May was the month I’ve started reading more thanks to discovering the library. I’ve also joined Goodreads which has kept me really accountable but also allowed me to engage with a huge community of book lovers and see book recommendations for myself. Please chuck me a follow if you’re interested (I probably will follow you back). Without further ado, let’s review the books I’ve read last month.
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The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018 A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog. When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Isolated from the rest of the world, increasingly obsessed with the dog’s care, determined to read its mind and fathom its heart, she comes dangerously close to unravelling. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them.
I borrowed this book mainly because I really enjoyed the book cover and also of its credentials. The main themes this book explores are loss and grief as the narrator loses a close friend due to suicide. As she is grieving, she is left his dog, a huge Great Dane. The book not only explores human loss and suffering but animal suffering as well. A recurring motif is writing is a form of therapy (the narrator is a writer). The book reads less of a story but more of musings about life, death and literature (there’s a lot of name dropping of writers here and how depressed they all were). I still enjoyed this book but it felt disjointed and it got hard to adjust to the second person point of view. It was a relatively easy read though.
This Human by Melis Senova
This Human is for people who are determined to have some kind of impact with their work. It offers problem solvers of any type of design for communities, information to deeply understand the people they’re looking to serve and to create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs.
This book was a really easy and engaging book and I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in design thinking or customer-centric experiences. The book is colourful, bold and has activities and strategies to make real actionable change to the way we work and bring meaningful impact to our stakeholders.
The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh
You may have watched hundreds of episodes of The Simpsons (and its sister show Futurama) without ever realizing that cleverly embedded in many plots are subtle references to mathematics, ranging from well-known equations to cutting-edge theorems and conjectures. That they exist, Simon Singh reveals, underscores the brilliance of the shows’ writers, many of whom have advanced degrees in mathematics in addition to their unparalleled sense of humor.
The reason for the low rating is flat out my fault. I thought this book would be more about The Simpsons but even if you are the biggest Simpsons nerd, you genuinely need a passion or at least an interest in maths to enjoy this book. I enjoyed reading about the show’s history and how a lot of the earlier writers of the show were actually Ivy League mathematicians who pursued a career in comedic writing over maths but enjoyed making the audience think through maths. It got dry really quickly and I got bored. I learnt some interesting concepts but I just wish it was funnier.
Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey by Richard Ayoade
In this book Richard Ayoade – actor, writer, director, and amateur dentist – reflects on his cinematic legacy as only he can: in conversation with himself. Over ten brilliantly insightful and often erotic interviews, Ayoade examines himself fully and without mercy, leading a breathless investigation into this once-in-a-generation visionary.
Richard Ayoade is a natural contemporary treasure and I do love his comedic style. This book is very much a mockery of cinema and interviews. Ayoade interviews himself for a good half of the book. Whilst funny and charming at times, it also came across kind of pointless. The footnotes and appendices were far too much (it actually got grating) but if you can get over that, this book is packed with typical Ayoade dry absurd intense humour. Don’t expect to have high expectations but rather appreciate Ayoade’s utter weirdness.
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.
Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.
I pleasantly enjoyed this book. I had really high expectations due to the popularity of Rupi Kaur’s work but also the heavy criticism that her poetry lacked originality and quality. This book gave me a whirlwind of emotions from sadness, anger to optimism and hope. I personally enjoyed the rooting chapter most as it explored the immigrant experience. It was something I could really relate to having immigrant parents myself and understanding the sacrifices and uncertainties they navigate in their present world.
The Sun and Her Flowers taught me the importance of growth and healing and successfully made me come to terms with my emotions and how to create change and self-love. If you want to read a detailed review as well as excerpts of her poetry check out my review on the book below.
READ MORE >> BOOK REVIEW: THE SUN AND HER FLOWERS BY RUPI KAUR
As always, I am always looking for book recommendations so feel free to list some books you’re currently reading or did read in May.