(More) Mini-reviews

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday LivesBetter Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
Published by Crown
Review copy provided by Netgalley

I loved The Happiness Project so I knew I’d pick up this book as soon as I could get my hands on it. Overall, I really liked it and can see a of people getting something out of it. This is one of those kinds of books where people either like this kind of thing, and will therefore enjoy the book, or find discussing boring stuff like habits, well, boring, and will definitely not enjoy the book at ALL. I find myself in the former camp so it was endlessly fascinating to me to learn about all the different ways our personalities can be sorted and how that has an effect on how we best develop good habits and ditch bad ones. Better Than Before is, generally speaking, exactly what i was expecting and so – it was great, I enjoyed it and if you’re like me, you will too!

A Small PlaceA Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The publisher describes A Small Place as “A brilliant look at colonialism and its effects in Antigua”, which it is, but it’s so much more than that. It is Kincaid’s love letter to her home country, complete with lush descriptions of beautiful scenery and daily life on this island. It is a confronting essay about what colonialism and rich white people have done to this beautiful, formerly perfect and majestic place. It is something that should challenge the reader, make you take a hard look at yourself and what you do and say and experience when visiting another country or culture (it did for me). It should make you examine your innermost thoughts and ideas about race and other cultures and why and how people can live in poverty on the very soil millions of tourists pay a LOT of money to visit every single year (it did for me). A Small Place is powerful and should be read by everyone.

Hammer Head: The Making of a CarpenterHammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter by Nina MacLaughlin
Published by W. W. Norton & Company

After spending years working for a newspaper, MacLaughlin decided one day that she wanted to spend her days in a more physical, challenging and exhausting work environment, so she applied to be an apprentice to a female carpenter. Throughout this memoir, she describes the grueling and difficult work, complete with physical, emotional and mental rewards, and the lessons she learned along the way.

This is a book that I caught mention of scrolling through Twitter and thought it sounded really interesting and different. I was right – I really liked this book and it was totally an unexpected fun surprise for me. Becoming a carpenter is something I have absolutely zero interest in, but I am interested in reading about people making transformations in their lives and that’s exactly what the book entails. I found the carpentry work fascinating (which was a shock to me), but even more was the relationship MacLaughlin built with her new boss and the things she learned about herself throughout this process. I highly recommend Hammer Head to all kinds of readers!

9 thoughts on “(More) Mini-reviews”

  1. I enjoyed Better Than Before as well though I need to go back and read it while I’m able to take notes. Hammerhead sounds fascinating! I’m always interested in people making transformations. Small Place looks interesting as well. It’s always interesting to see what life is really like in tourist places.

    1. Yeah I agree about wanting to re-read Better Than Before. In fact, I’d like to own all of Rubin’s books so I can go back and reference them when I need a reminder about something.

  2. I’m looking forward to reading Better Than Before. I need to make some progress on acquiring new habits and hope it might help me. 🙂

  3. I’ve been meaning to read The Happiness Project for YEARS but maybe I’ll just skip it for now and move onto Better than Before. I think I’d enjoy it as you did.

    1. OOH I think you would like The Happiness Project, though! You would like them both, actually, so I just think you should read all of her books. 🙂

  4. So what kind of carpentry did she decide to learn to do? Like making furniture, or more like building houses and fences and things? (I am building a fence. It is hard and I will never make a professional carpenter.)

  5. I just subscribed to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast – I think it’s about time I got on board her train!

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