2018 Reads - Midyear Check Point
At the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to read more. To start, I figured I'd read one book a month for the year. My schedule can get crazy from time to time, so I didn't want to overdo it with the challenge. I wanted something reasonable so that I'd actually keep up. So, one book a month and I already had a list of must-reads waiting. During the first quarter of the year, it was easy finding time to read. I might be a Chicago girl, but I'm not going out in the cold if I don't have to! Once the weather broke, I had to make time to read which was rewarding after a long day at the office. And while I'm usually asleep before take off, I started reading during flights too. Without further delay, here are the books I read for the first half of 2018.
Yep... I started 2018 trying to educate myself on relationships. I brought in the year in a "situation-ship" and this book was recommended by my friend's boyfriend. He shared that the book helped him understand some of his past relationships, and why they didn't work. As well as provided insight into what he needs in a relationship and who he is in a relationship. A man recommending a book about relationships?! I had to check it out, and I'm glad I did. The book starts with a questionnaire which identifies your primary and secondary [love] personality types - Explorer, Builder, Director, and Negotiator. It then dives into each of the personality types and discusses how each works in a relationship. Including how the personality types work with one another. I found the book to be very insightful with a very scientific look at love. I had several ah-ha moments as I learned about my personality types (Explorer/Director if you're wondering) and made guesstimates about the personality types of my friends and exes. While the questionnaire is used on Chemistry.com to make love connections, I can't say that I've leveraged it to find my match yet.
I totally judged and selected a book by its cover and title here, not gonna lie. Once I started reading it, however, it was exactly what I needed. It seems like every day we're fed messages and images of what we should look like, who we should be, and how life should be going for us. Especially in the space and time of social media, we are often hyper-focused on everyone but ourselves. This self-help book really tapped into being yourself and accepting life as it comes. It won't always be nice and pretty or "good vibes only." But how do you truly appreciate the good if you don't know the bad? More importantly, why do we care so much about the things we can't control? Let go, and live your life!
March - The Pecan Man.
I'm gonna be honest... This isn't the book I planned to read for the month. I started the initial book and couldn't get into it. After several failed attempts, I went on Amazon, searched for similar books to my planned read, and this popped up. I added it to my cart (along with a few other things - who doesn't love a good Amazon order?!) and knew my replacement book would arrive in 2-days. Set in a racially divided town in Georgia, the book is narrated by a white middle-aged widow, telling the story of her black housekeeper and a homeless man she hired. It is a quick read, a familiar narrative, and has great imagery. Not something I'd normally pick up on my own, but it was a good read. In short, it checks the box for my challenge.
Right back to relationships LOL. One of my best friends recommended this book after hearing several success stories. Also gonna be transparent here and acknowledge that I can be pretty particular about the men I allow in my life romantically. This book pretty much explains 1) Prince Charming isn't real, 2) Be realistic about what/who you are before you make demands of your mate and, 3) Age is more than a number since options are few and far between as we get older. My main takeaway was that more than half the characteristics on my ideal mate list were mere "nice-to-haves," and not deal breakers. I've since been able to discern my wants from my needs which is HUGE! In hindsight, I realize I walked away from some pretty great guys for some very simple (and silly) reasons.
May - What I Know for Sure.
I am an old-fashioned, crack the spine, feel the pages, dog-ear the corner kinda girl. But a friend of mine insisted that I give audiobooks another try. I tried talking my way out of it, but suddenly she sent me a book via Audible. Not just any book, the book I added to my list after talking to another friend back in February. Who am I to turn down a free audiobook that just so happens to be a title on my list? While my experiences vastly differ from Oprah's, there are so many relatable sentiments and points of similarity. She shares several stories and highlights the lessons learned from them all. Stories where it is easier to dwell on the issue, but moral of the matter should be the real focus. Too often we're so distracted by the meat, that we overlook the value and importance of the bones. This book was my perfect reintroduction to audiobooks. Oprah's voice has the most engaging and calming effect. I legit could listen to her say the alphabet all day and not get tired. Also, it is a pretty short book, so I got through it in a few days during my commute to and from work.
June - Year of Yes.
I heard so many great things about this book that I HAD to read it. Similiar to what happened back in March, I struggled. I was very close to finding a replacement on Amazon again but decided instead to push through. Could it be that I was doing my own "moment of yes"? Shonda opens up about her personal life and career and overall the book is very inspirational. Can't lie to you, it wasn't my favorite. Maybe I had a hard time because I couldn't relate to most of the issues. I felt like I was prepared for New Year's Eve when in actuality, I invited myself to a pity party. Once I decided to look past the "meat" and take the "bones" it made reading the book easier. The bones being, do the scary thing, the thing you don't think you can do, and the thing that is the opposite of what you always do. Even if you're doing it for no other reason than "why not?"
Six books in, and six to go! I recently got a DC library card because I'm running out of room on my bookshelves. Sure I could get more shelves, but I'm working on decluttering and let's be honest, how many times do you really read a book more than once? I'm looking forward to cracking more spines and turning more pages. If you have any recommendations, send them my way!
My Letter of Rec: Make time. The saying "people make time for the things they want" is real. I have made time to catch up on tv shows but somehow I'm too busy to do less desirable activities. Just by setting aside time to open a book, I've not only reinforced self-discipline, I've created a peaceful and relaxing moment in my day. I've also expanded my knowledge, perspective, and creativity. Books are powerful tools, let use them!