Archive of ‘My Reading Life’ category

Reading Professionally

Whenever I head off to a conference for work, I typically leave room in my suitcase – not for souvenirs – but for books. And while I’d love to say the books I buy come from exploring and supporting the local indie bookstores, it is more likely that you will find me in the exhibit hall buying the book of a speaker who just inspired me.

Basically, the better the conference; the more books I bring home.

As a result, I have built my own library of professional development books. And I admit while a few have been read, there are a bunch more that have collected a good amount of dust.

But, not anymore.

I don’t know whether it is the quarantine or the smell of disinfectant wipes that have gone to my brain, but I gave myself another challenge this month.

In addition to the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I am selecting books I’ve purchased at these conferences to read and post articles about on LinkedIn. I might as well put my time to good use. I did pay for them with my hard-earned money after all, and honestly, I could use a little inspiration and career advice right now.

And while I’m typically a fast reader, these books come with exercises to work through in order to get the most out of their message. Therefore, I’m giving myself two weeks to read and work through each one.

If this quarantine has gifted me anything, it has been the gift of time. So, I have no excuses to meet both the UBC and my LinkedIn reading challenge.

If you are interested in these reviews, leave me a note in the comments and I will send you my LinkedIn page so we can connect.

Whatever you are reading during this crazy time, I hope it brings you joy. Happy reading!

Reading While Driving

Does this blog title scare you a little? 🙂

Don’t worry. I promise I have both hands on the wheel at all times. This is how it’s done.

I am someone who gets bored quickly on car rides—even when I’m driving. While some people love to drive, I’d much rather be in the passenger seat reading my book. And lucky for me, I rarely get carsick.

With a 45-minute commute to work every day, it kills me that there is nothing else I can do except drive. Yes, I have XM Radio, and I love to listen to cable news, the Blend, and the Billy Joel channel, but I wouldn’t exactly call that productive, which is why I’m so happy to have discovered Audible.

Yes, I know I’m late to the game here. Audible has been around for a few years. Now that I know about it, it has changed my commute for the better. And I admit that I used to think listening to a book doesn’t count as reading it. For those who listen to books on tape, Audible, or another listening app, please don’t hate me. I already hate myself for thinking that, but I can be pretty “old school” at times.

I still love holding a book in my hand and the physical act of turning the pages. I miss turning the book on its side to see how many pages I have left to go.  But, I can’t do any of these things while driving a car. And when you spend eight or nine hours listening to a book being read to you, it most definitely counts as reading.

My introduction to Audible started with a lecture I went to about launching myself into a new job. The speaker was recommending books and said that “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins was a must-read.

I was about to download the book on my Kindle as I usually do, but then someone else in the room suggested it is much better to listen to it. She said it was like listening to the best 300-page TED talk. So, I downloaded Audible and listened to it every day on my way to work.

First of all, the book is fantastic, and except for the chapter about using her method to overcome depression and anxiety, I highly recommend it to all of you. Second, listening to Mel Robbins narrate the book is quite an experience. She is that special combination of your BFF who happens to be a therapist, best-selling author and motivational speaker—all for the low price of $14.99. I finished the book in 10 business days.

The next book I chose to listen to was Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection.” This is another one of those self-help, “you can do it” books. I was already familiar with how great her TED talks are., so I thought this would be just as good. But, within 15 minutes, I exchanged it. Unfortunately, this book was not narrated by Ms. Brown. It was read by someone else who had a monotone voice that I could have easily fallen asleep at the wheel. There was no way I was going to be inspired by her, and I didn’t want to risk an accident on the highway by dozing off.

Audible allows you to exchange a book for whatever reason. It is easy, and within 5 minutes, I had a new one ready to play. This time, I chose a new fiction novel called “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid. I’d heard a lot about it, but I didn’t want to buy the hardback. And since I had two other books I was working through – one on my Kindle and one I can turn the pages, one more book to listen sounded worthwhile.

OMG, you guys. The narrator is for this book is amazing! There are so many characters that she must perform. I’m guessing she is some kind of actress. I literally cannot put this book down! Or do I say, turn this book off? I listen to it on my commute, on the way to the dog park, and in the kitchen while making dinner. It’s that good, and now I know that who the narrator is matters immensely.

What books do you listen to? Does it seem like you are reading the book, or does it feel like cheating?


The One With All The Books

Did you ever notice that the articles toting the “best books of the year” feature the same ten titles? Is it like the Academy Awards where authors campaign for a coveted spot on everyone’s top 10 list? Also, isn’t it nice just to be nominated?

Honestly, I can’t get enough of these lists. Willpower has never been my strong suit, and social media is too tempting. The weaning process is seriously an exercise in futility.

Why? Because I suffer from a severe case of FOMO for books that may have slipped off my radar. And to feed my unapologetic book-buying habit, I added some new titles to my already large TBR pile. I consider it my reward for reading so much in 2019. (Justification, anyone?)

I’m happy to share some book recommendations with you, but I am not going to provide links to Amazon or other massive book-selling websites. If you like any of these books, I implore you to pay a visit to your local independent bookstore. Exploring these fantastic places is quickly becoming a passion of mine. Between the atmosphere, the coffee and the little treasures, I find lots of things to spend my hard-earned money, and I’m happy to do it at a fellow bookworm’s place of business.

Here are three books that made my list:

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth – If you are looking for an excellent read for your next book club, look no further. This fun and easy-to-read murder mystery brought about lots of stories and conversations when it came time to discuss.

She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey – If you are a journalism junkie, like me, you will love learning about the investigative reporting these two ladies embarked upon to shine a light on the stories that ended the career of movie producer, Harvey Weinstein.

Fifty Things that Aren’t My Fault by Cathy Guisewite – I enjoy books that fall into the creative nonfiction genre. They help me observe life in a way that I notice the little details, emotions and often humor behind these slice-of-life stories. You may recognize this author’s name if you were ever a fan of the Cathy comic strip in the ’80s and ’90s. She is just as witty as ever.

So, what are you reading that I should add to my TBR pile?

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