Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and sharing a few short reviews of what I've been reading.
I actually haven't done too much reading (of books, that is) these past few months: I've been having some trouble with my glasses, or more precisely my eyesight, which has made reading more of a chore than a pleasure at times. But what I've lacked in quantity, I've made up for in quality.
Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel (nonfiction).
This book is by Modern Mrs. Darcy herself, Anne Bogel. In it, Bogel explores several of the most popular and influential personality-typing models, including the Five Love Languages, Highly Sensitive People, StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram, and others.
Bogel writes in a warm, encouraging style. She explains each model in an unintimidating way, providing many personal examples that clarify and demystify the material. I was familiar with several of these systems already, but the "cognitive functions" of Myers-Briggs were new to me and at first glance seem very confusing. But Bogel explains them clearly and carefully, repeatedly stepping back to assure the reader, "Don't worry, you'll get this!"
My single caveat: the "girly" cover. It's beautiful -- but this book would be interesting and helpful to male readers as well as female, and the cover doesn't reflect that fact.
Otherwise, though, I just loved this highly informative and extremely well-written book and will likely be going back to reread some or all of it in future. If you're even a little bit interested in personality typing of any sort, you'll enjoy it.
(Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the author, but that has not influenced my review, nor was I asked to write one.)
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (fiction).
This novel tells the story of Jojo, a teenage boy growing up in Mississippi. He looks up to his black grandfather, Pop, who tells Jojo stories about the time he spent in Parchman, a notorious state pentitentiary; and his dying grandmother, Mam. Jojo has a more complicated relationship with his mother, Leonie, a drug addict who is grieving her brother's death and struggling to be a good mother to Jojo and his baby sister; and with his white father, Michael, who is currently in jail in Parchman.
When Michael is released, Leonie takes her children on a road trip to pick him up. On the return journey they are accompanied by the ghost (whom only Jojo can see) of a boy Pap had befriended in prison many years earlier, who needs to hear the details about Pap's involvement in his death so that his soul can rest in peace.
Ward intertwines issues of race, spirituality, and family in a way that is both riveting and haunting. Her characters are flawed yet beautiful and admirable in their attempts to rise above circumstances they never asked for. I have never read anything quite like this book. Highly recommended.
Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown (nonfiction).
I love Brene Brown's work and have read most of her previous books, including The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong. She returns to many of the same themes in her books -- shame, vulnerability, empathy, and courage -- continually layering on new insights.
In Braving the Wilderness, she addresses the current crisis of belonging in our society: how we tend to split up into camps (left-right, Republican-Democrat, NRA-gun control) out of a desire to fit in -- but often our sense of true belonging withers in the process. With examples from her own life and her research, she discusses how to speak both truthfully and civilly, how to have a strong back but a soft front, how to draw closer to strangers in times of joy and pain, and more. Brown asserts that when we are true to our deepest selves yet also recognize our deep connection to the rest of humanity, we can achieve true belonging, so that -- paradoxically -- we belong nowhere yet everywhere at the same time.
If you're tired of feeling you need to take sides all the time and don't know where you fit anymore, you'll probably appreciate the insights Brown offers.
I'd love to hear what you've been reading. Have you read any of Brene Brown's books? Are you into personality types? What's the latest good novel you read?