Hapa Reads: Issue 007

5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Alex Chester

My hubby and I decided to read this book to help us with our communication. This book, in my opinion, does help! Not only did it give us some very insightful advice and help us figure out what our “love languages” are, it also gave us some perception into how to “love” each other in a more intimate way (not sex). We also laughed A LOT and not because the writing is meant to be funny. Au contraire, The Five Love Languages is SO outdated and binary. Apparently, we were reading the updated version too... makes me cringe to think how the original must read.

The stories about each couple made me feel like I was reading something from the 1950s. There is NO intersectionality, this book is not LGBTQ friendly, it is very hetero. Obviously, Gary Chapman has been living in a bubble. It’s time he popped it.

Is this book helpful? Yes. Does it need to be updated? Hell yes!

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

Alison Lea Bender

During one of my heart-to-hearts with a Lyft driver, we both opened up about our ADD and how focus can be a struggle for us. He told me about this book he was reading written by a news anchor who had a panic attack on national television. That panic attack led him on a journey to self-help. He overcame depression, anxiety, and self-medicating with drugs through meditation. This book teaches you effective ways to learn to turn off your busy brain and be more mindful. It reminds you the first steps are never easy, but perfection is not the goal. Ideal for people who are looking to begin meditating but don’t know quite how.


Exit West by Mohsin Hamid and Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan

Olivia Chen

Had to read an excerpt from Exit West for an online fiction writing class, and ended up buying the book. Hamid does a great job of telling a touching and real story about immigration and refugees while avoiding an overly political feel. I loved his rambling narrative that blurred the lines of reality. Would highly recommend! Also attempting to read everything that Amy Tan has written, ever, and have not been disappointed so far.

You Are a Badass

You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life By Jen Sincero

Autumn Henry

This title has a cute vibe when plucked from the sea of self-help books. My husband received it as a workplace Secret Santa gift -- weirdly thoughtful and amusing to me. It sat on our shelf for a few years, unread, until I decided to take it for a spin on our last vacation. It was January, I felt disillusioned at work and I was certainly looking for any reminder of my badassery. Who doesn’t doubt their greatness (besides narcissists of course)? And who doesn’t want to live an awesome life starting yesterday?

I don’t know what I expected. A checklist of tasks to live my best life? A rags-to-riches inspiring story? A spiritual awakening? The author is a New York Times bestseller so I felt it was worth a go. Alas, I couldn’t get past chapter 4 with Jen’s cool-girl attitude inviting me to some universal abundance that was all mine if I would just manifest enough faith and stop getting in my own way. Didn’t we cover this in The Secret minus all of the trendy language?

I understand the appeal of the straight-shooting, kinda charming pep talk that Jen is going for. Especially for a younger crowd -- high school maybe? But I wasn’t baited by any of her self-amused “insight” with all its perky humor and swear words.

Good for Jen Sincero raking in the money by giving a facelift to some classic self-help guidelines, but I think I’ll be donating this one to the stoop.

Out on the Wire

Out on the Wire by Jessica Abel

Melissa Slaughter

I’ve been producing a podcast called We’re Not All Ninjas for several years now. It’s been a blast, but also a huge learning curve. When I started, I didn’t know how to record, how to edit, or how to produce. I had no idea how to make a podcast. Three years later, I pitched at the WNYC 2019 Werk It Conference and now we’re a part of the Hard NOC Media collective.

So in order to continue my podcast education, I bought Out on the Wire. It’s considered a must for fans of radio, and for radio makers like me. Cartoonist Jessica Abel draws out the teachings of radio superstars like Ira Glass, Alex Blumberg, Jenna Weiss-Berman, and Jad Abumrad. (Side note: Once I sat a row behind Ira Glass at a theatre show and geeked out over him the entire night.) She literally illustrates their thoughts of finding a good story, getting a good interview, and MORE! It’s a peak behind the curtain for fans of This American Life or Radiolab. And it’s a fun, whimsical way to take in the know-how of a few of the radio greats.


Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Lauren Hardie

Yes, it has taken me over a year to read (it's a 400-something-page hardcover, and a bit of a pain to walk around with) but it's "light" and "fun" as far as anthropological nonfiction goes, with sprinklings of humor throughout. I had to read Guns, Germs, and Steel (Jared Diamond) in college and I couldn't believe I enjoyed a textbook. And if you liked Guns, Germs, and Steel, you'll probably like Sapiens. In fact, I think Sapiens could be a good gateway to other books in this genre. So, excuse me while I open up my literary trench coat to peddle Sapiens to the children... and suggest they consider the much lighter paperback or e-reader versions.