In March, I shared with you some of the books on my “to read” list since I didn’t read much that month. Well, last month I was able to get back to reading some good books! Again, I overwhelmed myself a bit by getting so many books from the library at once and then feeling the pressure to read them before they were due back! But #firstworldproblems, right?
So here’s what I read last month:
“In Thrive, Arianna Huffington makes an impassioned and compelling case for the need to redefine what it means to be successful in today’s world.” This book was so good! I highly recommend it to anyone who is annoyed with everyone being on their smartphones 24/7, or feeling the need to be constantly connected, or who is frustrated with the stereotypical ideal of success and power. The main message from this book is that there is so much more to life than money, fame, power, working ourselves to death in order to reach a certain level or obtain a certain amount of success. “As Arianna points out, our eulogies celebrate our lives very differently from the way society defines success. They don’t commemorate our long hours in the office, our promotions, or our sterling PowerPoint presentations as we relentlessly raced to climb up the career ladder. They are not about our resumes – they are about cherished memories, shared adventures, small kindnesses and acts of generosity, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh.” I cannot say enough good things about this book. Arianna shares some personal experiences as well as others’ personal stories and research findings. Already this book has helped me to slow down, disconnect, to stop and take in the moment and sights around me, and to look into volunteer opportunities.
Transitions – Making Sense of Life’s Changes
This book was recommended to me as I was struggling with my recent breakup and trying to make sense of life and why everything just seems so dang hard sometimes. The book was enlightening, especially when it talked about the major areas of change and that if you experience multiple changes within 1 year, you are more likely to be stressed, get sick or injured, etc. Well, what do you know, I had a change within every area within the last year. No wonder I was feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad, and having such a hard time. He talks about the three stages of any transition: The Ending, The Neutral Zone, and The New Beginning and how most people rush through the neutral zone thinking that it doesn’t mean anything because it is often the most confusing stage. I could definitely relate to that. I feel like I am constantly searching for what’s next and trying to make big life decisions even when I haven’t yet figured out what I want or where I’m going. He explains that the new beginning cannot be rushed and will happen when you are ready.
The Single Woman
“The Single Woman will remind you that life’s too short to be waiting for Prince Charming to rescue you.” I really enjoyed this book and it was a quick and easy read – I read it in less than a day. She discusses how the stigma of a single woman, especially in her late twenties and beyond is frankly BS, and that “the modern-day single woman is something to be applauded as bold and courageous and unique, not lauded as sad or pathetic or weak.” The book reminded me a bit of Sex and the City but rather than focusing on finding a man, the focus is on why being single is a time to be celebrated and enjoyed; “an opportunity to get to know yourself, to learn how strong you really are, to depend on no one but yourself for your happiness.” I definitely recommend this book for any single women but also for women in relationships who may have forgotten what it’s like to be navigating the world of life all by yourself or to remind them the importance of maintaining some independence and their other relationships.
Another great book! Brene Brown is a research professor & social scientist in Houston. I couldn’t get into her other book, Daring Greatly, but I loved this one! The subject of this book is the rise from falling down including stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. How too often, we skip over the dark parts of a story and jump right into the inspirational “got back up” part of the story. She says that “the middle is messy, but it’s where the magic happens,” meaning the middle of a story – when you’re in the transition phase (similar to the Transitions book!). Another great quote: ““No regrets” doesn’t mean living without courage, it means living without reflection. To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life.”
Oh my, I LOVED this book! Yes, partly because I am going on a big Europe vacation, including 2 days in Paris in a few weeks, but also because it was just fabulous. “Exhausted and on the verge of burnout, Janice poses the question to herself “how much money does it take to quit your job?” She saves up money for one year, quits her job, and takes off for Paris. A few days after arriving in Paris, she meets the cute butcher down the street and of course, they fall in love! But no, this is not fiction. This is a true story and it was so wonderful. She talks about her life before Paris, as she’s minimizing her possessions and saving up money, and then the wonderful experiences she has in Paris and beyond. It was so great and I am now even more excited to get to Europe!!
The One That Got Away
This is a fiction love story about a girl who has it all – good friends, good job, loving boyfriend… but then her former flame moves back to town and she starts to question everything she thought she wanted. I can devour a novel like this pretty fast and this was no exception. I got sucked into the story and wanted to know how it went (although I could pretty easily guess). Overall, it was a fun read but not my favorite book ever. It was another one of those love stories that is clearly FICTION as in while I’m reading it I’m thinking to myself “yeah right” and “this doesn’t happen” sort of thoughts. But, that’s why it’s fiction, right? And why these books and movies continue to get made and people continue to read and watch them.