When I was a little girl summer reading was everything! My Mom has worked at the library in our town for as long as I’ve been alive so I grew up in the children’s library and selecting 10 books to read for the summer on the brightly printed summer reading circular was a regular occurrence for me. My Mom has always been an avid reader and insisted that each of us have our own bookshelves in our rooms. We had two large book cases in the living room and we also had two encyclopedia sets, because internet didn’t exist. Our friends would marvel at the excess of bookcases in our home when they came over, though I thought it was completely normal and would reply ” Well yeah, where do you keep your books at?” I’d later learn that reading wasn’t always ingrained in the family culture of all my friends and as I progressed in school I even began to dread the chore it became.
My bookshelf was special however, my dad built it especially for me. There were four levels of slanted display shelves, a built in stool to reach to the very top and of course it was painted purple. The stool doubled as a seat and I remember rearranging my books by size, and color and adding objects, merchandising and styling the shelves based on my rooms projection at the moment. This is probably where my shelving addiction comes from. There is something about a three shelve bookcase, or five foot shelf, a window sill, or any straight weight bearing surface to be honest, I see so many endless opportunities for vignettes. A few current reads, a vase of flowers, a plant or a something else living and a candle. PERFECTION.
My bookshelf was my first furniture item that I loved dearly, but above it being my first furniture love, it was functional. The bookcase was definitely about the books on it and books I had a plenty. My Mom encouraged us to curate a library almost at birth and would very grandly write our names in our books for us in the most beautiful cursive you could imagine. It made books special, a gift and a necessity, and most of all, an identity.
Year’s later I find myself most comfortable on the floor in an isle of the business section of the USQ Barnes and Noble, they dont let you do that anymore, but I’m a rebel and cradle up with a curated stack until the authorities come gently reminding.
This summer I’ve settled on a doable list of six books for this summer. Three from my favorite genre, business/self help, two science fiction, based on another reading goal I have, and one slot left open for influence from my friends, or one of my most favorite bloggers or influencer’s. Here’s my list.
Big Magic– I’ve read this one already, but wanted a refresher. Loved it thoroughly, but was reminded of it by a friend who’d encouraged me to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s first major book “Eat, Pray, Love”. Eat, Pray, Love is the quintessential example of a book that is made into a movie and done so incredibly wrong by it’s cinematic projection you could cry or worse, get a totally different message than what was delivered in the book. Everyone thinks of EPL as a break up book, while partly true, it’s more of a find yourself book. I’d liken it’s effect to “What Color is My Parachute” to give you a better perspective of it’s impact, and Big Magic was another Non-fiction piece she wrote describing the journey of life. My dear friend decided to listen to it rather than read it and I took her up on the experience of listening. I used the free offer that floats around the interwebs to create my account with audible.com and download the audio book onto my iPhone. I’ve been enjoying it, but mid way remembered exactly why I love physical books so much, especially for non-fiction. I restarted the audio book again, this time using it to set the pace for re-living my study of the book. Re- reading my notes ( I obliterate margins), pausing, musing, and studying her words, deciding what I agree with, disagree with, or just need to highlight out of it’s accurate AF relevance to my life. I love this book for it’s ability to reason, one creative to another. So many amazing points for the struggling, repressed, starving artist, which I like calling myself, and learned through this book doesn’t have to be. If you have any bit of trepidation about your craft, whatever it may be (even if you don’t know what it is yet, but know what you are doing isn’t it) PLEASE read this book. You will learn so much about yourself from it!
10X Rule– This book was a recommendation from one of my best good friends Candace. Since’s my first introduction to this book, I’ve read it four times, obliterating the margins, highlighting again and again, and getting more and more out if it each time. Grant Cardone puts into perspective a more realistic understanding of what it takes to achieve any goal you say you want to complete. The concept is what ever you estimate it will take (time, money, energy) to achieve your goal you are incorrect by 10x, and should apply that much more time, money, energy to your goal if you want to at the very least meet it, much less beat it. A real gut punch, this book does not coddle you, as it grabs you by your shirt front and challenges you asking “ARE YOU REALLY UP TO THE CHALLENGE?” You begin serious self reflection, and either do nothing, or do 10x what you thought you would.
Power– A well known piece that was also recommended by my dear friend Candace, she’s sort of my point person in all things goal related, and said this was another not to be missed. Similar to concepts from The 10X Rule, a theme of domination runs through this piece by Robert Greene. This will be a new read for me, but from the good read’s description alone, I’m intrigued with learning lessons about power from the likes of Machiavelli, & Sun Tzu. I’m happily at the point in my life where I am intrigued to know the why’s behind thing’s and to seek information for the things that I am unaware of. Machiavelli (outside of Tupac’s take) being one of them. I’ll be sure to add to my Goodreads page, my review of this book once I’ve completed it. Feel free to follow me on Goodreads, I love comparing my books with my friends and getting recommendations!
Parable of The Talents & Lilith’s Brood– These two will further my goal of reading all works by Octavia Butler in 2017. I was introduced by friends to this author and haven’t been able to re assemble the pieces of my mind since. I like to think of her writing as culture based sci-fi, which has NEVER been a genre I’ve even thought of reading. I’ve dabbled in True Blood from time to time when an HBO subscription was available to me, but never kept up with the series . Kindred, my last OB read, and Seed to Harvest, the most amazing thing I’ve ever read have me breaking from my business and self-help comfort zone to explore parts unknown to me. Perfect pleasure reads, perfect summer reads, it’s clear why these made the list. Sometimes I get so enthralled in reading a business book that I simply cannot get through a chapter if I am not sitting at a table with a fresh page in my notebook, new highlighters and the perfect gel pen. I have returned to study and under my own direction have found love in it. Thankfully for my intro to Octavia’s works, I have re-kindled my love for leisure reading as well.
The last book will be a surprise to me. I’ll solicit recommendations or let the spirit move me about the many floors of Barnes and Noble, I’m completely open for this selection and intrigued to see what I find myself reading. I’ll take a que from another friend, and insist that I finish what ever it is, and apply serious consideration to it’s topic. I’d love to end the summer on such an exploratory note allowing what is for me to arrive in it’s perfect timing. I’m romanticizing book selection, but there is some romance in the way a book provides escape and paradigm shifting. If you’ve got a suggestion please send it my way, I would be honored to know what concepts or perspectives others would like to impart upon me.
Best of luck to you all in your summer reading, I know what a struggle it is to make time for something that can at first seem so leisurely ( last summers list didn’t stand a chance against my schedule) , I hope that you all take some time to slow down life this summer and pause.