Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Things I Like - October (the all books edition)

During my 6 weeks on crutches I've done a lot of reading.  15 days post surgery I finished my 10th book.  I slowed down (slightly) since then but still read more than 20 books in the last six weeks.  Really helped me clean up my "to read" list and completely finish my reading goal (75 books) for the year, 2+ months ahead of schedule.  So being laid up is good for one thing. 

Here are just my favorite non-fiction books I've read in the past month (in the order I read them).  I guess I hit that part of my "to read" list.

1) You Are a Bada$$

I found this book on Pinterest when it was pinned by my aunt.  (That is a sentence that wouldn't have made sense a few years ago).  I didn't know what to expect but it left me highly motivated to get my life in gear.  Now, I feel like I have things pretty under control, have a stable, good life.  It's not like I'm struggling to figure out my big picture future.  But it was a really good reminder that you don't have to take the easy way, with some work you can have an extra awesome life.  A lot of saying yes to adventures and no to time-sucks.  That kind of thing.  I'd recommend, especially for people in their 20s (which, I know, I'm not.  But this would have been a good book to read as I was finishing college and thinking about all the possibilities in life).

2) Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
So for a completely different book...this one was good in a completely different way.  My sister had passed it on months ago, I think they got it for free from their church (as discussed in the book, they made copies available for cheap with the hope of Parishes buying them to handout at all parishioners at Christmas).  I've been Catholic my whole life, have only missed Mass when I've been sick.  We follow the rules, etc but this wasn't about all the basics, it was about how to be dynamic and made the steps easy.  Small things snowball into big changes.  If you are Catholic I'd recommend this book.  I'd offer to pass on my (free) copy but I already did...

3) Hands Free Mama

I think there are a lot of people who have problems putting down their phones.  I struggle with it at times too.  And it disgusts me.  Especially since Luke, I've been making a very conscious effort to spend little time on my phone and computer (I understand the irony of saying that on my blog, which I obviously have to write from something electronic).  This book was about that in part.  But also about putting down to-do lists, high expectations, and thinking you have to do everything perfect.  It's about getting down and interacting with your kids and the people around you.  Not just by putting down electronics, but by doing things.  It's already mind-blowing to me how big Luke is.  My sister will be sending her first kid to kindergarten next fall which is just another reminder of how fast the time goes.  I only have 4 years full-time with Luke and I don't want to look back and have regrets on not doing enough together.  This book was a good kick in the butt.  Highly recommend for all mothers of young kids. 
4) Organized Simplicity

I'm a big fan of simplifying.  I partly read these types of books to see how many things we already do.  And also to find some new ideas.  This book started with many chapters on the benefits of simplifying, both possessions and time commitments.  It's pretty much all things I wish I had written myself.  The second half of the book was more the nitty-gritty, how to actually do it.  The chapters went through each room and what needs to be done.  If I wasn't on crutches when I read this I would have been digging through all cupboards and crutches.  If you need someone to help tell you what to get rid of, or motivation to even start, read this book.  I need to read it again when I am actually able to get up and do the suggested tasks.  I'm always up for getting rid of more things.

5) 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

This is a book I almost put down because it took me awhile to get used to the writer's style (felt more like blog posts than a book) but I am very glad I stuck with it.  The author spent a month each working on simplifying different parts of her life: possession, calendar, food choices, etc (see them all on the cover).  For each month she had 7 options for whatever she was working on.  Like only 7 items of clothing (besides socks & underwear) or only 7 different food items.  Definitely a hardcore approach to simplifying. 

What I liked about this book the focus she put on our excess in light of others not having enough.  As Americans we can generally fill our houses with things, not always things we need (I am guilty of this) while people in other counties, and even right down the street, don't have enough of the essentials.  It's like a punch in the gut when I think about it.  Why do we keep spending on things we don't need when there are other people in the world without access to clean water or enough food?  It's a lot to think about.

I'm not about to throw out most of my clothes and eat only 7 foods for the rest of my life but this book gave me a lot to think about.  I've read a decent amount of books about simplifying but none have made me think like this one. 


Monica said...

Great post! Lots of good stuff here - I've already placed several of these on hold at the library! And I'm getting that Matthew Kelly book for Paul. He really enjoys reading his books!

diana said...

Big fan of the library and holds! Hope you find something you like!