While I love shopping and writing about shopping, clothing and personal style, it’s not my only pleasure in life.* Actually, I consider shopping and writing about shopping my “work,” so in that case, my other great pleasure (I’m so lucky I can do what I have a passion for as “work”…) is reading. I am a VORACIOUS reader, and there’s nothing I love more on Saturday mornings than a good book and my pot of coffee. NOTHING.
I usually have a few things going at once, something non-fiction and something fiction at least, and maybe something else on the side. I read 99% of the time on my kindle, and have for several years. Believe me, I NEVER expected to embrace e-books, because I treasured my physical books more than I treasured anything else I owned. But my husband bought me a first-gen kindle and I was hooked. And you may remember, I purged nearly all of my books recently, keeping only those that had VERY special meaning (belonged to my grandmother), so I’m no longer attached to them as I once was.
I get most of books on my kindle from my local library, only buying books I can’t get at the library. I also shop at a local used book store quite frequently, but when I’m finished with those books, I sell them back so someone else can enjoy them; I don’t want to build back up my book collection. Anyway, I read way too much to spend money on books anymore; I’d be beyond broke…
Now that summer is approaching, and it seems that is when most people try to get back into reading (I don’t have kids, so I have A LOT of me time for reading!), I thought I’d mention a few books I’ve read recently that have been incredibly meaningful. Maybe you can read a couple on those amazing vacations you all had me drooling over at the Inhabit giveaway post!!
All the Light We Cannot See
I read this the weekend before last after waiting for it at the library FOREVER. Lisa mentioned it as a book she’d enjoyed (at least I think it was Lisa, although I can’t find the post now…), and it has thousands of very high reviews, so I thought I’d try it. Honestly though, I have read so many books on WWII lately that I was sort of ready for a break, and was kind of hesitant to read it. (I’d just finished Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy also – although I loved the Pillars of the Earth so much more, I consider it one of my top ten favorite books ever – so I was coming off an historical fiction high! But I do love historical fiction).
When I started reading it, I was reading at night, and at that point, I only get a few pages in before I pass out, so I was having a hard time getting into the book. Once the weekend rolled around though, I had two days to finish it, and absolutely DEVOURED it. I couldn’t move for hours. What a brilliant book. I can’t even describe it, aside from saying that it was just written beautifully. The prose, the words, the flow, the story. Everything felt right. I was so devoted to the characters from the beginning it was one of those books I never wanted to end. You know those books?? Please read it.
I read this after All the Light We Cannot See, and also got it from the library after waiting for a long time. I have become very interested in healthcare recently, and mortality, my own, and my parents’, and this book just looked interesting; and also had many great reviews, so I thought I’d try it.
It’s a hard book to get through though. I actually spent a lot of time reading through tears, and had to put it down often to cry or just sit for a second, quietly. But it’s an important book. SO important. As I was reading it, I wanted to talk to everyone I care about about death. About how they wanted to die, what they wanted their end of life to be like, etc. I thought about what I want the end of my life to be like. I wondered if I make it to my 80’s, would I have enough money saved to be able to live/die like I want? What will the end of my life be like without kids/grandkids around? How will I make decisions?
All the emotions, all that stuff came up and it was hard to think about. So hard to deal with. But it’s important to think about. Important to plan for. And important to talk about. My husband got a little frustrated with me because I wanted to talk about it, and he didn’t at that moment. So be aware that your family might not be on the same page you are when you’re finished with this book!
But seriously, I feel like something shifted in me a little after I read this book. I have been taking a very hard look at what’s really important in my life these last several years as you’ve been following along, and I’m so glad, because I want to be sure at the end of my life that I know what I want, and how to get it, as much as possible, of course.
Man, I needed something super-light and easy after that last book, and I’d bought this one recently on sale at amazon for $1.99 so started it Sunday after I finished Being Mortal. I’m nearly finished with it already. It’s SO easy and quick, but engaging and interesting – in an x-files, or fringe sort of way. Actually it’s a TV series out already also, if you’d rather try it that way.
It’s nothing special, really, but it would be a good summer reading series of books, and I do love a good lighthearted (sort of) read after a couple of very heavy ones…
Women in Clothes
I haven’t read this one yet, but I did order it in paperback today because it has pictures and those always turn out wonky on the kindle. I’m going to see the authors speak at the Dallas Museum of Art in June, and I’m really excited about it. It’s a topic I’m extremely interested in; our relationship to our clothes, so I’m looking forward to reading this, and keeping it around.
Tiny beautiful things
I checked this out of the library, but I’m going to buy it in paperback so I can have it around. Tiny Beautiful Things a wonderful advice book by Cheryl Strayed, who also wrote Wild, which I definitely recommend (read the book, then maybe see the movie, but read the book first). Cheryl Strayed makes me want to be a writer. She has an amazing way with words, and with empathy, putting them together in such a way that makes you feel warm and loved. The book is in the format of letters and replies, so you can read bits and pieces at a time, selecting ones that are relevant to you at the moment, or read the whole thing at once. It’s so good though. I need to always have it around. Oh, and listen to the podcast too, it’s also nice. Her voice is so soothing…
Mindfulness for Beginners
By Jon Kabat-Zinn – I’m slowly getting through this, preferring to make my way through other things before this for some reason…I saw him on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday one week and decided to pick up the book. If there is one thing I would like to achieve in the next year it is to become more mindful. Of everything. I am already trying to become more mindful, more conscious of my closet, but it is a struggle still, and even more of a struggle in other parts of my life. I think this book will help quite a bit when I get around to reading it, and then doing the work required of me.
Do you have any books to recommend? What have you read recently that you loved? Please share!!
*it is one of my favorite hobbies, though, and I have no problem with that. Hobbies are so personal, and we must do what we love, no matter what anyone else thinks of it, as long as it’s not destructive, of course. Debbie at Recovering Shopaholic wrote a great couple of posts on finding new hobbies in addition to shopping, which I also commented on – defending shopping as a hobby – if you’re interested in reading them.