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I know we’re already a bit into 2023, but there’s still a lot of year left and plenty of time for reading.
I am a big reader and have read some interesting books in recent months and am currently working on some good ones, too.
Let me just tell you upfront that if you are looking for fiction suggestions, I regret that I can’t help you because I rarely read fiction. The closest I come is historical fiction or Dan Brown books. I like his books because there is an element of history in his stories and I learn a lot of interesting things from reading his books.
I don’t really have much against fiction books. It’s just that I just feel like there is so much non-fiction stuff that I don’t know, I can’t really spare any time messing with fiction when I have so much non-fiction to learn. 🙂
So if you share an interest in non-fiction, here are a few titles I’ve been reading lately:
The first one is a little book that many have read called The Four Agreements.
This book has been around for a long time and I know I’m really late to the party on this one. 🙂 It’s about self-limiting beliefs and how we can adjust our mindset to develop a code of conduct that will help us be happier and freer from the influence of others.
This book started out a little weird for me, as it calls on Toltec wisdom and shamanic teachings. Nothing wrong with any of that, just a little foreign to me.
But it really does make you examine the way you navigate through life and how you respond to things that happen to you. One thing he said in the book that struck me is that “In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you abused yourself.”
Could that possibly be true?
There may be some for whom that is not true, as they have experienced very traumatic abuse at the hands of others. But for others, it may very well be true, as we can be very hard on ourselves, especially as women.
This little book can show a different approach to life to quiet those limiting beliefs and live in more freedom.
Next up, The Happiness Advantage. The subtitle of this book is How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life.
This book is a fun read. Even though it cites many scientific studies, it is not tedious. It shows us how we can retrain ourselves toward positivity and focus that in all aspects of our lives, whether it be at work or home.
In a world of increasing negativity, this is a nice breath of fresh air.
Now, I am not a Pollyanna, one of those relentlessly positive people who pretend to be happy all the time. But I do always try to find something in every situation to be positive about. Wallowing in negativity is not productive and I’m all about what’s the next best step to take to move forward.
This book gives fascinating examples of how our mindset determines how life can play out. So if you want to learn how to approach life with more positivity, this is an excellent read.
I have not yet read this author’s wife’s book, called Broadcasting Happiness, but I have purchased it for my daughter and her reading list, as it deals with how to foster happiness in the workplace.
So if this topic interests you, these two books could be great companions and if you wish to learn about how to foster more happiness in your life and workplace, these two books are a good place to start.
After I read The Happiness Advantage, I moved on to an interesting book called Afformations: The Miracle of Positive Self-Talk.
This is a fascinating book. If you have any interest in manifesting, this book will interest you. I have been intrigued and disappointed by manifesting since the O.G. book on this subject, The Secret, came out way back in 2006.
This book talks about why manifesting as we’ve been doing it doesn’t work, and how to approach the whole process differently to get results. I really like this book and am still working my way through it.
My daughter just finished reading a book called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
She found it to be a bit of a “slog” at first but it did get interesting mid-way through. I told her the author is a genius to call a book “Grit” because you feel guilty quitting it even if you don’t want to finish it. 🙂
I read parts of it that she thought I would find interesting and I like how the book covers the quality of grit as it pertains to athletes, parents, businesses, teachers, and students.
I found the chapters on grit with regard to parenting styles interesting. The author compares and contrasts different parenting styles that on the surface may seem like one encourages (and even demands) grit, while another style may not.
But yet upon closer examination, there is grit present in these different styles. They are just executed differently.
I’m a big fan of sticking things out. I think many of us quit things too soon. Almost everything is hard in the beginning and if we quit too soon we may miss out on the reward that comes from gaining some competence or enjoyment.
I don’t believe in staying with something JUST for the sake of finishing if the task at hand is making us unhealthy or miserable. Some things should definitely be let go in favor of things that are better for us. So sometimes quitting is okay and does not necessarily show a lack of grit, as long as the quitting is to enable us to focus on something better.
I mean, even Marie Kondo recently disappointed millions of devotees recently when she just casually announced that she’s quitting the whole spark joy/organizing thing. 🙂
She found out what those of us with even one child already knew–it’s hard to keep a home looking like a museum if people are actually joyfully living in it.
Some things need to be relinquished in favor of better things. I’m actually glad to see her choosing some quality of life with her children over a spotless house.
Doesn’t mean she doesn’t have grit.
Another book I became acquainted with recently and am currently reading is called The Body Keeps the Score.
I recently participated in a summit about quitting sugar and the effects of harmful foods and trauma on the body. One of the speakers used the phrase, “Your issues are in your tissues.” This really struck me.
Think about how our bodies react in the moment when we are anxious or upset. Our pulse can race. Our breathing increases. Our faces can get red. These are all physical responses to stress.
Imagine the strain on our bodies if we live in a state of stress or with unresolved trauma. I mentioned the issues in your tissues quote to my daughter and she suggested we read this book, as it addresses that subject.
You may know people who seem to have a lot of unresolved issues and illnesses at the same time. I don’t think this is a coincidence.
So this topic intrigues me and this book is fascinating in that it explores the connection between the physical body and emotional, physical, and mental stress. I’m still working on this book but can definitely recommend it if this topic is of interest to you.
Another book I am reading is called Set Boundaries, Find Peace.
I think we all know the importance of having healthy relationships and avoiding toxicity. But sometimes other people we have to interact with don’t make that so easy.
Especially if those people happen to be family members or coworkers you have to interact with every day. But that shouldn’t keep us from establishing and enforcing boundaries for ourselves.
It can be difficult because you will most likely experience pushback from people when you attempt to stand up for yourself. You may encounter people who don’t respect your boundaries or try to recharacterize them as something else to try to make themselves feel more comfortable.
You may also experience some guilt as you attempt to do what is right for yourself. As I mentioned before, especially as women, we have been socialized to be pleasers and it can feel uncomfortable when we go against that.
But if you have some emotional hooligans in your life, you may need to set some boundaries to reclaim your own peace of mind. 🙂
This book does a great job of examining why we may hesitate to set boundaries and gives practical instructions on how to correct that.
Okay, enough with the heavy topics and self-improvement stuff. Let’s talk about some fun stuff!
A favorite book I’m reading is called Distilled Genius.
This is a book of quotes from one of my favorite people ever. Susan Branch. If you aren’t familiar with her work, she hand paints and hand letters every one of her books and they are simply charming. I have everything she’s ever written and you should too. 🙂
I first met Susan years ago when my daughter was a baby and I find her as charming as her books.
Talk about someone with the happiness advantage. She herself has always said she was born with the “happy gene” and you can’t help but feel better when you spend some time with her books. Even her cookbooks are beautiful and fun to read.
Just look at how beautiful this stuff is:
Susan has always collected quotes and included them in her books and on her calendars. As a fellow collector of quotes, she is a kindred spirit. (I love quotes so much that I have a whole section of my website devoted to them.) 🙂
This book is (according to her) only Volume 1 of her vast collection of quotes. This is a big hefty book of her favorites and there are also blank pages for you to add your own favorite quotes. And she always includes a ribbon bookmark so you can pick up right where you left off.
Speaking of bookmarks, I have a free one for you! Just enter your email and it will be delivered straight to your inbox! You can print it out and write the name of the books you are reading right on the little books on the bookmark.
Finally, I have a book on pre-order, and it is Sister Jean’s memoir! It’s called Wake Up With Purpose: What I’ve Learned in my First Hundred Years.
If you’re not familiar with Sister Jean, she is the 103-year-old nun who is considered the matriarch of Loyola University and a HUGE basketball fan. She is the chaplain of the men’s basketball team.
She comes to the games and sends daily emails to players, giving them encouragement and notes on what they can do better. 🙂
I LOVE this woman. Look at that face. And “my first hundred years.” How can you not love that? She plans on sticking around for a while!
I think we are all designed for a purpose and I am not a fan of retirement. That’s not to say you have to work the same job your whole life until you die.
But if you do retire, it should be TOWARD something, not AWAY from something. We are built to stay occupied and productive. What that looks like is different for each person.
But as I get older, I pay attention to people who retire and how they do it. Some do it with gusto. Others don’t have a plan and just flounder around. Give me the gusto option.
Sister Jean hangs out with college students (which I’m sure is a key to staying “young.”) Hang out with people younger than you. We do, and I can tell you they keep you on your toes.
Sister Jean has a purpose and is living a long and amazing life. Whatever she’s doing, I want to know. I’ll have what she’s having. 😉
So those are my reading suggestions to keep you occupied this year. I hope you are a reader. If not, it’s never too late to start! Reading can take us places we’ve never been.
Do you have some reading suggestions to share? Let me know what they are. I’m always looking for a good read!
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