July Books Round-Up

My relationship with reading has been on and off since the latter half of last year and I can come up of a thousand reasons/excuses as to why, so I wouldn’t even dare and waste time for that. But July has been different, maybe that was because I was just bored to death or I was just drowning in an ocean of stress – both, actually – that I had seek refuge and escape thru the world of reading and as usual it didn’t fail to provide me those. I have contemplated of sharing my thoughts about the books just like I always did but I wasn’t really feeling it at the time, so I didn’t stress about it and just kept on reading.

So here are the books I’ve read for the month of July:

The Enchantress by Michael Scott
– This has been a long time coming. This is the last book in the author’s series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. I love this series so much, it made me a fan of reading. Yep. That happened. If you like adventure, fantasy, magic and mythology with a lot of disgusting and creepy looking creatures – at least, in my imagination- and if you don’t mind reading a six book series, read this.

Find Her by Lisa Gardner
– I was definitely on my element when I read this. Mystery, thriller, suspense … screams me. My favorite genre. I remember this has toyed with my mind. If you’re like me, who just loves thriller, give this a try.

Undercover by Danielle Steel
– I absolutely enjoyed this book. The first part may have been a little slow for me but it definitely made up on the latter half. If you know me, you’ll know romance and action is a pretty famous combo for me.

A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks
– Honestly, I have a torn heart for this. I don’t love it but I don’t hate it either. It has a little bit of romance and a little bit of mystery but the climax I think is what killed it for me. The twist in the end, I found it a bit lacking. I think it’s still a decent and entertaining read.

After You by Jojo Moyes
– I have to say that I was a little hesitant to read this after the heart-wrenching, soul-breaking mess I had experienced when I read Me Before You. I even hadn’t watch the movie yet, I guess I just don’t want to go through it again. But of course with so much curiosity eating me up, I gave in and I didn’t regret. I don’t want to spoil anything if you hadn’t read it. Just read it.

Zero Excuses: Hot to live a Beautiful Life and be Cool as F*ck by Gabriel Machuret
– This has been the greatest book I’ve read so far this year. One of the books that I’d very much want to have the physical copy  of. It’s a light read, it’s practical, it’s funny, it’s true. This book made me feel so guilty about a lot of things. From start to finish, if not all then a big chunk of it strongly resonated to me. So relatable.

Six books for a month is already plenty right? But I thought I have read more than that. I hope I can read more this coming month.

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

Related image“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” – William James

I learned about this book through an instagram post of a youtuber that I have been watching for a while. She posted a picture of a page of it and it certainly seemed interesting to me. This is one of those books that I would want to have the actual book in reach and whenever I feel negative, I’d turn to this and read the parts relating to what I’m  feeling.

This book is – like the title says – about not sweating the small stuff because they’re just small stuff. It contains strategies on how you can find your peace, balance, acceptance, kindness and happiness in times of internal turmoil. And I believe that the strategies provided are really doable that we can adapt in our own daily lives.  I also found myself a lot of times smiling to learn what the strategy that the author suggested to solve the conflicts/problems that I can relate to. The simplicity of his solutions are kind of mind blowing. Don’t sweat the small stuff indeed.

The thing that I liked the most about this book is how easy it is to read. It doesn’t look or sound like an academic book. I also like the fact that the strategies are concisely written in a conversation kind of way. It’s like a friend giving you advises about the negativities, problems, concerns or worries that you have and what you can do about it. Also the author himself gave personal insights and examples as to how he adapt or utilize these strategies in his own self and life. This book gave me new perspectives about some things and it also is relatable.

Will I recommend this? Totally. Why wouldn’t I? There’s  a ton to learn from this book. If you’re like me who likes to read self-help books from time to time, this is definitely a good book to read. Just like what the author claims,

“Each strategy is simple, yet powerful, and will act as a navigational guide to point you in the direction of greater perspective and more relaxed living. You’ll find that many of these strategies will apply not only to isolated events but to many of life’s most difficult challenges.”

– and I’ve felt that. Really. No kidding. I’m a great worrier, I worry all the time. I worry even on the small things, small things that in minutes snowballs to bigger and more things which then stresses me out and produces negativities. See? This book is perfect for people like me and to everyone of course. This also made me feel like I’m just a normal human being and that I’m not the only one who goes through small and big experiences in life.

Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent

First of all, can we all take a moment and appreciate the cover please because if you can ever have a peek at what my brain would look like, I think that’ll probably be it, an abstract of a mess. So just for the cover itself, it has already won me over, add in the words for the title, oh I feel like I want to do a hundred cartwheels for that – well not really, maybe just ten – because I’m all about that. It just screams the very thing that I’m struggling with right now, okay fine, it sums up my life at the moment. Yep, that’s right. That’s why I know I can totally relate to this book.

Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse is the story of the author, Alida Nugent, about her journey and experiences in transitioning to adulthood. Basically, it’s her story after getting out of college with a degree in hand facing a door into the real world.

“ADULTHOOD was officially here, and I needed to get off my ass and embrace it.”

This book has got me hooked right from the intro. I loved her humor; she definitely made me laugh a lot of times. As I’ve said before, it is very relatable. The first half of the book was nostalgic, at least for me because it brought me back to my college years and a few years after that. It made me picture what I was before, the things I did, imagined and dreamed of. This book has a lot of advices to offer, did I learn something new? Honestly, no. There’s nothing on it that I haven’t read or heard before but it kind of comforted me in a way that what I am going through now is nothing out of the ordinary, that it happens to a lot of people, not just me. I find it fun, inspiring and motivating to know what other people have been through, how they handle and deal with it and also to learn the lessons that they’ve learned.

My favorite part would have to be the advice that she gave in the latter part of the book in the form of a graduation speech. Again, it was nothing out of the ordinary and yet it kind of gave me a breather and realized that my life is perfectly normal even though it is not going the way I’d like it to be.

“Until you start to get your legs moving, you will always feel like you are lost.”

Obviously, I love this book. I love how humorous it is. I love the style, it’s fresh. And I love how relatable and realistic it is. Will I recommend this? Of course, I will. It’s a good read. So, if you are a twenty-something and you would want to read something that can inspire and motivate you in some way or a reminder that you are normal and human, just like what Alida said:

“Life is not a movie. No happy ending is guaranteed. No wound is closed by magic.”

then give this book a go. Read it.

A Letter To My Younger Self

Dear Gerry,

I am writing this letter to you as a warning maybe, of what awaits ahead of you in life. I know it was tough growing up in a confusing family background that only you and I can ever understand. It was also very hard being the eldest kid in the family as you as always worry about everything, even little things but that is just something that you cannot change about you, it is innate with you. You worry too much and you always over-rationalize things, I’d like to say that these things can make your life difficult in the future as it hinders you from doing the things that you supposed to do.

As you grow older, you’ll experience a lot of fear, doubt, envy, jealousy, and even anger. I am not telling you this to scare you in any way, this is to tell you that you’ll be spending your young adult life with these negative feelings and emotions, you’ll feel betrayed and your patience will be put to a test. This is to prepare you so that it’ll not overwhelm you too much just like what I’ve experienced or you can do something better about it, so you wouldn’t go through what I’ve gone through. With that maybe we both can have a different future. Quarter-life crisis will get you so bad, frustration and regret will be a part of your everyday life. These happened because you know, I messed up. Actually, these past couple of days, I’ve been beating myself up thinking of the things that I regret so much and the things that I could’ve done differently so I wouldn’t be stuck in this phase of my life right now. Oh how I hate that word: stuck, idle, slump, pause, just because I am so guilty of it. Yes dear, I am stuck for five long years now, still searching for answers that don’t seem to be found.

I know I sound like I complain so much about how my life has turned out and that’s because I am complaining about it and it’s nobody’s fault but me. I am to blame for all of this; I know that, so I cannot help to think that once you messed up, you can really mess up big.

As I’ve told you, I am not saying this to scare you or pressure you. I just want you to be prepared because that’s what I’ve felt before this idleness happened. I felt like I have just focused on finishing school and did not fully prepare to the life after that and that was when it all started, that was when life overwhelms me so much that it made me what I am now: a coward, irresponsible, shameless – in a way that I can only explain, and a great procrastinator.

Well, life isn’t about all the bad things, of course there are also good things that happened. I cannot list any of them as my mind is clouded with so many negativities – I know, my bad – but I know deep down in me that there are. I’ve been wishing to have a time machine so that I can go back to the time where this all started but goodness gracious! I am well aware that there’s no such thing as time machine or going back in time. I am still sane enough that I know that’s not possible and you know what? Even if ever given the chance to do that, I think I still wouldn’t change a thing because I’ve learned many things in those five years. I have definitely become more mature and slowly having a different but better mindset.

Don’t worry I’m not letting myself to end up like this forever. I may be struggling but I am thriving and surviving that’s for sure. All I want to say to you my younger me is to not be scared and be prepared – mentally- so things cannot overwhelm you so easily which makes you lose focus and forget everything you planned. When life gets difficult, just hang in there.

People and even I, may not have given you enough credit for all the things you’ve accomplish, forced to mature at  young age and basically, for getting through so much … I tell you, you are already one heck of a girl.


Always wishing you courage, confidence and happiness,

the 24-year old version of you

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

This is the book that I want to take with me anywhere I go at all times to remind me of the things that I aspire in life. I want to actually have a physical copy of this book and value it like a treasure. I have never read a book before that I have highlights and notes to a lot of its pages.

#GirlBoss is the story of the author herself, Sophia Amoruso, about how, from forgoing education at seventeen, dove into the world of dumpster diving, hitchhiking and shoplifting, she became the founder and CEO of the million dollar company called Nasty Gal.

“No matter where you are in life, you’ll save a lot of time by not worrying too much about what other people think about you. The earlier in your life that you can learn that, the easier the rest of it will be.”

I admire Sophia’s character because with the way she described herself in the book – very outgoing, a risk taker, giving no damn care to what other people say – never had it occurred to me that she is in fact an introvert. Sophia is everything that I am intimidated about. A total opposite of a very shy me even though I’m a fellow introvert myself. I admire how curious and observant she is and how she doesn’t want to ‘settle’, she’s in constant move to try new things – another opposite of me as I am a creature of habit and even little changes freaks me out.

“Each time you make a good decision or do something nice or take care of yourself; each time you show up to work and work hard and do your best at everything you can do, you’re planting seeds for a life that you can only hope will grow beyond your wildest dreams. Take care of the little things—even the little things that you hate—and treat them as promises to your own future. Soon you’ll see that fortune favors the bold who get shit done.”

#GirlBoss doesn’t only include Sophia’s story but it also offers tips and advises about many things in life especially in being an adult. She touched things about finances, on being a boss and an employee, tips for applying for a job and going for an interview, also things about investment and promoting your business or brand – the part where I was lost a bit.

What I loved about this book is its relatability and I am a witness to that. I remember while reading I’ve muttered to myself, “What have I done with my life?”, “Where have I been?” and “What have I been doing with my life all these time?” Her life stories are surreal; I can even say that it’s like ‘rags to riches’ kind of a story. Maybe the reason why I related so much in this book is that advises in here are applicable to my life right now which in a way affected me greatly.

 

“If you’re frustrated because you’re not getting what you want, stop for a second: Have you actually flat-out asked for it? If you haven’t, stop complaining. You can’t expect the world to read your mind. You have to put it out there, and sometimes putting it out there is as simple as just saying, “Hey, can I have that?”

When I finished reading the book at 2 in the morning, a quote suddenly popped up in mind “Experience is life’s best teacher.” Indeed. At such a young age, she had experience a lot and those experiences have honed her to become the kind of person that she is now.

“You create the world, blink by blink. It is entirely yours to discover and yours to create.”

#GirlBoss gave me another huge dose of inspiration.  It is an entertaining and easy read. I recommend it especially to someone like me who is currently stuck in life or even if you just want to read something that can give you some things to ponder about.

“I believe that there is a silver lining in everything, and once you begin to see it, you’ll need sunglasses to combat the glare.”

Life is short and I’ve already used up almost a quarter of it so it’s better to get this butt moving and busy.

I No Longer Have Patience

Allow me to share this quote by Jose Micard Teixeira. I found a picture of this quote with Meryl Streep on it as the words that she lives by, shared by a friend in Facebook and I cannot tell you the feeling while I was reading it. These are the exact things in the exact words that I want to tell myself for so long. I agree with everything in it. I must say, it have really impacted me because for me, this just so true. So here is the quote:

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” – Jose Micard Teixeira