I ended last year with some very specific goals for myself in 2015. One of those goals was to read more. Instead of waiting until the end of the year to make one gigantic list, I am going to post a monthly book report of what I’ve been reading. And instead of just listing the titles, I wanted to give my two cents while the books were still fresh on my mind. (I am, however, keeping this year’s giant list–sans reviews–here.)
What Now? (Ann Patchett)
This took all of about half an hour to read. I love Ann Patchett. This book was based upon her commencement address at Sarah Lawrence. Full of wisdom and anecdotes about her own college experience, she leaves readers with much to consider at any major crossroads in life.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo)
I’ve literally had this in my queue at the library since April. The curiosity was killing me, but I have to admit, the book was quite underwhelming to me. I don’t know if it was the build up or my tendency to not like some pop-culture suggestions, but the whole book was “meh.” I didn’t really totally agree with the KonMari Method and felt like the entire book pointed to an author who had some truly compulsive tendencies. I’m all for simplicity, de-cluttering, and good systems of organization, but I didn’t care for this book.
The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin)
I fell in deep love with Gretchen Rubin earlier this year when I read her book Better Than Before. A sucker for year long projects, memoirs, and a habits junkie, I ADORED this book. I ADORED this book. I love a good story set in NYC and this tale of Rubin’s year long experiment to put into practice happiness tasks didn’t disappoint. I relate to many of Rubin’s own personality traits and quirks. And I gained much inspiration from things like her system of happiness demerits and gold stars, her checklists for tracking habits, and as an Input EYS trait-holder I really loved the scientific research Rubin included and upon which much of her plans were based.
For the Love (Jen Hatmaker)
I’m not a huge fan girl of Jen Hatmaker. I do think she is funny; I watched her HGTV show; and I got on the Seven bandwagon several years ago and read that experiment she documented. I kind of put her into the same category as Big Mama and other bloggers. She is very entertaining but I don’t necessarily follow all of her theology. But my sweet friend Ginger sent me her audio book copy of For the Love read by Hatmaker herself, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. The anecdotes were clever and cute and I even found myself tearing up during her chapter on marriage. My favorite quote: “If I could write you my perfect story from scratch, it would be our exact life.”
The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion)
I don’t remember now what caused me to put this on my library list, but I couldn’t put it down. Notably, a National Book Award Winner, I was simply intrigued by this grief memoir. Another story set in NYC, Didion shares a story about marriage by telling it through the mourning of losing her husband of 40 years. I have lately been drawn to such a journalistic style of writing and this book fell into that category for me. I felt like a bystander to not only Didion’s marriage and motherhood, but also to her career as a serious writer for many decades and in many genres. I enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it.
Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert)
I saw the Julia Roberts movie version of this book, but recently decided to get the audiobook for my commute to and from work. I am smitten with hearing authors read their own work and Gilbert’s voice (both audibly and as a writer) is one I’m hooked on. She writes about the dissolution of her marriage, the heartbreak that ensues, and her year long “beauty from ashes” self-discovery during her travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia. As usual, the movie doesn’t even cover a tip of the iceberg, but this story is beautiful. It’s such a well written, entertaining story. It is spot-on in dealing with the human elements of loss, depression, solitude, and our need for human connection.
I’ve had this book on my list for a long, long time. Know what intrigued me about it? After all of this discovery about my EYS strengths, spiritual gifts inventories, and such…I thought I’d read this book to better understand RYAN. I thought this book would give me insight on HIS classic introversion. I thought this book would help me know him more and fully understand his needs more clearly. Instead, after taking the inventory in the first few chapters, I have discovered that I AM AN INTROVERT. Of Cain’s 20 criteria, I scored 17/20 for introversion. Without sharing too many personal details, I literally trace this back to my childhood.