2022 Book Review Wrapped

2022 Book Review Wrapped
I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

 5/5 ★★★★★

 Just wow.
 I read a review that said you can tell Jennette loves writing much more than acting from this book and that couldn't be more accurate.
 She is SUCH an incredible writer. Her storytelling is funny, clever, organized, and reflective. This book has reignited my love of writing because of how much I enjoyed her writing style.
 In her book, Jennette's main focus' are her relationship with her mom, growing up an actor, and her eating disorder.
 Her relationship with her mom is especially eye-opening.
 I am in awe of how well Jennette communicates her story through the lens of the time of experience. She so skillfully narrates her childhood through a child's eyes, not as an adult looking back.
 As a reader, you can understand that what young Jennette experienced was not okay by any means, but young Jennette doesn't know that and that's evident in her thought process, often saying things like, "Mom is perfect" "Mom would never do anything to hurt me" "Mom is my best friend".
 And even when explaining all the abuse her mother put her through, Jennette still manages to communicate that she doesn't hate her mother. She recognizes that her mother was a complex human being while validating her own emotions and experiences.
 Even if you don't know who Jennette McCurdy is as an actor, I highly highly recommend this book.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

 5/5 ★★★★★

 Before reading this book, I was an avid sleep hater. I found it time-consuming and pointless. If you asked me what necessity I would choose to remove given the chance, it would've been sleep no hesitation. I despised it.

Why We Sleep completely transformed that.

 This dude loves sleep.
 Not in a "this is my job and I have a lot of knowledge in this topic so I'm sharing it" way.
 In a "I would talk to a complete stranger about this topic for hours if they allowed me because of how enamored I am with it" way.
 That's essentially the vibe of the whole book, 368 pages of Matthew Walker info-dumping his special interest and it's the coolest shit ever.

 He's also a great writer and communicator because anyone could read the book regardless of their background knowledge in neuro or basic sciences and understand it well enough.
 The content is incredibly organized. Every chapter, section, and topic was put together beautifully. He hit every question you might have, every rebuttal you might give, and backed up his claims with clear and honest explanations.

 I finished this book with the understanding that sleep affects literally everything.
 My poor friends and family are incredibly annoyed with how often I'll reply "Yeah it's cause you're not sleeping well. I read in Why We Sleep that..." to any complaint or concern they mention.

 Pick this book up now.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

 5/5 ★★★★★

 Two intelligent egotistical college kids, Eli Cardale and Victor Vale, decide to research ExtraOrdinaries.
 No one actually knows if they’re even real, but supposedly, EOs are people blessed with superhuman abilities.
 Eli and Victor’s main question isn’t if EOs exist, but rather if they do exist, how are they made?

 I DEVOURED this book.
 For a while, I’d been reading books slowly and in bits and pieces, but this book?  ATE. IT. UP.
 It was fast-paced and incredibly fun. I loved the characters, their motivations, the plot, everything. I never found myself bored, even when switching between past and present, I was engrossed in every part of the story dying to know what was going to happen next.
 This is the perfect book if you’re in a reading slump and need a pick-me-up.

Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit by Steven Pressfield

 4/5 ★★★★

 I really enjoyed this!
 It was consistently entertaining and insightful so I never found myself bored.
 Writing is probably one of the only things in life that comes naturally to me. In my academic writing course, I got asked by classmates how to improve their writing and I would always say "Make it enjoyable for the reader. Stop thinking about what YOU want, and start thinking in terms of why should the reader waste time reading whatever it is you have to say". They didn't find this helpful because when they asked how to do that I didn't have an answer.
 Pressfield explains it much better than I did AND tells you how to do it, which is why I was excited to listen to this book.
 As he intended, the tone made me feel like I was having a conversation with a friend. I gained storytelling advice in a smooth and natural way with examples and convincing explanations when it could've been a rigid "here are the facts" structure that many books tend to do.
 Don't think just because you don't plan on being a writer this book isn't for you.  The lessons are truly applicable in any aspect of life that requires communication, which is every aspect.
 No one cares what you have to share and you can't blame them, so you have to give them a reason to.

High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out by Amanda Ripley

 4/5 ★★★★

 Listening to High Conflict while getting ready in the morning and having breakfast was a great start to my day.
 The book doesn't consist of just strategies and explanations. Ripley expertly narrates the events of real people who were involved in high conflict and got out. Explaining why they were in it in the first place, how they managed to get out, and how the reader can implement the lessons in their own life.
 Although I liked it, I probably wouldn't read it again. Once was enough for me.
Still, it was an insightful read and I think about it whenever I find myself in conflict.

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green

 First of all, I appreciate that this book helped me finally differentiate between John and Hank.
 That being said, I enjoyed every essay. Even if the topic wasn't something that interested me, John made it interesting by weaving the topic into another topic.

The World's Largest Ball of Paint is literally about the world's largest ball of paint woven into a conversation about what it means to be a genius.
Sycamore Trees is largely about depression, not mentioning Sycamore trees until the end.
 Even Mario Kart manages to flow into a discussion on the inequality of political, social, and economic systems.
 But I promise, it all makes complete sense.

 I loved Monopoly, Halley's Comet, Our Capacity for Wonder, Humanity's Temporal Range (I liked this one so much I practically highlighted the entirety of it), and whichever was the one about John using the internet as a kid.

 I cried reading Googling Strangers, I laughed when his friend from Kuwait laughed at what he read on the TV even though I can't remember which essay it was in, and I was sad when it all ended because it was like a long conversation that had to end because people have places to be.

 I didn't read The Anthropocene Reviewed all in one go, and I'd recommend you do the same.
 Over the span of four months, whenever I felt bored or I happened to remember that I own a kindle, I read an essay or two. Which I honestly think was a factor in why I enjoyed it so much, it grew on me.

 I found myself bringing it up in conversations and going back to reread parts that I couldn't stop thinking about because they were so relevant and interesting to me.

 I give The Anthropocene Reviewed 4 stars.

What My Mother and I Don't Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence by Michele Filgate

3/5 ★★★

 This was an amazing read to further introduce me to essay writing.

 It was so interesting to read about all the different relationships people have with their mothers and their perspectives on it. Sometimes the writers even incorporated their mothers in the writing process through interviews or messages.
 A few of them weren't even directly about their mothers. A few writers talked about an experience and how that tied into or affected their relationship with their mother, which was so intriguing and personal.

 There's a nice variety so you're bound to like at least a couple of the essays.
 I'd especially recommend it to other writers, as I felt like reading the book showed me what essay writing could look like and inspired me to write more.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

3/5 ★★★

 It wasn't incredible and showstopping, but the concept is interesting and the characters are sweet enough to make me get teary-eyed but not full-on sob. Overall, I enjoyed it.

 An underground cafe is popularized for claiming to give customers the ability to go to the past. But if you were to go to do so you'd be told of so many rules that the whole thing doesn't seem worth it anymore, leading most people to leave believing the whole thing is a scam.
 Who wants to travel time if you can't leave your seat let alone change the present? Not to mention you only have until your cup of coffee gets cold to return.

 The story is in four parts, each one following a different person wanting to travel time to meet someone.
 A woman wanting to convince her ex-boyfriend not to leave her to study abroad, a wife desperate for a conversation with her husband before he had forgotten who she was, a sister going back to apologize one last time, and a mother with the hope of seeing her unborn child.

 I'd recommend it. It's a sweet, easy, and enjoyable read and the concept is intriguing.