Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The 84,000 Books I've Read on Bed Rest

That might be a slight exaggeration.

I've only finished 7 books in the last 3 weeks, I've vetoed 3 books, and I have 4 books still in progress.  Pretty much the number of books I read all last year (which is sad for a serious book-lover like me).

Some of these are pure fluff.  Some of these are fluff I want to own (all these have been checked out from my local library since books aren't so functional as diapers).  Many of these are substantial, thought-provoking, must reads which I must own (diapers, what?).

Without further ado I give you...

The Style/Fashiony Fluff

Out of all of these, How To Look Hot in a Minivan was an impulse read and was, truthfully, not worth the time it took to read it.  Thankfully, since it was as mind-numbing engaging as a copy of US Weekly, the time commitment wasn't that great.  The highlight for me was the in-depth section on botox/plastic surgery/injections.  "Horrific" doesn't begin to touch the surface, but like any good train wreck, I just couldn't look away.  You've been warned.

On the opposite end of the still-fluffy spectrum was How To Look Expensive - which I so don't want to return to the library.  Definitely putting this one on my wish list.  Though the title sounds like it could be giving you pointers on something seedy, it's definitely a much classier read than How To Look Hot.  It's chock full of idea for hair, make-up, and your personal style with thorough lists of product suggestions at all price points.  Basically, if Vogue, In Style, and Allure had a baby in a timeless, hardback edition, this would be it.

Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange is another great read.  Although this one is 75% travel guide, 25% classic style book, it still did not disappoint.  Since traveling to France is on my bucket list, this is a must buy for me.  If you aren't as interested in things to see and do in Paris, then you might want to go the library route on this one.

Everyone Should Read

You Learn By Living by Eleanor Roosevelt is just as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1960.  I have never read anything by Eleanor before, and I feel certain that I've been missing out!  I cannot express to you enough how much I loved this book.  Her words of wisdom are timeless and plainly written.  I think all 8th graders should be required to read it before leaving the zoo that is middle school for the zoo that is high school. And then they should read it again before graduating high school.  And probably again at age 25 and 30.  On my buy list for sure.

Books That Have Inspired Me

The Memoir Project is a short, quick read, but is full of wonderful advice for anyone aspiring to write anything, ever.  Marion Roach Smith's humor is infectious making this read anything but dry.  Instead of giving you cheesy writing prompts, she takes you by the hand and shows you how to just jump in and write.  And revise.  And then edit some more.  Ruthlessly.  I have a feeling I will be checking this one out from my library over and over and over....making it yet another book on my buy list.

I really didn't anticipate that I would learn anything from 168 Hours.  I mean, I know I'm a stay-home mom, but I really don't feel like I have extra time...ever.  I stand corrected.  168 Hours is another must read/must own.  The premise is that most of us schedule our time from day to day and fritter much of that time on frivolous things that don't bring us closer to our goals.  By taking a critical look at how we spend our time over the course of a week (or 168 hours) we can identify time sucks (hello iPhone and Facebook) and strive to be more intentional in the ways we choose to spend our most precious resource.  I am challenged and inspired by this concept, and it will be interesting to see how I'm able to put it into use in the upcoming weeks as I learn to juggle the demands of a newborn and a two year old.

I have read so many reviews for 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.  And over and over I told myself that I didn't want to read this book.  Everyone who reads this book comes away challenged and changed and I was fine with my head in the sand.  And then my sweet cousin went and mentioned Jen Hatmaker in a blog post, and I realized I had to read this book.  If for no other reason, because I wanted to badly to ignore it.  My family lives a relatively simple life.  When I'm not having crazy preggo cravings, we support local restaurants, local farmers markets, buy organic from our grocery store, make our food mostly from scratch, grow veggies in our backyard, compost, are no strangers to thrifting and estate sale adventures, budget tightly, and give intentionally to organizations with causes we support.  And yet, reading this, I still felt challenged that I could do more.  In a good way, not in a "I don't do enough, I'm not perfect enough" way.  It's hard to explain.  So if you are one who wants to ignore this type of book, I completely get it.  But one day, if you're willing to give it a read, I think you'll find random nuggets of inspiration as well.

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