Friday, November 8, 2013

How To Read Through a Random Book List

The "Do It For You" portion of Isn't She Lovely is my way of offering up the best of what I do for myself. After all, you can't expect to feel as lovely as you are if you aren't attempting to do things that make you happy.  

At the beginning of the summer I wrote this post about all of the books I had read, was reading, or wanted to read. My ever growing list of books feels like a to do list of sorts. I'm crossing them off and loving every minute of it. Discovering Audible was a game changer for me in regards to reading. I am a reader and a lover of books. While I don't love listening to them, it's a means to an end. There's also a serious bonus involved if the author actually narrates the book. 

For many people finding time to read is tough. It's easy to say you're too busy or your kids make it impossible. Often those things are true. If reading is something you truly love then it never hurts to take a few steps and try to fit it in. 

Here's what I've discovered in regards to knocking books off of your "book to do list":

1) Make sure your list has an assortment of topics. While you may want to read every parenting book you can get your hands on, it's wise to read a few and then read something totally different. Variety is the key to life right?

2) Carve out times where reading makes sense for you. I have two kids and reading at home is not an option for me a lot of the time. I can't read before bed because I will stay up entirely too late. Therefore, I read (actually listen via Audible) while driving to my super glamorous cleaning job and while I clean. What was once mindless time is now being filled with good books.

3) Join a book club! Offer to have book club at your house. Nothing forces you to get a book read faster than knowing you have to talk about it with other people.

4) If you do have kids, a good teacher trick is D.E.A.R. time. Drop Everything and Read! Explain that at a certain time every day everyone will sit quietly and read during D.E.A.R. time. You can read your book while your kids model your good example and learn to read or flip through books quietly. This may be tough with the little not yet readers, but it's always worth a shot.

Here are a few reviews of the books I have finished plus my growing list. Please let us know what you're reading so our lists can all get longer.

Recently Finished

Society's Child: My Autobiography - Janis Ian

* Society's Child is by far my favorite read in the past couple of months. I would hazard to guess that many people don't know who Janis Ian is. At least not many in my generation. Janis Ian was the child music star of the early seventies. She led a tumultuous life, as it seems any child star does, and came full circle with this book. Reading it actually makes my heart hurt for people like Miley Cyrus. Janis received death threats for writing the song Society's Child, and she lived in fear of the people in the audience. She won a Grammy while battling an eating disorder. She dealt with being gay in an industry that told her if she came out it would ruin her career. All of this before the age of 21. If you are a music lover this book is a must read. 

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk- Faber and Mazlish

* How To Talk really struck a cord with me. It's been around for ages and still rings true. It offers real life situations, goals, and ways to put positive parenting into practice. I will say that when it comes to taking the knowledge and applying it I have struggled. I even created a cheat sheet! Because of the volume of what I learned from this book I will dedicate a full post to it in the coming months.

In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan

* In Defense of Food is one of those mind blowing books. I don't mean this in a propaganda sort of way, but in a very historical respect. The way we, as Americans, have viewed food over the years is really at the heart of what Michael Pollan is trying to express. That and how the food industry has dominated those "views". I will say this was a tough read. It's filled with information that can get overwhelming, but at the same time you can't walk away from it. I think people today read books like this and end up with the feeling of "now what?". While I feel more educated in some respects, I also feel like there hasn't been a book about food that gives clear answers and/or suggestions about what needs to happen next. If you are concerned about what you eat and the state of the food industry I would recommend reading In Defense of Food as a beginning step in educating yourself.  

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

* I went into this one blindly. Someone told me to read it, so I did. Sometimes these things happen. I can't say I hated it and I can't say I loved it because it was that bizarre. I definitely couldn't stop reading it. This would be the book you choose if you need a good dose of futuristic science fiction about what happens when all rights are taken away from women. Margaret Atwood is a phenomenal writer. That being said, the stories in her brain must keep her up at night.  

The Wolf of Wall Street - Jordan Belfort

* This was a book club book for me a few months ago. Jordan Bellfort was called the Wolf of Wall Street for a time, and this book details his rise and fall. While it's no literary masterpiece, I do enjoy a good story about the life of an infamous person. It's also pretty telling about those who are rich and addicted to drugs. It's worth reading if you want a quick and interesting story, but I bet the movie will be better than the book this time. 

In The Middle Of

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead - Brene Brown

* Full disclosure here, I am saddened at how not into this book I am. This is supposed to be at the top of the realm of self help, and I just couldn't get into it. I love her Ted Talks and her knowledge on being vulnerable is beyond inspiring. However, I have talked to a few people who also couldn't get into Daring Greatly. It happens. I will say that if it's on your reading list you must attempt it because there are many who LIVE by this book. 

In My queue on Audible

The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead - Sheryl Sandberg

The Witch's Daughter - Paula Brackston
Happier at Home - Gretchen Rubin
Siblings Without Rivalry - Faber and Mazlish
Just Kids - Patti Smith
Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls - David Sedaris


  1. Love this post Jana! I have to add a book to your queue...Mrs. Mike...It's still free on Kindle:

    1. I saw your status on Facebook yesterday and totally meant to put that one on here! Thanks!

  2. "I learned the truth at seventeen, that love was meant for beauty queens..." I used to listen to my mom's Janice Ian record in high school. Beautiful. I will have to read that one.

    1. One of my all time favorite songs! The story behind it is very interesting... :)

  3. Jana, just subscribed to your blog yesterday. I saw your profile on the BYW forum. I live in Decatur. Check out my blog:

    Regarding your book list, I heard Gretchen Rubin speak about Happier at Home. It's good, but not a whole lot new from HP. It was really nice to get to see her in person, though. The film adaptation of The Book Thief is coming soon. My book club just read The Silent Wife -- a page turner similar to Gone Girl. Also just read with my kids the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon -- the On The Same Page book for 2013. It's an amazing sorry for both adults and kids with beautiful illustrations. Check out info. on Little Shop of Stories Web site.

    Hope to see you over on my blog.

  4. A Handmaid's Tale is one of my favorites. Just downloaded Mrs. Mike.

    I am scared to read In Defends of Food, to be honest but I really think I NEED to.

    I read Tao of Pooh when I was too young and trying to be deep...guess I should reread.

    Great running list and reviews!

    1. I'm guessing it was you who told me to read The Handmaids Tale! I am on the fence about reason another of her books. Have you read any others?

  5. I really don't know why my kindle refuses to type Defense

    There! Got it!

  6. No I haven't to read list is HUGE!

  7. reading is a wonderful topic! we're classmates at byw, so hello! i'm a montessori teacher of young children, and believe firmly in DEAR! regarding your books - i read "handmaid's tale" years ago when trying to adopt. NOT a good time for that one. just read "the illusion of separateness", and highly recommend it. joy to you, noreen

    1. Yes, I can see how Handmaid's Tale would NOT be good to read while trying to adopt! I am adding your suggestion to my list though :-) Thanks for stopping by Isn't She Lovely! I'm off to check out your blog too.

  8. I love all of these tips for reading! I agree that Audible is life-changing. How dorky am I: I listen to books while I work-out. Books or NPR. I feel like it's the only way I can take a few minutes and focus solely on news or noteworthy information....and not think about how much I hate working out.

    1. You know, had I actually worked out much lately I would totally try reading. Although, I feel like I need serious "pump you up" music to get going with it!


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