International Women’s Day is super important to me because 1) I am a woman, 2) my friends are women, 3) I really appreciate the work that women do, and 4) I love upsetting men. (Just kidding. I only love upsetting awful men.)
One genre I have loved reading lately is memoirs, especially written by women. I’m at a time in my life when I feel feel very deeply that I am making life happen, and life is happening to me. It’s affirming to find that other people feel the same. I think the two memoirs I read recently really spoke to me. Obviously I have not been in a movie and I am not Steve Jobs’s first daughter, but I relate so deeply to Gabby Sidibe and Lisa Brennan’s experiences. As different as they are from each other and I am from them, I find that we all share so much in common. (Yes, I’m speaking like Gabourey Sidibe, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, and myself are all friends.)
- Our fathers were there but not really present in our lives. They were not supportive in the ways that we needed them to be.
- We felt not beautiful, despite that fact all three of us ARE very beautiful.
- We have experience with awful men. Thankfully they were not awful experiences, but they were with men who are not good for our self-esteem or mental health.
- We are smart and hard-working.
- We’ve done a bunch of different jobs (and we are good at them!)
- We’ve been in nurturing or care-taking roles for significant periods in our lives.
- We are working women who are embracing and living our best lives.
These two memoirs spoke so deeply to me that it was therapeutic to read them and to discuss them with my therapist. OH YEAH!!!! Another commonality between all 3 of us is that we speak/have spoken to therapists. Can you see why we might?? I’ve added both of these books to my ‘Favorites’ pile. I am so happy these books exist.
I also finished reading Freak ‘N’ Gorgeous by a new YA author, Sebastian J. Plata. Pretty good debut! I really like the gender reversal and the accuracy about high school life. reminds me of Your Own Worst Enemy. It’s fun to branch out to unknown authors and read debut novels.
I have yet to read That Kind of Mother, which is also a new novel for me! Once in a while I will go shopping for books and veer off my TBR list and pick out any new writer or book, including the backlist!
Do you go “shopping for books” and try unknown authors?
I love books with drama, history, turmoil, and war as much as the next person. But I also love really soothing books where maybe not a lot happens or the story takes place over a few days. Not every story needs to be a sprawling generational drama spanning two continents. (But those are really good too!)
The writer with the most soothing voice might be Jacqueline Woodson. If one word could describe her writing it would be gentle. Hush is about a young girl whose dad was an African-American cop. He had witnessed two of his white colleagues shoot a black teen, and as a whistle-blower, he and his family entered the witness protection program. It was very hard to read because it seems like it could happen today. It’s easy to say do the right thing, because clearly it is to take a stance against injustice. But I could feel what an extremely difficult situation he had to make– there is an unspoken rule that you don’t break the bond between police officers–surely, within their profession, rapport is stronger than any type of social justice. But he did. I think the father’s story and dilemma hit me far harder than the girl’s. We are frustrated by the lack of change within the police force and “blue lives,” and reading this book made me realize why almost no change will occur. Police officers will never speak out against each other. What a heartbreaking thing for both their profession and for the people they serve and protect.
Another heartbreaking book I read is Echo by Paul Mosier. What stood out to me about this book is that 1) it’s from the older sister’s perspective and 2) it’s based on the author’s daughters. And 3) the cover is beautiful. I like that Echo is super adorable and funny. El is the ultimate big sister who nonetheless is vulnerable. The book was very realistic about how being around someone with cancer can feel like you don’t have any excuse to be sad, ever. Life is already SO unfair, how could someone without cancer be sad? But they can be. There are no qualifications to being sad or happy except that you have to be human <3. Wonderful book, Paul Mosier!
I loved Holes and was excited to find that there is a sequel! It is Small Steps and it is about Armpit and X-Ray. You could say it;s a spin-off rather than a sequel. I actually loved that it’s about Armpit. Armpit x X-Ray = buddies for life. Armpit x Ginny = best duo ever. Ginny is really the stand out of this book. Landscape architecture is a close second. When I was reading I got the feeling that Kiara DeLeon is supposed to be Rhianna. LOL. “Red Alert” is TOTALLY a song Rhianna would’ve put out in 2006!
Best line in the whole book = “My body went to red alert.” – Ginny
If I was making a self-care book list, I’d put Essential Glow and Feathers on it. I went to a workshop for making homemade household products and we made toothpaste and mouth wash. The recipes were from this book where you could also make your own deodorant and so many other products!!! I loved it! It was pretty wonderful. And always, for a gentle and quiet voice to salve your heart, read Jacqueline Woodson.
What books would you put in a self-care kit?