Monday, May 9, 2016

April Reads

I'm getting ready to head off to a week of reading and pool time.  Hubby and I are leaving the kids at home with grandma while we head off to "Sin City"- yep one of our favorite places Las Vegas.  He's going for work and I'm tagging along.  Normally I'd have my whole week planned, but due to the Mindfulness class I've been taking I'm trying a new approach- going and just seeing what happens.  However, I have slipped four books into my carry on.  I'm hoping to meet some new "friends" via reading these books and having some entertaining time by the pool reading about these "friends" lives.  But before I get onto that plane I thought I'd better post my April Reads- not very many due to Gretchen Rubin's book taking me a bit longer .

Sarah's Key
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay was painfully beautiful.  It is a story I didn't know. 
 July 16 and 17, 1942 French police went through Paris rounding up all Jews and taking them to the Vélodrome d'Hiver (a sport's dome in Paris).  There for 3 days the Jews of Paris were given little water or food let alone a place to go to the bathroom.  These Jews were then taken to internment camps: Drancy, Pithiviers and Beune-la-Rolande  (  They rode to these internment camps in the typical mode of transportation of Jews during WWII- cattle cars on trains. 
The two main characters in this book are Sarah from 1942 and Julia Jarmond from 2002.  It is a beautifully woven story of the past with the present.  I'm always amazed and jealous of some author's abilities to write historical fiction that reads more like nonfiction- i.e. the real thing.  Tatiana is a journalist by nature and that background suits her well. Her writing is clear, concise, but still doesn't read like a newspaper.  It reads like the great story "Sarah's Key" is. 
It was such a great book I stayed up on a work night and finished the book at 1 a.m. only to have to get up at 6 am and head back to reality.  An Amazing Read- 5 stars I gave it.  Next year I hope to travel to Paris with my son.  I plan to go to the Bir-Hakeim metro station where a plaque lies facing where meters away the Vel d'Hiv stood in 1942.  Tears will be shed I'm sure because of how powerful this story and read was for me.
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
My April month Book Club Read.  I had read two other books by Gretchen Rubin prior to this read.  My favorite still reigns as "The Happiness Project".  This one got me thinking though and it was an overall good read. It is a book about our habits and the type of people we are: Upholder, Obliger, Rebel, and Questioner (read the book or go to her website for further definition explanation: You can take a quiz that will help you figure out what type you are.  I ended up with Upholder/Obliger, but lean toward Obliger.  Once you figure out what type of person you are you then can better understand your habits/actions.  Here are a few quotes/tid bits I took from the book.
pg 30 "We all must pay, but we can choose that for which we pay."
What Gretchen considers foundation habits: Sleep, Move, Eat and Drink Right, and Unclutter.  I'd say she's right.  Now if I can just figure out how to work on those and improve all of them.
pg 123 "When the student is ready the teacher appears".  This comment in regard to her idea that a "lightning bolt" change occurs for some that helps them change their habit in a somewhat surprising or immediate way. 
pg 171 " Moral licensing loophole... we give ourselves permission to do something 'bad;...because we've been 'good'.  We reason that we've earned it or deserve it".  Been there done that!
pg 171 "Tomorrow doesn't matter, because we're going to follow good habits tomorrow."  Again been there done that.  One of my "bookies" had a good idea for how to combat this type of "loophole".  She said she reverses it and said I'll do what is "good" today because tomorrow I'll do the "bad" thing, but then if she continues to always look at doing the "good" habit today then tomorrow she doesn't do a "bad" habit because it ends up being "today" and she does "good" habits for today.  Good reverse psychology.
pg 190 "To keep going, I sometimes need to allow myself to stop." Don't we all!
pg 198 "I've noticed that some people are serial good setters, rather than habit formers."  I want to be a serial good setter someday.  Onward Ho!
Anyone who likes to read books that are "real life meet self help" I'd recommend this one.  It has some good explanation of who we are and how are habits make up just what our life is and can become. 
Midnight Sun (Blood on Snow, #2)
Listened to "Midnight Sun" by Jo Nesbo. It was a good "listen", but I still feel like I'm a "Harry Hole" fan and when Jo Nesbo writes stories with other characters- not "Hole"- then I don't seem to be held in interest as much.  However, his writing is still clean, clear, concise with excellent detail and ability to twist and tie in several characters' stories.  Not one of my favorites, but an entertaining listen while walking or doing housework. 
Well with that I'm going to get the last of my bags packed and get ready to head to some Nevada sunshine.  Here's to a great week of reading!


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