I’m kind of going through a ‘accepting the things I cannot change’ stage of my life. I’ve also been consuming books faster than ever before. I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I have really enjoyed each month. More importantly, I am sharing how I actually started ‘reading’ again.
I should first point out that when I say ‘read’, what I really mean is “Listened to on Audible”. I resisted Audible forever. I considered Audible not reading, because it isn’t. This where that ‘accepting things I cannot change’ comes in. I have bought many a book with the sincerest of plans to read while on vacation, before bed, while our kids read, etc. Those books continue to pile up, it can easily take me months to get through one book. In that time, I have had three others recommended. Frustration would settle in.
This is particularly upsetting for a couple reasons.
For starters, I used to love to read. I loved to read fictional books, biographies, history, and any kind of book that studied human behavior. My mom used to pay me a penny a page to read in elementary school and middle school; it was the easiest money I ever made. I was that kid who was perfectly happy to stay home and read. As I got older, I still enjoyed reading but reading comprehension became more challenging in my mid-teens. I just had a hard time concentrating. In my early twenties I married my husband. One of his few flaws is that he is not a ‘pleasure reader’. Between the frustration of what I now accept as undiagnosed attention deficit disorder and the person I spent most of my time with being fairly uninterested, books just kinda fell to a very low priority. While I wasn’t reading nearly as much, I would still tell you I loved reading. I always planned on reading more, when life slowed down. Life slowing down is a hilarious thing I once believed might happen on its own.
I had drastically reduced the amount I was reading, but I still wanted books in my brain. When I can remember a time where I would easily read a book in one day, reading a couple books a year doesn’t feel like enough. When a friend or blogger that I really respect recommends a book, I really want to give it a go too. There are so many things I want to explore and study right now, and I can’t seem to find the time to sit down and scroll through as much paper as I would like. It is frustrating.
A friend suggested Audible, which I signed up for and loved. Even though I loved it, I deleted it after the first month because I felt it ‘wasn’t reading’ and for some reason that was a fault. Why I found any source of pride in the ability to sit and read rather than listen to an audio book is silliness that I feel I might have finally broken free from. In May I signed up for Audible again because I really wanted to get Braving the Wilderness in my brain before seeing author Brene Brown speak at a conference I attended. I intended on cancelling it again, but I think that reading (listening) to her book is in part what made me keep using Audible. I can ‘read’ while working and drawing and that has been amazing. I ‘read’ on long drives and even short drives. I honestly don’t know what the hang up on actual reading was, but I truly look forward to every download. Anyway, try it if you like books but can’t sit down to read.
You can sign up for a month for FREE and get a FREE book!
Audible shares downloadable audio books. It is a small monthly subscription fee. With that fee you get one download for free each month (this pretty much pays for the monthly membership). You also get a discount on other downloads.
Guess what?! Currently you get TWO free books when you sign up! I am not sure how long that will last, but you should get on that.
So I thought it might be fun to share some books I am reading with you. I need to start with some housekeeping. These are books I like, if you don’t like them, that’s OK, we are all grown-ups. None of these book shares are sponsored by the author or publisher, but I have included my Amazon Affiliate link. I am not sharing every book I read, just my favorites. You should know upfront that I won’t negotiate who I am with you, so please don’t try. If you don’t like the subject matter, don’t read it, but don’t tell me I am wrong for choosing it. I have spent plenty of time begging to be valuable to people as I am only to find it makes nobody happy. Like me or don’t, that is a choice I am OK with you making, but don’t tell me why you disagree with my book choices. You should probably know up front that I am a Christian, and some of the books I read are Christian in nature. You should also know I have a tendency to say four letter words (clutches pearls), some of the books I read may be challenging for those who can’t handle an F-bomb. You should know that I was raised in a somewhat Conservative family politically and I identified as a right leaning Independent until a few years ago. I now consider myself a fully fledged Liberal on all fronts (at least for now, I’m not ride or die politically so we shall see). My book choices tend to cross lines when it comes to faith and politics, I understand this is upsetting to some people. The books I read reflect that collection of personality traits that some might see as ill-fitting. I am deeply thankful for Jesus and the good fortune of being born in the United States, but I don’t shy away from books that unapologetic-ally call out where Christians and Americans got it wrong. I like that stuff, I like learning and growing. I like being challenged and even being a little uncomfortable. If you’d prefer to read books that do not challenge you, you probably won’t like my list, and that is OK.
So anyway, there it is – if you are crazy enough to take a book recommendation from that bag of tricks, here it is…..
I was going to do this once a month and kinda forgot to keep it up… whoops. Here are a few of the books that have read (listened) to with Audible June through September. Here are just a couple words and if I would recommend it.
Daring Greatly – Brene Brown – Encouraging – HIGHLY recommend
White Awake – Daniel Hill – if racial reconciliation is something you are curious about, this is a well written take. It is not abrasive or agressive. I was blown away by the author.
Bossypants – Tina Fey – Funny – recommend
Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick – Funny, but I honestly fast forwarded and didn’t finish it. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t say it was a favorite.
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas – This is a fictional book but it seems real. It was thought provoking and upsetting, but I highly recommend it.
Educated : A Memoir – Tara Westover – I cannot stop thinking about this memoir. I have no actual parallels with her story, and yet there is so much I identify with in this book. She would read a line and it was as if she articulated something I have 100% struggled with too. It is not a happy book, it does not have a happy ending, but I highly recommend it. This is probably my favorite book I have read in a very long time.
I also recently discovered the Libby app. Libby is connected to your library card (go get one!) and you can borrow digital books and audio books for FREE! The only downside is you can wait for several weeks for books. For this reason, I keep my Audible subscription, but I no longer buy extra Audible credits.
These are some of the books I have listened to using Libby instead of Audible
Harry Potter – books 1, 2, and halfway through book 3 – the kids and I listen to this when we are in the car together. They have read the books and seen some of the movies already, but this is a fun way for us to experience their favorite series together.
Rising out of Hatred – also a VERY eye opening book!
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do – I’m super mentally strong now. Don’t expect me to chase after anyone. Don’t expect me to be as reactionary as I have been in the past. Thanks, Libby App!
Of Mess and Moxie – Funny and encouraging. Truth though, I would have been mad if I bought it.
My Own Words by RBG – honestly, REALLLLY SLOW but inspiring.
Troublemaker by Leah Remani – She does not hold back.
Dear American – Notes of an Undocumented Citizen – guys, read this before saying one thing on the matter.
I am Malala – She gives me all the hope.
Tattoos on the Heart – He gives me all the hope.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – I have already sold, donated, and thrown out so many things and it is kinda magical.
Love Warrior – So many nuggets for not giving up on yourself.
My Story – Elizabeth Smart – she just amazes me.
These were my top three for May!
Braving the Wilderness – Oh my goodness, all of America needs to read this book. “With a fresh perspective that marries research and humor, Brown offers compassion while delivering thought-provoking ideas about relationships—with others and with oneself.”—Publishers Weekly
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
“Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.”
Boundaries : When to say Yes, How to say No to take control of your life.
by Townsend and Cloud
“If you’ve ever wondered: Can I set limits and still be a loving person? How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? Why do I feel guilty when I consider setting boundaries? Unpacking the 10 laws of boundaries, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend give you biblically based answers to these and other tough questions, and show you how to set healthy boundaries with your spouse, children, friends, coworkers, and even with yourself.”
The first book I downloaded on Audible (that first time when I just did the free trial and then cancelled) is also worthy of a mention. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson was heart-wrenching, but I feel like the insight I gained was worth the pain. It is challenging, but I highly recommend it.
What’s on my list for June? White Awake by Daniel Hill and Rising Strong by Brene Brown. Check out the descriptions below. I’d love for you to read along with me! I am also open to other book suggestions!
Daniel Hill will never forget the day he heard these words: “Daniel, you may be white, but don’t let that lull you into thinking you have no culture. White culture is very real. In fact, when white culture comes in contact with other cultures, it almost always wins. So it would be a really good idea for you to learn about your culture.” Confused and unsettled by this encounter, Hill began a journey of understanding his own white identity. Today he is an active participant in addressing and confronting racial and systemic injustices. And in this compelling and timely book, he shows you the seven stages to expect on your own path to cultural awakening. It’s crucial to understand both personal and social realities in the areas of race, culture, and identity. This book will give you a new perspective on being white and also empower you to be an agent of reconciliation in our increasingly diverse and divided world.
It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.