Today I’m linking up with the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog community to discuss the books I’ve been reading lately.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert – I firmly believe that books come into our lives at just the right time. (The Big Magic of the book universe?!) I’ve been treading into new creative waters the past couple of months, so reading this book was very timely for me. It was all about unleashing your creativity and overcoming any obstacles of fear, pride, insecurity or excuse making. I loved her tough love approach but she is also incredibly encouraging. Her stories will make you ponder life and the universe. But mostly, it’ll inspire you. If you are creating something or want to create something, I highly recommend reading this book! I plan on rereading it often for encouragement, inspiration and support.
Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin – This book is like the Holy Grail for habits! It’s FILLED to the brim with ideas, concepts and tips for improving your habits. Also, she created the Four Tendencies framework – four different personality types and how those personality types are motivated to make changes in their lives. I’m an Obliger (I won’t let others down, but have trouble keeping goals for myself) and I realized a whole new aspect of myself. I need external accountability to get things done. For example, I love reading and buying books is my therapy of choice, but when I get them home it takes me months to read them! I never find the time. But I have no problem finishing a book by the deadline for my book club or when it’s due back at the library. I can apply this principle to so many areas of my life. For me, this was one of those books that I needed to work through slowly to fully absorb each idea. Her podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, covers much of the same content as the book but is even more engaging and entertaining, mainly because she conducts the podcast with her “habits guinea pig” sister, Elizabeth. Their sister dynamic is adorable.
Family Read Alouds
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – This is another classic that I somehow missed reading as a child. After someone mentioned that it was one of their favorite books and one that they re-read nearly every year, I knew I had to read it. Thankfully, I don’t think you can ever be too old to read this delightful story! The life and adventures of Toad, Rat, Mole and Badger were entertaining and sweet. My kids loved the shenanigans of Toad’s story line (A toad obsessed with automobiles? Hilarious!) and his being “disciplined” often by sensible Rat and Mole. I loved the vivid descriptions of simple things such as the bare of winter, the bustle of springtime, and not-so-simple things such as the longing for home. We loved this story and it has been added to our “Favorites” list.
I Rode A Horse of Milk White Jade by Diane Lee Wilson – This is a story about a girl that is trying to change her bad luck. She sets off on a treacherous journey with a loyal cat and horse. It had the makings for a great story, but I have mixed comments about this book. I liked reading a book about a place and time period that isn’t often covered in children’s literature (China and Mongolia during the Khan Dynasty). I think this book gave us a valuable peek into that time and place in history. As for the story itself: the kids and I both agreed there were some action-packed parts of the story, but also some parts where the story lagged a little. The center theme of the book is about bad luck and changing your fortune, for this reason, I think it’s best to be read aloud as a family. I’m glad we were able to discuss these themes and certain scenes in the book together. Ultimately, the lesson learned by the main character is that you make your own fortune.
Austenland by Shannon Hale – I wanted to love this book. Jane, the main character and hopeless romantic, sets off to a Jane Austen-inspired vacation resort to live out her secret fantasy. There was so much potential for this to be a cute novel but instead it was typical Chic Lit with a super dose of emotional drama. Even the ending, which could have had big payoffs for us readers, was ruined with the main character’s inner dialogue. Skip the book and watch the movie (which I really enjoyed and think achieved what the book didn’t).
Your turn: What have you been reading lately?