Reading Taste Test · Reviews

Reading Taste Test | @jacksepticeye

Hello and welcome to a new thing I have been wanting to introduce on my blog for some time. I am always getting book recs and such from book blogs, bloggers, and friends who love reading a ton. While I LOVE the recommendations, I have always been curious to see if books recommended by those who are not known for their love of books would be just as enjoyable or maybe even a new favorite. So over the past few months as I watched youtubers or their other social media accounts who are not book centric and started to take some notes of books they mentioned. This month I decided to give jacksepticeye’s or Seán McLoughlin’s book recommendation a try.

This pick I came across in his video entitled, Jacksepticeye’s REAL Personality Revealed (Enneagram Test), who would have thought a book rec would have come from a title like that? lol. But, this just comes to show you that you can find books anywhere. Anyway, the book mentioned in this video is How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald J. Robertson. When I studied history for my degree I did take quite a few philosophy courses, but have not really touched it since then, a shame because I really liked those classes because they challenged your own thinking. So, when he mentioned this book, I knew it was one I was going to use in this series.

Description

“Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was the final famous Stoic philosopher of the ancient world. The Meditations, his personal journal, survives to this day as one of the most loved self-help and spiritual classics of all time. In How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, cognitive psychotherapist Donald Robertson weaves the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius together seamlessly to provide a compelling modern-day guide to the Stoic wisdom followed by countless individuals throughout the centuries as a path to achieving greater fulfillment and emotional resilience.

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor takes readers on a transformative journey along with Marcus, following his progress from a young noble at the court of Hadrian—taken under the wing of some of the finest philosophers of his day—through to his reign as emperor of Rome at the height of its power. Robertson shows how Marcus used philosophical doctrines and therapeutic practices to build emotional resilience and endure tremendous adversity, and guides readers through applying the same methods to their own lives.

Combining remarkable stories from Marcus’s life with insights from modern psychology and the enduring wisdom of his philosophy, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor puts a human face on Stoicism and offers a timeless and essential guide to handling the ethical and psychological challenges we face today.” –goodreads.com

First Impressions

Even though I was already sold on this book because it is a topic I want to explore again I didn’t know too much about the book itself until I got my hands on it and read the above description. What stood out to me most was the fact that this book seems like a combination of a history, philosophy, and self help. On top of that it seems like the author is going to be taking ideas that many scoff at because they are “old” and revitalizing them though a modern lens. As someone who has studied history, you really can see a lot of parallels to old idea and civilizations and the modern day if you only took the time to really see the connections. Obviously, this is not to say the past is perfect in anyway, but nor are we perfect now. One thing for sure is that the past and present are connected.

What I Liked

While I really loved this book quite a bit, there are a few things that stood out the most while reading this book. The first being the authors ability to showcase ancient philosophy in a way that is easily understood. Not only was it easily understood, I liked how the author connected this philosophy to modern psychology. As someone who studied both of these a bit in the past, it really solidified my understanding as well as cementing the fact that this does in fact have a place in the modern world. I would like to make it clear that I feel like this book would still be easily understood and impactful if the reader does not have any background or previous interest in these fields. The authors plain language and explanations don’t come across as belittling or condescending, but like a friend talking to you and explain something new to you. Nothing is overly complicated in the slightest.

The second things that really stood out to me, I kind of already hinted at, but the authors way of telling the story of Marcus Aurelius or Stoicism was phenomenal. As someone who had no idea about either of these topics. Though his narrative way to telling the history combined with his friendly way of giving examples of how to bring these practices to your life it is an enjoyable read. It neither reads like someone knowledgeable talking down to someone or like you are in a lecture. When reading about ancient ways of thinking or individuals, this can often happen. But, Donald J. Robertson stands out in this regard.

What I Didn’t Like

I have to say I really don’t have anything specific to note in regards to dislikes when reading this book.

Overall

I am really glad that I came across this video by jacksepticeye because otherwise I would have never read this book. If you couldn’t tell already, I loved this book. I annotated it quite a lot. You would be hard pressed to find a page without a scribble or underlined passages. It was organized very well, the narrator/ author had a very clear and kind tone, and I learned quite a lot without feeling like I was attending a class or seminar. My personal opinion is this is a wonderful book and if you are interested in this topic, look further into this book.

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Lists & Recommendations

Let’s Talk | My Favorite Romance Novels

Hello and welcome to a quick post where I am going to share some of my favorite books that have a bit of romance in them. This is not all of the romance books I have enjoyed over the years, the list might end up being 100s of books long, but these are the ones that popped into my head when I started to write this post.


Red White & Royal Blue Casey McQuiston, a great LGBT+ romance that goes from enemies to lovers.

Beach Read by Emily Henry, two polar opposite writers challenge themselves and swear they will never be in a relationship with one another.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, a classic love story.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory, an adventure and an adorable love story of older characters.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, a wonderful LGBT+ graphic novel that has a wonderful story and a wonderful art style.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, a magical realism novel that has a bit of a cute romance, but is also a bit of a thriller or sorts.

The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, a beautiful LGBT+ story of opposites just falling for one another, but isn’t the main part of this beautiful story.



What is one of your favorite novels that have a bit of romance?

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Reading Challenges · Reviews

Reading Challenge | MyTBR.co Issue 1

Hello and welcome to a new quarterly series on my blog where I get reccomedations from mytbr.co and read and review them to see how well they can guess my reading tastes from me filling out a huge form non their website. I will not hesitate to say I got this idea from watching Books and Lala over on youtube and seeing her trying the same book service and I wanted to try it for myself.


This is to go over the first recommendation letter I received them from. In this letter I was recommended The Hunger by Alma Katsu, The Incarnations of Susan Barker, and The Changeling by Victor Lavalle. I will say that my first reaction to this recommendations were, “Wow, these sound amazing”. So far, this service is off to a really good start.

The Reviews

The ChangelingThe Changeling by Victor LaValle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book ended up being so much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. It was beautifully written and surprising. I expected the story to be one thing, but it transformed into something magically different in the best way possible. I really enjoyed the rollercoaster of emotions this book put my through as a reader as well as a family legend that ties into myths.

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The HungerThe Hunger by Alma Katsu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very intriguing, imaginative and haunting horror. Not only was this horror atmospheric, but it mixed “real world” horror and monster based horror. This mixed with history only made it just seem even more real. The writing was well done, the pacing, characters, and relationships were all done so well. I will be trying more books from this author in the future.

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The IncarnationsThe Incarnations by Susan Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel was just something outside of the genre it was labeled as. It is a thriller, fantasy, and historical fiction all mixed into one. This book follows a cab driver in Beijing and the story goes through time as you learn about his past lives as he does. Each life had its own chapter where you explored the lives of these two souls, the lives they lived varied quite a lot and they endured a ton as well (violence, sexual violence, and suicide to name a few). The writing itself was beautiful, and the way the author organized the book was perfect. At no point did I think the pacing was off or was bored. I was glued to this book when I was able to find time to pick it up. Another aspect I enjoyed was the fact that the author intertwined these stories with Chinese folklore, classic, and history.

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Overall, I would say that this service did a really wonderful job in picking books for me for this round. I ended up giving every book a 4 or 5 rating and when I did get to pick up these books I tended to read them for long periods of time. I very much look forward to my next recommendations.


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Let's Talk · Reviews

Let’s Talk |Fall Book Recommendation Test & Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs Review

LetsTalk12:17

So, I don’t know about you, but I always see quizzes where they ask you to answer a bunch of questions and then will recommend you a book. I don’t do many of them, but I decided to do the following one that was created by bookish.com. This one asked a bunch of questions and then in theory would recommend me a book I would love to read this fall.

So I answered a bunch of questions, some you can see how they would relate to a book recommendation, others not so much. There was a question about the type of Halloween candy I liked most and I still cannot understand what the connection between a book and a candy. Not to mention they didn’t even have the candy I liked the most.

That is one thing that has made me skeptical in the past about these quizzes, sometimes the answers don’t really apply to myself. I wish there was a Other option for some of them, but I can see how they would not be an option so I just pick the closest thing. When I was done with the quiz I was given Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Now I was curious to see if they actually recommended me a book I would enjoy reading or not.

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What Happened

So I started reading this book in the middle of November, it was a perfect book to read during non-fiction November. So, at this point the quiz is in the positive.

This was a very honest book, which I was not sure if I was going to get. I thought it would not be as deep and show so much of the negative aspects of her relationship with her father. The main reason I thought this was because he has passed and people tend to get rose colored glasses when someone has passed. People focus on the good things, which I think is a great thing to do, don’t get me wrong. But, I really liked that she was honest about the downs as much as the ups in her relationship with her father.

Another thing I liked about this book is that it was really well laid out and the story of her life slows very well. I have read memoirs that read choppy and seemed to be disjointed at times. This one is quite the opposite. Also, I really enjoyed that she didn’t just talk about her father even though he is a very well known individual. I really enjoyed learning about her and her story. I liked hearing about her experience in college and as a child even though I had no idea who she was before reading this book, to me that says a lot.

I would say the only reason why I did not give this story a full five stars is because I didn’t really get anything that affected how I saw things in my own life. I know that can sound bad, but when I read a memoir about a person the only way I would give it a five is if it impacted how I lived my life or influenced how I saw a particular event or idea. I hope that make sense. I do highly suggest this book if you are looking to read a good memoir.

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Have you read a book that was recommended to you by a quiz?

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