Mastering Adulthood - Yaz
The author of the book, Dr. Lara Fielding, is a clinical psychologist who practices mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. As stated in the introduction of the book, the goal is not to self-diagnose and self-treat, but to learn how to balance the emotion regulation system, which is one of the basic skills of being an adult.
The car metaphor is used in the book to describe our mind and body. In this metaphor, emotions are likened to the engine of a car, thoughts to the steering wheel, and actions to the wheels. We cannot change our car, so we need to learn how to drive it. Just like different cars, every person has different strengths and weaknesses. Also, the metaphor of a castle and a village resident is used for people who over-regulate their emotions and who cannot adequately regulate them respectively. The book aims to make us understand which of these types we feel closer to and to learn how to approach ourselves with compassion. It tries to make us see why similar things always happen to us in life, what automatic practices we have, and how to break this cycle.
I liked the fact that there is access to youtube videos or various educational materials with QR codes in the book. Thanks to this interactive structure, it has become a book that I can apply myself and benefit from, rather than a book that I just read and learn theoretical information. While reading this book, I kept a diary to write down the answers I gave to the questions asked during the "breaks". After I finished the book, it was a valuable practice that helped me to go back and read those answers and see what has changed, which goals I have reached and for which I still need to work. That's why I recommend everyone to keep a diary while reading the book and wish you a good read.
The Handmaid’s Tale - Marie
In her book, the author Margaret Atwood has created the dystopian world of the Republic of Gilead. From the point of view of the main character, the handmaid Offred, the reader explores this patriarchal society and with it especially the cruelty of Gilead’s demands and challenges.
After a war-related attack, the formerly United States of America turned into a military and christianity ruled society. Despite questionable discrimation based on gender as well as status, the society suffers from infertility. The new, religious regime is highly inspired by ideas from the old testament, as well as military force and male suprimity.
Everybody in Gilead has a certain role to play. I will describe the most important one’s: The male commanders, which are on top of the hierarchy and each of them has a wife (an unfertile woman to which the commander is married), a handmaid (a fertile woman which serves to bear a child to her commander), and several servants. The main character Offred belongs to Fred - hence, the name “Of-Fred”. The book describes her day-to-day life in Gilead and how it develops, looks into her past, and explores her current adventure which turns out to have a certain goal…
I enjoyed reading this book because it considered several societal aspects which are more or less present in today’s societies across the world. The book illustrates an interesting and easy to grasp discrimination of women’s rights. But furthermore, the book deals with several thought-provoking issues such as social status discrimination, LGBTQ+, abortion, societal hierarchy and political rebellion, and more, all discoverable in today’s world. I like that the book belongs to the genre “Speculative Fiction” which means that the described dystopian world of Gilead is unrealistic, but not unthinkable. So, when you read this book, don’t go too fast, but think about how the issues described might be present in today’s societies, and what you would do differently in such a society! Enjoy your thoughts (and don’t forget, the handmaid’s were not allowed to think)!
The Clifton Saga - Janna
The Clifton Chronicles, written by Jeffrey Archer, is a book series, consisting of seven captivating and exciting parts. Overall, the book series is about two families living in Bristol, England, shortly before the start of the Second World War. The families come together because their sons became best friends in school, even though some family members wished that they had never met, as they share a secret they'd like to never be revealed.
In the first book “Only Time Will Tell”, the beginning of the two families’ stories is revealed and the reader gets introduced to their lives. Harry Clifton, son of a harbour worker who died shortly after his birth, born and raised in Bristol's working-class district. He made it to a well-educated private school with help of his mother Maisie, his teacher Mr. Holocomb and his former military friend Old Jack Tar. Due to his social background which significantly differs from the other students, he got bullied at first but after the first obstacles he found two students who were destined to stay life-long friends.
With the help of his friends Giles Barrington and Algernon Deakins, Harry starts to discover his family secrets and slowly understands what truly happened to his father twenty years ago, and which role the Barrington family plays in it. As if this would not already be enough personal life drama, Harry’s mother Maisie has to face many obstacles.and Harry has to deal with a life-changing choice. His romantic feelings for his best-friend’s little sister Emma Barrington are definitely not helping in making a huge decision like this.
Jeffrey Archer has a captive style of writing, once you start reading, it becomes quite difficult to put the book out of your hand again (Good thing that it has seven parts, so you can continue reading for days). One factor I believe that contributes to that is that the story is written out of different characters' points of view. Even though Harry Clifton definitely has the main character energy, not every chapter is written out of his point of view. Next to that, not all books are focusing on Harry’s life, but also on the next generation and on the historical background about what happened before, during and after the Second World War. Therefore, I can highly recommend this book series for everyone who enjoys an exciting storyline and long reading sessions during cold winter days!