Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Art of War



Book 17 of 2017 is The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

It felt like the right time in my working life to re-read this. It is a short read. The first and last time I read it, I was in my early 20s and I didn't see why any of it mattered. Working in the corporate world 15 years later, it seems more relevant.

Even though this is a 2000 year old Chinese military text, I read it thinking of European warfare and American business. I guess in the end, strategy is strategy.

3 strategies out of 5.

Should I read this? Yeah, every couple of years.
What did I learn? Confusion is a tactic.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Born a Crime




Book 16 of 2017 is Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.

For someone who used to say she didn't like autobiographies, some the best books I have read in the last few years are just that. This is one of them.

I laughed, I cried. I felt so connected to this half black and half white boy telling the story. The culture you grow up with. The never belonging completely anywhere. But I didn't grow up a black man in South Africa so there is a big difference.

If you read any non-fiction this year, let this be it.

5 amazing black mothers out of 5.

Should I read this? Everybody should.

What did I learn? Less learnt than reinforced is the belief I have always had that not really belonging anywhere allows you to belong everywhere. That's how I've always seen myself and it is a nice idea.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Beekeeper's Apprentice



Book 15 of 2017 is The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King.

I miss Sherlock Holmes stories a lot. Having read all of them over and over, it is lovely to find something written in such a close style and involving my favourite fictional detective.

This was long but it establishes the training of the apprentice and the style of of the series. I will be reading more of this for sure.

4 obvious reasons out of 5.

Should I read this? If you are a Sherlock fan then yes..

What did I learn? You can never get enough of a great literary character.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Porcelain: A Memoir



Book 14 of 2017 is Porcelain: A Memoir by Moby.

I'm learning that autobiographies make very good audio books when read by the author. This may be the only type of audio book I will entertain.

Considering I enjoyed Moby's music but always considered him a little mainstream and elitist, this was a nice awakening. Yeah, he is a geeky little balding white guy who grew up very poor but he truly does love music and is a real musician. This made me respect him that way.

Realising that not all celebrities are rich and that it can take a decade to have an albums selling millions was awakening for me. I always assumed they were on private jets and sipping on Champagne while eating caviar. Not the case it seems.

The end felt a little rushed. The final chapters reflecting on his childhood and his mother would have been nice if they were extended but it feels like he didn't really want to go there. That made you feel his sadness, all the more.

This was a great view in to the New York music scene in the 90s. Much in the style of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Mental note: Must read that again.

5 bowls of brown rice and vegetables out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes, yes and yes. You don't even have to be in to his music.
What did I learn? Famous does not automatically equate to rich.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

That most vulnerable moment

There is a moment each night that is the most raw time in my day.

It is the moment that I slow down and am nice to myself, without exception.

Seattle winters and springs are cold and rainy times. The weather is grey. The people are grey. The deep long breaths are grey.

When all is done in my day and work has wrapped, friends have shared hugs and wine and the door is locked behind me, I stop.

My bra is flung in the clothes hamper. My shoes are shoved under my bed. Then. Then, I peel off my tights.

Everything that happened in the day is replayed. Dashing to a friend in need; Listening patiently to some very mediocre male mansplaining my obvious mistakes in executing my job; Applying compassion when I don't quite understand why someone is melting down; Laughing until I snort coffee through my nose; and Getting shit done at work.

Was a I good person?
Did I treat everyone decently?
Can I be strong yet gentle?
Would my parents be proud of me?
Do I like myself?

I'm not sure how other people do it but I like this moment. It is my rawest moment. It is my kindest moment. It is how I plan to be better tomorrow.

I often wonder how others end their days.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Red Rising




Book 13 of 2017 is Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

Everyone has been recommending this book to me for the last 6 months so I had to read it. It didn't take long because it is a very easy read and thoroughly enjoyable.

This has the flavour of old sci-fi and a lot of the Hunger Games. It's done very well. This is part of a set and I will certainly read the rest.

5 discriminations based on skin colour out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes, if you get excited about the small rising up to slay their oppressors.
What did I learn? This isn't just the future. It's the present too.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Girl Who Drank the Moon




Book 12 of 2017 is The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

This was such an odd book about magic but I loved every single second of it.

I have nothing to really compare it to except maybe Night Circus for the phantasmagorical storyline.

5 stolen babies out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. Absolutely, yes.
What did I learn? Your magic is only a curse when at first you don't know how to control it.