A to Z Challenge Book Reviews

My Languishing TBR: X #AtoZChallenge2024 #Books #BookReviews

X is for X-Factor

Learn more about the challenge here.

I’m doing folklore and book review posts to reach and please a larger audience. Previous years have shown select interest in both and to minimise blogging throughout the year, I’m focusing my efforts on April.

Focusing on an A to Z of my TBR (to be read) list, each letter will have books starting with that letter on my list, a book I’ve read and reviewed (with the review!) and one of my books matching the letter with a link about more info about the book.

I chose the books this year quite randomly from my Goodreads Want to Read page. Some are quite creatively added to letters.

If you’d rather check out my folklore post for today, go here.

Learn more about the challenge here.

You can read reviews for from previous years for this letter here and here, and my year-end reviews here, here, here and, most recently, here.

My TBR

Books that start with numbers.

I decided to round up all my books on mental and physical health and post the reviews here. It is important for us to take care of our mental and physical health, no matter our age or circumstances.

About the Book I’ve Read

How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing by K.C. Davis

How to Keep House While Drowning will introduce you to six life-changing principles that will revolutionize the way you approach home care—without endless to-do lists. Presented in 31 daily thoughts, this compassionate guide will help you begin to get free of the shame and anxiety you feel over home care.

Inside you will learn:
· How to shift your perspective of care tasks from moral to functional;
· How to stop negative self-talk and shame around care tasks;
· How to give yourself permission to rest, even when things aren’t finished;
· How to motivate yourself to care for your space.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

This book came recommended to me and it was a perfect fit. After reading books about having everything perfect, I felt inadequate – but this book reminded me that “good enough is perfect”. So on days where clean laundry gets no further than a clean laundry basket in my closet, I don’t feel the shame of not putting everything in its place. I’m taking my meds, taking care of my furbabies, and no-one is in harm’s way – only plastic balls are dropped, not glass ones – so it’s all good. And it was so important to hear it from someone else.

Thanks, KC.

A short book that gets to the point and helps those of us who feel like we’re drowning. And there are no italics to mess with my head 🙂

5 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia

A groundbreaking manifesto on living better and longer that challenges the conventional medical thinking on aging and reveals a new approach to preventing chronic disease and extending long-term health, from a visionary physician and leading longevity expert
 
“One of the most important books you’ll ever read.”—Steven D. Levitt, New York Times bestselling author of Freakonomics
 
Wouldn’t you like to live longer? And better? In this operating manual for longevity, Dr. Peter Attia draws on the latest science to deliver innovative nutritional interventions, techniques for optimizing exercise and sleep, and tools for addressing emotional and mental health.
 
For all its successes, mainstream medicine has failed to make much progress against the diseases of aging that kill most people: heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and type 2 diabetes. Too often, it intervenes with treatments too late to help, prolonging lifespan at the expense of healthspan, or quality of life. Dr. Attia believes we must replace this outdated framework with a personalized, proactive strategy for longevity, one where we take action now, rather than waiting.
 
This is not “biohacking,” it’s science: a well-founded strategic and tactical approach to extending lifespan while also improving our physical, cognitive, and emotional health. Dr. Attia’s aim is less to tell you what to do and more to help you learn how to think about long-term health, in order to create the best plan for you as an individual. In Outlive , readers will discover:
 
• Why the cholesterol test at your annual physical doesn’t tell you enough about your actual risk of dying from a heart attack.
• That you may already suffer from an extremely common yet underdiagnosed liver condition that could be a precursor to the chronic diseases of aging.
• Why exercise is the most potent pro-longevity “drug”—and how to begin training for the “Centenarian Decathlon.”
• Why you should forget about diets, and focus instead on nutritional biochemistry, using technology and data to personalize your eating pattern.
• Why striving for physical health and longevity, but ignoring emotional health, could be the ultimate curse of all.
 
Aging and longevity are far more malleable than we think; our fate is not set in stone. With the right roadmap, you can plot a different path for your life, one that lets you outlive your genes to make each decade better than the one before.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

It took a while to get through this one, but it was so worth it.

What I most liked about this book was the link between the Horsemen (heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and obesity) and how to stave them off – even when you are genetically predisposed to them. I liked that the section on nutrition wasn’t a talk about losing weight, but about being healthy: not over- or undernourished, having strong muscles, and eating enough protein.

I liked the tone of the book, the “why this is” with actionable steps to not succumb to the Horsemen, and the various analogies used to explain complicated concepts (the race car one was my favourite).

Highly recommended.

5 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World by Gretchen Rubin

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project discovers a surprising path to a life of more energy, creativity, and love: by tuning in to the five senses.

For more than a decade, Gretchen Rubin had been studying happiness and human nature. Then, one day, a visit to her eye doctor made her realize that she’d been overlooking a key element of happiness: her five senses. She’d spent so much time stuck in her head that she’d allowed the vital sensations of life to slip away, unnoticed. This epiphany lifted her from a state of foggy preoccupation into a world rediscovered by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching.

In this journey of self-experimentation, Rubin explores the mysteries and joys of the five senses as a path to a happier, more mindful life. Drawing on cutting-edge science, philosophy, literature, and her own efforts to practice what she learns, she investigates the profound power of tuning in to the physical world.

From the simple pleasures of appreciating the magic of ketchup and adding favorite songs to a playlist, to more adventurous efforts like creating a daily ritual of visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and attending Flavor University, Rubin show us how to experience each day with depth, delight, and connection. In the rush of daily life, she finds, our five senses offer us an immediate, sustainable way to cheer up, calm down, and engage the world around us—as well as a way to glimpse the soul and touch the transcendent.

Life in Five Senses is an absorbing, layered story of discovery filled with profound insights and practical suggestions about how to heighten our senses and use our powers of perception to live fuller, richer lives—and, ultimately, how to move through the world with more vitality and love.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

Not a bad book, but it’s pretty much the same as most others out there: live in the moment. (At least that’s what I got out of the first couple of pages.)

DNF 2%

About the Book I’ve Read

Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us by Susan Magsamen, Ivy Ross

A life-altering journey through the science of neuroaesthetics, which offers proof for how our brains and bodies transform when we participate in the arts–and how this knowledge can improve our health, enable us to flourish, and build stronger communities.

“This book blew my mind!”–Angela Duckworth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grit

Many of us think of the arts as entertainment–a luxury of some kind. In Your Brain on Art, authors Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross show how activities from painting and dancing to expressive writing, architecture, and more are essential to our lives.

We’re on the verge of a cultural shift in which the arts can deliver potent, accessible, and proven solutions for the well-being of everyone. Magsamen and Ross offer compelling research that shows how engaging in an art project for as little as forty-five minutes reduces the stress hormone cortisol, no matter your skill level, and just one art experience per month can extend your life by ten years. They expand our understanding of how playing music builds cognitive skills and enhances learning; the vibrations of a tuning fork create sound waves to counteract stress; virtual reality can provide cutting-edge therapeutic benefit; and interactive exhibits dissolve the boundaries between art and viewers, engaging all of our senses and strengthening memory. Doctors have even been prescribing museum visits to address loneliness, dementia, and many other physical and mental health concerns.

Your Brain on Art
 is a portal into this new understanding about how the arts and aesthetics can help us transform traditional medicine, build healthier communities, and mend an aching planet.

Featuring conversations with artists such as David Byrne, Renée Fleming, and evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson, Your Brain On Art is an authoritative guide neuroaesthetics. The book weaves a tapestry of breakthrough research, insights from multidisciplinary pioneers, and compelling stories from people who are using the arts to enhance their lives.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

An interesting discussion on how various art forms can help and heal people at any age. I especially found the idea of aesthetics in your daily life revealing and now look at my environment with new appreciation (and changed some things that didn’t belong). I’m also indulging in my love of musical theatre more as a form of stress-relief.

Highly recommended.

5 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international best seller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

Parts of the KondoMari method is a bit woo-woo, but only keeping what brings joy is a solid way to surround yourself with things that make you happy.

Though, when she wrote about ripping pages from books only to keep quotes she liked, my stomach turned. And talking about recycling books instead of just donating them made me want to cry. I’m an author, after all.

I did like the tips on how to fold clothes properly.

But throwing away photos? Just no. That’s what photo albums are for. And throwing out toilet paper etc. just because there’s more than you need for a month? Ridiculous. And a waste of money.

So there’s a lot about this book I didn’t like/didn’t agree with. I’m frugal, so the idea of throwing out/donating products that won’t expire just because “there’s too many” makes me want to say: watch your privilege.

It’s a good reminder on why you need to tidy your space, but some of the advice should be questioned before implemented.

3 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life by Marie Kondō

From the #1 bestselling sensation and Netflix star comes her inspirational visual guide to elevating the joy in every aspect of your life, with more than 100 photographs of the Marie Kondo lifestyle.

Inspired by the Japanese concept of kurashi, or “way of life,” Kurashi at Home invites you to visualize your ideal life from the moment you wake up until the end of each day. By applying the time-tested query from Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up—“Does it spark joy?”—to your mindset and behaviors, you are invited to imagine what your life could look like free from any limitations. This vision then becomes a touchpoint that helps you make conscious, mindful choices—from how you use every corner of your living space to how you take advantage of every moment.

At its core, the KonMari philosophy focuses not on what to get rid of, but on what to keep. In this inspirational visual guide, beautiful photographs and Kondo’s unique suggestions empower you to embrace what you love about your life and then reflect it in your home, activities, and relationships, like creating a calm nook for writing, taking time each morning to review a to-do list, or having relaxing nighttime rituals that promote a restful sleep.

Your newfound clarity will inspire you to clear out the unneeded clutter so you can appreciate the inviting spaces, treasured belongings, and joy-sparking moments that remain.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

I really liked the concept of organising your day with activities that spark joy; writing down everything you do and eliminating the things that are superfluous and the things that don’t bring any joy.

I also liked the idea of taking time throughout the day to just drink a cup of tea without any distractions.

I got a lot of ideas to reorganise my home – I’ve already tidied up – to make everything bring joy.

The photos throughout were inspiring. The recipes were nifty, too.

A good book about bringing joy to your home and yourself by changing how you do things.

4 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

The Minimum Method by Joey Thurman

When it comes to looking and feeling your best, less really can be more. Discover how to maximize your sleeping, eating, exercising—even thinking and breathing—with minimum effort.

The truth is most people don’t actually need grueling, extreme workouts or aggressively limited diets to lose weight and feel proud to flaunt their bodies in bathing suits. What they need is a plan that is focused on efficiency—the best results for the least amount of time and effort—and one that is actually designed to be maintained for more than 30 days.

In The Minimum Method, by nutrition expert and celebrity fitness trainer Joey Thurman, you’ll learn a wealth of practical advice, simple nutrition truths, minimal-effort recipes, and how to exercise smarter, not harder. Instead of unrealistic workouts and time-consuming meal plans, Thurman’s science-backed method is based on getting the maximum benefit out of things like quick and simple “exercise snacks” and sleep hygiene hacks.

Thurman doesn’t shy away from the shortcomings of the mainstream health/fitness/diet industry—in fact, he acknowledges and apologizes for his own past experience in perpetuating the harmful myth that everyone should be pushing their bodies to the limit in order to improve. Now, he’s on a mission to help others prioritize genuine health instead of some imaginary and unattainable standard of perfection.

Ultimately, The Minimum Method teaches how to adopt a healthier mindset and lifestyle: feeling your best when you don’t get enough sleep, working fitness into your busiest days, getting back on track when you slip up, and celebrating your progress.

With The Minimum Method, you’ll have the key to better health, using small, easy changes that add up to huge, life-altering results.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

I really like Joey’s approach to health an exercise. And the whole minimum things to do… brilliant. I’ve incorporated many of his tips, stretches and exercises into my day – and I can already feel the difference. (My resting heartrate is lower, my sleep score is better, and I feel more energised.)

Though I can’t always keep up, the exercises on his website are well-worth watching before trying them yourself.

A great book on health, diet and exercise.

5 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

The Spark Factor: The Secret to Supercharging Energy, Becoming Resilient, and Feeling Better Than Ever by Molly Maloof

Foreword by Dave Asprey

A breakthrough program for women to revive their lost energy and vitality, developed by a leading biohacker and physician.

Inside of you, there is a spark—it’s what animates you, and without it, you could not live. This energy creation isn’t mystical, nor is it spiritual; it is science. We know from research that our cellular machinery transforms the food we eat and the air we breathe into the electricity that fuels us. With the right lifestyle inputs, we glow with energy; but when the demands on our bodies exceed our capacity–as is true for so many of us—we become burned out, mentally and physically.

Now, in The Spark Factor, Dr. Molly Maloof shares a program uniquely tailored to the biology of women–a plan that targets the mitochondria, the power source of the cells. As Dr. Maloof shows, the intense, all-or-nothing approaches commonly used by biohackers to optimize health—including sustained fasting, ultra-low-carb diets, and intense training—can be harmful, especially for women, because they create excessive stress in an already-stressed body, which can make us tired, weak, and prone to illness.

Dr. Maloof’s innovative program—which has been used successfully by her patients—offers lifestyle changes that target the unique biology of women and provide immediate and long-term benefits. Instead of denying our bodies, we need to listen to what they are telling us. Once we become aware of our physical needs, we can give ourselves the resources to become more connected, nourished, safe, and strong—at both the micro- and the macro-level.

With cutting-edge biohacking insights, strategies for personalized nutrition, hormonal health and stress management, The Spark Factor is the book women have been waiting for to help them reclaim their vitality and achieve lasting health.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

An excellent overview about biohacking and having more energy – especially for women.

I enjoyed the look at how mitochondria influence everything in the body and how to make them function at optimum capacity.

I liked the quotes at the opening of chapters and summaries at the ending of chapters that tied everything together.

A good book.

4 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Built to Move: The Ten Essential Habits to Help You Move Freely and Live Fully by Kelly Starrett, Juliet Starrett

Simple and proven physical practices designed to improve the way your body feels—less stiffness! fewer aches and pain!—and boost the overall quality of your life, no matter how you spend your time. From the innovators behind The Ready State and the movement bible Becoming a Supple Leopard.

“The definitive guide for building an all-around healthy and high-performing body and mind.” —Andrew Huberman, Professor of Neurobiology, Stanford University & Host of The Huberman Lab Podcast

After decades spent working with pro-athletes, Olympians, and Navy Seals, mobility pioneers Kelly and Juliet Starrett began thinking about the physical well-being of the rest of us. What makes a durable human? How do we continue to feel great and function well as we age? And how do we counteract the effects of technology-dependence, sedentary living, and other modern ways of life on our body’s natural need for activity?

The answers lie in an easy-to-use formula for basic mobility maintenance: 10 tests + 10 physical practices = 10 ways to make your body work better

The book offers:
It’s full of foundational wisdom for everyone from beginners to professional athletes and everyone in between. Built to Move introduces readers to a set of simple principles and practices that are undemanding enough to work into any busy schedule, lead to greater ease of movement, better health, and a happier life doing whatever it is you love to do—and want to continue doing as long as you live. This book is your game plan for the long game.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

I enjoyed taking the vital signs tests to see how healthy I am, and my dad did them, too – and won! It’s a good measure of mortality and health, giving a good baseline and techniques to be better.

I liked the anecdotes and encouragement throughout.

I think what I liked most about this book is the affirmation that moving throughout the day is healthy, and sometimes even better, than scheduled exercise. As I prefer doing housework, gardening and working with my animals over going to the gym, this made me feel so much better – and able to wiggle my fingers at those who only do “real exercise” and look down on others.

5 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

My What If Year: A Memoir by Alisha Fernandez Miranda

An exuberant, hilarious memoir about a woman who pauses her successful career for a year and explores the “What If” jobs of her dreams.

On the cusp of turning forty, Alisha Fernandez Miranda has climbed to the peak of personal and professional success, but at a price; she’s overworked and exhausted.

Bravely, Miranda decides to give herself a break, temporarily pausing her stressful career as the CEO of her own consulting firm. With the tentative blessing of her husband and eight-year-old twins, she leaves her home in London to spend one year exploring the dream jobs of her youth, seeking answers to the question, “What If?”

What follows is a spirited and hilarious journey for Alisha – and the reader. Contending with her lack of experience (and the onset of a global pandemic), Alisha gofers for two high-profile Broadway productions (and nearly tramples Stephan Sondheim), attempts to master a fitness regimen called Voga (a cross between yoga and “voguing”), feigns confidence while handling multi-million-dollar artwork at Christie’s, and literally sets her shirt on fire while serving rack of lamb in a posh hotel on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. Her experiences are at once challenging and humbling, and push the boundaries of what Alisha thought she was physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of. Alisha’s “What If” year reveals that she can achieve success on her own terms by embodying the spirit of the intern: never stop learning, be flexible, and understand that failure is a prerequisite for growth.

For anyone who’s ever felt stuck in a rut, My What If Year proves that it’s never too late to say yes to second chances and explore the roads untraveled throughout your life.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

The premise was promising, but the writing didn’t deliver. It was like a humble-brag about working hard, making all the right decisions, and then overfilling the plate with volunteer work – and not understanding why she’s not happy. That’s the first chapter. She should have learned to say “no” instead of running away from her life to try out different jobs. Not buying the premise.

DNF

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger, Gene Stone

From the physician behind the wildly popular website NutritionFacts.org, How Not to Die reveals the groundbreaking scientific evidence behind the only diet that can prevent and reverse many of the causes of disease-related death.

The vast majority of premature deaths can be prevented through simple changes in diet and lifestyle. In How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, the internationally-renowned nutrition expert, physician, and founder of NutritionFacts.org, examines the fifteen top causes of premature death in America — heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, and more — and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches, freeing us to live healthier lives.

The simple truth is that most doctors are good at treating acute illnesses but bad at preventing chronic disease. The fifteen leading causes of death claim the lives of 1.6 million Americans annually. This doesn’t have to be the case. By following Dr. Greger’s advice, all of it backed up by strong scientific evidence, you will learn which foods to eat and which lifestyle changes to make to live longer.

History of prostate cancer in your family? Put down that glass of milk and add flaxseed to your diet whenever you can. Have high blood pressure? Hibiscus tea can work better than a leading hypertensive drug-and without the side effects. Fighting off liver disease? Drinking coffee can reduce liver inflammation. Battling breast cancer? Consuming soy is associated with prolonged survival. Worried about heart disease (the number 1 killer in the United States)? Switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet, which has been repeatedly shown not just to prevent the disease but often stop it in its tracks.

In addition to showing what to eat to help treat the top fifteen causes of death, How Not to Die includes Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen — a checklist of the twelve foods we should consume every day. Full of practical, actionable advice and surprising, cutting edge nutritional science, these doctor’s orders are just what we need to live longer, healthier lives.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

A bit of humour and cherry-picked science to back eating plant-based diets felt a bit like watching “Boston Legal” without the shenanigans.

Nothing new in this book. And as someone who eats a 90% plant-based diet for over a decade and who suffers from chronic illness – including mental illness – I felt offended that the author suggests that merely moving to a plant-based diet is all that’s needed to be healthy.

If you don’t eat your veggies, don’t cook your own food, don’t know much about the cause and effect of your diet and health, and have no idea what your blood cholesterol or sugar levels are, you should read this book. Or just visit your GP. Otherwise, skip this one.

2 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

The How Not to Die Cookbook by Michael Greger, Gene Stone

From Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM, the physician behind the trusted and wildly popular website Nutritionfacts.org, and author of the New York Times bestselling book How Not to Die, comes a beautifully-designed, comprehensive cookbook complete with more than 120 recipes for delicious, life-saving, plant-based meals, snacks, and beverages.

Dr. Michael Greger’s bestselling book, How Not to Die, presented the scientific evidence behind the only diet that can prevent and reverse many of the causes of premature death and disability. Now, The How Not to Die Cookbook puts that science into action. From Superfood Breakfast Bites to Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca to Two-Berry Pie with Pecan-Sunflower Crust, every recipe in The How Not to Die Cookbook offers a delectable, easy-to-prepare, plant-based dish to help anyone eat their way to better health.

Rooted in the latest nutrition science, these easy-to-follow, stunningly photographed recipes will appeal to anyone looking to live a longer, healthier life. Featuring Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen—the best ingredients to add years to your life—The How Not to Die Cookbook is destined to become an essential tool in healthy kitchens everywhere.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

An interesting vegan cookbook with some combinations I haven’t come across before. Makes for fun times in the kitchen!

I’ve downloaded the app to keep track of my daily dozen – just for the fun of it.

A good addition to my vegan and vegetarian cookbook collection.

4 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky: Modern Plant-Based Recipes using Native American Ingredients by Lois Ellen Frank

A celebration of eight magical plants Native Americans introduced to the rest of the world: corn, beans, squash, chile, tomato, potato, vanilla, and cacao—with more than 100 recipes.
 
When these eight Native American plants crossed the ocean after 1492, the world’s cuisines were changed forever. In Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky, James Beard Award-winning author and chef Lois Ellen Frank introduces the splendor and importance of this Native culinary history and pairs it with delicious, modern, plant-based recipes using Native American ingredients. Along with Native American culinary advisor Walter Whitewater, Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky shares more than 100 nutritious, plant‑based recipes organized by each of the foundational ingredients in Native American cuisine as well as a necessary discussion of food sovereignty and sustainability.
 
 A delicious, enlightening celebration of Indigenous foods and Southwestern flavors, Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky shares recipes for dishes such as Blue Corn Hotcakes with Prickly Pear Syrup, Three Sisters Stew, and Green Chile Enchilada Lasagna, as well as essential basics like Corn Masa, Red and Green Chile Sauces, and Cacao Spice Rub. The “Magic 8” ingredients share the page—and plate—to create recipes that will transform your world.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

“Our very survival, individually and collectively, may depend on us taking back control over the quality and production of the food we put into our bodies.” I think this is profoundly true for all humans.

I found the cultural food history quite interesting and learned loads of new things.

My favourite recipes were in the chile section – I’m currently obsessed with this ingredient, though I love all the other staples in this book, too.

A good book that combines history, food sovereignty and recipes in a sensitive, yet, constructive way.

5 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

An intimate, revelatory book exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down.

Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered.

A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas.

Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

I enjoyed all the personal stories of Stonehenge, the Northern Lights and swimming in the sea during winter.

The folklore stuff I skimmed over as I already know all of it from my own fascination with the topic.

What I liked was all the animals who do their own thing during winter and the lessons one can learn to survive one’s own personal winter. The robin was my favourite.

There’s a lot to take away from this book, but the main message I got was to be kind to myself, to sleep and recharge during this season, to allow nature to nurture me, and to read good books.

4 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life by Gail Blanke

“Our lives are so filled with junk from the past-from dried up tubes of glue to old grudges-that it’s a wonder we can get up in the morning,” exclaims motivator, best-selling author, columnist, and life coach Gail Blanke.

“If you want to grow, you gotta let go,” is Blanke’s mantra; and that means eliminating all the clutter-physical and emotional-that holds you back, weighs you down, or just makes you feel bad about yourself.

In THROW OUT FIFTY THINGS she takes us through each room of the house-from the attic to the garage-and even to the far reaches of our minds. Through poignant and humorous stories, she inspires us to get rid of the “life plaque” we’ve allowed to build-up there.

Once you’ve hit fifty-you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get there-and once you’ve thrown out that too-tight belt and too-small view of yourself, you’ll be ready to step out into the clearing and into the next, and greatest, segment of your life.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

Going through the steps, writing down what I was throwing out and why – redefining myself – was exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally.

The author recommends doing this over two weeks: I did it in two days. The painting and redecorating was done over the next couple of weeks, but the tough stuff I tackled immediately.

I know, it’s one of my strengths not to put things off.

The mental and emotional debris was a lot more painful to get rid of than all the stuff cluttering my life. But I feel better. I feel more like me than I have in a long time. And it only took throwing out 75 things…

I’m so glad I decided to read this book when it was recommended to me by a blogging friend (among other decluttering books).

I highly recommend this book to everyone.

5 unicorn star rating

My Book

The Irascible Immortals Short Story Series Volume 7-9

Remember that you can request all of my books from your local library!

I hope you enjoyed this. For more books I’ve read and reviewed, check out either my Pinterest board about reviews or my Goodreads profile. Alternatively, you can check out my reviews on BookBub. Have you read any of the books? Loved or hated any of them?

You can now support my time in producing book review posts (buying books, reading, writing reviews and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion.

*FYI, my reviews are my honest opinion and if something bothers me, I tell it straight. How else will anything change? My opinions are based on being a voracious reader and book buyer, not an attack on the author.*

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6 thoughts on “My Languishing TBR: X #AtoZChallenge2024 #Books #BookReviews”

  1. Wow. You’ve done a lot of reading on topics to enhance and possibly extend your life. I’m bookmarking this page for a return visit. I’m definitely going to read a few of these and gift a few of them as well. Thanks for the suggestions.

  2. That’s not fair – you featured those first three on your TBR last year, and I’m still looking for ideas for Xs!! (I clicked the wrong post to start with and wondered why I’d already posted a comment lol)

  3. I’ve tried to read David Baldacci and could never get into his stories. Yours is the second post today I’ve read with books with house keeping and homemaking tips. Maybe I should read some as homemaker has never been a title I’m braced, I dislike the chore of keeping house. so much to do, it’s like groundhog day, no matter how many times you do the tasks they have to be done again.

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