So I’m Failing the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks Challenge, and Here’s the Reason Why

A couple of months ago I made a post where I listed my goals for 2016, and in those goals I stated that I wanted to participate in the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge. It’s very easy. All you have to do is read the books you already own! Or, well…it SHOULD be easy.

Of course, right after I made this goal I fell in love with the library again. Now, I’ve always used the library, but I tend to have benders where I basically live in the library. It’s happening again.

Look, I’M WEAK. I do want to read the books I have, I really do. But all the new books coming out are just so enticing! Not to mention that the library basically enables my bad habits by making it so easy to get the books!

I used to just go up to the library and look around for the books I wanted, but I’ve really started to explore my local library’s website. Now I mostly browse online and put all the books I want on hold, then when they are ready for pickup and I just drive up to the library, go to the front desk and pick up my books. I don’t even have to do any work! God bless, to be honest.

And don’t even get me started on ebooks and audiobooks from the library. Do not get me started, lol.

Are you also weak when it comes to the library? How often do you go? 

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Book Review | Shelter by Jung Yun: A Promising First Novel

Shelter - Jung Yun Book CoverTitle: Shelter
Author: Jung Yun
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Picador
Release Date: March 15, 2015
Pages: 336

Synopsis:

Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can’t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family’s future.

A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung desires for his wife and son. Growing up, they gave him every possible advantage—private tutors, expensive hobbies—but they never showed him kindness. Kyung can hardly bear to see them now, much less ask for their help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and he’s compelled to take them in. For the first time in years, the Chos find themselves living under the same roof. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung’s proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface, along with a terrible and persistent question: how can he ever be a good husband, father, and son when he never knew affection as a child?

Review:

I found out about Shelter on a list of 2016 Literary Fiction releases, and I fell in love with it right away upon reading the synopsis. I had to have it, so I gathered up my courage to request it from the publisher. To my surprise, they sent it to me! I have to say, I’m glad I took the leap, because this is such a great book.

Shelter by Jung Yun

Shelter deals with family dynamics over multiple generations. Kyung is Korean-American and his parents are Koreans who immigrated to America, so there is another level of complexity in their relationship. The book also explores forgiveness. Kyung’s childhood wasn’t the best and his parent were to blame for that. It was hard watching him struggle with whether he could or should forgive his parents.

The catalyst for much of the novel is money. Kyung and his family struggle to make ends meet, and it is causes friction in his marriage. His parents, on the other hand, have as much money as they need. They live comfortably. It begs the question: What is more important: emotional stability or financial stability? Kyung’s wife really frustrated me in this novel. She didn’t seem to care about his feelings or past trauma whatsoever. All she could see was money.

This book was quite a page-turner. I flew through it! The style of writing was right up alley. Everything flowed really well and the prose was nice, but not too flower-y. It was just right. My only gripe with Shelter was the resolution. It ended the way that Yun saw fit, and that is fine. These characters are her creation and she knows more than anyone what they would or would not do. However, I personally just couldn’t get over the ending. That is the only reason this book isn’t 5 stars for me.

I will definitely be picking up a final copy of this book when it comes out on March 15, 2015. Jung Yun wrote a fantastic first novel and I can’t wait read whatever she writes in the future!

4.5 Stars!

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I received this ARC from Picador in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review | Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes: An Engaging Listen

Title: Year of Yes
Author: Shonda Rhimes
Genre: Biography/Memoir
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Pages: 336

Synopsis:

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.

Review:

You should listen to the audiobook of Year of Yes. I tried to read the first couple of pages after listening to it, and was glad I chose the audiobook. Shonda is famously known as the creator of the amazingly popular shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. The way she writes in this book is hard to get used to, in my opinion. It doesn’t read like a novel. It feel more like voice-overs on a TV show, and I think that’s why I found the audiobook so much more enjoyable.

I’m not usually into self-help/inspire-you-to-be-better types of books, but since I am so impressed by what Shonda has managed to accomplish in the world of television, I decided to make an exception. I, too, say “no” to a lot of things. This book was meant for people like me. Year of Yes touches on subjects like motherhood, marriage, weight, self-confidence, diversity, putting yourself out there and more. This book is more than just telling everyone to say “yes” to more things. That is part of it, but this book also shows you that you don’t have to jump off a cliff with no parachute. You can do new things in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

The stand-out section of this book, for me, was the section on motherhood. I’m not even a mother, but the underlying message of it was great. Shonda is often asked “how she does it all” in regards to her work and being a mother. She sheds light on the fact that many mothers who work in the industry have help from nannies, but do not disclose this information. For normal mothers who may not have it all together, it can make them falsely feel a sense of failure.

She likened this to an experience when she was young, trying to no avail to get her hair to mimic Whitney Houston’s. She tried and tried, but she could never accomplish it. Later in life, she found out that the hairstyle she was trying to emulate was actually a wig. She could have never replicated it, and it wasn’t her fault. If only she had known it was a wig she wouldn’t have had to feel like a failure. I had a “woah” moment at this section of the book.

The message that kept coming up throughout Year of Yes was that in order to accomplish the things you want to accomplish, you can’t just dream it. You can’t just sit around and fantasize. You have to get up and put in the hard work to make it happen for you. it can be off-putting to hear things like that from someone so famous, but I never felt like that when listening to this book. Shonda felt really down-to-earth, and I personally related to her a lot.

If you aren’t the type of person who needs a push to say “yes”, then you may not get much out of this book. And if you have no interest at all in Shonda or her TV Shows, then you may not enjoy Year of Yes. I enjoyed it, though! I could totally see myself listening to it again some time.

4 Stars!

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