The books I have read so far this year

Hi my dear ones,

I hope you’re doing all right given the current global pandemic circumstances.

If reading is not something you like to indulge in, then perhaps this blog post is not of much interest to you but I’d still like to invite to stick around nonetheless 🙂

I am always on the lookout of good books to add to my reading list and I personally think that reading changes lives!

That being said, I am here today to share the books I have read so far this year, which by the way has just racing by. Seriously, how did May arrive so quickly?

When it comes to selecting a book to read, we do not discriminate here. Well, almost never. Sorry dear sci-fi writers please don’t take this personal..it is not that I do not appreciate your imagination and writing skills. I do .. but I just never felt very drawn to sci-fi novels.

My book collection is quite diverse and the books that I am about to share in this post are quite representative of that. I usually read what calls to me and that is why I like to have a nice stack of books that is all-encompassing in nature. That way, they can accomodate all my kinds of moods.

 

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This was definitely a great book to get the year started. I loved the witty humour of the author and how well she writes. This was not one of those books where I found the main literary character to be super relatable at all levels but I really enjoyed to get to know her as the story unexpectedly unfolded. The storyline might be sad but I still found this to be a funny and uplifting read nonetheless.

This book shows how social isolation and loneliness can be debilitating over time and, in fact, the leading causes of depression, social anxiety and alcohol abuse.  I would like more authors to take profound loneliness to centre stage as Gail so beautifully did. So many people – of all ages – suffer from loneliness in our modern sociey and I don’t think that there are enough books or movies spreading awareness about it.

I don’t want to give too much away about this book’s story but I would say that if you’ve been in a reading slump, then this book is sure to pick you up of it 🙂

Favourite quote: “If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”

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GUT: the insider story of our body’s most under-rated organ by Giulia Enders

Even though Biology was never one of my favourite subjects at school, I like to know how the amazing human body functions. I was diagnosed with IBS (“irritable bowel syndrome”) in 2014 and I have been dealing with gut issues ever since. Fortunately, this is just a condition (rather than an illness) that can be mostly managed through our diet, stress management and physical movement.

I am a firm believer that knowledge is power and that was what took me to buy this book in the first place. I bought it with the hope of getting a better understanding on what triggers digestion issues and how our gut is connected with our mind …and everything else in our body really. As you may have already heard “Happy gut, happy life” and I could not honestly subscribe more to this idea. There is a lot of scientific evidence that our gut health is closely related to our immune system, mental wellbeing as well as to our energy and strss levels.

When choosing health- and nutrition-related books, it is very important to make sure that the author has the right credentials. Giulia Enders, the author of this international bestseller book, is a German medical doctor who is clearly very passionate to spread the message that “our self is created both in our head and GUT.:. She works hard to desmystify how our gut health affects our overall health. I love how Giulia also talks about a topic that many people refrain from (yes, I am talking about poop) so openly, passionately and enthusiatically.

Everyone is aware how a healthy brain and heart are essential for us to live a happy life but not many know that the heatlh of our gut is actually just as important.

This was certainly a very informating yet amusing read. I recommend anyone who wants to learn about gut health to give it a go.

For those interested in knowing a bit more of what this book is all about, here’s a TED talk Giulia gave on the gut health topic! 🙂

Favourite quotes:

“We humans have known since time immemorial something that science is only now discovering: our gut feeling is responsible in no small measure for how we feel. We are “scared shitless” or we can be “shitting ourselves” with fear. If we don’t manage to complete a job, we can’t get our “ass in gear.” We “swallow” our disappointment and need time to “digest” a defeat. A nasty comment leaves a “bad taste in our mouth.” When we fall in love, we get “butterflies in our stomach.” Our self is created in our head and our gut—no longer just in language, but increasingly also in the lab.”

“While some of us might be sitting around thinking “Nobody cares about me!”, our heart is currently working its seventeen-thousandth twenty-four-hour shift—and would have every right to feel a little forgotten when its owner thinks such thoughts.”

 

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The Corporation by Joel Bakan

I bought this book quite a while back when I was writing my thesis on ” the efforts of US and EU corporations towards the environment”. It was recommended (along with an handful of other books) by my supervisor. Due to time limitations, I was only able to skim and scan read the book. However, because that was enough to realise how good this book was, I promised myself that I would properly read it once I had more time. It took me a few years to find it in my book shelf but I am so glad I finally got around it.

This book is a critical and very informative examination of the nature of the world’s most powerful institution: the modern corporation.

Bakan takes us through the history of corporations, the reasons for their existence and their behaviour in our society. He compares for-profit corporations to pathologically crazy psychopaths, whose behaviour (so rightly) needs to be regulated by not only the government but also civic action. In this book, the author cuts through the crap (pardon my French) of what some big entities claim about “corporate social responsibility” and describes it as a public relations strategy to hide their solely profit-seeking goals. Bakan shows how this pursuit of private financial gains has led and continues to lead (now more than ever) to environmental and social damages. He also exposes the motivations, weaknesses and legal implications of corporations’ approach and behaviour by providing several convincing arguments and evidence. You will be shook by the influence on political elections and corruption that goes behind some of the corporations we’ve come to know so well and trust.

Despite not being a long book, this is not a light read as there’s so much valuable information to wrap your head around. However, it is certainly worth your mental energy as it is very insighful and eye-opening.

P.S. Apparently, this was also the book that served as an inspiration for the documentary “The Corporation” that won the  2004 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary. I haven’t watched it yet but I have added it to my list of next ones to watch! 🙂

Favourite quote:Corporations now govern society, perhaps more than governments themselves do; yet ironically, it is their very power, much of which they have gained through economic globalization, that makes them vulnerable.”

Have you heard about or read any of these books? If so, what are your thoughts? Would you like to read them? What are you currently reading? Please let me know in the comment section below! Always super keen to hear from you guys.

Stay safe and healthy x

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful