January and February Books

My Goodreads book challenge is off to a good start with seven of 40 books complete. This year, I’m doing my best to read a wide range of books. My usual go-to is historical fiction, but I’m expanding my repertoire by reading books about feminism, indigenous peoples, mental health, and more. Here are some of my favourites out of the first seven books of 2020.  

1. From the Ashes: My Story of Being Metis and Finding My Way by Jessie Thistle Whether you are Canadian or not, there is so much we need to acknowledge about the Indigenous people of our country. The effects of colonialism and residential schools are still prominent today and are deeply impacting generations of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples. From the Ashes by Jessie Thistle is an incredible story of a man’s journey through foster care, being raised by his grandparents, and how drugs and alcohol affected his life. Thistle overcame a lot and his courage to share his story is powerful. For me, it’s important to support Indigenous authors, artists, and entrepreneurs in any way that we can. 

2. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg I’m ashamed that I only just read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, but better late than never. Lean In is a quintessential read for women starting out or in their careers, especially if you’re in a corporate setting. We may have more women leaders today, but we’re far from equal representation. Say what you want about the “what about the men?” argument (insert eye roll here), but a workforce with diversity in gender, culture, and socioeconomic backgrounds leads to better business decision making. Some key things I highlighted in the book: 

  • “When the suffragettes marched in the streets, they envisioned a world where men and women would truly be equal. A century later, we are still squinting, trying to bring that vision into focus.” 
  • “According to the most recent analysis, when a husband and wife both are employed full time, the mother does 40 percent more child care and about 30 percent more housework than the father.” 
  • “Aiming for perfection causes frustration at best and paralysis at worst.” 
  • “When communicating hard truths, less is often more.” 

3. Dominicana by Angie Cruz Angie Cruz’s book, Dominicana, highlights the struggles of a teen wife from the Dominican Republic in the US during the 60s. The protagonist, Ana Cancion, has been convinced by her family that if she moves to America and marries a man twice her age, she will be living out the American dream. Of course, when she arrives in New York, the American dream is far from reality. Ana is pregnant and struggles with not knowing anyone, not speaking the language, and feeling alone. All while her husband goes back to the Dominican Republic to address the political unrest that is occurring there. 

4. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid Another great selection from Reese Witherspoon’s book club! Such a Fun Age is a modern take on The Help. The book is centered around a privileged white woman, Alix Chamberlain,  and her young black nanny, Emira Tucker, in Philadelphia. Emira helps Alix out when she is in desperate need for someone to watch her daughter late at night. Emira and Alix’s daughter go to the grocery store to serve as a distraction, but Emira is accused of kidnapping the little girl. This is a great quick read! 

5. The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off by Gloria Steinem Gloria Steinem’s book is full of essays and quotes about feminism and activism. There were so many nuggets that I highlighted in this book including: 

  • “You’re going to make mistakes, and you will learn from them. Say you’re sorry, ask what you could have done better, learn — and move on.”
  • “There are black doctors and doctors and women novelists and novelists. Any less powerful group gets the adjective, while the powerful group takes the noun. The less powerful group usually knows the more powerful one much better than vice versa. People of colour have to understand white people in order to survive; women have had to know men. Only the powerful group can afford to regard the less powerful one as a mystery.” 
  • “It’s probably only me, but…” “I don’t know if this is right, but…” – Never preface what you say with either of those two phrases. It’s a way women disqualify what we know. 

I’m two books ahead of my Goodreads goal schedule and I’m reading Daisy Jones & The Six now and can’t put it down. I may need to up my goal to 50! Have you read any good books lately? Add a comment below with any recommendations.

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