We put ourselves on a strict budget this month. So I only had so much money to spend on whatever I wanted.
I spent it on, like, the sixth day of the month- all on books. Bye, money. It was fun while it lasted. #IWillRememberYou #WillYouRememberMe
Here are the books I read in April – in no particular order:
Lean In (For Graduates) by Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl is the COO of Facebook and is well known as the author of Lean In, a book about women and equality in the workplace. Specifically, Sheryl would say that equality will not be reached until 50% of businesses are led by women and 50% of homes are run by men. I approached this book thinking I would hate it, but I actually liked it, with some MAJOR caveats. Pros: Well-written, anecdotal, good selection in the business genre. Loved her ideas of women needing to have a “seat at the table” (specifically, leadership in the business place or – in biz speak: a presence in the c-suite.), and the idea that women should not “leave before you leave.” (This is when young women know that they want to have children and start a family in the future, so when they are offered a step up the corporate ladder, they say no because they are already thinking ahead to leaving and therefore will say no to a promotion because they’ve already “left.”)
Cons: Sheryl overlooks the fact that she does have a supportive husband (at the time she wrote the book) which everyone might NOT have, is gone from her children for hours every day and travels away from home and therefore, is definitely affecting her kids. You can’t argue against the fact that you’re making a choice of career over family. We like to pretend this is a choice – but it’s not. Sheryl would also claim to be a feminist and recently is in the news for her 1 million dollar gift to Planned Parenthood. Therefore, I cannot agree with her basic worldview on certain issues. She seems to miss the fact that: many women don’t want to be in ultimate/executive leadership of huge businesses. Single mothers who don’t have the support of a spouse are not able to “lean in” as Sheryl promotes. (As a side note, Sandberg’s husband, David, suddenly died a couple years ago and Sheryl has since come out saying single mothers can’t lean in… and has backed off of a few other of her statements.) And that I’m not sure having a balance of 50/50 with 50% of women as CEO of Fortune 500 companies is really a valid goal that makes any logical sense. Should women be welcome at the table? Sure! Are women discriminated against in business? Absolutely! Does that mean that all women should be motivated to be the CEO and fully lean in to business and once we get to the magic number of 50%, suddenly all is right in the world between the genders? Uh… no? Also, to be fair, she supports the choice of women to stay at home with the kids, but seems to lose her argument by ignoring the fact that if a parent is not home with the kids – husband or wife – you are affecting the kids.
So overall? I liked this book better than I thought I would. As I look forward to a time when I can re-enter the workforce as a full-time employee, I hope that I find a place that can use my experiences and strengths. I fully realize by taking time off to raise a family I made a good choice for our family – but yes, it does put a middle aged woman at a disadvantage against her fellow male employees when you’re just looking at it in a practical, business sense. (Less time in the workforce over the years means you start at the bottom of the ladder, as opposed to men who are the same age and yet have climbed higher because of the years, even if they’re not qualified to be in leadership.) And trust me, it is a struggle for the ego to realize you’re starting all over again, even though you technically already climbed the ladder so to speak, and now have gone back to the bottom and are entry level again. This is not and has not been an easy thing for me and the platitudes are, frankly, obnoxiously oblivious to how it really feels. (And yes, I purposely used the word “feels” – because it is, indeed, an emotional topic. Oh my word, no, I don’t need a lecture about it either. Why do people start lecturing when I admit to this??) (Also, in case you know me in real life, I work in a church in a part-time position. HOWEVER, I am not specifically commenting on that specific church or my current role. I am talking more generally about the business world because I love to read business/leadership books.) Rating: 8 out of 10.
If you read any of the books I’m reviewing here, pick this one. Beautiful look at Psalm 107. Deeper than most Christian women Bible books, I appreciated Chandler’s review of this beautiful Psalm. Using anecdotes from her own life (their discovery that her husband had a brain tumor), plus stories from the Bible, she presents good points to belief in a God who is steadfast in His love toward us. Rating: 9 out of 10. (I would buy this for everyone I know if I could afford it.) (But please see above, vis a vis That Blasted Budget)
Good book with practical tips about reaching out to others around us – neighbors, family, friends, etc. Nothing new necessarily, as I’ve read plenty of this kind of book, but the practical ideas she gives are worth reading to review. Or, if you haven’t read a lot about making your life a welcome to others, it definitely is a good book on the subject! Rating: 7 out of 10
Good As Gone by Amy Gentry
Thirteen year old Julie is taken from her bed at night. Years later, she shows up on her parents’ doorstep. As she reintegrates into the family, small clues start not adding up -is this really Julie returned to her family? Or is this a stranger pretending to be Julie – and why? Good plot. Definitely rated R. And eventually some of the storyline just lost my interest because it kept skipping around in time and persons. As far as a mystery is concerned – yes, good novel. But a little too jumpy and disjointed for my tastes somehow. Rating: 6 out of 10
You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz
A therapist has authored a book about how couples should have known who they were marrying and that it’s a mistake (in most cases) to ignore the warning signals. But, as she mothers her child in the Upper East Side New York, she starts finding out secrets about her own marriage. Plus, a woman turns up dead. And that’s maybe all I’ll say – this was a good, easy read with interesting societal views of the rich moms of New York and the way a person can talk themselves into believing anything. If you pick one of these two mystery novels to read, pick this one. Rating: 7 out of 10
And that’s it! Thanks for reading my reviews of April’s books! Here’s to a new budget in May!
For past months’ reviews , click on the month for the link:
January – I go on a book diet
February – I get into the Enneagram
March – I read about Westley in the Princess Bride