January Books.

I am reading not even close to what I would want to (like most of us, I imagine). On another hand, I would like to avoid becoming obsessed by the number of books read, as it seems to be the case on Internet today (don´t get me wrong, I am very glad people are re-starting to read books, but I am not a fan of another type of social media pressure).

I´ll try to share my thoughts on the books I read, on a monthly basis, if there will be at least one :), just to keep track of what I enjoyed. I am determined to only share meaningful ideas here, so I am a bit reluctant to this option, since I am sure I cannot bring something out of this world on these books already read by so many people. But I´ll give it a try: spoilers to the minimum, but be warned, there might be some! 🙂

This month seemed like the beginning of a new life for everybody around. Everywhere I looked there was a new challenge, a new diet, a new way of folding clothes, a new super book etc. This was a bit overwhelming for me, I admit. For me, this month was simply dedicated to putting pieces together, just trying to figure out where to head next. So I (only?) managed to read 2 books. Complex, inspiring and beautiful. Written by smart, extraordinary women.

Becoming, by Michelle Obama.

Photo by Alex Nemo Hanse on Unsplash

For years, I was inspired by Michelle in so many ways. I think she is sooo smart, incredibly powerful, but also funny and authentic. I followed her interviews, her campaigns, her speeches, since forever. She is simply amazing. This book was such a gift, I was unable to let it out of my hands. It might seem like a too difficult to read book when you see it (speaking of seeing, the cover is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Love that photo!), but it does flow easily. It conquers you, it makes you curious, you´ll read it with an open heart, red eyes and hurting hands 🙂

I am completely against spoilers, but this rule does not fully apply for memoirs, right? Hence, I´ll share some phrases and facts from the book which inspired me (apart from the already famous and hard to achieve: When they go low, we go high):

  • Apparently, the President of the United States always travels with blood supply and a personal M.D., in case of any issue.
  • I love how she pictures the changes in her life, so natural, but yet so detailed. She says that you never really realize how connected you are with a certain place until you leave, wandering in unknown waters. I am sure that things were a lot more difficult than she lets us see, but it all seemed so meant to be, in a way. So natural.
  • I also love how she points out the problems of following an “expected” path. When you take the steps that others expect, you can miss your own amazing route.
  • I also love (Repeating myself much, I see, sorry) how she adapted to chaos. And how she understood and finally accepted Barack´s gift to change the world, basically. She had a complicated relationship with politics, but she finally adapted, found ways to contribute and in the end she also changed the world.
  • She also describes the importance of defining yourself. True words: if you do not position yourself in a way, society-people judge and fill the gaps by themselves.
  • So down to Earth as always, she pictures herself as a normal person who got the chance of an extraordinary experience. She says that for each door opened to her, she tried to open another for someone else. And I think that is true, just by checking her projects and by noticing the immense impact she had on so many lives.
  • I am sure that there are so many reviews on this book out there, so not so much I can bring to this discussion. Just read it, I am sure that you´ll feel empowered by the stories. I cried and laughed and felt good about myself when she mentioned that she sometimes yells and that there were also fights and that they too needed counseling and that she too struggled with infertility. I was touched by the stories of close connections with her team and the staff and I was, once again, completely puzzled by the immensity of that task and the way their lives were forever changed. They navigated everything so gracefully.

She talks about this speech in the book, as an important turning point:

And I think that in a way it summarizes the whole book. It is a must (and I rarely say this, I think there are no musts in this world, especially regarding books), but please oh please read this memoir. You´ll be a wiser person by the end of it, I am sure.

The Architect’s Apprentice, by Elif Shafak

Unfortunately, this is the first book from this amazing author that I ever read. I tried to read Honour before, but it just did not click. I was tormented by my lack of ability to read her work, since I highly respect her, I admire her mind and her talent and I was no stranger to her special and compelling Ted Talks:

This book, however, captured my mind in a very powerful way. I think the writing is simply superb, the narrative flows in such a captivating manner. I loved the details on food and the history bits. I enjoyed how much I learned and I just think this is one of those books that make you a better, smarter person when you finish it. It became one of my favorite books and I am quite a picky reader 🙂 Just a small bit of the knowledge (adapted sentences from the book) which I hope will remain with me throughout time:

  • In order for the soul to start flying, the heart has to be broken first. In order to build, you must also equally destroy.
  • Hate is a cage.
  • ….As if there were two unseen arches: through our actions and words we can rise, but also fall.
  • The comparison between a perfect building and our bodies was inspiring, in the sense that it is mentioned that the building is perfect, even though there are, sometimes, smaller or larger (so-called) defects.
  • Life is compared to a show, from which we all leave through the back door, still eager to receive more praise.

So, did you read these books? If so, what are your thoughts?

C.

Featured: Photo by Patrick Smith on Unsplash

2 comments

  1. wow. i also have same thought. i also don’t consider social pressure to control me. i read only the books i want to read. in fact, i don’t care how many books i already read this month or should i read next. that just gives me creeps and i won’t find reading exciting if that’s the case. nice post 🙂

    Like

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