Thursday, September 27, 2018

I Wrote This for You and Only You: a poetry review

I Wrote This for You and Only You

by Iain S. Thomas

Releases October 2, 2018

Andrews McMeel Publishing

I Wrote This for You and Only You is a book of poetry by Iain S. Thomas paired with photography by Jon Ellis. Thomas’s short prose poetry covers topics like the self, love, suicide (or rather, not doing it), and heartbreak..

Each poem is paired with a photograph. Many of the images are black and white; some are full color. They often depict landscapes and urban scenes and occasionally include portraits.

This book is a follow-up to Thomas’s earlier two books and collects entries from both of those.

I bought the earlier version of this book when I saw it in a bookstore while visiting my mother in Florida. I was mesmerized by the combination of poetry and photography, both of which are compelling in their own ways. Together, they add more nuance to one another.

This book provides that feeling once again. My favorite entries in this book are The Anxiety Inherent in Air, The World Is Not As Dark As It Seems, and The Truth is Different Every Day.

I recommend this book to those who like short form prose and poetry, as well as those who enjoy photography.

Disclaimer: I received an advance-read copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Inward: a poetry review


by Yung Pueblo

Published September 25, 2018

Andrews McMeel Publishing

Inward is a beautiful poetry collection that focuses on self-love, self-healing, and all the good that can come from these.

Diego Perez writes under the pen name Yung Pueblo, which means “young people,” according to his bio in the back of the book.

Pueblo begins with what he feels will be the lesson of the 21st century: that to harm another is to harm oneself and to heal oneself is to heal the world. That sets the tone for the poems that follow.

Poems are grouped into sections: distance, union, interlude, self-love, understanding. Interlude is a short story of sorts that sticks to the overall theme of the book.

Most of the poems are short, and a few pieces of short prose are woven among them. They speak of recognizing the pain we carry in ourselves and the importance of self-love to heal that pain, so we can offer our best selves to the world.

Pueblo’s writing is thoughtful and direct. You don’t need master sleuthing skills to decipher his meaning. This leaves the reader able to simply read and absorb.

I recommend this collection to lovers of poetry, as well as lovers of the self-help section. You may find more direction toward self-healing in this small volume than in a dense, text-heavy nonfiction book. I plan to buy the paperback copy to add to my shelf, because I want to revisit these poems again and again. They are good lessons and reminders.

Disclaimer: I received an advance-read copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Imperfect Courage: a book review

Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared

Jessica Honegger

Published: August 14, 2018

Crown Publishing Group

I heard about this book on Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love podcast when she interviewed the author Jessica Honegger.

Jessica is the founder and co-CEO of Noonday Collection. Before growing into the large direct sales business that it currently is, it began as Jessica selling jewelry and accessories handcrafted by friends of hers in Uganda in an effort to raise money to adopt internationally. From there, the business grew to include artisans from Rwanda, Haiti, and other countries.

Imperfect Courage is about several things. It is partly about how and why Jessica grew her business, and how she supports women through it and because of it.

It is partly about international adoption and how she adopted her son Jack from Rwanda. She also mentions other parents’ stories of adoption.

It also is partly about how to act on something despite fear, uncertainty, negative self-talk, and criticism. Jessica talks about the importance of vulnerability to healing. This can be in small or big ways, from exposing negative self-talk to victims of genocide sharing their stories.

She talks about how judgment affects our ability to look at each other as sisters in womanhood to approach one another, to support one another, and to simply be friendly to one another.

I recommend this book for women in business and entrepreneurial women who have their own businesses or wish to start them. Although this isn’t a business how-to book, it is sure to spark inspiration. Also, readers who want to find new ways to help their fellow humans, whether close to home or around the globe, can find ideas here.

Disclaimer: I received an advance-read copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Namaste the Hard Way: a book review

Namaste the Hard Way: A Daughter's Journey to Find Her Mother on the Yoga Mat

by Sasha Brown-Worsham

Published: September 4, 2018

Published by Health Communications, Inc.

I like yoga and I am trying to learn more about it. I also like memoirs. So when I saw Namaste the Hard Way on NetGalley, I jumped on the opportunity to request it.

Sasha Brown-Worsham has organized her books as a series of essays that build an overarching exploration of her path with yoga. As a child, she found her mother’s yoga practice (at a time when it wasn’t as popular as it is today) to be weird and embarrassing. Aside from that, all her healthy mind/body choices and vegetarian lifestyle didn’t excuse her from dying of cancer somewhat quickly. Sasha reflects on particular points throughout her childhood and teen years and how they affected her, as well as affected her relationship with her mother.

As an adult Sasha came to yoga in her own way. Although she practices in a slightly different way from her mother, yoga has become a core part of Sasha’s life despite her initial disdain.

The essays are organized into sections that follow the order of a practice: centering, breathing, connecting, saluting, flowing, balancing, strengthening, surrendering, integrating, and rebirthing. This structure made a lot of sense for moving through Sasha’s stories. It also taught me that these were all actual parts of a yoga practice. My first yoga practice after finishing this book felt so much deeper because I had a better understanding.

I plan to read this book a second time. Knowing how it helped me with my own understanding of yoga, I want to revisit it from the beginning to see what else I might recognize that I didn’t on first passing. I may even buy myself the paperback version even though I have an advanced read ebook copy.

I recommend this book for readers who like memoir (whether or not you like yoga), as well as for those who maybe aren’t used to memoir but do love yoga.

Disclaimer: I received an advance-read copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Diary of a Bookseller: a book review

The Diary of a Bookseller

by Shaun Bythell

Published September 4, 2018

Melville House

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to run your own bookstore, this is your chance to experience it vicariously.

The Diary of a Bookseller is exactly what it claims to be -- a diary kept by Shaun Bythell for one year. Bythell owns a secondhand bookstore in Wigtown, Scotland. In this diary he shares stories about his customers, shop repairs, his employees, and even the daily till count.

This memoir isn’t about self-growth or personal tragedy. In fact, nothing much happens in this book, yet I couldn’t stop reading. I wanted to experience a day in the life… and then another… and another.

Bythell’s tone is straightforward and sarcastic. His employee Nicky reads like a fictional character and makes Bythell’s search for books sold online nearly impossible at times from her own quirky thought process for shelving books.

Customers come in to the store asking questions to show off their own intelligence, or that lead to the exact offbeat book they are looking for, only to have them leave without buying it.

The beginning of each month begins with a quote from George Orwell's account of working in a book shop, so you get a sort of two-for-one experience.

This is a fun, light read that you can dip in and out of. The short entries will likely have you continuing to turn the pages long after you say, “just one more.”

I recommend this to book lovers, anyone who dreams of working in a bookstore, shop owners, and readers who need to knock themselves out of a reading rut.

Disclaimer: I received an advance-read copy of this book via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Mooncakes

  Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker (author), Wendy Xu (illustrator) Rating: 5 stars What It's About Nova is a young woman with witchcraft in ...