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Reading (at least) 1 book per month
One of the adventures on my adventure list is to read one book per month (at least) this year.
When I was a child I was an avid reader. There was rarely a time when you would find me without a book in my hand or ready and waiting for me in my bag. As I got older, however, I found that my time for reading, as well as my desire to, was significantly reduced. By the year after high school, I had only read one book in a calendar year. And that was just a re-reading of my favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo (which if you haven’t read yet I can’t recommend it highly enough).
I have read or listened to a number of good books since then but never at the same rate as when I was younger.
At the beginning of last year, I decided that I wanted to change that. I used what remained of my Christmas money and prepurchased a year of books through Book of the Month. Book of the Month is a wonderful service that I recommend for those that want to read quality books but don’t have the time or skill to pick out the best books for themselves.
Every month BOTM sends you an email with a list of 5 books to choose from as well as a summary, review, and snippet of each book. You get to pick one of them with the choice of adding up to 2 others to your box for just 9.99 each. If by chance you don’t like the sound of any of the books you can just skip that month and your book credit will roll over to the next month. It’s really that simple!
I did most of my reading while driving though.
No, I wasn’t being unsafe (most of the time…). I was using Audible to listen to my books instead. As much as I love my books from BOTM I wasn’t able to read them during my biggest, most boring, time sink of the day. I live about 45 minutes from campus when the traffic is good and I drive to class nearly every weekday. That’s nearly 8 hours a week that I’m doing NOTHING PRODUCTIVE. I signed up for Audible because I saw that they were offering a free audiobook for signing up for their 30-day trial. I was hooked immediately. Nothing is better than Amy Poehler telling you about her life as she reads to you her autobiography Yes, Please (another book I can’t recommend highly enough. She is just so relatable for a celebrity funny woman!).
Similar to BOTM, you get a credit each month to choose a new book with but you can choose ANY BOOK offered on Amazon as an audiobook. If you don’t want to choose a new book right away your credits roll over to the next month. Also, Audible is running a special where you get 2 free audiobooks for signing up for their 100% free trial. Can you tell I’m jealous? Because I’m jealous.
Those free resources though…
The source of books I’m trying to use most often this year though is my local public library. I’m lucky enough to live in a county where my library will let me order books off of their website and have them shipped to my door. They also have a nice selection of e-books and audiobooks that I can check out right from my browser. I’m addicted. Now I check library’s website first for all my book and audiobook wants before using my BOTM or Audible credits.
Saving money never felt so wonderfully convenient.
On to the list
I separated my list into a couple different sections so that I could make sure I was getting a nice mix of books both for work and pleasure. Now, this list isn’t set in stone so I might change things up a little bit if I find a book that I HAVE TO READ, or if I find that a book on my list just doesn’t strike my fancy like I thought it would. Either way, I’ll be updating this list throughout the year with reviews and recommendations.
The 12 Week Year – Brian Moran & Michael Lennington
I wrote more about this innovative system in My 12 Week Year Adventure. In summary, though, this book will teach you how to shorten your timeline for achieving your goals by prioritizing your time, measuring your outcomes, and focusing on self-accountability. So far I have stuggled with some of the principles but overall I’ve seen some great improvements.
The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
“A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavors?” A wonderful book for anyone who has ever felt the “resistance” from within when you try to do the things you knew you wanted/needed to do. This is a great look into the WHY we sometimes stand in our own way to success.
All Your Worth – Elizabeth Warren & Amelia Warren Tyagi
“Warren and Tyagi show you how to balance your money into three essential parts: the Must-Haves (the bills you have to pay every month), the Wants (some fun money for right now), and your Savings (to build a better tomorrow). No complicated budgets, no keeping track of every penny. Warren and Tyagi will show you a whole new way of looking at money—and yourself—that will help you get your finances on track so you can enjoy peace of mind for the rest of your life.” A great book on how to look at your finances in a different light. Their system of budgeting is also known as the 50/30/20 method which any google search will bring up lots of additional information on.
#Girlboss – Sophia Amoruso
“#GIRLBOSS proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly.” This book seems to be everywhere these days! And it’s no wonder why. Sophia is incredibly inspiring and full of useful advice on how to buck the traditional and live by your own rules.
Sourdough – Robin Sloan
One of Amazon’s 20 Best Books of 2017 and for good reason. I adored this book and devoured it in just a few sittings. From finding the things inside you that make you unique to learning about how all things are connected, this book goes so much further than just sourdough. And yet, it stays whimsical and lighthearted the whole way through. I can’t recommend this light read to you enough.
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
I have to admit, I ugly cried when I watched the movie adaptation of this book. There are some narrative issues I’ve heard about and while I don’t agree with them, I can see where the disappointment is coming from. All in all, I think this is a beautiful story of finding love and joy even when you think they are impossible for you.
Uncommon Type – Tom Hanks (Yes, that Tom Hanks)
A delightful read overall. Tom Hanks has proven that he is a master of many arts with this collection of short stories. Although each of the stories has a different theme and focus, each of them features a typewriter in some way. Sometimes it’s a passing note, sometimes it’s an integral part of the story. Once you notice this thread, every instance of a typewriter being mentioned feels like seeing an old friend in a crowd halfway across the world. Unexpected but warming.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life – Samantha Irby
If you’ve ever found yourself wanting to stay home all day and order junk food delivered while you watch your guilty pleasure tv show, then you will find a kindred soul in Samantha Irby. She’s hilarious and relatable while sharing some truly cringe-worthy life stories that will make you say “same girl, same.”