March 4, 2013

February Book Report

When the month of February started I was in the middle of Week 4 of The Artist Way. Week 4 was especially interesting because it imposes a reading ban. That's right, for one week there were no books, internet, blogs, news, magazines, television shows, you name it! It was only for a week and I have some terrible internet habits that I was willing to shake, but it was very difficult! I didn't participate in a full ban, but I limited my internet time and activities drastically. A reading ban is imposed for the artist who needs to become "unstuck." It was a good challenge and I actually ended up listening to a lot of music - which was so pleasant and inspiring.

Then we went to Italy. I didn't really have time to read on the trip, plus I get quite nauseous reading on busses and trains. But I really enjoy listening to books, especially while I am cooking dinner, knitting, on my way to school, or running errands in the city. I find it to be a great use of my time and I also find that this is the only way I can do two things at once. In Italy, I had quite a bit of time to listen to books - so that's what I did in February. I listened to two books: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A. J. Jacobs.
I read The Happiness Project back in 2011, but I wanted to re-read it, especially at the beginning of the year. In The Happiness Project, Rubin pursues the quest for happiness during the course of one year. Rubin is a great writer and her words were easy to read, and especially easy to listen to. Though I kept wishing I had my physical copy of the book with me so that I could highlight notes and recommendations. The topics in this book range from marital and family communication to getting enough sleep, are thoroughly researched and backed up with historical anecdotes and actual application in Rubin's daily life. It's an inspiring book and I really gleaned some important information and ideas.

Some key points or ideas that really stuck with me, just off the cuff are: be you, spend out, get a good night's sleep, tackle a nagging task, act the way you want to feel, smile, laugh, act happy. They are simple ideas really, but it was nice to read her journey and be reminded and pushed to create some happiness resolutions and truths for myself. I was especially excited to try Rubin's resolution chart, which I will share here on the blog tomorrow. It's good stuff!

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection was on sale as an audiobook in January through iTunes.  I picked this book because I thought it went with my One Little Word intention for February - Body, In this piece of non-fiction, author A. J. Jacobs, much like Rubin, explores every topic to becoming the healthiest person he can possibly be. From eating right, to skin care, to healthy bowel movements to triathlon training; Jacobs attempts to change his habits from feeble to healthy through the latest fads, research and scientific data. It was a good listen, and as a result we have some healthy changes afoot in my household. Personally, I am making a point to floss, get enough sleep, eat more vegetables and fish, and to be more active for cardiovascular health.

Though I don't feel like there was much personal progress towards actively making changes for the better in February, I feel like I had to think *hard* about the changes that I really want to make in my life. These books were very helpful - informative, and entertaining. Plus, I got twice as much done, because I was able to listen to the books and travel, knit and cook - all at the same time! What more could I ask for?

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