Book Reviews June-July 2020

Postcards to the Universe: Harness the Universe’s Power and Manifest Your Dreams by Melisa Caprio

Genre: Self-Help, Self-Care

Breathtaking pictures, practical advice, and words full of wisdom. Postcards to the Universe is a wonderful book that offers guidance to experience health, love, abundance, and fulfilment by using one’s own power of manifestation. One of the things I loved most about this book is that it not only offers wisdom and insight, but it also gives you wonderful activities, tips and beautiful rituals to try. It gets you moving! It starts you off on the path to manifest what you want.

The writing flows and the words and pictures are infused with love. Reading this book is like having coffee with a good friend who has been where you are and wishes to share with you what has helped her in the past. As you read the book you go inward, and you can feel things shifting once you start exploring within, just by answering the questions that the book poses. It is a deep, personal, soul-searching experience.

The cherry on top is the collection of beautiful pictures of the many wonderful postcards made by different people who also share the stories. This is a book you want to buy in printed form to enjoy the wholeness of the pictures. The stories of all these people inspire and also let you know that you are not alone, that many go through similar experiences as you, that everything changes, and, more importantly, that we have a saying in the direction that change will take by using our own power of manifestation. Overall, a wonderful, enjoyable, and helpful book!

I Work for Me: 7 Steps for Successful Entrepreneurship by Snehal R. Singh

Genre: Self-Help, Business, DIY

Snehal R. Singh’s book I Work for Me: 7 Steps for Successful Entrepreneurship is a wonderful handbook for anyone who is self-employed, anyone who wants to start a business, has a project in mind or simply works from home (which a lot of us are doing right now). She gives practical, eye-opening tips, and advice that will lead you to become a more organized, more confident, more dedicated version of yourself. I especially loved the ideas she suggests about how to set up a positive, professional mindset for running your own business. For example, she suggests for you to write to yourself an offer letter appointing yourself as whichever role you will be fulfilling in your own business, whether that is just one role or multiple. This kind of simple but powerful acts, I believe, can help us take ourselves and our job/passion/business/brand seriously, they lead us to root for ourselves and to give our dreams the importance and priority they are due.

The guidance Singh provides in this book ranges from business technical advice to self-care which is as important as managing your social media accounts when you are working for yourself since you are both your employer and employee and your wellbeing will also influence the affluence of your project. Reading this book, I felt motivated. It reminded me of the power we have to build the lifestyle and career we want, and it gave me the clarity I was seeking to take the steps needed to put my ideas into action. Singh’s voice is compelling, friendly, clear, and kind. I recommend this book to anyone who feels daunted by the prospect of setting off on their own. This book is a source of encouragement, clarity, and guidance. After you close the book, you definitely feel more confident, determined, and ready. It feels like by reading this book you are already taking the first step into making your dream a reality.  

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Genre: Memoir

Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming humanises the controversial world of US politics and life in the White House. I read this through Audible, and it was a pleasure to hear Michelle Obama narrate her life not only through her own words but with her own voice. Her voice is clear and kind, I recommend buying the Audiobook version. She talks about racism in the US, sexism, politics, and the hard balance between work and family life. She also gives insight into the pressures a life in politics entails and her strength, her courage and wisdom are admirable.

The only thing I didn’t like about this memoir is the aggrandising of war. As the kind woman she is, Michelle visited war veterans in the hospitals which is great, but the whole idea of fighting a war “to protect” your country has never sat well with me. It makes no sense to me that there is still war in the world and that the US has a part to play in wars that are not even inside of it. The idea that going to war is an admirable thing to do for me is part of a brainwashed ideology based on separation psychology: us vs them. To save our world we don’t have to win more wars we have to stop them altogether and stopping the idealisation of war in movies, books and media is one step towards that. But I do think it is great of Michelle to visit veterans in the hospitals, though I think it would be better if the US just stopped sending soldiers to war altogether and stopped making soldiers in the first place, and stopped making guns and weapons while they are at it… But I know that is one of their most successful businesses, so, for now, it is just wishful thinking.

Even before reading this I had wished Michelle to be president. How nice it would be to have a woman like her in the steering wheel of the most powerful country in the world, instead of … Well, you know.

My heart sank when, at the end, she states that she will never ever run for president. After reading her memoir, I already expected that but I was still disappointed.

Nevertheless, it is nice to know that women are starting to be more heard, that they are starting to be more recognised and placed in positions of power. I think Michelle’s story can inspire us all to raise our voices, to become visible, to take up space and to share what we have to give with the world.

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

Genre: Romance

Spoilers coming up. 

I must admit I only got to this book because it was the daily deal on Audible and as a bookaholic I couldn’t resist the temptation of purchasing a book for £1.99, especially on Audible where they tend to be extra expensive. I also thought that if anything, it would keep me amused on the underground while commuting, and it did. The premise of the story -two strangers who share a flat/bed but occupy them at different times of the day- seemed formula for funny/awkward/drama/disaster sort of plot and it was. As with most romance novels the plot is quite predictable and some of the characters (especially the villain) are very one-dimensional. I also cringed at the male-saviour moments.

Nevertheless, it is funny, and entertaining. I found refreshing that the abuse the female protagonist suffers at the hands of the male villain is not romanticised like in other novels but criticised in accordance with contemporary rising awareness of abuse and mental health issues. This book, while following the romance novel formula, deals with serious issues such as gaslighting, PSTD, codependency, trauma, violence and rape within relationships.

I recommend it as nice and-they-lived-happily-ever-after kind of story that also raises awareness of issues most of us have had, have to, or will have to deal with in our relationships.

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Genre: Non-Fiction; Racism

Like a lot of people wanting to support the Black Lives Matter Movement, I purchased this book on Audible hoping to educate myself further on racial issues especially concerning the UK, the country I am living in now. On Audible, this book is narrated by Reni Eddo-Lodge which makes it twice as enjoyable. I totally recommend buying it in its audiobook version.

I chose this book because it is very specific to the UK and the racism that exists here. I wanted to know more about it especially because I have heard a lot of White English people say things like: “Oh no, there is no racism in the UK”, or “Oh, there might be a little racism, but nothing like in the US”. And the truth is that pointing the finger to the US as an epicentre for racism isn’t helpful in changing the racism that is still very much present here as Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book evidences. The first step into stopping racism is recognising that it is there.

Even though this book talks about the UK’s situation, it encouraged me to look at the racism that exists in my own country, Mexico. Mexicans are a mixed race. Our skin colours are as diverse as the cultures within our country. It is sad to say, however, that Mexico is full of Colorism: the darker your skin is the more discriminated you are. This is also the case in many African countries and other Latin American countries. Racism, Colorism is everywhere, and criticising others for their racist attitudes doesn’t help if we don’t look into our own. This book made me question myself and it put me on the lookout for any internalised racism that may manifest in my thoughts, words, or actions. It encouraged me to dissect myself, to look in the mirror, to keep learning and unlearning because we are all here just trying to do our best. Nobody is born knowing everything there is to know about sexism, racism, transphobia, xenophobia, etc. In order to be able to help, we have to first educate ourselves in these matters, and Eddo-Lodge’s book is a wonderful guide to do that. I recommend it, even if you don’t live in the UK for it is an important reading which raises awareness, encourages soul-searching and sows empathy.

Happy reading, everyone!

Published by Mariel Torres

Wandererer whose feet follow where the pen leads...

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