Off the Bookshelf: Book Reviews from February 2018 - The Content Experiment
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Off the Bookshelf: Book Reviews from February 2018

I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read three books every month: one fiction and two nonfiction. Since I read four books in January, I won’t call February a complete fail at only two books! 

Here you’ll find my thoughts about The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas and How to Stop Feeling Like Shit by Andrea Owen

The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas
I’m not sure what prompted me to buy this book, but it arrived on my doorstep along with several other books one day. (And if you follow me on Instagram Stories, you know that I keep at least 50 books in my Amazon cart at one time. Some women buy shoes or makeup; I buy books.)

This is a young adult fiction that’s centered on police brutality and race issues. Starr Carter, a 16-year-old African American, grew up in the projects but she attends a very white, very suburban prep school. Her childhood friend, who was unarmed and not combative, was killed by police in front of her.

The story that unfolds afterward was eye-opening and inspiring to me. The author painted a realistic picture of Starr’s family and background and the fear she and her siblings face every day. I could not at all relate to the setting of this book, which made it even more interesting for me. I have family members in law enforcement, so I feel like I’ve only heard one side to the story up to now.

I know reading one book on this topic doesn’t give me a shred of insight into how families like Starr’s live, but I’m interested in learning more and expanding my horizons. As a YA book, the characters weren’t very relatable, but the story was well-told and engaging. I recommend this for teens and up, especially those like me who are white suburbanites.

How to Stop Feeling Like Shit

by Andrea Owen
For the record, life is exceptionally good these days. I don’t feel like shit (physically or mentally, most of the time). But I do see the value in constantly trying to dig deeper and do better–as a mom, friend, daughter, sister, business owner and human. I first heard about this book and the author, Andrea Owen, when she did a Facebook Live with a mentor of mine, Adrienne Dorrison. I was impressed with her story and her no-nonsense approach to improving herself.

My biggest takeaway was learning about numbing mechanisms. There are things we do in life to avoid the unpleasant. Pissed at someone? Something not working out the way you want? Have a bad day? Have a drink! Clean the house, angrily! Go for a run! Walk away from the relationship! These have been (are) my numbing mechanisms and being able to identify these actions for what they really are has been huge.

Numbing mechanisms don’t have to be negative. Running, for example, has been one of mine for more than a decade. While it’s not unhealthy at the surface level, it is unhealthy if it becomes an obsession. I’ve also noticed that it’s become increasingly difficult for me to run fast or long over the last few years. Then it hit me a few weeks ago: It’s because I no longer have anything I’m running away from. It’s no longer a numbing mechanism for me, but rather something I enjoy doing. Lightbulb moment!

As I read this book, I found myself talking more, drinking less and hiring a cleaner for my house. And in the process, I think I found some more peace in my life (and lost some weight in the process, thanks to letting go of some of the booze). Win-win-win for me!

Another huge takeaway for me was being able to identify some of these 14 habits in other people. Not in a judgy-jerky way, but in a way that helps me to understand where they’re coming from a bit more. I was in a relationship with a catastrophizer for several years and I finally understand why the sky was always falling for him. Maybe I should send him this book to help? Ha!

At any rate, loved this book and I highly recommend it–no matter how you’re feeling in life right now!

What books are you loving right now? Feel free to share!

All links are affiliate links to the books I reviewed.

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