Self Love is The Biggest Commitment You’ll Ever Make: a Review of Heart Talk by Cleo Wade

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Genre:
Self-Help, Poetry
Publisher: Atria
Publication date: March 6th, 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 224

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Blurb:

A beautifully illustrated book from Cleo Wade—the artist, poet, and speaker who has been called “the Millennial Oprah” by New York Magazine—that offers creative inspiration and life lessons through poetry, mantras, and affirmations, perfect for fans of the bestseller Milk & Honey.

True to her hugely popular Instagram account, Cleo Wade brings her moving life lessons to Heart Talk, an inspiring, accessible, and spiritual book of wisdom for the new generation. Featuring over one hundred and twenty of Cleo’s original poems, mantras, and affirmations, including fan favorites and never before seen ones, this book is a daily pep talk to keep you feeling empowered and motivated.

With relatable, practical, and digestible advice, including “Hearts break. That’s how the magic gets in,” and “Baby, you are the strongest flower that ever grew, remember that when the weather changes,” this is a portable, replenishing pause for your daily life.

Keep Heart Talk by your bedside table or in your bag for an empowering boost of spiritual adrenaline that can help you discover and unlock what is blocking you from thriving emotionally and spiritually.

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Here’s a confession: I don’t know how to review this insanely beautiful book.

I bought Heart Talk because I’ve heard of how uplifting and positively beautiful this book is.

AND I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE.

Never have I ever read a book so positively brilliant like Heart Talk that makes you love yourself more. CLEO WADE is a brilliant writer and everything she writes resonates within me. Reading Heart Talk was an ethereal reminder of all the things I’ve come to know and appreciate in relation to self-love.

And I love how reading this book was such a personally enlightening experience.

“The best thing about your life is that it is constantly in a state of design”

I found Heart Talk truly relatable as I’ve been on this journey of self-love and “self-repair” for the past three years. Not many people know this but I had a very rough start to my 20’s. College was a nerve-wrecking experience for an introverted, awkward people-pleaser like me who constantly experienced depression and social anxiety when thrown into large groups. I don’t think I can ever articulate well the pain of loneliness I went through in my early 20’s and the destructive consequences I had to bear because of it. When I had the courage to finally leave the negative environment/friendships and the relationships that were wrongly-suited for me, I found myself completely on my own for the first time in my 20’s with the exception of 1-2 friends that gratefully stayed around. Fresh out of college and with the excitement of starting a new career on the horizon, a figuratively blank canvas was spread out ahead of me to start life over.

And I had the chance to ask myself:

“What can I do now that I’m not pulled back by someone else or by a love that didn’t allow me to grow as a person? What can I do to be truly happy and a good human being now that I get a second chance to start over?”

3 years ago, I was intimidated and scared for the future, but I knew an opportunity when I saw one. When you decide that you’re gonna be okay on your own and that the stereotypical life script society desperately wants you to follow is not the story you want for yourself, you start being happy with your life and the choices you make. You stop defending yourself to other people when you do something out of the norm. You stop feeling resentful to yourself and other people when your life isn’t going the same way as others. You start questioning the type of life, partner and career you want. And you become wiser in choosing friendships that help you grow instead of break you down. You also stop looking for love in the wrong places, and focus on being a good human being in general. Because love will come when it’s ready to influence and grow us.

And in return to all the self-love you grant yourself, you develop this sense of courage and strength you never knew you had.

“The way you love yourself sets the example for how everyone else will love you”

Heart Talk is very real, in my opinion. I wouldn’t say it changed my life, but Heart Talk reaffirmed every single thing I’ve learned about self-care in the past 3 years. It is the book you want whenever you need a small reminder that you’re deserving of love. Heart Talk reminds you of all the reasons why you are amazing, worthwhile and validated for every emotion you have ever felt.

I highly recommend Heart Talk to anyone looking for motivation to love yourself and realise your full potential to be the happiest in life that you can be. It might sound cheesy, but you are the biggest commitment you will ever have in your life. Why not treat it with more respect?

Perfect for readers looking for endless inspiration to improve your outlook on loving yourself and being a better person in general, Heart Talk is full of wisdom and love for just that.

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Review: When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi)

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Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: January 19, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 208
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Blurb:
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air, which features a Foreword by Dr. Abraham Verghese and an Epilogue by Kalanithi’s wife, Lucy, chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a young neurosurgeon at Stanford, guiding patients toward a deeper understanding of death and illness, and finally into a patient and a new father to a baby girl, confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

REVIEW:

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.”  

When Breath Becomes Air is a beautiful memoir of the life lived and experienced by Paul Kalanithi who has the wonderful insight to understand and find the meaning between life and death, and what makes it worthwhile. No matter how short one’s life is, he makes us believe that it is meaningful if you find something that drives you to understand the world you live in, and help those around you.

To be honest, I’ve never been much interested in memoirs from the medical background. I was afraid the medical jargon or complicated medical world would turn me off from wanting to learn more about the field. I’ve always thought the medical profession to be overrated here in Malaysia. But it wasn’t until I chatted to a friend who happens to be a medical graduate that shone some light on the work of doctors do I begin to consider picking this book up, and seeing the medical world with fresh eyes.

Kalanithi talks about his life growing up in Arizona, his love for both literature and biology which led him to obtain double degrees in both of these field. His love for neurosurgery and how the brain affects how we face life is pretty adamant in this book. You can’t help but to be at awe at his brilliance and drive in being the best version of himself as a doctor and husband. I was constantly impressed with how resilient he was in completing his residency and his inspiration to become a better doctor to his patients. I know how some doctors treat patients with disregard and as paperwork, but Kalanithi explains the need to treat his patients like human beings, offering help to the victims and families on how to move forward in life. Which is what made him, and subsequently this book, a joy to read and know about.

His approach to the medical world and his observations of the meaning of life will leave you pondering on how to approach yours. We are all given a limited time on earth, and for Kalanithi who died at the young age of 36, he has shown us that it’s not the amount of years lived but rather the amount of life lived within those given years.

I’ve enjoyed this book immensely solely for his love of medicine and having the strength to traverse difficult roads in his life after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He faces his mortality with dignity and the belief that you can still be the best version of you no matter what disaster (subjective to perception by the inflicted) you’re faced with. I found his ambitions to become a renowned neurosurgeon and build a family highly relatable as I’ve just started work and am thinking of what I want in the future.

“Don’t think I ever spent a minute of any day wondering why I did this work, or whether it was worth it. The call to protect life—and not merely life but another’s identity; it is perhaps not too much to say another’s soul—was obvious in its sacredness. Before operating on a patient’s brain, I realized, I must first understand his mind: his identity, his values, what makes his life worth living, and what devastation makes it reasonable to let that life end. The cost of my dedication to succeed was high, and the ineluctable failures brought me nearly unbearable guilt. Those burdens are what make medicine holy and wholly impossible: in taking up another’s cross, one must sometimes get crushed by the weight.”

I felt very inspired from reading this book, knowing how early a wonderful life with so many potential could end, yet there is still so many things you can do to make your remaining time worthwhile.

This book might not be for everyone, I admit. The whole book questions his entire existence and his profession in light of his health issues. It gets deep, on a whole new level, and this book may be upsetting for those who have family members or friends that lived with or died from cancer. On top of that, the medical jargons and complicated scientific terms may put you off. I’m pretty lucky because I studied science and a bit of biology back in school but for non-science readers, my advice would be to just read it as it is. Let the words flow through you and enjoy the message brought by Kalanithi about the wonder of our mortality. And I’m sure you’ll enjoy it just the same 🙂

“There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.”

I do not know if this review does this book any justice or even convinces you to pick it up, but out of all the memoirs I have read, I’m finding When Breath Becomes Air is quickly becoming a favourite. I hope you pick this up if you have it in your TBR or see it in your local bookstore. And I hope it changed the way you view life as it did for me…

RATING: ★★★★★

Review: Modern Romance, an Investigation (Aziz Ansari & Eric Klinenberg)

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Genre: Non-Fiction

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.

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Review: The Bookshop Book (Jen Campbell)

Genre: Memoir

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).

The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.

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