My Reading Life – Pat Conroy

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: There is no better place to read Pat Conroy than on the beach in South Carolina. This had to be a Beach Week read.

Full Summary: Although this is not the book I rated highest of those I read during Beach Week, it is my favorite from the week. I love Pat Conroy, and I love reading. So to read about Pat Conroy’s reading life on the beaches of South Carolina (where he was raised and where most of his books seem to be set), was just too good to pass up.

Pat Conroy My Reading Life

I did not love every book that Conroy wrote about (many I have not even read – I am not the Brainy Smurf I pretend to be), but it really gave insight into his writing style. For example, the chapter on Tom Wolfe was so revealing because Conroy talks about how he has modeled his super wordy style after his love of all of Wolfe’s writing. Of course he says it much more eloquently, verbosely and humorously. You kind of have to read it to get it. Sort of like hearing how he describes, Gone with the Wind:

To Southerners like my mother, Gone with the Wind was not just a book; it was an answer, a clenched first raise to the North, an anthem of defiance.

By |2019-12-12T19:28:40-05:00June 26th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone – Brene Brown

Rating: 5 stars

Cliff Notes: A must read for everyone. THIS is a book that should be required reading in all schools (instead of The Hunger Games, perhaps?) and board rooms (I cannot believe we are not done with Who Moved My Cheese yet). This book outlines 4 lessons we all need in order to be gentler with each other and ourselves.

Full Summary: Everything Prophet Brene writes is golden and this book is no different. How do we disagree civilly? What does it mean when we are dehumanizing others in our arguments or requiring either / or thinking?

Brene Brown breaks down sociological constructs and concepts for easy understanding through her storytelling, examples from her research, and the writings of others. I highlighted and flagged so many pages in this book that I know I need to digest and write future blog posts about. I hope you will keep coming back to read those as well as going out to get all of her books.

By |2019-12-12T19:31:23-05:00June 9th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Book sale!

The only thing better than reading books is buying books super cheap when the money goes to a good cause! Today kicks off a fantastic local book sale.

This was my first year attending after hearing rave reviews and oogling it as I drove by over the past few years. It did not disappoint!

Volunteers spend weeks leading up to the event sorting and categorizing donations. One building has children’s books, another building has “cool and collectible,” and the main building has everything else. I was GIDDY when I arrived and probably had NEWBIE written all over me. It was a delight!

My current strategy at used book sales is to let the books pick me. I know this sounds woo woo (perhaps that needs to be a tag because this will be a recurring theme). This is a survival tactic though. With past sales, I armed myself with a long list of what I was looking for, then basically had a panic attack at the huge tables stacked with hundreds of books simply labeled: FICTION.

So now I arm myself with an open mind and 2 reusable shopping bags. I wander through the stacks, running my fingers over the books and reading titles and reviewing authors. If something strikes me I read the blurb and double check my Goodreads account to make sure I have not already read it. Then I pop it into my shopping bag. Once I have a bag full I check out. Full disclosure: I do carry a second bag, but try to limit it to one bag.

I also keep other people in mind as I wander. Sometimes I see a book that I loved reading and am almost sad that I have already read it because I know I won’t have the experience of reading that beloved book again (I’m looking at you, Poisonwood Bible). Those books I pull out and lay on top of the pile so it stands out to other shoppers. If I see books friends or family would like I drop that in the bag too. For example, my mother-in-law recently retired and has been reading more and is exploring various authors in the category of mystery / thrilled. Lee Childs and Harlen Coben? In the bag they go, please and thank you.

What is your strategy for tackling used book sales?

By |2019-12-12T19:13:44-05:00May 9th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Atomic Habits – James Clear

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: I took my time on this one to try to let the ideas sink in. I think it could have been shortened, seemed repetitive at times, but the ideas are good. There are a few nuggets like compounding habits and habit stacking that I will use.

Full Review: This book came into my awareness from a couple different sources. When Laura Tremaine recommended it on her podcast, I reserved it from the library and had an anticipated check out date for me of about 2097. Then my sister recommended it to me. I am the younger sibling and even though we are in our mid 40’s and live 500 miles apart, I still do pretty much everything she says. So of course, I immediately bought this book.

I probably should have read the blurb (a recurring theme you will see in my reviews) because I expected habits that would blow my world apart like the atomic bomb. But the book is about small teensy habits – the size of atoms, if you will – that gather together to make a big impact on your world. I can see where concepts like compounding habits will be valuable for me. I refer to this as “butts in seats.” On any given day, I am not having big spiritual revelations from the 10 minutes of morning meditation I do. However, when I look back at a month and check in with my gut, there is a correlation between the number of minutes my butt was in the meditation seat and how restless, irritable, and discontent I have been. More minutes = Less grumpy. Of course, calling this “Compounding Habits” and not “Butts in Seats” is why James Clear has sold millions of books and I am at home wearing socks with my Crocs sandals.

By |2019-12-12T19:37:04-05:00May 8th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments
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