A little book review or two

A few weeks ago I attended a Social Media Club of Dallas meeting in which a local content marketing expert Jerod Morris encouraged the audience to get out there and watch TV marathons, blog, and read. Generate ideas, get the creative juices flowing and be inspired. I took this to heart and made significant efforts to read more, this includes the design blogs I love so much, fashion bloggers to idolize, advertising and marketing articles and trying to keep up with day to day news and events (oh, I also treat myself to many a TV marathon on Netflix..for ya know, research purposes…). As a result, an amazing thing happened!

For us book nerds, there are few things greater than finding a story that you simply can’t put down. The kind that you read at traffic stops and make you consider canceling on happy hour for an even happier hour at home in bed turning the pages. They keep you up late and are quite time consuming, but you love them.

Well, I was fortunate enough to have two of those back to back. IT’S A MIRACLE.

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The first was Lit, a memoir by Mary Karr. The story line follows her starting as a post high school grad drifter to her struggles with alcoholism to her marriage to her first child and how she got (and continues to get) through all of it. The story line itself was great and took an unexpected turn into her struggles with faith (unexpected because I didn’t read what the book was about before I read it) and how it eventually pulls her out of a darkness. Mary Karr wields words like nobody’s business. A poet at heart, her sentences grab you. They are so powerful, so beautiful. My mom had recommended the book to me, and I would often call her and read a line and just be so taken back by its power. Okay, so that’s Lit. Read it.

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The next is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. A book recommended to me by a friend. She was so determined to get me to read it, she immediately mailed me her copy straight from NYC once she finished. Like Lit, I didn’t read what the book was about before I started. OH MY GOD. Sooo good!! There’s very little I can say about the book without giving anything away. But let’s just say the twists and turns are incredible and that this was definitely one I read at stoplights. It’s basically about a wife that goes missing and her husband is left to face the police and the public… that’s about all I can say. That was a super vague review, but just know that you’ll love it.

Now I am on to Looking for Alaska by John Green (yes, author of The Fault in Our Stars). A brief summary:

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

I started it just the other day and am loving it so far! What to read next though…

Moving forward successfully

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They say how you spend New Year’s Eve is how you’re going to spend the rest of the year. Okay, “they” might be The OC, but I’m not ashamed to admit that the show has impacted my life beyond its awesome soundtracks, Seth Cohen’s wit and Misha Barton’s great hair. I could go on about my love for all things OC (range rovers, bunnies and bagels to name a few), but this post is supposed to be about looking forward not back.

While I don’t go in for the superstitious side of this theory, I do think there is something to be said about starting the year with intentionality and resetting priorities to continue becoming a better friend, employee and self.

And I have to say, I happen to be entering 2014 the most organized, driven and ready I’ve ever been. It all started with a workbook my Bible study picked out called Moving Forward Successfully. Now, things like this typically strike me as pretty cheesy and forced. But with a good Songza playlist, some coffee and a little time, I really got into it and feel like I got a lot out, too. It was really fun and helpful to actually stop and think about everything that has happened this past year and my passions, plans and dreams for the future.

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But wait, there’s more! (Infomercial reference, intended.) The workbook is only part one of a full month reading plan to get my head and heart ready for the year.

Next up, The Happiness Project. I read this book every year. It is chock full of information and inspiration for goal setting. My hope in starting with this book is to reawaken my interests and ideas for self improvement during the year. If you haven’t yet, this is really a must-read.

Book 2 is called TrueFaced. It is all about embracing and sharing your true self for authentic community. While these are always good things, I know especially with an upcoming wedding and marriage that both knowing and sharing my emotions are going to become necessities. My current emotional response consists mainly of sarcasm, so I’m hoping this book helps me broach my uncomfortableness to better connect with others and at least try to have some fun with the whole wedding thing.

Lastly is Torches of Joy. This book is about international missionaries. While not necessarily a personal interest, this book has a key reason for being on this list – life is not all about me! I’m reading this book to widen my perspective, try to be less selfish and serve others more.

That’s it! I’m excited to get going. Not to brag, but I also have a completely clean and organized bedroom, not one but two planners purchased and all my annual doctor appointments booked.

Hello new year and happy 2014!

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