Best Reads: May 2016

This may be the only regular time I blog but HEY, it’s something!

I participated in TWO whole book-related events this month which was pretty fun. The first one was #LilBookishMay over on Instagram and the second was Bout of Books. We also had some lovely reading parties at my house which were exceptionally jolly.

Top rated reads from this past month:

Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee HealthTop-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health by Les Crowder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Things I appreciated about this book:
– Its length. The other bee books I’ve gotten are like college textbooks. Which, is great, but also…long?
– Its range. While it may be short, I felt like it not only covered most of the basics, but also a lot of stuff that was way over my head at this point, and would be helpful later on. (Mostly stuff about splitting hives and raising queens.) Even though I read the entirety of it, I want to get a copy to have on hand.
– Its tone. It was very informational, but also felt sort-of personal. Like it was a casual conversation with a mentor. I never felt talked down to nor did I feel like he looked down upon people who choose to use different hive styles or bee management. He points out his reasons for what he does, and expresses concerns with some other ways of apiary management, but basically says you have to figure out a way that works for you and your bees. A++.
– PICTURES. There are so many fabulous pictures and diagrams, ranging from what everything in the hive looks like (how to distinguish what’s in a cell) to diseases/parasites, to some pretty detailed diagrams about bar arrangement techniques based on the time of year and what you’re trying to achieve.

I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in top bar hives, or getting started with bees.

Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage NegotiatorStalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator by Gary Noesner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I felt like this book was well written, personal, and engaging. It gave me insight into the difficulties and practices of negotiation, and a LOT to think about. The author seemed like someone who genuinely cares about his job, the people, and a positive outcome, and I respected his honesty throughout the book.

Colonial Comics: New England, 1620 - 1750Colonial Comics: New England, 1620 – 1750 by Jason Rodriguez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A really fascinating collection of short historical stories. I really enjoyed how each one was told by a different writer & artist in their own style. Overall really well done and laid out in my opinion. Though I must admit, a good number of them were pretty sad.

Honorable Mention

Rising StrongRising Strong by Brené Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I usually do a pros/cons thing with my nonfic, but this one doesn’t really seem to fit that very well?

Ideas I loved from this book:
– Be curious about your emotions. Ask why. Write down your initial unedited feelings about an upsetting situation then see what is really going on.
– Realize that your brain likes to fill in missing pieces of a story. Once practiced in the above, explore telling the person (if you know them well), “The story I’m telling myself is…”
I actually tried this (poorly) last weekend with my husband and it was fascinating. He slept in so we didn’t leave on time for an event I wanted to go to so my brain made up that he always does this because he just wants to keep me from going anywhere and that’s why he stayed up late, etc. While my delivery was poor, I think stating, “The story I’m telling myself is…” helped frame it in a slightly less offensive way and made me realize that I DID make it up, and then he could answer with what was ACTUALLY going on from his perspective.
– Assume everyone is doing their best with what they have. OKAY WOW this one is really hard and I was really cranky about it, but that chapter was by far the best in my opinion. If they are doing their best and I don’t like how it’s affecting my life, I either need to set better boundaries and let them know or give them grace and stop judging them unfairly. It’s a fascinating perspective, and I won’t lie, it really makes living in my mind so much more forgiving and peaceful? Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend that chapter if nothing else.
– I also liked the bits about expectations. I have issues with setting unrealistic ones, and it’s just unfair and silly.
– OTHER THINGS. There were lots of little insights for myself and how I picture others. One being perfectionism and its relation to a fear of shame, and how self-righteousness/self-confidence issues are two sides of the same coin.

I wasn’t completely enraptured by the book, thus not five stars, nor was I a fan of the language. But overall, I am happy I read it.


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