Friday, March 1, 2019

January + February // What I Read

I thought it was high time that I introduced the "What I Read" series again! I did this year before last and it seemed like a lot of people enjoyed it so here it goes again! I am really trying to read more in 2019. I read a total of 55 books in 2017 and then slacked off in 2018. I really missed reading so now that I am home with a baby, I am trying to squeeze in more reading time when I can. It's so relaxing and rewarding! So for what I read in January and February...

We Were the Lucky Ones 
by Georgia Hunter

This one had been on my list for forever and I am glad that I had finally taken the time to read it! I had picked it up and began reading a couple times but other things had always gotten in the way so I knew that this book was one of my main books I desired to read this year. 

We Were the Lucky Ones is based on true events. The various stories throughout the book follow the Kurc family from Radom, Poland. Three generations of this Jewish family are separated by war, endure trials and tribulations in abundance, and are always desperately trying to find their way back to each other. I can't share a too-in-depth review without giving things away so I will leave it at this: this book is definitely a must-read. Have a box of tissues nearby. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 
by J.K. Rowling

I know, I know what you're all thinking..."You are JUST now reading Harry Potter?!?!?" I saw the movies years ago and just never got around to read the books although my husband has been badgering me to for ages. 

What a magical world! I absolutely love the way that Rowling writes. You really are transported to another world. I felt like I was on the adventure with Harry, Ron, & Hermione. I can't wait to read the others and I believe a trip to Harry Potter world needs to happen ASAP. 

The Little Book of Hygge
by Meik Wiking

I adored this little book! I absolutely love the ideas behind it and every little thing that the author wrote about resonated with me. Meik shares what exactly "hygge" (pronounced hoo-ga) is, how to make your home a welcoming, cozy retreat (one that you won't want to leave), and how to enjoy the simple, beautiful things in life. 

Did you know that Danes are among the happiest people in the world? One of the main reasons is that they take relationships seriously. They are constantly getting together with family and friends in each other's homes for gatherings. They soak up all the hygge aspects of life- think dripping candles, freshly baked cake, piles of books, a knitted throw blanket on a winter's evening, and a hot mug of tea nestled between your hands. 

I loved reading the "Hygge Manifesto" which consisted of being instructed to turn down the lights, turn off the phones, share the conversations without dominating them, take it all in and be grateful, build relationships and share narratives, and take shelter in your tribe. 

I could not recommend this book enough! Not only does Meik share tips to create hygge, he inspires you to enjoy life wherever you are, includes recipes for Danish treats (and yummy Elderflower cordial!), gives ten inexpensive hygge activities to enjoy with friends, and encourages you to create a "hygge emergency kit". Copenhagen may have just moved to the top of my bucket list.

Bringing Up Bébé
by Pamela Druckerman

Being a self-proclaimed francophile, when I spotted this book a couple of years ago, I had to grab it. Being a new mother, I thought I would dive in and obtain some wisdom from the French. 

This book is the perspective of an American mother on French parenting while living in Paris. Becoming a first time mom, Pamela observes how the parents of Paris raise their littles. The first half of the book really enlightened me, the second half I basically was just trying to finish the book. 

Pamela shares how the French are successful in creating polite little children that you would be proud to take to lunch at a cafe with girlfriends, how they get their babies to sleep through the night by two or three months old, their children eat the same foods and at the same meal times as the parents, and how their children are such a huge part of their parents' lives, but aren't life itself. 

Although this is a secular book and I wasn't reading it for the  purpose of seeking spiritual child-training, I did find several things very interesting. Apparently France has exceptional medical and fertility care (covering up to six rounds of IVF!!) and most women in France actually forego breast-feeding and their babies are formula fed. 

One of my favorite parts of the book that I took away was how the author talked about "natural rhythms" and how to observe your child before always stepping in right away to soothe them. She talked about how we all have natural rhythms when we sleep and how babies may let out a little cry or stir before going into their next cycle of sleep. Pamela talked how the French find it important to teach a baby or child to self-soothe so they don't always expect to be coddled right away. This was very interesting to me. 

I royally picked this book apart but it was still an interesting read. There were several things I didn't agree with, but discovered many interesting facts about French parenting and took away a few European nuggets of wisdom in raising our little Colette. 

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