Friday, September 21, 2018

Nonfiction Mini-Reviews: The Marriage Edition

Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give by Ada Calhoun (2017)

A collection of essays about what marriage really means to the author and an honest look at the ups and downs of binding yourself to another person.

In general, marriage doesn't turn out to be the complete "happily-ever-after" we envision on our wedding day, but neither is it the soul-sucking institution that some would have you believe.  Calhoun takes a look at some things you may not necessarily realize about marriage until you've been in one for awhile.  I thought she made some good points, ones that made me think.  A lot of married life revolves around the mundane - paying bills, going to work, etc.  Your partner will probably change throughout their life, as will you, and you both will need to find ways to be happy with each new version.  Communication is so important, but sometimes there can be comfort in silence.

However, I had a lot of issues with this book.  At less than 170 pages of actual text, it's just way too short.  It seems like Calhoun did a lot of interviews/research and she probably could have included more of it.  The writing felt very scattered, even for an essay format.  I didn't care for her cavalier attitude about infidelity, and when she and her friend fantasized about becoming widows, I almost had to quit.  3 stars

 
How To Be Married by Jo Piazza (2017)

After a whirlwind courtship, Jo Piazza and her husband Nick spend their first year of marriage traveling the world and learning what it means to be married in various cultures.

I really enjoyed this book - it was part travel memoir and part personal memoir.  Piazza included a lot of research and interviews that she did with people in her travels, but she also opened up about issues such as her health and the stress of buying a home.  Her writing style is very comfortable and easy to read.

I loved learning about the different ways marriage is viewed throughout the world:
  • In Chile, women spend a lot of time nurturing their husbands egos, when really they are the ones in charge.
  • In Denmark, couples work hard to create a cozy home where they can relax and be present in their relationship.
  • A work-life balance is super-important in Holland.
  • Gratitude, especially for the small things, keeps Indian marriages alive. 
Aside from all the cultural discussions, Piazza also touches on other general relationship issues such as marrying older and how to become a unit while still maintaining your own life.  A lot of the things she discussed resonated with me, and I think they'll be relevant for a lot of people.  4 stars

18 comments:

  1. How to Be Married sounds like a pretty interesting read. The different views on marriage are of particular interest to me, and I'm totally on board with Holland's belief in the importance of work-life balance. The main times my husband and I struggle are when that balance gets out of whack.

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    1. I agree, and I also liked Denmark's approach of creating a comfortable shared living space.

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  2. I’m not married, but that second book sounds pretty interesting. I love the cover.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. It was so fun to read about all the different countries.

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  3. The first one sounds short for the subject - and the widow part - YIKES. The second book sounds interesting though. Great reviews!

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  4. I'm not married but since Belgium is a close neighbour to Holland I feel like a work-life balance is super-important too.

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    1. Yeah, and I agree it's good not just for marriage, but just for happiness in general!

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  5. How To Be Married sounds great. I especially like those parts abour Denmark and Holland- interesting!

    Wedding Toasts sounds interesting too in its own way, although the part about fantasizing becoming widows- I had to laugh although maybe it wasn't meant o be funny!

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    1. Yeah, I know they were just joking, but it didn't sit well with me!

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  6. Ooh! I may have to check out How To Be Married! :) That one sounds so fun!

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  7. I don't normally read nonfiction, but How to be married sounds like fun! I love the idea of traveling the world for your first year of marriage.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. I know, it sounds so fun! They are fortunate enough to have the types of careers that allow for and incorporate a lot of travel.

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  8. How to Be Married sounds like a good book. I will have to check that one out. I am sorry you didn't like Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give but I think I would feel the same if a bunch of women were wishing to be widows...Ughhh don't think I would like that. Happy Reading!

    Mary

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  9. For some reason, books about marriage really interest me. Perhaps because, like books about careers, it's a topic that can play a big part in someone's life. I'm not sure! Whatever the case, these really appeal to me and based on your reviews, I'll be keeping an eye out for the second one. The look at marriage in different cultures sounds fascinating.

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    1. I know, I felt like it was a topic I could really relate to. How To Be Married was definitely a great read.

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!