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Here’s a roundup of some recent reads:
I didn’t expect to love this, but I really did! “The Upside of Falling Down” is a light romance, “young adult” novel that, at first, seems like it will be predictable – a young woman is the sole survivor of a plane crash, and wakes up with no memory of her life before. A young man befriends her and … you think you know the rest, but that’s where the twists and turns start coming. I found it to be a page-turner, with some really surprising revelations at the end. If you’re up for a light, fun read, this is a good one. Available for borrowing on Kindle Unlimited.
Honestly, I didn’t love this one. If you’re looking for a book that says “rah, rah, yay you!” then it’s for you. But if you have deeper issues of anxiety and depression, you may not find it helpful. To me, much of her advice has the flavor of “If you’re lonely, get out and meet people!” or “If you’re sad, look at how happy people act, and act like them!” There *were* some useful ideas about where our attitudes and mindsets come from, such as growing up in an environment where relationships are difficult, or money is scarce. But overall, I found that the advice did not account for the complexities of human emotions. It has high ratings on Amazon, though, and it’s a bestseller, so a lot of people like it.
If you’re a fan of Nora Roberts, dystopian novels, or magic/witchcraft stories (or all of the above), you’ll love this one. It starts with a common premise – a sickness has wiped out most of the human race, governments have collapsed – but the fascinating part is how the survivors find one another and come together in communities. The book is meant to be the first in a series, and I can’t wait to read the next one. Recommended!
This is a romance / “haunted house” story about a group of friends in their mid-twenties who had gone to high school together. One member of their group, Brandy, had disappeared years before and is presumed dead, but her other friends have been having mysterious dreams about her. At the request of Brandy’s mother, the friends reunite at a cottage on Silver Lake – one of their former hangouts – to see if they can piece together the clues to Brandy’s disappearance. The story? It’s ok. I found it a little predictable, but not in a bad way. It’s a light story, and for me, it was a “palate cleanser” between other books. It’s available on Kindle Unlimited to borrow.
I really enjoyed this memoir by the creator of such TV shows as Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. Shonda Rhimes is a busy woman with an overbooked schedule, so she got into the habit of saying “no” to a lot of opportunities and engagements. One Thanksgiving, as she was preparing dinner with her sister, her sister said “You never say yes to anything.” This prompted Shonda to engage in deep self-reflection. She committed to finding ways to say “yes” more in the coming year. As she came to learn, saying “yes” sometimes means saying “yes” to your own well-being, instead of other people’s requests. A great book for introverts and those who love them.
Have fun reading!
If you love to read, and you’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate more of this pleasure into your life, this post is for you. If not, please pass it by! My intention is not to make anyone feel guilty about the time they spend in other pleasurable pursuits – but if you want to spend more time enjoying books, I’ll share some of the techniques I use to build more reading time into my busy life.
Try listening to audiobooks
If you haven’t tried audiobooks, please give them a shot. I use the Audible app on my phone, and download books for listening in the car. I love to listen to books on long trips, but also on short ones – even the drive to and from work. Sometimes it’s nice to just listen to someone read to you. Two caveats: (1) before you buy, listen to the sample. Occasionally I can’t stand the narrator’s voice, which means the listening won’t be much fun. (2) there’s a danger of “zoning out” and realizing that you missed the last few minutes of the story because you were thinking about something else. If that happens, just backtrack a bit. You can always re-listen to favorites, too.
Try using an electronic reader
I use the Kindle app on my phone and on my iPad. You can purchase electronic books on Amazon and download them directly to your device, where they are always handy. This way, when I have to wait at the doctor’s office, or I’m early for a meeting, I can enjoy some reading time. Having books on your device is also handy for the gym, if you use the treadmill or stationery bike.
Read more than one book at a time
I know a lot of people who prefer to finish one book before starting another, but I look at it this way: You watch multiple TV series, right? So you’re getting a story in “installments,” and then watching other stories before you get the next one. Yet, if you are involved in these stories, you don’t get confused or forget them. Well, reading is the same way, at least for me. I can be reading one book on Kindle, listening to another on Audible, and have a third “real” (paper) book in the bathroom to read while I soak in the tub. Maybe there’s another on my nightstand. I like to mix it up. There’s no rule that says you have to read just one at a time – unless you want to. Which leads me to my next tip:
Switch up your genres
We all have our favorites, but reading can become tedious if you always read within the same genre. So I like to switch it up. After reading a long, ponderous tome, I’ll choose a fluffy romance next. I’ll alternate fiction and non-fiction. Once in a while I’ll choose a book that’s normally “not my type,” but looks interesting. So if you find yourself in a rut of reading nothing but sci-fi, or dystopian novels, or self-help books, try something different. It may renew your joy in reading.
Never let it become a chore
Reading (unless it’s for work or school) should never feel like something you “have” to do. If you ordinarily love to read, but have come to see it as a chore, take a breather. If this pleasurable activity ceases to bring you pleasure, go ahead and do something else that lights up your soul.