Five Books and Blogs I’m Reading

Do you have time to read for pleasure? I feel like I’m always running around frazzled, with barely any time, let alone a chance to read!

To get around this lack of time but not wanting to miss out on Book Club and the other books I hear about, I utilize a mix of audio books and hard copies.

As a mom, there’s a lot of driving that goes on in my day-to-day. Between school drop offs/pick ups and sports practices/games, I’ve found I can enjoy listening to books, even in 15 minute intervals! When a book is really good, I listen while I’m doing laundry or cooking. I’ve even taken my phone (for audio book) into the shower with me!

What I’m Reading – Books and Blogs

Book Club Picks

I’ve been in a book club with some neighborhood friends for many years. Visit my blog post Favorites Among 14 Book Club Reads .

The two books we’ve read recently have been quick, light and fun.

1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine By Gail Honeyman- Get the Book or Audio

The human need for connection is this novel’s central theme. Eleanor is a survivor of childhood trauma who has buried her memories.  Half her face is covered with scars which leads her to live a reclusive and lonely life. But the author keeps us in suspense on how this happened until the very end of the book, which is somewhat annoying but keeps us wanting to learn more.

This book is soon to be a motion picture, produced by Reese Witherspoon. I am halfway through and really enjoying it!

2. Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng- Get the Book or Audio 

This book was slow going for the first few chapters, but then came to life. It’s centered around two families who are on opposite sides of the conformity spectrum. Their paths cross because of their children and they become enmeshed in each other’s lives. From a scale of 1-10, I give it a 7.

Personal Picks

3. Inspiration – Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper Blog

In our society, we’re inundated with so much negative noise… in the media, Facebook, people ranting about their political views and their disdain for the President. I find I am much happier when I ignore the spinning negativity and focus on the positive. I follow Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper- “I’ve Been Thinking” blog (I really enjoyed this recent post A New Year’s Eve Message ).

Her company is centered on moving humanity forward with “Architects of Change.” I attended an Architects of Change speaker event where she interviewed Gretchen Carlson about her book, “Be Fierce” which was a catalyst to bring the long avoided issue of sexual harassment to light. Talk about moving humanity forward! Gretchen was one of the first to open the floodgates and start this very important conversation that will improve how women are treated in the workplace. 


I mentioned in my last post,  My Goals for the New Year , how I’ve set some goals that are going to take a lot of work and tough skin! I’m bracing myself to continue working on getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

I need some mental courage, so I’ve been spending time reading/listening to Tim Ferriss. There are two books that I’m finding very helpful.

4. Tribe of Mentors By Tim Ferriss – Get the Book (Not yet available on audio).

I love to learn about successful people. Their history, their failures, their weird habits. When my friend told me about this book, I was like, “I must start reading it immediately!” Ferriss asks the same 5 questions to 130 of the most successful people of our time. Their answers are compiled in this book. I’m on page 89 and really enjoying it.

Starting this book led me to the next book I’m reading which I find even more interesting! And I’m listening to his podcast as well. Yes, I’m a bit obsessed with him at the moment.

5. The 4-Hour Workweek By Tim Ferriss – Get the Book or Audio

The name is deceiving as I feel this book is more about productivity and shifting mindset than achieving a “4- hour workweek.” So much helpful information in this book! I am up to chapter 14 of 16.  I recommend chapters 1-7 to everyone for tips on general living and mindset. Read further if you are interested in business and entrepreneurship. It gets very detailed (to the point of eyes glazing over) past chapter 7.

One small but really great way to save time that I picked up from the book: use Evernote. Do you already know about this application? It allows you to save web pages, email, pictures, take notes, anything on your phone that stores information. I had heard of it but didn’t really think twice – not enough to look into its capabilities. Wow, have I been missing out!

Before finding Evernote, I would use my iPhone’s Notes to write things down, ideas, to dos, anything where I needed to store thoughts while mobile. I would take pictures or use text to store pictures of sites, addresses, business cards, I would enter contacts manually, the list goes on. Evernote allows you to do it all in one app, and organizes all your information. It also allows you to search based on text which can scan pictures, text, web pages, all of it… when you are looking for info. I can’t believe it’s taken so long for me to discover this time saving application!

So, there’s a bunch of information to delve into here if you’re interested. Will you get any of these books, use Evernote or follow the Sunday Paper? You know how excited I get when I hear a blog post helps you. Let me know what you think!

“Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt.” A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.