On My Bookshelf this month:
Since last month was so heavy and depressing, I went for upbeat, fun, inspiring and positive this month.
Better Than Before | I am a big fan of both The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, as well as Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, so I naturally was excited to read her latest book. While the other two books focus on happiness, Better Than Before explores habits, and how some people can keep them while others struggle and fail time after time. Also check out Jess Lively’s interview with Gretchen Rubin about mastering habits based on your personality. | “We repeat about 40 percent of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”
The Rosie Project & The Rosie Effect | These books are funny, heartwarming, and entertaining, which is exactly what I was looking for. Don Tillman is a socially-challenged genetics professor who makes a questionnaire to try to find a suitable wife. Then along comes Rosie, who doesn’t fit any of his criteria.
Big Magic | Wow. Where to start with this book? Every single page resonated with me, hit me deep in my core. Exploring creativity, the creative process, and the fear that can block our creativity, which has always been a big one for me. I love how she breaks it down:
“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder”
The Gratitude Diaries | Written in a very similar style and tone as Gretchen Rubin’s books, Janice Kaplan spends a year looking on the bright side and shows how living gratefully can change your life. | “I could passively wait for the wonderful to occur – and still find something wrong. Or I could accept whatever events did come my way and try to appreciate them a little more.”
I’m always looking for book recommendations! What have you been reading lately?