Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson)

It seems cliché or exaggerated, but I can’t think of a book that’s ever affected me this deeply. I’ve had emotional reactions to books before, but this was different. Several times I had to put the book down because I couldn’t stop crying. It felt so visceral I almost couldn’t breathe. If this wasn’t a library book, I might have actually thrown it across the room. The more I learn about America’s criminal justice system, the more baffled and frustrated and angry I become at how we* can fail people in such spectacular and cruel ways.

(*I almost put “it” here, but the point of this book is about recognizing humanity. When we pretend like we aren’t complicit in the system’s failings, we absolve ourselves of responsibility to change.)

Title – Just Mercy: A story of justice and redemption

Author – Bryan Stevenson

Page count – 314

Rating – Buy. No question. This would be a great book to use for a discussion group, especially at church (Although, while his faith background clearly informs his worldview, it’s not the main point of this story – this is a lesson for anyone and everyone). Continue reading “Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson)”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)

If I hadn’t read the back cover, I wouldn’t have realized this book is autobiographical. She writes with such humor and feeling that you forget these things really happened to her. You want to root for her, even – or maybe especially – when life makes it seem like she’s a bird trapped in a cage with no way to escape.

Title – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Author – Maya Angelou

Page count – 290

Rating – Borrow, although I bought mine at a used book store and will probably keep it because I need to read it at least one more time.

CW: rape/sexual assault. If reading a rape scene could trigger flashbacks for you, make sure you’re in the right mental space before reading this book. Continue reading “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)”

The Aromatherapy Garden (Kathi Keville)

I enjoyed this book more than the last one I read about aromatherapy. It was published much more recently (2016 vs 1995) so the information and studies referenced are more up-to-date. And the author is clearer about what information is anecdotal and what came from a research-based scientific study. Not that personal experience isn’t valid, but it’s important to understand and clarify the difference, especially when it comes to putting foreign substances into your body.

Title – The Aromatherapy Garden: Growing fragrant plants for happiness and well-being

Author – Kathi Keville

Page count – 257

Rating – Borrow to see if it interests you. I’ll probably buy a copy at some point because I enjoy structuring my garden designs around fragrant plants and want to reference some of her ideas. Continue reading “The Aromatherapy Garden (Kathi Keville)”

Stand Your Ground (Kelly Brown Douglas)

I feel a bit numb today. Check the political news for this date in history if you’re not sure why. Nevertheless, we persist. Plus I want to move on to a new book and don’t like to do that until I’ve finished my review.

This book is so important, maybe now more than ever. I’ve been very fortunate to have some friends who spontaneously started a book club to discuss each chapter. As we go along, if there are some really good discussion points I want to share with you all, I will update this post.

Title – Stand Your Ground: Black bodies and the justice of God

Author – Kelly Brown Douglas

Page count – 232

Rating – Buy (then read it again, make notes, and give it to all your friends) –> I’m trying something new with this section. Book Riot has a feature called Buy/Borrow/Bypass. I’ll still keep track of the star system on Goodreads, but I’ve found Book Riot’s more helpful in terms of whether/how to recommend. Continue reading “Stand Your Ground (Kelly Brown Douglas)”

Aromatherapy (Kathi Keville and Mindy Green)

This book is a good starter for people wanting to learn more about essential oils and aromatherapy in general, especially if you’re (justifiably) skeptical of the information put out by Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies. I wasn’t completely satisfied with parts of this book, as you’ll read below, but it is a decent starting point.

Title – Aromatherapy: A complete guide to the healing art

Authors – Kathi Keville and Mindy Green

Page count – 214

Goodreads rating – 3/5 (liked it – some parts were 2/5 but majority 3/5)

This book is split into four parts: Theory, Therapy, Alchemy, and Materia Medica. Continue reading “Aromatherapy (Kathi Keville and Mindy Green)”

The Blind Man’s Garden (Nadeem Aslam)

I’m always interested to figure out how a book’s title will manifest itself in the story. Is it simply based on one of the characters or a phrase someone utters? (Like Harry Potter or The Color Purple) Or is the meaning more hidden, something the readers have to tease out for themselves? Without giving away spoilers, this book is sort of a combination of the two.

Title – The Blind Man’s Garden

Author – Nadeem Aslam

Page count – 367

Goodreads rating – 3/5 (liked it)

On its surface, this book is about the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks and the effects they had in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It’s a fictional story (as far as specific characters and events go), but the struggles, turmoil, and loss are very real. Continue reading “The Blind Man’s Garden (Nadeem Aslam)”

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck (Sarah Knight)

So this book uses the “f-word” a lot. If that bothers you, no judgment, but this probably isn’t the book for you. Or maybe it’s exactly the book you need to read right now (so you can learn how to not give a f*ck about it). I don’t know your life. While I’m not typically someone who swears (out loud), I will be using that word sans asterisk from now on so again, if that bothers you, go check out some of my other reviews instead. 🙂

Title – The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to stop spending time you don’t have with people you don’t like doing things you don’t want to do

Author – Sarah Knight

Page count – 192

Goodreads rating – 3/5 (liked it)

This book is a parody of the popular self-help book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. That one is still on my to-read shelf so I can’t make any direct comparisons. All I can tell you is that this book was both helpful and funny. Continue reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck (Sarah Knight)”