Thursday, July 6, 2017

2017 Book Challenge, June Update!

June was a much better month of reading for me. The craziness of work in May eased into a slightly less crazy beginning of June, with the second half being pretty laid back. I read four books, and continuing my non-fiction trend, they were all non-fiction. I'm really missing fiction, though (especially fantasy), so I'll probably switch back to fiction in July.

1. The Curated Closet*, by Anuschka Rees

Rating: ***

If you never really knew what to wear, or constantly buy things that later you can't stand wearing, Ms. Rees walks you through how to find your personal style and revamp your wardrobe so it reflects your taste. She teaches you how to shop and choose clothes you like so you can always wear your favorite things.

This book gave a lot of practical style advice I never heard of (and revisited some things I already practiced, like wearing clothes and styles that I liked, regardless of whether I was "supposed" to or not). The one issue I had with this book was that, of all the example styles and color palettes, there wasn't a single one I liked. In fact, I think all except one I absolutely hated. Granted, this book is about finding your own style and color palette, so the fact that I didn't like any of her samples is irrelevant to the purpose of the book. I just found it really disconcerting that there wasn't a single outfit idea which intrigued me (I shuddered at most of them), and not one of the color palettes would I desire to play with by tweaking the colors. If I would get over that hang up, I think I would find the book very useful.

2. How to Get Dressed*, by Alison Freer

Rating: ***

Costume Designer Alison Freer reveals the secrets she uses to help actors look amazing on camera. She goes over what alterations are worth the money and which are not, how your clothes should fit, special tips and tools you can use to make the fit and feel of your clothes better, as well as how to take care of your clothes so they last.

I learned some interesting tricks and tips from this book. Some of them (like her use of moleskin and toupee tape) I plan on using this autumn when I'm in a wedding. Others I probably will not use at all (I don't think her trick of finding your natural waist is very useful, because at least on me wearing pants there would be super uncomfortable). Her writing voice annoyed me so much in the beginning that I almost put the book down, but after a while I got used to it and it wasn't so bad. Her washing and stain removal tricks are great. Overall, I think this book is worth checking out (just read a sample before you commit to make sure you can stand her writing voice).

3. The Millionaire Next Door*, by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

Rating: ****

More people are millionaires than you think, and some of them might even live next door to you. Chances are, they are not the people you'd guess. In this book, Stanley and Danko study what qualities millionaires have, the differences between those who accumulate wealth and those who don't, and ways you can work on becoming a millionaire yourself.

I enjoyed this book. Even though it's almost twenty years old, a lot of the tips still hold true, and I imagine most if not all of the qualities of proficient accumulators of wealth (which they term "PAWs") hold true as well. It's inspired me to work on my own habits surrounding work and money in order to gain the true financial independence they described in the book (I never thought about it before, but in a way they're right: anyone working for someone else is dependent on keeping that job, unless they've taken steps and precautions in order to ensure they could survive for some time without it). I'd give it a read, and see if there's any areas in your life to work on in order to gain financial freedom.

4. Happier at Home*, by Gretchen Rubin

Rating: ****

This is my second book I've read by Ms. Rubin (I previously read her The Happiness Project* and really enjoyed it). I think her tips are wonderful (some of them, like her "suffer for 15 minutes," I'm working on incorporating into my life), and I really enjoy her writing style and voice. I love reading self-improvement books by authors I can relate to, and many of the struggles she shares in the book I can relate to. I found this book a simple yet enjoyable read, perfect for reading before bed or when you want to relax. Yet her tips and suggestions are great for working on your own life.

I'm very happy with my progress in June. I wanted to read about a book a week, and I've succeeded in this month. But I'm ready for a shift from nonfiction to fiction, so in July I plan on reading books such as Alice in Wonderland and A Girl of the Limberlost.

I've also posted reviews of these books on Goodreads.

*For the sake of brevity, I have not included the subtitles of these books.

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