Yay yay yay! It’s the start of a new year of reading! I am SO excited to share my reads with you!!
Ok, last year I decided to take a break from monthly book recaps, and I didn’t like it. My goal was to include more podcasts/netflix shows that I was enjoying, and share every 6-8 weeks. But you know what? I just really really like reading. Haha! I still listen to podcasts, but they tend to be the same ones. I and I just don’t really watch much tv (although, I binge-watched the crap out of Cheer last week…anyone else?)
So I’m going to go back to monthly book recaps this year. You can expect one of these at the end of every month. It just works better this way.
January was a really fun month for reading. I read 4 good ones: an adventure novel, a series of essays, a chick lit beach read while I was in Miami, and a self-help book about productivity. The gang’s all here!
1. Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt. My mother-in-law texted Nate and me and said “I’m mailing you a book that I really enjoyed.” Free to Focus showed up n the mail, and I kind of immediately knew that I would love it. I tend to enjoy most self-help books, but this one in particular gave me all the #hearteyes because it’s about getting more done in less time, delegating, saying no, and other really simple and smart ideas.
I LOVE how, in this book, Michael Hyatt takes really simple productivity ideas that we’ve heard a hundred times (like saying no, or delegating) and figuring out why it is that we have so much trouble actually doing them, and then providing simple steps to help us put them into practice. His method for saying no is genius, he has some really great tips about avoiding distraction, and one of my favorite parts of this book is how he challenges the reader to define exactly what is rejuvenating , and actually scheduling those refreshing activites into the week. SO GOOD.
I’m in the thick of newborn life right now, and my time is more limited than it’s ever been before. I really need these productivity tips in my life.
A quick note about this book: it’s stuffed full of good ideas, and lots of them will take some time to learn how to implement. I think this is a good book to own as a hardcover copy. That’s coming from someone who strictly reads on a kindle!
2. The River by Peter Heller. This is a really good novel to enjoy as an audiobook if you have a road trip coming up! I stumbled upon this book on a blog I follow, and I was pretty sure I’d hate it after 2 chapters, and then I ended up absolutely loving it! It’s the story of two friends from college who are going on a wilderness canoe trip in Canada who run into some unexpected twists and turns: a missing woman, a wildfire, maybe a murder? Again, I thought that it wouldn’t be my type of book, but Peter Heller’s story pulled me in and I couldn’t stop listening to this audiobook! The end was NOTHING like I thought it would be. I was shook.
3. The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand. When I have a beach trip, I always reach for an Elin Hilderbrand novel! (Or a Liane Moriarty novel, but I’ve read all of those.) She’s written 14 trillion of them, they’re all based on Nantucket Island, and I somehow don’t get bored of her stories because they’re all really fun! And easy…which is what I want on a vacation. I grabbed The Perfect Couple before I went to Miami and I breezed through it on the plane. This book is if chick lit meets murder mystery meets beach novel. It’s quick, easy, fun, and serious without being too serious at all, and the perfect last-minute read to toss in your beach bag.
4. Tell Me More: Stories About The 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning To Say by Kelly Corrigan. These essays are real and true and deeply relatable. This is a good book for you to read if you want to read some real talk about life. (I think it would make a great discussion book for a book club!) Kelly Corrigan takes 12 different phrases like “tell me more” and “I was wrong” and “I don’t know” and writes heartfelt, poignant thoughts about them. It’s pretty quick to read. Definitely not a “feel-good” book, but it’s a great one for those nights when you want to open a bottle of wine and think about life.
One more thing before I sign off: reading is taking a new turn for me this year! In the past, I’ve been able to binge-read on the weekends (it’s like my version of binge-watching a show on Netflix…I love love love reading straight through a book on a lazy Saturday on the couch), but now that I’ve got a beautiful baby to care for, those binge-reading days have been put on hold. So I’m finding new ways to read! I’m loving audiobooks during this season of my life, because I can listen to them while Milo and I are on stroller walks by the lake. I’m also finding little pockets of time to squeeze in 10-15 minutes of reading (waiting at the dentist, first thing in the morning when I come home from a barre workout, or while Milo’s napping.)
Anyway, I’m mentioning this because I think it’s worth pointing out the ebbs and flows of life. It’s not one stagnant line, and as life changes and my schedule changes, the way that I choose to spend my time will also change. Even though my days are vastly different this year, I’m finding myself prioritizing reading anyway because I just love it so much. I’m really happy that I consciously made the commitment to read a lot a few years ago, because now it’s a habit that’s not going anywhere, even though life is busier than usual. (That was back in 2016; I read about 3 books in 2015, and I decided to make a massive change and I read 100 books in 2016.)
So, I definitely won’t be reading 100 books this year, and I’m probably going to consume more audiobooks than ebooks, but I’m still deeply, madly in love with reading. It’s just so much fun!
Happy weekend, friends!
Click here to read all of my reading posts.
In case you missed it: