out to Luvtoread. She’s likely to think I’m a stalker after this post, so Ami, I’d love to direct you back to my blogging resolutions from earlier this  year here and here and welcome you to your spotlight!

Ami lives in California and loves to read and enjoy life. She’s part of a bookclub and as a fellow bookclubber that automatically means she’s amazing! Not to mention she listed one of my favourite authors series in her top ten list 🙂

In her about section she writes – ‘That is what reading is about – discovering something new…Books always teach me something new. ‘ So very very true not only of books but blogs and any reading. She’s a great reviewer so be sure to check her out.

Ami, if I havn’t scared you for life with my stalkerish ways I’d love to know how you found me…I have a theory but I would love to hear from you or anyone, if you/they can remember! Thank you for visiting my blog ❤

 

blogging · Books · reviews

Holiday Reading

I was so excited about the interactions on my last post I forgot to get writing again…oops, and suddenly a fortnight has almost passed!

Truth is I’ve been busy spending time with the fam bam – we got back yesterday from a week interstate with friends. Lots of fun, laughs, tears and tantrums – don’t you just love holidaying with kids :p All in all however it was a great time away and we kept very busy, in fact I only finished my holiday book last night back at home! Indeed 20 days into January I have only finished 2 books (oh wait 3 – bcb*). I normally go into a reading frenzy during the summer holidays but this year I’ve been spreading my spare time between books, puzzles and tv. I’m finding lately after working on a computer, studying on a computer and catching up on so many awesome blogs my eyes have had enough reading. Anyone else have trouble balancing their reading choices?!

That said the two books I have finished are well worth sharing about:

Wish You Were Here by Sheridan Jobbins –

I loved that the author was Australian. I loved her honesty and reflections (even if at times they seemed to go round and around in circles), I enjoyed her adventures, I loved her car and the new man. In some ways a bit of a cliche post divorce memoir in others completely unique. I loved learning more about America and the life of this interesting woman.

The author herself described it as “basically a rom-com memoir” about how she met her husband. “After leaving my first marriage, I decided to buy a big red car and drive around America, I would spend six weeks driving one way, and six weeks driving back,” she said. “Halfway through I did a stopover in London to visit a friend whose husband had been sick. My friend was studying with this boy and we started to have a fling. It ended up in a bit of a misunderstanding, I thought I was saying ‘I like you’ and he thought I was saying ‘join the trip’. So our third date was four weeks in a Chevy Camaro and a tent arguing across America and that is the bulk of the story.”

Definitely a good holiday read.

Secondly, The End of the Road: Becoming a Mallee Wife by Deborah Hyde –

As a fellow farmer’s wife I really enjoyed relating to much of this memoir and recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about this way of life!

I’ve also watched Big Little Lies the HBO tv series which unfortunately was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t the bits cut or added, I think it worked quite well. I don’t even really care about the ending. It just all seemed so slow to me, a lot of angst and not much action. I think having read the book ruined the build up of tension for me. Good news is that hubby enjoyed it, yay for a accurate recommendation for him!

We have one more week until school goes back but with work, meetings and school book pick up it feels like things will be back into at least half swing. Fortunately I have book club this week reviewing Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a novella (*bcb).

Before I sign off I would like to say a  big special thanks to the FOUR beautiful bloggers who commented on my last post. Even without new content in the last 2 weeks I’ve been feeling super connected. My Spotlight Blogger for today is for “Bryce Warden” who was the first to comment last time. You can find her at  https://wasthatmyoutloudvoice.com – be ready to laugh out loud and experience some warm fuzzies too. She is a busy Mum of teens, business owner, hospice and charity volunteer. She likes mystery novels and lives in the USA experiencing the cold while I am once again sweltering in 40+ degree weather. She’s been a recent find for me but I am very much in love.

I’d love for Bryce (and YOU!) to share, if you wish, about your favourite things to do in your spare time?

Happy Reading!

blogging · Books

Priorities

The temperature in my part of the world is going to reach 45 degrees today. So I’ve done something ‘amazing’. To make sure I don’t miss my third day in a row of going outside, I’ve cleaned house and walked the bin over to our on farm landfill (a couple 100 metres).

So it’s not much, but what a great start to the day, especially when it’s already HOT out there :p

What are you prioritising today?

The other New Years resolution I’m going to work on today is connecting. I really want to get to know you all. I have no idea how best to do this….any suggestions?!?

I’m going to try and do a spotlight today on one of my newest likers – Amanhimself.

Stalking his Bio page I’ve discovered his name is Aman Mittal and he is the well published blogger at Confessions of a Readaholic. He lives in New Delhi, India and adores books – so do I Aman!! (Indeed I’m pretty sure that’s how we discovered each other). I also discovered this quote on his page:

Capture

And this exactly summarises my blogging goal for 2018 – to actively engage in this conversation. So if Aman doesn’t mind I’m going to ask him a few questions, perhaps you’d like to answer them too:

  1. What is your all time favourite book or genre and why?
  2. Tell me something cool about where you live?
  3. Do you have a blogging quirk? I’d love to hear a fun fact about how you read or prepare your own blogs?
  4. Have you got any top priorities for 2018?

Thank you Aman for visiting my blog – I hope to continue conversing with you for a long time to come 🙂

Books

WWW Wednesday 6th September

Gosh it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these! (Almost 3 months)

WWW Wednesday is a weekly 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.

To participate, and to see how others responded, click here

What did you recently finish reading:

Tonight I read Say Please, Louise by Keith Harvey and illustrated by Lauren Beard. My daughter chose it from the library as Louise is her middle name. It was a nice book abut learning to use manners. Whilst enjoyable it was a bit simplistic so only 3/5 stars.

My son chose Hey Mum, I Love you by Corinne Fenton, a seriously sweet book using fairly iconic animal photos to illustrate a love letter to Mum. As a Mum I’m sure I’m slight;y biased 4/5 stars 🙂

Three other picture books I read recently which inspired me to rate them on Goodreads were:

Excuse Me, I’m Trying to Read! By Mary Jo Amani – a great book set in Africa the wording got better towards the end.

Look, a Book! by Libby Gleeson – not many words in this but the illustrations show the true adventure a book can take you on.

Busting! by Aaron Blabey – this rhyming book was just so fun! I bought it to read to my son who continues to have frequent accidents, not sure it’ll help but I loved it!

What are you currently reading:

Still reading Silence by Shūsaku Endō, I just can’t get into it and I’m sure its keeping me from getting into any reading but I’m determined to eventually, one day finish it!

Also reading my textbook Emotion-Focsed Couples Therapy: The Dynamics of Emotion, Love and Power by Leslie Greenberg and Rhonda Goldman which given the current state of my marriage is either a healthy or unhealthy thing to do….

What do you think you’ll read next:

I’m pretty keen to get Matilda by Roald Dahl on audiobook to listen to with the kids in the car.

I’ll get Attachments by Rainbow Rowell for bookclub from a friend tomorrow so looking forward to that too.

Happy Reading All 🙂

Books · life · social issues · Uncategorized

Bookish (AND not so bookish) Thoughts Thursday

I missed WWW Wednesday yesterday so had a look around for a Thursday Meme, this one hosted by Bookishly Boisterous  looks perfect!

  1. Attended yet another awesome bookclub last night. We were all fans (except one prude :p) of An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney (pen name of Sarah Gardner) a great, easy, fun (sexy) read
  2. Signed a petition today for Amnesty International regarding child labour on palm oil plantations in Indonesia (specifically Wilmar) – I’m not 100% sure about it and did a little research which initially was mostly about the environmental impacts of palm oil plantations. To this end it does seem that some companies have been improving their practices – WWF Scorecard  and Australia Scorecard . This website had a good explanation. However my friend asked a good question regarindg the child labor – if the companies stop buying these products what happens to the children? Do they get pushed into other areas of slavery/sex objects/ etc so that they can survive?
  3. Read a bit about family law and royal commissions – absolutely love Rosie Batty and all the work she does
  4. Also read about the new Australian Conservative Party and although I liked this tag line ‘policies, not personalities. Principle, not politics.’ I don’t think I’m onboard with them.
  5. Have had two home days, yesterday super relaxing as both kids at school/kindy, today was harder to get motivated and harder to indulge for second day.
  6. Tried to get my head around Four Corners expose on the Murray Darling Basin, quite relevant for my local area but not sure of anything. Good list of ABC articles here  but my question is which response is best out of a federal judicial inquiry (Labor option), independent inquiry (Australian Conservatives) and senate inquiry (Greens option)? Disappointingly I havn’t seen anything from Liberals.
  7. Just had a lovely 30 minute phone call with my Mum, love that woman!
  8. Other parentals on my mind are my father and father-in-law spending the week together volunteering in the Bush – not sure how I feel about that!
  9. Oooh and last but not least I havn’t started any other books so have made progress on Silence

 

 

Hope you are all having a good week. Would love to hear your random thoughts on all and everything too 🙂