Today we start a new monthly series here on the blog!
Perhaps it's the cooler weather, the fall decor up in my home, or the scent of pumpkin chai that wafts through it's rooms in this season, but the fall is always a time of renewed enthusiasm for reading.
This month I was so inspired by Kelly Purkey's reading list post, I decided to start a series of my own. If you're not familiar with Kelly, she's a dynamic paper crafter and serial traveler so go show her some love and let her know I sent you!
1. Bread & Wine: ★★★★★
Those of you that watch our monthly book chats know Shauna Niequist is my favorite author. I sing her praises like a canary. She's shaped my worldview and inspired my identity as a writer more than any other author. In her third work, she once again delivers a deeply profound, yet completely accessible memoir on building a life that says "welcome, there's a seat at my table for you."
To watch us unpack this book as a community of readers, join us live on December 17th!
Also, next year I'll be reading through her latest Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are as my annual devotional/daybook.
2. Stories I Only Tell My Friends: ★★★★
For me, there has never been and may never be again, a Hollywood heartthrob like Rob Lowe playing Sam Seaborn in The West Wing. As Rob put it, when he recounts reading the pilot for The West Wing, "God help me, I'm in love."
With equal parts pop-culture history book of Hollywood and personal memoir, Rob Lowe delivers a book that may just rival the writing of his wordsmith on-screen alter-ego, Sam Seaborn.
3. Love Life: ★★★★
Stories I Only Tell My Friends was so darn good I had Love Life on it's way to my door half-way through, and the sequel is even better than the first! In his first book, Lowe gives us his autobiography and in his second, he tells us his best stories.
As the cover put it, "He's back with the stories he only tells his best friends." I highly recommend you listen to Rob read both his books, his brilliant impersonations and storytelling left me laughing hysterically.
4. Water for Elephants: ★★★★
Catching up on the book-to-movie adaptations I missed along the way and I finally got to Water for Elephants. Water for Elephants is beautifully written with a well-crafted plot that keeps the pages turning. Despite it's darkness, it's one of the best fiction books I've read. It doesn't warrant a five-star rating due to the somewhat abrupt ending. I would've preferred less scene development and a story-arch that landed in the middle of the book and followed the lives of the characters after it unfolded.
The movie adaptation is even better than the book because the screenplay works out a few of the book's pacing issues and brings the story to life beautifully on screen.
5. Start With Why: ★★★
Groundbreaking. The best business book I've read and an excellent companion to the Steve Jobs biopic I read last month. Only its verboseness and redundancy held it back from five star status. It's 231 pages that should've been 150.
6. Better Than Before: ★★★★★
Gretchen Rubin does it again!
Better Than Before is the most inspirational book I've read since reading Simple Abundance and Cold Tangerines inspired me to take Paper & Glam in a seasonal direction in 2012. Since I moved to Los Angeles from Denver in August (my time zone changed but my day job still runs on EST), I've struggled to get back to the habits that allow me to execute Paper & Glam and a full-time IT job with time for the other things that make life full and purposeful.
Instead of continuing to work through my overwhelm with resigned indignation, Better Than Before motivated me to build habits that create a balanced life so I can stop "missing out" and start living well. It will be a journey to remake my habits but this book gave me the information and tools I need to succeed in doing so. If you read one book before the new year, this is the one to pick.
In 2013, I had the privilege of meeting Gretchen and she is as incredible in person as in print!
If you're overwhelmed by the prospect of reading, just commit to reading one book a month and go from there. That's how I started in 2010 and by the end of this year I will read about 40 books annually. This month I set a personal record with six books checked off my to-read list.
Not sure what to read? The 2016 Paper & Glam Book Club Reading List takes the guess work out of finding your next great read.
I'm often asked, how do you make time for reading?
One of the ways I cross a book a week off my to-read list is by listening to two books a month. I listen while getting ready for the day, doing dishes, and folding laundry. Now I look forward to mundane household chores! Listening to audio makes doing dishes and applying make-up feel purposeful in a fresh way. I also snag the physical copies of the books I listen to so I can highlight and pick up in print where I left off in audio before bed. I find the audio versions especially compelling when read by the author like Stories I Only Tell My Friends.
To try two free audiobooks from Audible, go here!
I hope this gave you some fresh titles for your to-read list! What did you read this month and love? I'm always on the lookout for my next read, I'd love to know in the comments!
With much literary love for my fellow literati,
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