This year, one of my goals was to read more. Vague, yes, but I have often set a goal for number of books per month, etc, and failed over and over again. This time I focused on my habit instead of the outcome, mostly treating my book like I usually treat my phone, meaning I pick it up if I find myself with a few minutes of downtime and read a few pages instead of mindlessly scrolling.
Though some weeks have more reading in them than others, overall, I’d say it’s been a success. I’ve already read more in the first seven weeks of the new year than I did in all of 2020. I’m excited to track my reading here in the form of reviews. I’m no Modern Mrs. Darcy, but I do enjoy sharing with you the books that didn’t (and didn’t) resonate with me.
The New Rules of Aging Well by Dr. Frank Lipman
My review: You can read my detailed review here so I’ll keep this review brief. This book was a nice balance between motivating me to step it up in my health pursuit a bit, but also not get crazy with huge behavior or dietary changes. It’s an easy to read format with short, straight-forward sections offering advice for diet, exercise, lifestyle, supplementation, and more. If you’re into health, you’ll probably finding yourself nodding along, already familiar with some of the information, but overall it provides a nice resource and guide to living more vibrantly for longer.
I rate the book: 4/5
The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
I chose this book because: I follow Kendra on Instagram, as of recently, and like her simple, straight forward tips to organizing life in a way that works for you.
I rate the book: 4/5
My review: I know I am enjoying a book when I want to screenshot or highlight parts to remember or share, and The Lazy Genius Way is one of these such books. Written in a conversational tone with personal stories included, it’s like having lunch with a girlfriend. The book is broken down into 13 Lazy Genius principles and explains how to apply them to your life. Basically a question or technique to ask yourself what really matters and then set up your life to reflect your priorities. I really love how she stresses that all of this should be very individualized, as in what is important to you is what matters, not necessarily what matters to anyone else.
Some of her principles were already staples in my life, for example, asking yourself what you can do now to make life easier for you later. Why I so often prep part of dinner at breakfast or lunch. Some were refreshers on concepts I knew and believed in deep down, but reading them gave me renewed permission to live life by my own design. Like owning up to the fact that in my current season of life, styling my home is not a priority for me and if I want to set up my seed sprouting station in the middle of my living room then I darn well should.
I recommend this book for any woman looking to feel more confident in embracing what matters to her and not spending so much time worrying about the rest.
Fly Away by Kristin Hannah
I chose this book because: I read Firefly Lane years ago and really enjoyed it, as I do most Kristin Hannah books. I always was curious about how the characters continued on after the end of the book, so I finally decided to read the sequel when I thought my heart could handle it.
I rate the book: 3/5
My review: First let me say I adore Kristin Hannah’s work. Her ability to tell a story that often spans over many years and draw me in so much that I feel like these characters are my friends is incredible. However, Fly Away was a very hard book for me to get through (I listened to the audio version).
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but Fly Away goes into detail of how their lives continue after the ending of Firefly Lane. And it’s sad. In fact, so much of it is downright depressing and I found myself wondering if there would be any “ups” to the consecutive downs. While there were a few, it was still overall a heart wrenching story, most certainly magnified by the fact that I am still in a season of grief over losing my dad.
Many times I found myself with tears running down my face and unable to decide if it was therapeutic or self torture. There are some beautiful moments (reconciliations and bittersweet interpretations of life after death) in the sea of melancholy, but if you are in a season of grief yourself, I recommend holding off on reading this book.
Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman
I chose this book because: Katie from Wellness Mama recommended it as one of her favorite books.
I rate the book: 2/5
My review: Gosh you guys, I wanted this book to be a 5/5 for me because it’s what I keep referring to as a smart people book. Each chapter is an anecdote from the life of Richard Feynman, a theoretical physicist known for his work in quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics, and particle physics. And the man is funny. Not funny in the laugh out loud telling jokes sort of way, but in a clever, creative, quirky, make you think kind of way.
I very much enjoyed a few of the tales from his life, and was in awe of his clear intellect from such a young age. He was so inquisitive and always on a quest to understand things and I admire his character and brilliance. However, the book ultimately was too long for me and the stories didn’t continue to pull me in. I handed it off to David because I’m almost certain he will get a kick out of this curious character and his life stories.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
I chose this book because: I’m a self improvement junkie and I had heard a lot of buzz about this book.
I rate the book: 5/5
My review: Buy it, read it, highlight it, implement it, then read it again. At least that is my plan. It’s fantastic. Ever since reading and thoroughly enjoy The Power of Habit a few years ago, habits have fascinated me (as I share in this post from 2015).
No matter what your particular goals are, professional or personal, you will get so much out of this book, as he goes into detail on how habits are formed, why they are so important, and how to get rid of “bad” ones and implement new ones effectively. I enjoyed the anecdotes from the author’s life and the examples of habit building of famous people used as examples throughout the book and the simple breakdown of actionable steps I could start implementing immediately.
If you’re looking to feel empowered to fine tune your systems and get the success in the area you’re after, buy this book. I’d say to borrow it, but if you’re like me, this is one you’re going to want to keep on your bookshelf to refer to over and over again.
Have you read any books you’d recommend lately?
My feelings about Fly Away are so similar. I read it during a difficult season, and it caused so much anxiety and it really amplified the challenges I was facing as the time. I actually stopped reading for a few years because of it. I usually really love Kristin Hannah as well, though, and am looking forward to reading Four Winds.
As for Atomic Habits, I just read it a few weeks ago. Well, most of it. I actually decided to abandon it because I felt like there were so many redundancies — it seemed like the whole thing could have been condensed into a 2K word article (to me) — and I ran out of patience. I do like the overall concept though.
PS: If you like Kristin Hannah, you might also like Sarah Jio. I highly recommend her books if you have not read them yet.
Brittany Dixon says
I just started Four Winds! I have high hopes 🙂
And thank you for the recommendation of Sarah Jio, too!
Kelli H says
I love Kristin Hannah too and felt the same ways about Fly Away.
Have you read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah? So good! I hope they will make it into a movie! I am two chapters away from finishing Four Winds and I highly recommend! Love her female characters so much.