I’d never heard of this book before I found myself out of reads during my trip to Nicaragua. I asked for non-fiction recommendations on Twitter, and a follower suggested a new story by Laura Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscut): Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption.
Turns out it’s on the best-seller list, and for good reason. I couldn’t put the book down, and I keep thinking of itto this day.You know a story’s good when you don’t want it to be over and you continue thinking about the character even after you’ve put it down.
At first, I thought Hillenbrand’s writing had a and-then-and-then-and-then quality to it, which I admit turned me off as a writer. But the story of the Olympian and POW was so powerful, and she so made him come alive for me, that I kept turning… and turning… and turning. Digitally, of course, since this was my second-ever read on my new Kindle Touch.
If you want to learn while you read (this was the first time I’ve read about WWII) and you enjoy inspirational stories, definitely pick this one up.
What I’d LIKE to do is pull out a quote from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success, but I can’t figure out how to navigate to highlighted sentences on my new Kindle.
I need a Kindle tutorial.
But I liked this book. It’d been in my to-read pile for AGES, so glad to get to it.
My patience for novels is low, but Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone totally hooked me. Awesome read.
A few folks I talked to said they had trouble finishing this book, and I admit it was a bit long. But the ending was so worth it. And even after I put it down, I kept thinking about the characters; I felt like I knew them that well.
I like reading books where I learn something, and this novel fell into that category because I now feel more schooled about Ethiopia’s history. And I truly appreciated Verghese’s acknowledgments chapter, whereby he went through exactly what was based in truth and what was made up.
Had I critiqued this story for Verghese in its early stages, I might’ve brought up how the main character, Marion, seems to think beyond the normal scope, sharing details the character only could have learned in retrospect. That pulled me out of the story a few times, especially when, as a child, he told the story like an adult. And yet, it worked. The novel worked. Some rules, apparently, are meant to be broken.
If you haven’t read Cutting for Stone yet, definitely add this to your pile.
I promise this isn’t the first book I’ve read since September… But it’s the first book I’ve finished.
I didn’t find Uncertainty riveting, but I did walk away with a new mindset for reaching my goals. Fields’ main point is that you’ll never accomplish great things unless you learn to stare uncertainty in the face, unless you can use the negative energy cultivated by doubt to propel you forward. When you’re pushing yourself to new heights, it’s normal to be scared.
I particularly loved his section on exercise, partly because I didn’t expect it in this book. I already knew exercise helps me be more creative, of course, but I can’t be reminded of this too many times. Plus he made me feel normal for getting bored working out at the gym… which has motivated me to seek out more fun, heart-pumping activities. That in itself made this book worth reading.
On to the rest of the to-read pile!
The subtitle of this book is How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love, which is why I picked it up, looking for a little inspiration. Little did I know the book would be about exactly what I’m doing now: building an online business to make money off my skills and knowledge.
Picked up some excellent gems here, practical ones. Gonna try to add my ebooks to Clickbank.com, possibly buy a website domain simply for ebook #2, and this got the gears turning in my head about a smart way to use StumbleUpon, which I’ve pretty much neglected so far.
The best part though, is that reading this book sparked a ginormous idea about another course I want to launch. I love when books do that!
Really looking forward to Fields’ next book, Uncertainty. If you haven’t watched the book trailer, check it out — It brought me to tears.
Secret Daughter, a novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, was SO good I read it in less than 48 hours. And I don’t usually like novels! The author beautifully intertwines the stories of a poor mother in India who gives up her baby for adoption and the American woman who brings that baby home.
I must admit I had low expectations for this book. How much can you write about hiking day after day for months?
But I read it because I’ve considered hiking the Appalachian Trail, and Becoming Odyssa turned out to be a wonderful read. It’s the story of a 21-year-old woman and the lessons she learned hiking more than 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine. Every author aims for this cliche, but I felt like I was there with her. I could relate every step of the way. I even felt nostalgic at points, both for the solitude of the woods and for the mini-epiphanies travel offers when you let yourself live in the moment.
While I didn’t initially think of this as a travel memoir, I’m seeing now that it is. The way author Jennifer Pharr Davis weaves in her character growth and story arc, this would be a great study for any memoirist.
I have a habit of marking up books or dog-earing pages when the writing is particularly good, so I can go back afterward and re-read those sections. Here’s my favorite dog-ear from Becoming Odyssa, a section near the end of the book when she’s hiked most of the trail:
Our last night at the hostel, after taking a shower, I spent several minutes looking in the mirror… I didn’t look groomed, and I wouldn’t be chosen to be in an outdoor magazine. But I did feel beautiful, probably more beautiful than I had ever felt.
I felt beautiful because my body was toned, my legs could hike thirty miles a day, and my arms could pull up on branches or brace my fall when I needed them to. I felt beautiful because my body was capable of hiking over two thousand miles. I felt beautiful because I was part of nature, part of a creation that was expansive and awe-inspiring. I might not have been considered pretty by society’s standards, but what society thought mattered less and less to me.
One of the coolest parts about reading this book was discovering the author’s blog — she’s hiking right now to set some sort of record! (I read this somewhere, but can’t seem to find the details.) I’m inspired and motivated. Thanks, Odyssa.
I may be a little late to this boat, but this is a great read for anyone who’s into living and working outside the box. Check out my full review.
— From Hugh MacLeod, in Ignore Everybody.
This book didn’t speak to me quite as much as the first book I read of MacLeod’s, Evil Plans (though Ignore Everybody is actually his first book), but I still found it inspiring. Add this to your list of reading if you’re trying to figure out how to build your career and life on your own terms.
- Rather than joining the ever-popular movement of “making a living doing what you love,” MacLeod advocates working a day job — and not getting too attached to it — and pursuing your passion on the side. That gives you the financial freedom to enjoy your passion, he says, without feeling pressure to make it into a money-maker. He calls this the Sex & Cash Theory; your passion is the sex that sustains you, and the cash is, well, your cash, since we all need that, too.
- A good reason to ignore everybody: They’re too busy with their own stuff to really care about what you’re doing. Worry about yourself more than you worry about everybody else.
- When you suffer from writer’s block, you shouldn’t be writing. Go out into the world, have some adventures and refill your well. Write when you have something to say.
- A blog helps you circumvent the gatekeepers. Grow a blog.