This summer I've made a deliberate effort to spend more time reading. Or I should say, reading works outside my normal realm of non-fiction and business/finance books. I've never been one to "let go" and loose myself in the thrill of a fiction novel. I think it's the sensible realist in me always thinking in the back of my mind..."this would never happen in real life". But this year I made a vow to break out of my shell and try some new material and I have to say it's been quite liberating to embrace the art of storytelling. I thought I'd share a few of my finds and hope that you'll leave a comment with some of your recommendations. Please excuse the wide variety here...as I say, fiction is mostly unchartered territory and I'm still learning what appeals to me and for that, I've included a few non-fiction and design related books to even things out.
The Signature of All Things - This is the perfect summer book. It's filled with botanical explorations and discovery during the 19th century and weaves a beautiful tale of the amazing life of botanist Alma Whittaker. While reading the astonishing story, I couldn't stop thinking about the research that went into writing it. The intricate and vast detail of the landscape, geography, botanical specimens, the spice trade and life during that era are utterly captivating.
The New Bohemians - Being a self proclaimed neutral lover, I purposely bought this for inspiration on incorporating small amounts of color in my decor. The book nicely balances strong doses of color with images of rooms filled with rich textures and earthy elements such as lush plants and warm woods. Now I just need to act on my newly found inspiration.
The Martian - Wow. I mean really. Wow. This is about as far out of my comfort zone as they come. What with the space travel and all the Sci-Fi techno terminology interspersed throughout...but on the flip side, it's a gripping story of human ingenuity and strength and you'll find yourself rooting for the hero (who was accidentally left behind a mission to Mars) to survive all odds working against him on the desolate planet. I can hardly wait for the movie!
The Light Between Oceans - The book I'm currently reading. The story of a husband and wife living in a lighthouse on an isolated island off the coast of Australia. The couple suffer from the heartache of miscarriage and stillbirth only to find one day a boat has washed ashore carrying a dead man and a tiny baby girl. As you can imagine the plot only thickens.
Trans Atlantic - Fiction based on historical events are always on my radar and I picked this one up based on GoodReads reviews, this particular quote lured me in, "Transatlantic begins with a breathtaking, beautiful and utterly compelling account of the first transatlantic plane flight. Even though I knew this little corner of history, my heart was still in my mouth as McCann describes the perils and textures of early flight." Tales of harrowing first flights always remind me how brave and incredible mankind truly was during those feats into the unknown.
Manage Your Day to Day - I got this to read on my iPad during a business trip. I find those idle hotel room hours are a great time to learn ways I can fine tune my work routines. This book was amazingly helpful in that area. As the owner of a creative business, some of the concepts I found especially useful were establishing hard edges in my day (a start and finish time), tackle the most important task first (meaningful work before everything else), block off time for uninterrupted focus and never allow distraction. Really there were so many solid ideas I could put to use immediately. Loved it! And it's free with Unlimited Kindle if you're an Amazon Prime Member.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less - Less but better. In this digital age it seems more than ever there are constants needing our "attention" pulling us away from what truly is essential. The disciplined pursuit of less focuses on how to gain insight into our ability to choose, discern, create boundaries, and establish clarity in our own essential truths whether it be for business or personal development. In short, it's not about how to get more things done, just the right things.
The Girl on the Train - To be honest, I just wanted to see what all the hype was about. It was a quick read written in diary form with a few unexpected plot twists. The book jacket summarizes it as: "There she sits, the girl on the train, what she sees, gazing out the window, will change everything". It sort of reminded me of Where'd You Go Bernadette in the writing style. Or maybe Gone Girl? Which I haven't read but can imagine it might be...as it's of the same genre?
There were a couple other books of note, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (which was so-so for me as I found I'm pretty tidy with my mild ocd) and The Compound Effect which focuses on the small decisions we make that in return, can yield huge benefits. It's a concept I grasped early in life in regards to finances but somehow easily overlook in how it applies to daily tasks as well.
Please share your summer books with me. I'd love to know what you're reading!