As part of my reading intentions for the year I decided to be more assertive with my reading and part of that is sharing with you the books I have read EVERY MONTH. This way you get some new reads and I get to stay accountable and ensures I am reading more than one book a month. I will say this includes Audiobooks.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
This book was exactly what I needed to start the year off right. It was my first book of 2021 and while it showed me what I was doing right, more importantly, it showed me what I was doing wrong. The book gives you practical steps you can take to sharpen up your habits and become the person you want to be.
It is divided into sections which makes it easy to implement the lessons you take away from the book. As I read the chapters I noted down action points for me to do once I finished reading. Things such as habit stacking and creating a habit contract is something which you can do the moment you have read it. There are also other points which I personally want to spend more time exploring.
What about your bad habits? He talks about bad habits and gives us practical steps to reduce and eradicate them rather than just telling us about forming good habits. It acknowledges we all have bad habits or habits which don’t serve us.
This is not your typical self-help book, it is science-based and there is an area in which he talks about the brain and how it functions when it comes to forming habits which I found fascinating.
RATING: 10/10 – This is one of those books which can help you be more intentional with your life.
Finding Freedom by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie
Now I know this will be a love or hate book for many of you depending on how you feel about the Royal Family in general but as a sociologist, I am fascinated by people.
Unless you have been living under a rock, Finding Freedom is about Harry and Meghan. It charts their lives before they met, how they met and what transpired afterward.
For the most part, I stayed away from the public discourse and articles about the couple. I didn’t need to read stories that quite a lot of times appeared to be fabricated and racist. The reason this book interested me was that it was written by journalists who knew the couple. Who traveled with them and say the whole thing unfold. They had contacts to get to the truth of the story or at least a version of the truth.
It is a fascinating story about the lives of two people who fell in love. Rather than learning about them as a couple, it was interesting to find out more about them as individuals. It showcases how Harry’s grief has impacted his life, the connection he has to his mother, how his relationship is with his father and grandmother (The Queen) It also serves as a reminder as to how different Meghan’s life was before she met Harry. The family and friends she essentially gave up for the man she loved. We also seemed to have underestimated the culture shock she would have faced in not only entering the UK but also an Institution such as the Royal Family. There are some things you may inherently know as a Brit but no amount of watching Downton Abbey can prepare you for the new traditions.
RATING: 8/10 – There were moments I felt bits and pieces could have been phrased better or handled with more care but aside from that it was an interesting read.
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
When Barack Obama announced he was releasing a book, I knew I had to read it. He isn’t perfect by any means but there is something both mysterious and captivating about him and his career so far.
I learned a little bit about his early life when I read Becoming by Michelle Obama but in The Promised Land he delves a bit deeper into the relationships with his mother, sister, and grandmother, alluding to his life in Hawaii.
The thing I will say is that you are a fan of his other books, you will enjoy this. You see his love of language and details shine through. I have a feeling people will think it will be more about him as a person or be in a similar vein as Michele Obama’s Becoming or other political memoirs but it truly isn’t that. That isn’t to say he doesn’t get personal, he does with personal anecdotes about his daughters and wife but also his political relationships including those behind the scenes. There is a big focus on Politics and he goes quite in-depth with the political chat. Personally, I didn’t mind that. You get behind the scenes of his campaign trail including his joust with Hilary Clinton. There was also a congresswoman who faced some difficult questions and you see the level of empathy Obama has as a human. You see him struggle with his moral compass and making sure politics doesn’t stop him from being human and having empathy.
As an audiobook, it is VERY long. I actually started this back in December. It is 30 hours long and in the end, I listened to it on 1.3x speed to help me get through this a bit quicker.
Big tip for you, if you’re looking to get the hardback version of this book, try your local supermarket and save yourself a couple of quid.
RATING: 7/10 It was interesting and insightful but quite long. If you’re looking for some gossip about the Obamas this is not for you.
And there you have it. Those are the wonderful books I read during the month of January. I am already halfway through 3 books so I have a feeling February’s round-up will be a big un!