WWW Wednesdays – July 8, 2020

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I took a small amount of time off of work during the holiday weekend. I thought I would get more reading done, but, alas, I can’t seem to sit down and read books right now. I am listening to audiobooks, while I do housework, etc., but that is the only reading that is happening in my life right now. In the last week, countless friends and family members have tested positive for COVID, and it is making me more than a little anxious. I am much more anxious now than I was three months ago. I am not even able to find peace in my books, but most of the audiobooks that I listened to in the last couple of weeks were amazing!

Currently Reading

Recently Finished

The 4 Season Solution by Dallas Hartwig – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ 
Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel – audiobook/book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 
More Myself by Alicia Keys – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

*Hopefully I’ll be able to post some blog reviews of these titles soon.*

Reading Next

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!

WWW Wednesdays – June 24, 2020

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I put together my Summer Reading List and hope to read a few more classics once I have completed my Anna Karenina buddy read. I need to start making more progress on my Reading the Classics list. Since I don’t have any summer travel plans (anymore – all canceled), I am thinking of having a few reading staycations – at least that is my hope. Anybody ever do that?

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

West-with-the-Night
West with the Night by Beryl Markham – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Click on title for full review. I didn’t complete too many books this week, but I am making a lot of progress on Anna Karenina.*

Reading Next

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!

 

Book Review: West With The Night

West-with-the-NightTitle: West with the Night
Author: Beryl Markham
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: 1942
Pages: 294
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: June 21, 2020

Goodreads Description: West with the Night is the story of Beryl Markham–aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty–and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and ’30s.

My Review: I heard about this book via Jeff O’Neal on the Book Riot Podcast. Based on his description, I thought it would be an interesting travelogue. The goodreads description, as you can see above, can hardly be considered a comprehensive description. I really did not know what to expect with this book. I just really wanted to read something set in a different part of the world. Plus, Jeff O’Neal mentioned that this book was given high praise from none other than Ernest Hemingway.

I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of Beryl Markham. I have definitely been missing out. Her life was absolutely fascinating! She lived a free life, yet maybe at times a bit lonely. West With The Night has everything you could think of: descriptions of the Maasai culture, a lion attack, horse racing, malaria, World War 1, colonialism, fascism, and aviation by only maps, protractors and compasses (no navigational or radio systems).

Plus, Hemingway was absolutely correct. Beryl Markham was a beautiful writer. Her descriptions put you in another time and place beyond what may be imaginable. This book was a truly a remarkable and memorable reading experience. I highly recommend it!

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

“Every tomorrow ought not to resemble every yesterday. Still I look at my yesterdays from months passed and find them as good a lot of yesterdays as anybody might want. I sit there in the firelight and see them all.”

Summer Reads – 2020

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Summer is here! I think we can all agree that this has been an interesting spring. I have no idea what the summer will hold, but I hope to make more progress on my Reading the Classics Challenge. I am also picking away at the books on my bookshelf. All the rest of the titles are based on giveaways and book club picks. What are y’all reading this summer? Any reads you are most looking forward to? Here is my list:

Book Club Reads

  • Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor
  • Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

NetGalley Reads

  • The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor
  • The Dilemma by B. A. Paris
  • The Love Scam by Mary Janice Davidson

Goodreads Giveaways

  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Reading the Classics

  • The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  • Sanditon by Jane Austen

Readalongs

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Book Jar Picks

  • Visit Sunny Chernobyl by Andrew Blackwell
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Other

  • Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel – audiobook/book
  • Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg – ebook
  • The 4 Season Solution by Dallas Hartwig – audiobook
  • Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb – ebook
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – audiobook
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo – audiobook
  • White Fragility by Robin Diangelo – audiobook
  • More Myself by Alicia Keys – audiobook
  • How to be Fine by Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer – audiobook

Share your summer TBR in the comments section!

STAY HEALTHY & READ!!!!

WWW Wednesdays – June 17, 2020

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

NetGalley ARC: The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 
Eat Sleep Work Repeat by Bruce Daisley – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Book Club: The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli – ebook = ♦ ♦
Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Click on title of books for full reviews.*

Reading Next

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!

Book Comparison: ESWR & Do Nothing

46178719Title: Eat Sleep Work Repeat
Author: Bruce Daisley
Genre: Self-help
Publisher: Harper One
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Pages: 320
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby App
Date finished reading: June 14, 2020

Goodreads Description: How does a lunch break spark a burst of productivity? Can a team’s performance be improved simply by moving the location of the coffee maker? Why are meetings so often a waste of time, and how can a walking meeting actually get decisions made?

As an executive with decades of management experience at top Silicon Valley companies including YouTube, Google, and Twitter, Bruce Daisley has given a lot of thought to what makes a workforce productive and what factors can improve the workplace to benefit a company’s employees, customers, and bottom line. In his debut book, he shares what he’s discovered, offering practical, often counterintuitive, insights and solutions for reinvigorating work to give us more meaning, productivity, and joy at the office.

A Gallup survey of global workers revealed shocking news: only 13% of employees are engaged in their jobs. This means that burn out and unhappiness at work are a reality for the vast majority of workers. Managers—and employees themselves—can make work better. Eat Sleep Work Repeat shows them how, offering more than two dozen research-backed, user-friendly strategies, including:

Go to Lunch (it makes you less tired over the weekend)
Suggest a Tea Break (it increases team cohesiveness and productivity)
Conduct a Pre-Mortem (foreseeing possible issues can prevent problems and creates a spirit of curiosity and inquisitiveness)

“Let’s start enjoying our jobs again,” Daisley insists. “It’s time to rediscover the joy of work.”

9781984824738_p0_v1_s550x406Title: Do Nothing
Author: Celeste Headlee
Genre: Self-help
Publisher: Harmony
Publication Date: March 10, 2020
Pages: 288
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby App
Date finished reading: June 16, 2020

Goodreads Description: We work feverishly to make ourselves happy. So why are we so miserable? This manifesto helps us break free of our unhealthy devotion to efficiency and shows us how to reclaim our time and humanity with a little more leisure.

Despite our constant search for new ways to “hack” our bodies and minds for peak performance, human beings are working more instead of less, living harder not smarter, and becoming more lonely and anxious. We strive for the absolute best in every aspect of our lives, ignoring what we do well naturally and reaching for a bar that keeps rising higher and higher. Why do we measure our time in terms of efficiency instead of meaning? Why can’t we just take a break?

In Do Nothing, award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee illuminates a new path ahead, seeking to institute a global shift in our thinking so we can stop sabotaging our well-being, put work aside, and start living instead of doing. As it turns out, we’re searching for external solutions to an internal problem. We won’t find what we’re searching for in punishing diets or productivity apps. Celeste’s strategies will allow you to regain control over your life and break your addiction to false efficiency. You’ll learn how to increase your time perception to determine how your hours are being spent, invest in quality idle time, and focus on end goals instead of mean goals. It’s time to reverse the trend that’s making us all sadder, sicker, and less productive, and return to a way of life that allows us to thrive.

My Review: Eat Sleep Work Repeat is basically the story of my present life. I was curious as to what recommendations Bruce Daisley would provide to help me enjoy my ESWR life. Unfortunately, there was no new concepts that I hadn’t heard before and/or tried to utilize in my own work life. However, here are the concepts I found most useful from Eat Sleep Work Repeat:

  • Monk Hour or Morning: Beginning your day by working on your task list or a specific project instead of checking/responding to emails and phone calls and doing anything that distracts you from accomplishing these tasks (attending meetings, etc).
  • Recharging: Mr. Daisley gives many tips about recharging at work. For an example, a tip provided is to take breaks – like go for a walk – away from your work or desk.
  • Open workspaces do not promote efficiency and productivity: Offices that have cubicles or open work concepts may lead to collaborations but more likely lead to too many distractions and not enough work being accomplished.
  • Having a community at work of people who care about each other can lead to a happy and productive work experience. Laughter at work is also a positive activity that can lead to a more enjoyable work life.

I do feel like the suggestions that Bruce Daisley throughout Eat Sleep Work Repeat are great in theory but sometimes not possible for a worker to actualize. For example, most employees do not have a choice what kind of workspace they have. When I started my current job, I was placed in an office space with 20 other people. There was no privacy and constant distractions, but that was the spot I was given. It took years of discussions with the department manager to finally get a coveted inclosed workspace. I do like the idea of taking time to laugh. I think that would definitely make a work day more enjoyable.

Eat Sleep Work Repeat allowed me to focus on improving my work life, and there was a nice overlap going into reading Do Nothing. At the beginning of Do Nothing, Celeste Headlee mentions being more focused and productive during our work hours, that sometimes we feel like we work longer hours than we actually do. I know that distractions are easy with social media and email notifications. However, there are plenty of people who do work long hours. Burnout is a real thing. American society promotes working hard and long hours. Employees’ fear of falling behind at work or being overlooked for a promotion is real.

I actually am currently having a bit of a work dilemma. My employer is trying to convince all employees to utilize their paid time off hours. I am sure many people need this time right now with everything going on in the world. I would love to take some time, even though I don’t feel comfortable traveling right now, with the pandemic and all. However, my department is continuously adding more deadlines to my already intense work load. It is getting harder to do all my work tasks, recharge like Bruce Daisley states in Eat Sleep Work Repeat, and actually live a more leisure life like Celeste Headlee recommends.

What I most liked about Do Nothing, is that the author selects tangible steps to achieve a more desirable work/life balance. Here are her recommendations:

  1. Increase time perception.
  2. Create your ideal schedule.
  3. Stop comparing at a distance.
  4. Work fewer hours.
  5. Schedule leisure.
  6. Schedule social time.
  7. Work in teams.
  8. Commit small selfless acts.
  9. Focus ends not means.

While I already discussed perceived work hours (step one), I don’t know if I agree with step nine either. I understand the author’s suggestion to focus on the end, but I think that have more luck with smaller tangible goals. I do agree that all goals though should be flexible. This is something I only just realized the importance of.

I overall enjoyed Do Nothing a bit better than Eat Sleep Work Repeat. This may be just because the idea of less work and more doing nothing sounds very appealing to me at this particular moment. How do you balance work and life?

My Rating of Eat Sleep Work Repeat: ♦ ♦ ♦
My Rating of Do Nothing: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Book Review: The Girls Weekend

girlsweekend
Title: 
The Girls Weekend
Author: Jody Gehrman
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Pages: 311
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: NetGalley
Date finished reading: June 11, 2020

Goodreads Description: Their reunion just became a crime scene . . .

June Moody, a thirty-something English professor, just wants to get away from her recent breakup and reunite with girlfriends over summer break. Her old friend and longtime nemesis, Sadie MacTavish, a mega-successful author, invites June and her college friends to a baby shower at her sprawling estate in the San Juan Islands. June is less than thrilled to spend time with Sadie–and her husband, June’s former crush–but agrees to go.

The party gets off to a shaky start when old grudges resurface, but when they wake the next morning, they find something worse: Sadie is missing, the house is in shambles, and bloodstains mar the staircase. None of them has any memory of the night before; they wonder if they were drugged. Everyone’s a suspect. Since June had a secret rendezvous with Sadie’s husband, she has plenty of reason to suspect herself. Apparently, so do the cops.

A Celtic knot of suspense and surprise, this brooding, atmospheric novel will keep you guessing as each twist reveals a new possibility. It will remind you of friendships hidden in the depths of your own past, and make you wonder how well you really know the people you’ve loved the longest.

My Review: I had the pleasure of receiving an ARC of The Girls Weekend from NetGalley. A fun girls weekend with old friends turns into a nightmare when one of the five girls, Sadie, disappears one night leaving a trail of blood in her wake. Unfortunately, the friends’ recollection of what occurred that night is spotty. They all feel like they were drugged, because they only recall bits and pieces of what occurred that night (though for some reason none of them decided to go get a drug test). How do you figure out the truth when you can’t remember anything? How do you know who to trust?

I am usually not a fan of unreliable narrator stories, but this one more inventive than most. The friends had not spent time together in many years, and all of them had a motives to harm Sadie. To be honest, after reading how Sadie treated her friends, I don’t really understand why any of them would have agreed to go to her home for this girls weekend. However, this made for a lot of tension.

Spoiler alert: I actually thought that based on the type of person Sadie was portrayed as that she had faked her own death. I was wrong. Her body was discovered and the twists and turns really became to pick up.

This story is told through June Moody, who had plenty of motives to kill Sadie (Sadie is a more successful writer than June; is very wealthy; and is married to the man that proposed to June many years ago – Sadie basically has June’s life), and quickly becomes the police’s prime suspect. She is determined to piece together what occurred that night based on her bits of memory and what others remember. Once the friends start to work together a bit, they develop a strong theory of what happened that night, which leads to the ultimate climax.

All the twists and turns kept me captivated. It was hard to put down. I did feel like the end was a bit anti-climactic, but it was an overall thrill-ride. The epilogue was nice but meh. I kept wishing that the author would tell us if June Moody took this girls weekend experience to finally become the successful writer she always wanted to be. I would have preferred that epilogue over the “who loves who” ending. I really enjoyed the book overall though, and it made me think twice about planning the girls weekend I want to do with my college roommates next year.

Note: Publication date was moved back and may be moved back even further.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

WWW Wednesdays – June 10, 2020

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

Man I really need to a break from work. I have had almost zero time to read. I’m thinking of taking a book staycation next week when I have a slight reprieve from all my many deadlines. Deadlines are the worst! I’m really enjoying The Girls Weekend and just want to have time to finish it. 

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Wow-No-Thank-You-Samantha-Irby

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

Reading Next

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!

WWW Wednesdays – June 3, 2020

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

The-Happiness-Equation-001

The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦

* Click on the title to read my full review. I also recently posted a review of Ghosts of Harvard as well.

Reading Next

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!

Book Review: The Happiness Equation

The-Happiness-Equation-001
Title: 
The Happiness Equation
Author: Neil Pasricha
Genre: Self-help
Publisher: 
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Pages: 320
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: May 30, 2020

Goodreads Description: What’s the formula for a happy life?

Neil Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, a Walmart executive, a New York Times–bestselling author, and a husband and dad. After selling more than a million copies of his Book of Awesome series, he now shifts his focus from observation to application.

In The Happiness Equation, Pasricha illustrates how to want nothing, do anything, and have everything. If that sounds like a contradiction, you simply haven’t unlocked the 9 Secrets to Happiness.

Each secret takes a common ideal, flips it on its head, and casts it in a completely new light. Pasricha then goes a step further by providing step-by-step guidelines and hand-drawn scribbles that illustrate exactly how to apply each secret to live a happier life today.

Controversial? Maybe. Counterintuitive? Definitely.

The Happiness Equation will teach you such principles as:
· Why success doesn’t lead to happiness
· How to make more money than a Harvard MBA
· Why multitasking is a myth
· How eliminating options leads to more choice

The Happiness Equation is a book that will change how you think about everything—your time, your career, your relationships, your family, and, ultimately, of course, your happiness.

My Review: A guide to happiness using math equations – heck yeah! Sign me up!

I do think the author does mention that he went to Harvard a bit too much, but I guess if I had been fortunate enough to have been educated at Harvard, I would probably mention it as much as I could.

Here are the nine secrets to happiness according to Neil Pasricha:

  1. Be happy first.
  2. Do it for you.
  3. Remember the lottery.
  4. Never retire.
  5. Overvalue you.
  6. Create space.
  7. Just do it.
  8. Be you.
  9. Don’t take advice.

I thought there were a lot of great points made throughout this book. Happiness is a choice. Do not be afraid of change, as that could lead to further happiness. Value yourself first. Be the self you want to be. Don’t try to be what others want you to be.

This book provided great actionable methods to achieve the author’s nine secrets to happiness, which is helpful. These methods truly make achieving happiness visible not just a theory.

The only one of the author’s nine secrets to happiness that I disagree with is number four – never retire. I know that retirement is a scary time in one’s life, and people who have spent a lifetime creating a career that they love tend to dread. However, it does not have to be this way and it shouldn’t. There comes a time when it will be very difficult for a person to physically or mentally do their job. My career in a  high-paced finance position is not going to last forever, because I know that I will mentally not be able to keep up. At that time though, my life does not have to be over. Work should not be your only sense of happiness. As I have spent more time at home during this pandemic period and less time at the office, I am quickly realizing how much I have missed spending time with my husband and other loved ones. That is one way I can spend retirement, but there is also travel, volunteer work, creative projects and so many other things that a full-time worker often does not have time to do.

To the author’s credit, he is definitely a fun and entertaining writer. This book may not have blown me away but I did enjoy it enough to want to pick up his first book – The Book of Awesome – soon.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦