It’s the 2nd Tuesday of the month, which means we’re talking books today! I’ve been absurdly busy lately so only have 3 to discuss today, but they’re three good ones! (And not surprisingly, all nonfiction. Again. At least they’re not all super depressing this time? Just like… 1.5 of them.)
Pro tip: Clicking on any of the book cover images will take you to that book’s Amazon page via my super snazzy affiliate link. If you then proceed to buy stuff, I will be showered in cash and prizes. Or approximately enough pennies to buy some gum. Close enough.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Okay, I’m going to sound like a total hipster here, but I was a fan of Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, way before she was “famous”. Like… I remember when her daughter was 5. (I have no idea how long ago that was, but she’s looking almost teenagery now?) I liked her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, but I loved this one. While her first book was a memoir of random, hilarious stories, this one centered around the theme of how she deals with things like chronic illness and anxiety disorder. As a totally cool member of the “sometimes I need Xanax to make doing everyday things seem even remotely possible” club, I related to a LOT of her struggles. Jenny shares her stories with both insight and hilarity. If you’re a fan of her blog, you’ll most likely dig her book, too.
Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender and Junior High by Ken Corbett
This is a heavy book. It not only covers the murder trial in which one 8th grader killed another, but also dives into societal views of gender expression, and how accepted ideas like “boys will be boys!” can be dangerous. In 2008, a 14 year old boy shot his classmate, who had recently begun wearing makeup and jewelry to school and going by a new (female) name. Somehow, a fairly large number of people saw the victim’s behavior as “deviant” and the shooter as “a normal boy”. The author is a psychologist with a background in studying gender, particularly in how boys are viewed and shaped by the expectations placed upon them.
Spoiler alert: this book is heartbreaking to read. About halfway through, I googled the names of the kids and was blown away by just how young they were. It’s one thing to read about 14 year olds, but another to put faces to the story.
If you nerd out over true crime like Serial, you might be into reading about this case. While there’s no real “mystery” to solve, the book does cover the debate about whether it should be classified as a hate crime, if the ruling should be first degree murder or manslaughter, etc etc. Saying that I “enjoyed” the book seems like the wrong word to use, so maybe I’ll just call it engrossing instead?
(I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Riding Home: The Power of Horses to Heal by Tim Hays
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog over the past couple of months, you know that I just started riding horses again after a 10+ year break, and that it has basically been the best antidepressant ever. Riding Home discusses how riding and working with horses is used for therapeutic purposes, working wonders for people with everything from PTSD to autism. I’ve always wanted to get involved volunteering for a therapeutic riding program, but I’m mostly familiar with it for physical rather than mental or emotional problems. (One little girl at the stable where I take lessons was able to avoid a surgery for her spina bifida thanks to improvements brought about by riding!)
I found a lot of info in the book to be totally fascinating, such as the story of a little girl with autism who loved the discovery that you can tell where a horse is looking by which direction its ears are pointing, because it was the first time she was ever able to distinguish if someone was paying attention to her. Also, given how much time I spend working with rescue horses to achieve what can feel like very slow progress, I was blown away to learn that the equestrians at the famous Spanish Riding School in Austria have to spend FOUR YEARS establishing their relationship with their horse on the ground before they’re ever allowed on its back. That’s partnership, yo. I definitely recommend this one to my fellow horse nerds, or anyone interested in therapeutic riding programs!
That’s it for me for this month! Be sure to head over to Life According to Steph and Jana Says to check out the other participants in the Show Us Your Books linkup! An speaking of books, don’t miss the giveaway I just posted where you can win gorgeous adult coloring book!