This month, I was busy doing a lot, traveling, working, seeing friends and family, etc. It was the month of Lunar New Year and the Olympics. Also, I started a few books that I just didn’t enjoy, so I ended up only finishing two books in total.
I’m still on track with my goal, but I was kind of disappointed in myself for not reading as much. It’s already a week into March, and I still haven’t finished a book for this month, either. Hopefully I’ll get out of my rut soon. I’m reading an interesting but long book now, so it’s still slow going.
Turtles All the Way Down – John Green
It had been a while since I’d read a John Green book, so I was really excited about this one. I was hesitant, though, going into it because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve read most of John Green’s books: The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines (didn’t finish, but maybe I’ll read it this year) and Let it Snow (which is a short story compilation with one of the stories being written by John).
I really loved The Fault in Our Stars. I thought Paper Towns was interesting, but I hated the ending and Margo’s character. Looking for Alaska was good but didn’t live up to TFIOS, and so I was really hoping his newest release would redeem him. I’m a huge fan of John and Hank and their channels – Vlogbrothers and CrashCourse – but my love for his writing was waning thin.
I really think Turtles All the Way Down brought him back into the spotlight. John Green himself has admitted to his own personal struggle with OCD, so it was nice that he was pulling from his own experience when writing Aza, the main character who has anxiety and “intrusive thoughts”. I could tell by how richly written the characters were that much of it was from personal experience. The story was creative and never felt like it was dragging. I was always excited for what would happen next. It was a character-driven novel, but the action was also well-written and kept the plot going nicely.
Some people who reviewed the book said they didn’t like the ending, but I think it worked well. Overall, it was a great book and I think it elevated John Green’s status as a writer. Sure, he was well-known before, but he definitely put his all into this book, and the emotions he evokes with his writing are real and intense. The characters were extremely relatable, lovable, and realistic.
Belonging Everywhere and Nowhere: Insights into Counseling the Globally Mobile – Lois Bushong
I bought this book probably when it was on sale in the Kindle store. I can’t really remember when I got it, but it must have been a few years ago. I saw the title and was intrigued; I’m a globally mobile person who sometimes feels as though I belong everywhere and nowhere and it’s hard to find people who relate to or understand me.
This book is technically aimed at counselors and therapists who want to learn more about Third Culture Kids or Third Culture Adults. In our ever-expanding and globalized world, people move a lot more and a lot farther and a lot more frequently, and it can be hard to cope as a child or adult who has to readjust to a culture or community, sometimes many times over.
As someone who changed schools a lot (as in, I went to two elementary schools, two middle/high schools, and five universities) and changed countries twice, I can relate a lot to people who grew up living abroad. In this book, there were a lot of examples of children and adults who moved for various reasons; their parents were in the army or were missionaries, they went to university in a different country than the one they grew up in, or they moved as an adult.
Though the book is for therapists and has a lot of talk about what to do for clients, I found it helpful on a personal level. I also think it was eye-opening to see what therapists study in order to help their clients. The book is filled with real-life examples of people who felt out of place in the world. It was comforting to know that there are coping methods for people like us. I think anyone who has ever lived abroad or who has ever had to uproot their life for one reason or another can relate to the examples in this book.