January 2022 Books

Amazingly, the longest month of the year is coming to an end! I don’t know what it was about this month, but my energy has been absolutely dragging. It may be a combination of social isolation (again) during Omicron, the winter blues, and it being too cold to get outside and be in the fresh air enjoying nature. I could barely keep up with my workouts each week. I am usually a go-getter, and I love getting workouts done in the early mornings before my day starts. However, this did not happen once all month! I am also wondering if it was partly pushing myself so hard physically in the last few months of 2021 (which I will talk about in an upcoming post), and this is my body’s way of saying “Slow down. Take a break.” Of course, taking breaks is not easy when you’re type A! I was hoping to have at least a weekly post up this month, but the fatigue was nearly debilitating. I was not motivated at all, but I am finding some of that motivation to write again now that the month of January is nearly over.

For the last six years, I have gathered all of the books I read/listened to into one gigantic post at the end of the year. I decided this year to break it up into monthly posts for a few reasons. For one, it is hard to remember all the endearing gems I learned or discovered from EVERY book over a 12-month period by the time I gather my thoughts in December. For another, it may be more useful for you, the reader, to add books to your reading list or compare notes with me along the way, rather than face a large list of books all at once. I think it will be fun to review my books for the month and to keep me accountable in trying to get through more books each year. So here is my book list for January 2022!

“I ain’t gonna lie and say I get you, because I don’t. I can’t even pretend I know what it must be like to be… you. But if all this has taught me one thing, it’s that it ain’t about me and what I get. It’s about letting people be who they are. And being who you are shouldn’t be a death sentence.”

This was such a beautifully written murder mystery. The plot kept me on the edge of my seat, and the characters were so endearing and lovable, albeit frightening. A young gay couple is brutally murdered. One is black, the other white. Following their burial, their fathers become unlikely friends and accomplices in finding their boys’ killer in a quest for revenge. Their personal reckonings with their own pasts, demons, and damaged relationships with their sons makes for a moving story. I really loved this book! (image from https://astoldbybex.wordpress.com/2021/07/09/razorblade-tears/)

“The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams, who want to do things. Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.”

I was so, so impressed by Will Smith’s memoir. It was a lot of fun, especially learning about his growing up in Philadelphia (where I was also “born and raised”) and how he first became a rapper before falling, almost accidentally, into acting. His latter insights in his adult life about work, family, and priorities was so eye-opening. My absolute favorite parts were during his work on the movie “Ali” and how acting became an art, not just a job. I loved this memoir and truly love the brutal honesty, vulnerability, and introspection Will presents.

“We live in a world where most people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous. Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying.”

I watched Brene Brown’s viral Ted talk years ago. I then encountered her talk on empathy vs. sympathy during my Palliative Care fellowship. Somehow, I never read any of her books until now! This book was jam-packed with important insights about shame versus guilt and how we can change our narratives to improve our lives. Her final chapter on vulnerability in parenting was by far the best advice on being a parent I have ever heard/read. I loved this book and am looking forward to delving into her other works.

“Thou hast note done, for I have more.”

I found this political thriller to be a quick-paced page turner with tons of twists and turns. Though a work of fiction, some of the characters and scenarios were all too familiar (ahem – “Former President Eric Dunn”). It carries you through the U.S., Iran, Russia, and Afghanistan after a terrorist attack leads governments to believe the next one is coming soon, and on home territory. I really enjoyed this book, but its obvious threads of real-life events were unsettling to say the least. I recommend this if you like political thrillers!

“Clarissa gave her the postcard with a smile. ‘Persephone was rather a vengeful goddess, as I’m sure you know.’” 

This was my last book of the month! I just finished it last night, actually, racing through about 250 pages. The author wrote this book during lockdown in London, as he details in the afterword. I loved this author’s first book The Silent Patient. This is another psychological thriller which intertwines Greek mythology into a murder mystery. I enjoyed this book very much, but I have to say I suspected who the murderer was early on and was right. I felt that The Silent Patient was much more in-depth as far as character development, but nonetheless this book was entertaining and worthwhile. I also enjoyed how the two books’ plots were linked together in a short chapter. I am excited to see what else Michaelides has to offer!

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