What I’ve Been Reading February 2016

Essentialism by Greg McKewon

Love. Concrete, easy-to-follow examples for how to intentionally simplify your life.  Fascinating case studies about the power of focusing on a limited number of “things”, whether those things are work, service, community or family related.  Loved the insights into how and why to edit my life.  I believe wholeheartedly in it…the hard part is actually following through.  I think this book needs to be a periodic re-read as life circumstances change.

Big Magic by Liz Gilbert

Perfect inspiration for those trying to live a creative, meaningful life.  A guide for jumping into work that you love, whether or not you get paid, just because you love it.  Just because it makes you YOU.  The major takeaway I gained from this book is the power of just showing up.  Doing the work every day is the only way to make creative dreams come true.  I’ve learned this personally with my yearly art challenges, but I loved seeing the concrete results of Liz Gilbert’s daily efforts added up over years.  One of the most powerful quotes from the book:
“Inspiration is always trying to work with me. So, I sit there and I work, too.  That’s the deal.”
Just like with any significant goal, you have to put in the time to get the results. 

Fog Island Mountains by 

The heartbreaking tale of a family facing the terminal illness of their husband and father and their personal reactions to grief. At first I found it hard to connect with Kanae (the ill man’s wife) because of her rash actions and unfaithful response to his diagnoses. But the more I thought about her specific role in this story, the more I sympathized with her.  Japanese folk stories are interwoven through this beautiful narrative.

I have heard so many people recommend this murder mystery series lately that I had to give it a try.  I am grateful for Anne Bogel’s warning that the first book moved slowly but the others are fantastic, because otherwise I would not have finished this book.  I did find it dreadfully slow up until the last 80 pages or so. In the end, the story was interesting, the mystery was exciting and the characters were well developed, but the plot did drag.  I’m glad I continued on and will definitely be trying the second book in the series soon.

Brene walks us step-by-step through her own journey to live authentically in her latest book, Rising Strong.  Her use of personal stories to illustrate her points drove home the message and allowed me to see how I can apply these principles in my life.  Brene speaks right to my soul, and I’ve loved everything of hers I’ve read.  Such inspiration for true connection in relationships is hard to find in this world full of comparison and competition.  I am very much just starting out on my authenticity journey, but I long to connect with people in a deeper, meaningful way.  To let my guard down and really allow people in.  This book is on my list to re-read periodically to inspire me in that pursuit.

Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

I read this with my daughter ( a re-read for me, first time for her) and it was even more wonderful than the first time I read it.  I have no other words, except that I love Anne Shirley and the beautiful community of Avonlea that Montgomery created.  My favorite line comes from the end of the book, and chokes me up every time I read it, 

Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways… perhaps. . .love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. ” 


Head over to Modern Mrs Darcy for more book recommendations.