Book Review: The School of Good Mothers

I can’t recall if it was “tiktok that made me read it” or maybe one of the book influencers I follow on Social – but I recently read the book The School of Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan.

I want to start by saying that I had high expectations for this book.  The book had me hooked at the beginning as we begin to learn about Frida’s (the protagonist mom) very bad day.  Reading this part made me think of the countless times similar ideas pop into a mothers head – but daring to do it…is another question!

The novel continues by illustrating that the state has put into place a “school that will focus on re-programming bad mothers” with the help of robot dolls as the mother’s adopted children no less!  The story is written in away that you are transported to this prison-school where you feel you are sitting in the classroom with the robot dolls.  Majority of the lessons are harsh and challenging.  Mothers are taught to mother in a very mechanical way (read: if this else that).  Consequences are delivered out hourly.  The mothers also learn that there is a school for dads, where in contrast, the dad’s are treated with grace and respect.

The women are graded and medically analyzed to see if they are fit to return to the society as mothers to their children.  Most are not, which drives Frida to take a drastic decision.

This book was interesting right until the end.  I mean I could understand her mindset and her reasons for doing what she did – but I didn’t agree with it. And as always I wanted more science fiction in the story.  Would recommend 6.5/10

February Reads

Well I took it a little easier with February and decided on a fiction read that I knew was already streaming ;) 

Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng

Usually when I start a book, it takes me a few pages or at least a chapter before I start to connect the dots and actually start to “listen” (read: pay attention) to what’s going on. Which means I don’t always get the story line right away.  I also didn’t follow the story until Moody was watching Pearl from afar after biking to her new home.   What really drew me to the story initially was Mia’s story line.  I loved that she is a mixed media artist and a photographer in the truest sense. This book was full of little twists and turns but in a way that wasn’t too abrupt or aggressive.  Seeing the juxtaposition between privilege and humble family lives was both lovely and painful.   I enjoyed how the author made little links between Mia and Elena’s life (as mothers, women creating careers/pursing their life’s work and as humans living a traditional and not so traditional North American life). Another small detail I love about this book – it’s set in the 90s!      

In my head I imagined Mia/Pearl to be Asian (in the book their race is unspecified but not in the show adaptation). And it wasn’t until we learn that Lexie is in an interracial couple that I noticed that race was an underlying theme of the book.   I really appreciated that the novel talks about race, biases and the way a community my think they are “doing better” than the rest of the world/country.

If you need a weekend read or a vacation read.  Or just a break from the business/strategy/self development books (like me) I would definitely suggest picking this book up!

Find Little Fires Everywhere at Chapters Indigo (Canada)

Reading, Little Fires Everywhere, Chapters, Library Book, Book on Bed, Reader

January Reads

Reading Routine, Habits, Brain Boosters, Rituals, Best Self, Higher Self, Reading for pleasure, Reading for Fun, Thriller, Suspense, GoodReads, Bookstagram

I’ve been trying to read 20+ pages a day which has really helped me to read more efficiently.  And because of that I managed to finish 2 books in a little over a month!  I’m trying to diversify what I read because I’ll normally read business/strategy/career books and get bored and not want to read for a while.  Or read thriller/suspense/fiction one after another and then I feel like I’m consuming without learning anything.  So to prevent that – I switch it up (ie: thriller, followed by business, followed by fiction, followed by self growth, followed by thriller etc).  It’s a good way to stay motivated and the habit of reading a certain number of pages of day helps too!  Read on to see my reviews :)

How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith

This book had me nodding in agreement throughout!  The authors present 12 habits that women specifically do to serve them well earlier in their career – actually end up holding them back when they further their career.  What I really like about this book is that they talk about women-specific behaviours that I’ve learned also learned from other sources (like women not speaking up for their accomplishments).  The peer reviewed sense of it really made me feel like these things I do are common to all women and I shouldn’t feel bad.  More specifically, the habits of building relationships and never leveraging them or try to be perfectionists – I was immediately able to see the habit in me and other women I knew. With each habit, the book provided an example and actions to overcome it.  A great book and something I will reference and read again.

Reading Routine, Habits, Brain Boosters, Rituals, Best Self, Higher Self, Reading for pleasure, Reading for Fun, Thriller, Suspense, GoodReads, Bookstagram

Find How Women Rise at Chapters Indigo (Canada)

Such a quiet place by Megan Miranda

This book is about a close knit community and the strange things they know about one another and the efforts they go to preserve what they believe to be the truth about their neighbours.  The story reads well and although I wouldn’t say it’s a page-turner, it was definitely something that kept me engrossed.  Harper’s roommate is sentenced to 20 years in prison for a crime.  But her conviction is overturned which sends all of her accusing neighbours into a frenzy (and against Ruby).  Including Harper, who although believed Ruby to be innocent, but now wants to remain on the inside with her community.  There are twists, turns and random pieces of information that don’t necessarily add to the story but are still interesting info about the characters.  Definitely a great vacation ready!  *fingers crossed* we’ll be able to take vacations this year ;)

Find Such a quiet place at Chapters Indigo (Canada)

Reading Routine, Habits, Brain Boosters, Rituals, Best Self, Higher Self, Reading for pleasure, Reading for Fun, Thriller, Suspense, GoodReads, Bookstagram

Unlearn & Relearn + Books we are reading

The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward. // Ijeoma Oluo

Racism has always been here.  But we’ve haven’t been forced to sit with it in this way.  And although I’ve talked to the girls a few years ago about the colour of our skin and acceptance (I think I felt compelled to after there was talk about cultural appropriation in the media), it really needs to be an ongoing conversation that will become more difficult with time.

I’ve read or watched so many articles and broadcasts on the topic so I am doing my best to unlearn what I now realize is not serving the people of society and relearn where I need to improve on.  I should say that this one started it all, and the others like this helped me realize what my privilege is.

Reading accounts of black people feeling uncomfortable driving their luxury vehicles or walking in their neighbourhoods.  Listening to biracial women who understand that having a white parent has offered them some privilege against their darker skinned colleagues or friends. And even more, realizing that white people are learning that they have no idea what black, indigenous or persons of colour (BIPOC) have to deal with.  It’s been very eye opening to say the least.

I think I have an obligation as a parent to make sure that I keep these conversations going.  We started reading these books last month.  I truly hope this keeps the lines communication open with our kids and they feel comfortable talking to us about what they see, hear or understand.  And for me, it’s making sure that I a step up and have those uncomfortable conversations when ever they need to happen.

Books, Teach kids about racism, the talk, race

The Colours of Us: A story about a child who wants to find all the right paint colours to paint pictures of her friends and family.  The child learns about the similarities and differences between us and that brown comes in different shades.
Youtube Read Along / Chapters / Amazon

Whoever You Are: A reminder to adults and children, that kids all over the world are experiencing the same joys, sadness, happiness and fears.  Regardless of where they are in the world or what they look like.
Youtube Read Along / Chapters / Amazon

Same, Same but Different: A story of two boys from the US and India who become pen-pals.  They share stories and pictures from their life.  They do all the same things (go to school, climb trees, live with their families) but a little differently.
Youtube Read Along / Chapters / Amazon

A kids book about racism:  A direct and open explanation about what racism is and what it makes people feel like.
Youtube Read Along / Amazon

Book Review – What I know For Sure

TLY_WIKFS_BookReview2

A few weeks ago I finished the book “What I know For Sure” by Oprah. I really enjoyed reading it. It felt like I was reading the journal of an older sister or mentor. I felt like taking pictures of every paragraph or sentence of paragraph that gave me that “aha” feeling. I soon realized that I’d be taking more pictures than actually reading and appreciating the book.

I was never an Oprah fan. Well I wouldn’t say I am now either. I do watch the occasional Soul Circle video on Instagram and listen to an episode of her podcast here or there. I don’t think I would ever go to her live talks though (just because I am not the biggest fan of concerts and large audience events). But when a smart, successful, creative, mindful, ambitious, knows-what-she-wants-and-goes-after-it woman immortalizes her experiences and thoughts into a book – yep for sure I’ll be all over that.

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The book is all the wisdom Oprah gained from when she was very young to her current age. Life lessons, inspiration, revelations and thoughtful trinkets.  It’s the kind of book that I’d want to buy (yep I borrowed it from the library) and fold page corners, highlight and bookmark so much of this book because the advice is relatable and genuine.

Here are a few lines that I want to share:

On reading…

I now consider reading a good book a sacred indulgence. […] What I know for sure is that reading opens you up, exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold.  […] Reading gives you the ability to reach higher ground.  And keep climbing.

On Resiliency…

The only way to endure the quake is to adjust your stance.

On Gratitude…

What you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it.

On doing your life’s work…

I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.

 

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Check out the other books I’ve ready in 2019!

Fall back into Action!

“Soar, eat ether, see what has never been see; depart, be lost, but climb” // Edna St. Vincent Millay

TLY_Back to Fall1

I love September!  Fresh start, crisp mornings, new recipes, tall boots, beautiful fall photography :)

September has always felt like the start of a New Year of Learning. And although I no longer am in school or formal education, it’s important for me to remember that I should continue to grow and learn. I try to do this as often and as easily I can by: doing new things, reading books, listening to podcasts/Ted Talks or simply by changing my perspective to understand a topic more deeply. I often forget that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed or confused some days.  It’s on those days that I need to take a time to rest and recover but also not forget to keep my goal in mind and continue to scale that mountain.

I am taking this this upcoming month to fall back into action!  I want to get back into good routines and stay focused.  I put together this checklist to keep me motivated and ahead of my goals as we move into the colder months!

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