What I read in January

As I mentioned last week, my reading was bit sidelined by the fact that my Amazon Fire died.

Ok, this is honestly just an excuse, because a) I could have continued reading on my phone, if I had wanted to, I guess, and b)  my fire died at the end of the month. The truth is, I spent more time knitting in January than reading. Here it goes with my setting priorities.

Anyway, I am currently reading book #3, but I can’t count that towards the January books as I haven’t finished it. So, my list for January is short. I only read two books, but they were both excellent.

A Piece Of Cake by Cupcake Brown  (★★★★☆)

This book was heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, but also a story of incredible resilience. It’s hard to believe what Cupcake Brown went through and how she was able to eventually turn her life around. The only reason that I gave this book four stars (instead of five) is that I felt that she spent too much time on detailing every single horrific incident of her childhood and her teenage and young adult years: foster homes, abuse, rape, prostitution, gang life, drugs, etc. on repeat. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that she remembers every incident in such detail and for me, that part could have been significantly shortened without losing any impact. I wish she would have spend more time on the part where she actually decided to make a change in her life, and talk more about how she was able to manage rehab, sobriety, and getting herself a law degree.

Also, her writing isn’t particularly outstanding, but I felt that it mostly worked with the story she was telling and the background she came from (considering that she grew up with slang and never graduated high school). This is to say, this memoir reads like a miracle story and it does inspire hope. (It also casts a very bad light on the foster care system back then.)

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy: by by Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant, Adam M. Grant  (★★★★☆)

I enjoyed this half-self-help book, half memoir about loss, grief, and getting back on your feet after a tragic event. I thought there were some really good pieces of advice in this book. Some of it was really helpful, for example, the reminder to be mindful and how to handle the three P’s – (1) personalization-the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness-the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence-the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever – which every grieving person inevitably has to confront.

I also found that many of the strategies do not only apply to the situation of losing a loved one, but also many other situations of “loss” that people face in their lives and have to come to terms with (illness, trauma, disappointments, abandonments, etc.)

The only small critic I have is that Sheryl Sandberg is very privileged and it shows in many parts of the book. As chief operating officer at Facebook, there were a lot of things she didn’t personally have to face when she lost her husband and she does acknowledge that many women in her situation face financial challenges, loss of their homes, and often don’t have the luxury to take time off work or openly display their grief in front of their boss or coworkers. Of course, she can only write about her own experience and most of the book is about the emotional part of grieving and moving forward, which I did find very relatable and helpful. Some universal takeaways include: let’s show up for each other, respect your own feelings, and kick the shit out of option B, if option A is not longer available.

What was your favorite book last month? Leave a comment, and then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch.

  1. I bought Option B last summer but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet! I should pick it up this spring as it sounds like a great book.

    I read 10 books in January which is crazy for me. But between being sick at the beginning of the month and then being in a lot of pain starting mid-month due to my blood clot, I was on the couch quite a bit. My favorite books were ones i read about child birth and parenting.

  2. “Plan B” has long been on my to-read list, but I haven’t picked it up in part because I don’t want to have to deal with Sandberg’s level of privilege, which totally turned me off to “Lean In”…

  3. I am going to add a Piece Of Cake to my To Be REad list. I had it before, but it came with another 5 books, and I didn’t get around to it.

    I am currently reading Exit West. But I highly recommend A Man Named Ove.

  4. Thanks for sharing these <3 I haven't heard of either book, and the first one (the memoir about Cupcake Brown) sounds intriguing. I don't typically mind street slang, and kind of oddly appreciate it, if it works itself seamlessly into the narrative. May have to check this out. I wasn't as thrilled with the previous book that Sheryl Sandberg wrote, but may have to give this one a shot. Thanks so much for sharing your recs! XO

  5. I think I heard about that book Option B in a recent training. Sounds like a good read.

  6. I think a lot of those self-help books are written by people that are a bit more privileged than most, but I tend to still really enjoy them. Option B has been on my “want to read” list for awhile now so I’m glad it was a good one all around.


  7. I think I need to put both of these in my que at the library. And fast. Cupcake sounds like something I could get into. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Option B just came up in my hold list! I’m excited to read it!


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