January 2016 Books

Here are the books I read in January. Looking back, I read a bit more than normal (13 books) but most of them were just ok.

Fablehaven book #3,4, and 5. A great book series that I read because my 13 year old daughter recommended them.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong. I think Armstrong is an author that I want to love but everything I try to read by her comes across as dry and it doesn’t keep my attention. I did at least make it through this book and wrote down some things I wanted to remember in my reading notebook, including this meditation practice:

The Four Immeasurable Minds of Love Meditation. Start by focusing this meditation on yourself:

Friendship – what makes you a good friend? What makes you deserving of friendship?

Compassion – think of something that happened in the past and give yourself the compassion you deserved then as the loving person you are today.

Joy – what things have sparked joy in your life recently?

Even Mindedness – speak fairly and justly about and to yourself instead of speaking harshly.

Type Talk, The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work. Another Myers Briggs book. A great book for beginners to Myers Briggs with some great insights into Introvert-Extrovert behaviors and patterns.

Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy by Mortimer Adler. This is a roughly 20-30 year old book but worth the read. My library has a paltry philosophy section so I take what I can get. I mostly read it for the section on living well (remember my word for 2016 is Eudaimonia, which comes directly from Aristotle’s philosophy on living a good life).

Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science by Sissela Bok. Honestly, I don’t remember much about this one except that it wasn’t much fun. It wasn’t about how people pursue happiness but more about how people have conceived of the idea of happiness through history.

Living With a SEAL by Jesse Itzler. My husband received this as a gift so I read it. Not for me. Didn’t enjoy it much. The premise is this guy had a Navy SEAL move in with him and train him for a month. I love this genre of non-fiction (Drop Dead Healthy, The Year of Living Biblically, and The Happiness Project are all great examples) but this one wasn’t done well. I felt like the author didn’t seem to learn anything useful from his experience and the Navy SEAL seemed boring and not very likable to me.

What Type Am I? by Renee Baron. An Enneagram book for beginners. Added to my growing collection of personality typing books. Here is a hilarious quote about SOME extroverts:

The only way to entertain some folks is to listen to them.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Definitely worth the read, inspiring and uplifting in the spirit of Brene Brown.

29 Gifts by Cami Walker.  I liked this one. It was a short read about Walker’s struggle with her MS diagnosis and the prescription a healer gave her: give 29 gifts in 29 days. This simple challenge proved to be a powerful catalyst for changing the author’s mindset and I loved the idea behind it.

Yoga and the Quest For the True Self by Stephen Cope. This was the best non-fiction book I read in January and may end up being one of favorites of the year. I loved it. Since I have been practicing yoga for about 5 months now I wanted to learn more about it and start to develop a mindset in which to approach my practice. I think it’s the runner/triathlete in me. I can’t get into something and not have goals or some idea of where I am going and how to get there. I can’t exercise just for fun. It’s not my thing. This book combined yoga with psychotherapy in a way that is 100% relevant to me in my life right now, in midlife and wondering what’s next.

Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe. I got some very useful insights out of this book, especially when it comes to Introvert/Extrovert conversation. It also helped reinforce how critical it is for me to carve out more time to myself. It’s not a luxury for an introvert, it’s a necessity. Lastly, it made me feel so relieved and happy to read the author’s description of wanting to leave the family dinner table every night. I LOVE that we have a family sit-down dinner every night. Like, totally love it. But I always want to LEAVE and have to force myself to stay there chatting and catching up while the toddler runs around screaming. I felt so guilty about wanting to bolt but now I understand it’s just the introvert in me feeling overwhelmed.

So that’s it for January. I’m already excited about sharing my February books with you since I’ve read some great ones already! P.S. I used affiliate links above so if you click on any of the books and buy something it benefits me.