In early December, in the midst of the holiday chaos, I sat myself down and had a little heart to heart. I thought about what it is that brings me the most joy in life. I settled on reading…I also love cooking and running in case you were interested. But reading came out as the one thing I love the most and the one thing I tend to dole out in measured doses (as in when I get into bed at night) and as much as I want to read books all day long, I never really let myself. I do read a great deal of blogs every day though, so it’s not like I deprive myself, I just seem to avoid picking up books. So I made the conscious decision that for the month of December, if I found myself during non crucial work hours (I don’t think I’ll ever let myself take to the couch with a book M-F, 9-6…that’s just crazy talk!) not really doing any thing of importance (i.e. falling down the rabbit hole of useless online browsing) that I would read. I also was really enjoying sitting in the living room with the Christmas tree and with Adam upgrading to the PS4, December ended being pretty great in terms of reading time as we not once watched an hour of Netflix at the end of the night. As you can see, I read ALOT in December, and I don’t think I ever started earlier than 9 or 10 pm. I have continued to spend more evening time reading through January, although coming down with the cold slowed me down a bit for a week as I kept falling asleep, but I’m really happy that I sat myself for this chat.
This also means that I have so many more great books to share with YOU…and here they are, in no particular order other than where they are in the stack (top to bottom):
1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I loved this book. I have loved everything she has ever written. Combine Barbara Kingsolver and a book about food production (a subject I am obsessed with) and you can imagine I was smitten. A year in the life of her family when they lived off their land/local food. Includes recipes and articles by her husband and eldest daughter. It gets preachy in parts, but every book on the subject does.
2. Red Azalea by Anchee Min. Being a memoir, I had to keep reminding myself that this woman actually lived this. It is an incredibly moving book about the end of Mao’s China. I find it fascinating to read memoirs about eras that are often written about. Changing the perspective from what you are used to reading is always incredibly eye opening. If you enjoy reading memoirs and/or fiction, absolutely add this to your list.
3. Until I Find You by John Irving. I have a soft spot for John Irving and still remember Hotel New Hampshire vividly even though I read it decades ago. This is another incredibly well written and story. But it’s really, really long. I was glad that the end went as far as it did, but there were a few parts that dragged. If you’re looking for a wonderfully written, engaging story that fills a long stretch of time, this is the perfect book. I’m talking to you, all you people who keep getting snowed in.
4. Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter by Lisa Patton. I have such a soft spot for books written about southern women who move to the north east. This was cute, delightful even. A story about a woman who finds her strength and perseveres. It was actually pretty motivational, which I don’t think it was intended to be. I enjoyed reading this one. One of those, I can’t wait to pick it up again, books.
5. Hotel On The corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford. I recently have been playing around a lot on Good Reads and discovered that I love historical fiction. So technically this book is based in the 80’s and not historical, but through the tale of the son, his father’s journey unfolds…something like that. It goes back to the 40’s and what Japanese American’s went through…told by a Chinese American. Are you intrigued? If that did it for you, you should really read this.
6. Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris. So I thought I would love a book about work. I think I envisioned it kind of like the show The Office. But as I never worked in a corporate office, something never really clicked with me on this one. To it’s credit, the entire back jacket says that if you work in an office/cubicle, you’ll love it, so there’s that.
7. The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud. I sat at my desk flipping through this book trying to remember what the hell is was about. It came back to me but meh. I didn’t love it. It was well written and I’m sure the author intended for the characters to be annoying, and perhaps I read it after something that made me think this novel was filled with whiney people, but yeah. I did however LOVE the ending. If you have a high tolerance for whining and are willing to read 479 pages to see why I loved the ending (because you have to know all of these characters to get the ending) then do it.
8. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. Perhaps the most recommended and obsessed over business book. It really pissed me off at times, and that’s usually a sign that there is excellent information involved. You know what I mean, the type of book that at first I fought it, and then realized how brilliant it was. I wish the author did not make us read about his lame fake business owner, but otherwise, I join the masses when I say that if you own a small business, you need to read this book.
9. Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht. Two things stand out the most about this book. 1. I see why Aliza Licht is so successful with social media, her writing makes you adore her instantly. 2. If you read this, read it to enjoy her writing and thoughts, not to learn anything. Unless you’re 19 and in school…then you can learn a ton. The first half is a career manual for young women. The second is more her own work biography, which I am fascinated by and really enjoyed!
10. Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch. As with most books and articles written about marketing, so much of it seems to be geared towards B2B and sales/services. There is some great stuff in here for product based businesses but you have to look for it and I would say that it has much more to do with services.