Five Minute Review: Veronika Decides to Die

In my quest to read 52 books in a year over the course of 2017, I’ve had some hits and some misses. This has to be one of the good ones. I looked forward to reading it every evening before bed, and would recommend it to anyone.

If I had to describe Veronika Decides to Die in five words, it would be:

Life-affirming, soothing and beautiful.

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The premise of this book is a girl named Veronika who decides to commit suicide by taking an overdose. She survives her suicide attempt, but wakes up in hospital seriously ill and with only a few days to live. And so it begins…

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Honestly, as morbid as this sounds, it’s truly beautiful and life-affirming. It’s a relatively easy read, and as with The Alchemist, I finished it feeling uplifted- Coehlo just has a gorgeous, lyrical style of writing that captures you from start to finish.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Absolutely!

Marks out of 10: 8

That’s it folks!
What should be the next book on my list? 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

Five Minute Review: Sleeping Giants

I set myself a 2017 goal of reading 52 books in a year. The aim of this goal was firstly to get reading more, but secondly to try to find more can’t-put-down reads to really get lost in. And I have to say, I think I’ve found one!

If I had to describe Sleeping Giants in five words, it would be:

Intriguing, can’t-put-down good.

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The premise of this book is simple yet fascinating: a girl in South Denver stumbles upon a gigantic, metal hand buried deep beneath the surface of the earth. Years go by, and it becomes clear that there are more of these artefacts scattered across the globe… and thus it begins…!

I won’t say any more, but I will say that if you’re at all interested in science fiction or fantasy novels this will be for you. As soon as I finished this one, I picked up its sequel, Waking Gods – and it’s just as good.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Absolutely!

Marks out of 10: 9.5

 

That’s it folks!
What should be the next book on my list? 

Lots of love,
Pippa

Podcast of the Month: Happier

As long-time readers of this blog will know, I’m a big fan of podcasts (you can check out some previous posts here and here). Honestly, one of my favourite parts of the day is walking the half hour to work, coffee in hand and podcast in the earbuds. And recently I’ve been really enjoying a new podcast, which I wanted to share with you today.

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It’s called Happier, and it’s presented by Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project) and her sister Elizabeth Craft. It discusses “habits, happiness and human nature” and has been really adding value to my life recently. Although a podcast called Happier may sound slightly superficial (in line with all those well-intentioned people who tell you to just think positive), Gretchen and Elizabeth show a real understanding for the difficulties of the human condition- everything from the depression we often feel after a big goal or milestone, to the anxiety of changing gym.

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The podcast is broken up into sections:

  • Try This At Home
  • Happiness Hack
  • Listener Questions
  • Demerits and Gold Stars

Here are just a few pieces of wisdom  I’ve received from the podcast over the past few months:

  • Sometimes things just suck- for instance, a breakup, or a bereavement. It’s okay to acknowledge that and just allow it to be.
  • Limiting your news intake can be helpful when it comes to getting depressed over current affairs, and print is shown to be less anxiety-provoking than video.
  • Doing something every day is easier than doing it some days- this has been really useful for me when it comes to getting up at the same time every day, even when my schedule can vary. It’s just easier to not have to think about it.
  • When you lie about something, it’s often because your reality doesn’t live up to your values- like for instance if you tell people you run 5 times per week, but often only manage once. In these situations, lies can act as a signal that you either need to change your reality (ie. the thing you’re lying about) or just fess up and be honest.

See, I told you these ladies were insightful!

Want to give it a listen? I would recommend one particularly insightful episode all about how to deal with depressing current affairs (spoiler alert: taking action helps). It’s just what we need in a Brexit and Trump-filled world.

Any podcast recommendations for me?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

Five Minute Review: You Are A Badass

One of my aims for the year is to average a book a week, making that 52 in total. I want to capture at least some of them here, as I believe reading and learning is a key facet to mindfulness and living in a fulfilled way. But hey, we’ve all got busy lives. So in that vein, here’s your five-minute book review!

If I had to describe You Are A Badass in five words, it would be:

Wisdom, inspiration and no bullshit.

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This book really transformed how I thought about myself, my attitudes and the reality I create for myself. I listened to this on a long-ass coach journey back from my family home; my leg was in a cast, I was unemployed and generally feeling a bit shit. But honestly, this no-nonsense guide to making shit happen really lifted me out of my slump and motivated me to be proactive, relentless and to create the reality I want for myself.

 

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This is self-help, but not as we know it.

Marks out of 10: 9

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes. So many words of wisdom, none of which are coated in pseudo-mystical bull. It’s an accessible and practical guide to getting what you need in life.   

That concludes the review.

Please tell me, have you read You Are A Badass? What did you think?

What books would you recommend I read this year?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

 

 

Five Minute Review: The Alchemist

As I mentioned in my 2017 Goals, one of my aims for the year is to average a book a week, making that 52 in total. I want to capture at lease some of them here, as I believe reading and learning is a key facet to mindfulness and living in a fulfilled way. The words of a book have been comforting to me at many a time in my life, and even more so right now that I cannot run. Nonetheless I am keeping these reviews short and sweet, as it’s a real but welcome challenge to accurately capture the essence of each book within a time restriction.

So, I’ve already wasted two minutes of my allotted writing time- let’s just jump in already.

If I had to describe The Alchemist in five words, it would be:

Every line filled with treasure.

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This is honestly one of the most exquisitely written books I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time. The lexis and semantics are stunning, even when translated from the original Portuguese. A recurrent motif is that of destiny and fate, which could be read as being overtly religious, making the novel essentially a tale of a young man finding God. Nonetheless, not being particularly religious myself, I chose to interpret it simply as a piece on spirituality and being tuned in to the universe and open to opportunity. It boils down to this: it’s a gorgeous jewel of a book, no matter what your views on religion and spirituality.

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Marks out of 10: 9.5

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes! A resounding yes!

That concludes the review.

Please tell me, have you read The Alchemist? What did you think?

What books would you recommend I read this year?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa