Show Us Your Books - July Reads

I've been crummy at keeping up with book challenges, lately. Instead I kind of dove into the self help topics that I most want to work on right now: self love, body acceptance, and all things business. And there's a few fun ones, too.

My last couple reads were incredible that I'm going to go in reverse order so I can talk about them first.

Book: Fat Girl Walking (my review)

Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin... Every Inch of It ♥♥♥♥♥

I recently discovered Brittany Gibbons' blog and I was intrigued by how thoroughly she owns her size. She's so completely confident and non-apologetic, so I decided to try out her book. It's actually quite a bit different than what I was expecting, but that was no bad thing. (I'm copying the rest of this from Goodreads - sorry if you've already seen it.)

The first half of the book is pretty memoir-y, her background, life, and generally how being overweight has affected her (along with some family stuff). I'd finally settled in for nothing more than an interesting story (her personality makes it all really fun to read and she goes through some bizarre shit) when it turned around and boom! All that background started to come into play as she began the journey to loving herself and teaching others about body acceptance. There are some fantastic concepts in here - I was truly touched when she mentioned the pivotal point in her journey: noticing how her young daughter was mimicking her actions and realizing she couldn't teach self love if she wasn't practicing it herself. I also loved how concepts aren't lectured or forced upon you - it's all a little more subtle.

I think the point that I want most to shout to the rooftops is that loving yourself does not mean you're giving up on achieving health. Body shaming has been shown statistically to be ineffective as a way to make people change their habits, and isn't it inherently logical that if we love ourselves and our bodies that we'd want to take better care of them? On a similar note, Brittany points out that self love and acceptance is NOT mutually exclusive with wanting to take pictures from flattering angles, do your hair, wear makeup, or generally have fun with your appearance. It's not about hiding, it's about enjoying your body and playing around with all the different things it can do for you. This is huge for me, because I've been struggling to reconcile these 2 things for a long time and I actually never considered it from that angle.

Last point that resonated with me (and then I'm done) - self love is a journey. The book is not about how she has it all figured out and here's the magical 2-second solution for all of us. It's about her struggles, all the obstacles she's had to overcome, and the events, concepts, and motivations that have finally put her on the path to body acceptance. I found it incredibly inspiring and was amazed at how open she is about everything, including her sex life and mental illness. This book is definitely a game changer for me, both in the way I treat myself and the way I think about others.

Book: Radical Self-Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dreams (my review)

Radical Self-Love by Gala Darling.

This is another book by a blogger, Gala Darling, whose philosophy of "radical" self love piqued my interest. I never did pony up the cash to take her self love classes, but I'm so glad I bought her book (which actually isn't available right now - a publisher picked it up, so it'll be republished sometime with their edits, but I'm kind of glad I got the original version).

Another awesome read! This was full of great concepts and practical ways to put them into practice. I really liked how each chapter is structured with "homework" assignments at the end. She's got everything from affirmations and making friends to the more out-there theories on tapping (I didn't know what it was before reading, but interesting idea). I actually started a month-long personal project based on a few of the ideas in the book immediately after reading, and I'll share that with you guys in a few weeks once I've finished.

The reason this got 4 stars was because I didn't like the chapter on fashion (not my thing and it also seemed to deviate from the "there are no rules" theme of the rest of the book). And, as a few reviewers mentioned, there is a chapter that sums up pretty much all of How to Win Friends and Influence People which was a bit excessive. I think maybe just referring readers to the other book would have been better instead of using so much of its content. But the rest of the book blew me away and provided me with a ton of great concepts that I'll be implementing in my own life starting now.

Book: The Selection (my review)

The Selection Series

The Selection by Kiera Cass . This was a fun, light read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and powered through the books pretty quickly. I was bothered a teeny bit by how the royal family lives such an extravagant lifestyle and then is confused about why there is unrest in the kingdom. It made slightly more sense in the first 3 books (especially after the 3rd when some things are revealed) BUT they should probably have a better handle on that in The Heir. And I did get tired of the indecisiveness of the love triangle, and the end of the 3rd book felt a tad rushed. Overall, though, the first 3 books were entertaining and very Hunger Games if the "game" was a dating show.

The fourth book switches gears and talks about another character, who is kind of obnoxious. I do feel like part of the storyline is (or is going to be) her personal growth and becoming a better person, but it was a little hard to get through with all the arrogant things she says and does. She's just hard to relate to. I wasn't planning on keeping up with the series when I started the 4th book, but by the end they had captured my interest enough that I'll buy the rest when they come out.

Also Notable

I talked about Yes Please and The Handmaid's Tale in the Literary Ladies linkup. The Handmaid's Tale was a pretty decent dystopian story and I'd absolutely recommend, but Yes Please was the one that I'd really recommend. I think it's what launched me into reading more memoirs and self help books, because it was so inspiring.

Less Notable

I've been powering through a combo set that Ryan gave me a while back. It was 16 stories, all fairly short. The last few haven't really had much to recommend them, but, you know, a book is a book.

Up Next

I've already purchased #GirlBoss and The Martian (Edit: am halfway through The Martian - so good! Thanks, Kristen, for the recommendation!!!), and I'm eyeballing The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I'm restricting myself to what I already own before buying more. It's hard though! There's so many good books out there!!!

What have your favorite reads been lately? Do you enjoy the self improvement genre?
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