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Random Recent Reads, More Tasty Little Fun-Sized Reviews

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It has been a Spring full of books, which is kind of surprisingly really. With everything else going on, I honestly can’t recall how I had the time to finish the books I have… a few airplane flights did contribute, though. Once again (remember last month?), I kept procrastinating writing up a review of a book until I had already read three more… so these are some condensed little reviews I thought I’d share.

Also, these books are kind of old news. Sometimes older released books are my favorite… because they are cheaper to buy. I seldom have $15 for a paperback, and can get all the copies I want of something from 10 years ago. Also, it’s “new to me” and I’m experiencing it for the first time, so there.

A lot of these books I get from my Mom who is often finishing a book when she visits, and hurries up so she can leave it for me to read. This woman is seriously generous with her books. Also, she warns me if there are “weird parts” before I read it… which is sweet, and usually halfway through the book I realize she is totally right. Love you Mom, Happy Mother’s Day!

More Tasty Little Fun-Sized Book Reviews (The Happiness Project, Flirting with Forty, The Girls' Guide To Hunting and Fishing I Don't Know How She Does it) | Painting Sunny

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

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Okay, what I said a minute ago was a little misleading. I didn’t actually read this book all that recently… it was last Fall. I just now recalled that. Anyway, it says something that after all this time I find myself recalling points from The Happiness Project on an almost daily basis. The most common criticisms I have heard from colleagues and friends have had three main themes: She is a very privileged person and should be more grateful, the book is too specific to her own experience and life, and her suggestions are just common sense. Of course, I have responses.

Yes, she does seem very privileged and her life may be enviable in many ways, but it’s fair for anyone to want to be happier. A happy person does tend to be supportive of others and more giving. Just for the sake of her family, it isn’t wrong to be happier, particularly when taking her often self-evaluative approach on being a better person to others.

I agree the book is very specific to her own experience. She states that outright several times. It is true that the bulk of it either didn’t quite apply to my life or wasn’t within my financial or other means. Still, I felt like the percentage that did apply to me was more than worth reading the book. Regularly, I challenge myself to give my friends more time now, to be more generous, and to challenge myself to take each day to get just a little bit more meaningful thoughts and actions packed into it.

Honestly, almost no-one uses common sense. If no one wrote books filled with things that should be common sense, Barnes and Noble would be left with romance novels and most of the kid’s section. This is cold-hard truth, people. Sometimes we need a catchy looking book-cover to hook us in so someone can remind us of those common-sense things we should be doing.

The best lesson for me was the intentionality she took in taking on her own happiness; it wasn’t anything she wrote but what she demonstrated in the act of writing it. Wow, this review did not end up short after all.

Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter

Having only read one other book by Jane Porter, reviewed here, I thought one of her non-series books would be interesting to read… well, and, I found a copy of Flirting with Forty for $1 at a book store up in Indy. It’s funny this is my second review of this author, since she is relatively new to me (I know not to others, I’m late in the game) but I think it is a sign I’ll be a follower of hers, for sure.

I would rate this book about the same on an official scale as The Good Daughter… but this one also resonated more with me. I think I am a little younger and a little more rough-around-the-edges than the reader demographic she was probably writing to, but I felt connected with Jackie and her search for something more, as well as her ability to take a risk. Those risks are worth it.

And no, I did not know that this was made into a Lifetime Movie a few years ago. At least, not until I Googled it just now. Huh.

Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank

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Did I say some of these books were old? Yes, I mean a few years over a decade ago. Like, I was in high school and not a Senior when it was first published. How did I not read it until now? Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing is one of those books my Mom left on my kitchen counter after a visit, and I’m glad she did.

If you are someone who likes an breezy Chic Lit beach read but also a witty, subtle work with characters who are absolutely authentic… well, this is that perfect combination. The humor is something special, and the character reminded me of aspects of the women in my life who I love. Complex, funny, intriguing, flawed… Jane is a constantly evolving character, and while the timeline feels a bit choppy and threw me off at times, it was great.

I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

Let me start off by saying that I have not seen the movie (just the previews for it). I Don’t Know How She Does It is not a recent publication (2002) but the concept is one most mothers I know would deem still quite relevant. Ultimately, this book was a tug-of-war for me between commiseration/understanding and vague discomfort with the portrayal of supporting characters. Being a Mom can be tough, and as one that works outside the home I found it refreshing to laugh at the awkward moments (i.e. lice on a business trip) and the bonds Kate Reddy formed with other women… always with humor. The frustration shown towards stay-at-home mothers and Kate’s husband feels real, and understandable… but also exaggerated and disdainful. As someone with a husband who is a true partner (and for whom I am grateful) and friends from every walk of motherhood, I couldn’t fully connect.

Ultimately, the humor Kate Reddy relies on is something I can totally understand.

Well, that’s a wrap. I will confess that I have a phobia of motion-picture tie-in covers on books. I just can’t stand buying them. I do have some exceptions to this… usually when the book is like a buck at a store and after a quick cost/benefit analysis the price makes me get over it quickly.

Anyone else avoiding motion-picture tie in covers? Reading books screened by their Mom for disturbing bits… but obviously reading them anyway? Picking up $1 books from the early aughts?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Links to products on Amazon may be affiliate links. Keepin’ it real.

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Author: Dani @ Painting Sunny

Hi there! I'm Dani, and it's lovely to meet you. My little family just moved to the quaint little college-town of Ithaca, NY and are loving it. Come hang out with me and talk about food, books, art, and other odd little things.

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