2018 Reading List: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I finished reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in February and I couldn’t bring myself to write a review. First of all, I was waiting until I actually tried implementing some of her tips. Second of all, I couldn’t figure out if my review would be good or bad.

This book (apparently) became a word-wide phenomenon soon after it was published. It’s been on my list to read for awhile, simply because I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Mostly I’d heard about it on the minimalism blogs that I follow, so I knew that whatever she said, it would be along the lines of purging your belongings.

Though the book elaborates quite a bit about clutter, how to get rid of it, and how to organize it, Marie Kondo has a couple points to her philosophy that stood out to me in particular. Continue reading

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2018 Reading List: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is the second book I’ve read by Jenny Lawson, but it was actually the first book she published. I honestly can’t decide which one I liked more.

This book felt more like a memoir. It followed a progression of Jenny’s life, from where she was born, to childhood, to high school, to dating her now-husband, to the wedding, to new homes and her career.

I felt like I was getting to know her better in this book. She introduced herself, she introduced her crazy life in a series of hilarious, rambling stories. She makes you fall in love with a lifestyle that you literally can’t imagine.  Continue reading

2018 Reading List: Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Fooled by Randomness, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is a book that I’ve had on my to-read list for so long that I completely forget how I heard about it or why I wanted to read it in the first place.

I was getting ready for a business trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, and sometimes when I travel for work, I am motivated to read more nonfiction – self-help books, memoirs, etc. So I downloaded this one to my Nook and dug in during my flights.

I’m not sure why I was expecting an easier read than this. The book was very heavy on probability and statistics, which were not my strong suit in high school. I scraped by in AP Statistics my senior year because I’d wanted the weighted GPA. I actually understood virtually nothing.

So this book was a difficult read, but I found it compelling in an “interesting-perspective-but-I-don’t-agree” kind of way.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed has been on my list to read for a while now. I read Strayed’s book, Wild, a few years ago and fell in love with her. Cheryl Strayed’s tenacity and grit in the face of all her challenges and loss are qualities to be admired.

Before reading Tiny Beautiful Things, I had never read or heard of Dear Sugar. So without any background, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But what I found was more than just an advice column. It was a window into Cheryl Strayed’s heart. The columns and stories she tells in this collection go deeper than right and wrong, this not that, yes and no.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrating People Who Make A Difference

There is no better book to read during the holiday season than one filled with stories of kindness, compassion and generosity. I read Chicken Soup for the Soul® Celebrating People Who Make A Difference at this time of year when it’s all too easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the holidays. This was the perfect book to bring me back to center, to focus on what’s really important and to remember that there is so much good in the world, even when the terrible news and headlines can feel overwhelming.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

I finished the next book on my 2017 Reading List a few weeks ago, but hadn’t had the time or mental capacity to write my review until now. The second that the movie, Hidden Figures, came out, I knew that I had to read the book first. As I’ve probably mentioned, I find most books to be better than the movie, and I prefer to read them first, to imagine my own world and characters.

There was quite a waiting list for Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly, so by the time I downloaded it from the library I was really optimistic.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

As my coworker and I were browsing a bookstore while on a work trip (because we’re nerds cool like that), she saw this book propped out on a table and told me I just had to read it. But really, it’s been on my list for quite awhile now.

So after my heart-wrenching book about dogs who love their humans, I went to the lighter side with Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.

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2017 Reading List: The Book of Joy

I read this book at the perfect time.

I had put a hold on a digital copy of The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams, months and months ago. I had no idea that this was such a sought-after book. I almost forgot about it, until one day, just before I left for vacation to Greece, I got an email saying the book had been downloaded to my account. Finally.

So I started my vacation to a new country, new culture, and new cities, with the words of two of the holiest, most compassionate people on the planet echoing in my mind.

“What is the purpose of life? After much consideration, I believe the purpose of life is to find happiness.” – Dalai Lama

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2017 Reading List: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I read somewhere, maybe on someone’s blog, that When Breath Becomes Air is a must-read in your lifetime. A life-changing memoir. Whoever told me I had to read it was right.

I read Paul Kalanithi’s memoir in one day. It’s short and I had a lot of time. But it is an incomplete account of an amazingly full and meaningful life that was cut far too short by a rapidly progressing lung cancer. The fact that it is unfinished makes it all the more perfect.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Presence by Amy Cuddy

After my BarkleyREI Book Club book, I jumped back into some nonfiction. I realized that I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately, but I’ve been very into Ted talks and inspirational blogs, so I’ve discovered a lot of writers who I feel I can relate to, or who research topics that are really interesting to me.

So my next book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, was written by Amy Cuddy who I discovered from her Ted talk about the “Wonder Woman pose.” Being an introvert myself, I was fascinated by the idea that our body language shapes how we act in a situation, and that I could make myself feel more confident by holding a confident pose for a few minutes.  Continue reading