Sierra's View: November 2017

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Thursday, November 2, 2017


You can tell that the school year has started because I only read six books over the past two months  (ha!). In the summer months, I find that I read so much!  The stress that overtakes a teacher during the school  year is a real thing, friends. And sometimes, to be honest, the last thing I want to do is open a book and think. However, with that being said, weirdly, on other days, I find that's all I want to do. Unfortunately, those first few months of a Teacher's school year, it is the former, rather than the latter. 

Outliers: The Story of Success // Malcolm Gladwell 
Genre: Nonfiction/Self Help 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. 

My thoughts:  A great novel. I only gave it 4 (not 5) because it wasn't "life changing" for me. With that being said, it was a phenomenal novel with very interesting thoughts about the benefits of being an "outlier". A great, interesting, easy self-help read

Favorite Quote from the book: “Those three things - autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward - are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.” 

The Lies We Tell Ourselves // Robin Talley
Genre: Historical Fiction  
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever. Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily. Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town's most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.
Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

My thoughts:  ** spoiler alert ** Ugh, I don't know where to start with this book. 
The first half was so enticing and interesting. I couldn't seem to put it down. It tore at my heart strings of what these young people had to go through in the process of integration in 1959. With that being said, the second half was kind of frustrating to me because I felt like the author was too focused on a political agenda (that didn't to do with race, which is what I thought the book was about?) I don't mind a political agenda if I pick up the book knowing that, but I assumed this was more historical fiction with issues on race rather than her coming out as a lesbian. Anywho, it was a good read, but the story went a totally different direction than I thought. Wasn't an amazingly well written novel, either

Favorite Quote from the book: “We punish ourselves so much in our own imaginations. We convince ourselves everything we do, everything we think, is wrong.For eighteen years I've believed what other people told me about what was right and what was wrong. From now on, I'm deciding.”

The Magnolia Story // Chip & Joanna Gaines 
Genre: Nonfiction/Biography 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

My thoughts:  I mean, who doesn't love Chip and Joanna? Not only am I obsessed with this show and it's my dream to have land and Jo decorate my classic/vintage/farmhouse style home, I thought this novel was good! It definitely wasn't life changing or the most amazing writing I've read, but it made for a quick, interesting, intriguing, fun read. 

Favorite Quote from the book: “Don’t quit, and don’t give up. The reward is just around the corner. And in times of doubt or times of joy, listen for that still, small voice. Know that God has been there from the beginning—and he will be there until . . . The End.” 

Kill the Boy Band // Goldy Moldavksy 
Genre: Fiction (Humor) 
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets. We were not planning on what happened next.We swear.

My thoughts:  Hilarious, funny, ridiculous, edgy, and keeps you interested. This novel is not the best written or must amazing book ever written, but it was entertaining and keeps you interested. A quick, easy read--a great audiobook. (Note: lots of F words, if that bothers you!).

Favorite Quote from the book: “Because the truth is, it isn't worth loving something if you aren't going to love it all the way.” 

The Gifts of Imperfection // Brene Brown 
Genre: Nonfiction/Self Help 
Rating: 5/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. 

My thoughts:  I just finished reading this for the third time (listened to it once and read it once) and every time this book teaches me more about the strength in my imperfections. Seriously such a fantastic self-help book; one that really "speaks" to me. This is, truly, one of my all time favorite books that I havee ever read. I am such a perfectionist and this helped me in so many different ways in my life. 

Favorite Quote from the book: (Oh man, how do I just choose one?!). “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” 

We Should All Be Feminists //  
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. 

My thoughts:  Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I love that it talks about feminism in a positive light--that feminism does not mean man-hating or angry, lonely, of masculine women. True feminism is rooting for women to succeed and to see them in positions of power. Great points about raising soft men and the expectations we place on boys and girls, men and women.

Favorite Quote from the book: (Can't just choose one! Ah!). “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.” 

July/August Reads 
May/June 2017 Reads
March/April 2017 Reads
January/February 2017 Reads

What were some of your most recent reads that you want to share with me?
Have you read any of these novels?