Reading Rituals – My October Reads

Reading Rituals

I’m sharing my October Reads for Reading Rituals today and what I thought of them.

On a side note – how is it already the end of October? I wonder how much more reading I can fit in before the end of 2018?

October Reads – How to Be Happy by Eva Woods

I read this one as part of a virtual book club (Find What Feels Good Kula Book Club). I didn’t get round to joining in with much of the book club discussion but I am glad that book club prompted me to read this book. From the title it looks like a self-help but it’s actually a fiction novel. I read it fairly quickly and was eager to keep going. This book made me cry – big sobs late at night. It felt quite cathartic.

The book tells the story of Annie who is sad and not living her best life. She meets Polly who seems to be her opposite (happy). Polly pushes herself into Annie’s life with the intention of fixing it. The book covers 100 suggestions for being happy over 100 days. The story is about life and death and how they are connected.

As I was reading, the following quote really resonated with me and reminded me of the Big Magic workshop I went to with Liz Gilbert earlier in the year:

“There was no one like her on the whole of the planet, no one who had ever lived or ever would. There was not a single other person with her fingerprints, with her memories, with the blood beating in her veins. She was herself, and she was alive right now, despite everything.”

In some ways I found this book similar to Eleanor Oliphant (which I wrote about in last month’s Reading Rituals – scroll towards the bottom) – it had some heart-warming life advice threaded through the story. I’d recommend giving it a go (but have the tissues handy).

Reading Rituals - My October Reads

Other October Reads

Romances with Christmas and Winter settings are my comfort reads as the weather turns colder and the days get shorter!

So this month I read Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis – the latest in her Heartbreaker Bay series. I really enjoyed it and after reading the excerpt at the end I’m looking forward to Playing for Keeps – the next one.

I also decided it was time to re-read some Christmas favourites and read Miracle on 5th Avenue and Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan.

I’m currently reading Times Convert by Deborah Harkness which is the follow-up to the The All Souls Trilogy, telling the story of Marcus and Phoebe. I’ll share my thoughts on this one next month.

As a family we are still reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And I’m wondering how long The Goblet of Fire will take to get through! (Am I right in thinking it’s the biggest one?)

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I didn’t get any books for my birthday this year which is unusual. There weren’t any on my list! I did get issue 11 of Project Calm magazine. It’s full of crafty and creative ideas and projects – I’m looking forward to diving in.

What have you been reading lately? Will you be adding any books to your Christmas wish list?

Reading Rituals – All Souls Trilogy

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on the All Souls Trilogy (including A Discovery of Witches) by Deborah Harkness as well as other books I’ve enjoyed recently.

Reading Rituals

All Souls Trilogy

A Discovery of Witches is a TV drama currently showing on Sky One (Friday’s at 8pm). In the lead up to it starting I saw a few mentions of the book and the All Souls Trilogy  as fans anticipated the TV adaptation. I was intrigued and decided to request the first book, A Discovery of Witches, from the library. Luckily it came in and I finished it before the TV show started. I couldn’t put it down – I loved the characters, the settings and the storyline.

Impatiently, I waited for my reserve of book 2 – Shadow of Night. When I got a text to say the book was ready I dropped everything to collect it. Household chores were cast aside to make more time for reading as I found myself absorbed! I adored “where” this book was set and was fascinated by the historical references (trying not to give away any spoilers here!).

Book 3 – The Book of Life – was reserved before I’d started Book 2 and I didn’t have to wait too long. It was a great conclusion to the trilogy. I was left with a book hangover and I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters!

The All Souls Trilogy

If you like books with paranormal themes and historical references I’d recommend the All Souls trilogy. I learnt some interesting things about history and science from reading this trilogy. I feel sad that I don’t have my own copies and might have to rectify that so I can re-read them.

I’m also really enjoying the TV adaptation. The storyline is already a little different from the books and I’m intrigued to see where it goes. I love the actors they’ve chosen to play Matthew and Diana and I’m eagerly awaiting each new episode!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I also want to mention Eleanor Oliphant which I read at the very end of August when we were on holiday. After seeing lots of mention of it over summer I picked it up from the hotel book shelf .

I really loved this book. It felt refreshing and quite different from anything I’ve read for a while. The setting is Glasgow (where my husband is from and I lived for 5 years). I enjoyed picking up on locations and the dialect.

The book gave me a lot to think about. I loved the messaging that came through – how we can choose to show a little kindness to others and the impact it can have on their lives. The humour was excellent. I found myself laughing out loud many times and also reading some sections out to my husband. Here’s an example of a section that made me giggle:

Eleanor Oliphant Excerpt

Harry Potter

We are still working our way through the HP series with my son (which I discussed in my Family Favourites post last month).

We’ve just finished up The Chamber of Secrets and moved on to The Prisoner of Azkaban (which is possibly my favourite book of all 7). We are watching each movie as we finish the corresponding book and it’s great to see the differences between the original books and the movie adaptations.

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What have you been reading lately? Anything good?

In October I’m joining in with the Find What Feels Good Kula Book Group. We are reading How To Be Happy by Eva Woods. I’m looking forward to joining in with the virtual book club discussion.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Our Family Favourites – Reading Rituals

Today I want to share some of the books that have become our family favourites. Both picture and story books we’ve come back to time and again as well as what we’re reading at the moment.

One of the things I looked forward to about parenthood was reading and sharing my love of books. I have fond memories of my own childhood reading adventures – being read to and falling in love with stories. Around the age of 10 I loved Black Beauty (I was horse mad!) and 101 Dalmations.

Reading Rituals

Our Family Favourites – Picture Books

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees

This was gifted to us by a friend when my son was a baby and has been a long standing favourite – we all know the words. It’s a really heart-warming story about being unique and believing in yourself.

What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson

This was a present from my son’s Grandmother when he was around 2. It’s a fun, rhyming book and we were lucky enough to see a stage version in 2014. It’s also fun to find the sparkly ladybird on each page.

The Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd

My son was born in New Zealand where these books originate from. These have been my favourite books to read aloud – I love the tongue-twisting words. Our absolute favourites are Hairy Maclary’s Rumpus at the Vets and Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers (which I’ll probably still be reading every Christmas even when my son is older!).

The Legend Roald Dahl

When my son was a tiny baby we purchased a box set of Roald Dahl’s books – they sat for a long time on our bookshelf before we were ready to read them. It felt like an investment in his future love of books! We’ve read a few over the years and hope to keep reading more.

Our favourites so far have been The Twits and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

What We’re Currently Reading

About a month ago we decided to start reading Harry Potter together. I am a massive HP fan and I was so happy to share some of my favourite books with my son.

We’ve already finished Book One (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and we are currently reading Book Two (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). It’s incredible to share Harry Potter’s story with my boy – witnessing him hear the story for the first time is just as magical as when I read it for the first time.

Family Favourites - Reading Rituals

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It’s a lovely feeling to share a love of reading and books with my son and wonderful to find the books he loves that make him excited to read.

What are your family favourites? Or the books you loved most as a child?

Click here to read more of my Reading Rituals posts.

Reading Rituals – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Reading Rituals

I recently re-read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. The tagline of Big Magic is ‘Creative Living Beyond Fear’ and it falls under the self-help category.

The book contains essays and stories about different facets of ourselves (courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust & divinity) which impact our creativity. The book talks a lot about overcoming and working with our fear to live a more creative life. What I love most about this book is the suggestion that we can find big and small ways to live creatively every single day to improve our lives.

Big Magic Reading Rituals

Big Magic…First Time Around

I first read Big Magic in 2015 just after it’s release. In 2016 I got the opportunity to see Elizabeth Gilbert speak as part of the Auckland Book Festival in New Zealand. I flew up to Auckland and went along with my friend Kelly (Queen of Books!). It was the end of the Big Magic tour. Liz spoke about her tour rather than her planned talk and it was wonderful to sit and listen to her weave her stories. Above all the biggest takeaway from her talk was remembering to ask myself the question “What Am I Most Excited About Right Now?” Now, it’s something I think about often and I even use it as a prompt in my Quarterly Reviews.

More Big Magic

So I was excited to attend a workshop with Liz Gilbert back in May. I’d booked my place about a year prior. (Due to the workshop originally supposed to take place in September 2017 and being rescheduled to May). I started to re-read the book in preparation for the workshop. Even though it had been a while since I first read the book it felt familiar and I enjoyed re-reading it. I used a highlighter to mark interesting quotes like this one…

“Most of all, be ready. Keep your eyes open. Listen. Follow your curiosity. Ask questions. Sniff around. Remain open. Trust in the miraculous truth that new and marvellous ideas are looking for human collaborators every single day.”

The workshop involved writing letters to and from the different facets of ourselves to discover what creativity meant to us. It was a fascinating and emotional experience to be in a room with so many other people keen to dig into their creativity and tell their stories.

The workshop was a great accompaniment to the book but even if you don’t have the opportunity to see Liz speak in person I would recommend you grab a copy of Big Magic and read it.

And if I’ve still not convinced you that you need to read this book – I’ve found a 20 minute video where Liz Gilbert reads an excerpt from Big Magic. I hope this convinces you!

Have you read Big Magic? Or any of Elizabeth Gilbert’s other work? What have you been reading lately?

April Reading Rituals (The Goddess Revolution)

This month I’ve been reading a book that’s been on my to-be-read pile for sometime. I finally got around to picking up The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells. The tagline of the book is “Make Peace with Food, Love your Body and Reclaim Your Life”. Today I want to share my experience of reading the book.

Reading Rituals

The Highlights

I loved the synchronicity between this book and other books and authors I’ve loved. Danielle La Porte (The Desire Map), Brene Brown and Rumi are all mentioned and quoted in the book.

I also felt that the messages within The Goddess Revolution had a lot in common with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The advice around self care and self love towards the end of the book rang very true for me. I enjoyed reading it and often found myself nodding in agreement and highlighting sections of the text.

The Goddess Revolution Vs. Slimming World

“Life is a constant stream of choices. This includes choices around food. The track and the wagon are an illusion. You’ve created them as a way of judging yourself based on your choices and the pressure you have put on yourself to stay between certain lines.”

Overall I loved the message within the book. The importance of loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves and not spending time battling with ourselves.

However, the message from the book does seem to be at odds with Slimming World and what that stands for. In particular – when the book suggests you throw out the scales and you stop tracking every single thing you eat. This is the hardest thing to reconcile for me.

I worry about giving up on Slimming World and gaining all the weight I have already successfully lost. However – it’s not working for me right now. If I follow the plan – it does work (although I tend to see results over several weeks rather than one week at a time) – but I don’t always want to follow the plan and it’s particular rules.

This book has helped remind me of the importance of listening to my body and eating the food that makes me feel good. (Not food that we think tastes good but regret eating later!)

The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells

Where to Next?

“The trick to being happy and healthy with your food is to let balance, flexibility and acceptance be your guiding principles. And remember – your best is good enough.”

The Goddess Revolution has given me a lot to think about in terms of how I treat my body and my weight loss journey. I don’t have all the answers yet (and probably never will!) but I think it’s good to look at weight loss and body image from a completely different angle to the usual one portrayed across the media and social media.

I want to re-read the book and make some notes as I go next time. There are also some sections that offer questions I would like to use as journalling prompts (around your future self and ideal life). I think that by reading this book again I’d get even more from it.

Next month’s reading challenge

I am super excited to be attending a workshop in May with none other than LIZ GILBERT (author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic as well as other books). I saw Liz speak in New Zealand a few years ago and enjoyed every moment of it. This workshop has been booked for a long time and was rearranged from its original date in September 2017.

Big Magic by Liz Gilbert is a fantastic book about creativity and ideas. My challenge in May is to re-read it before the workshop takes place.

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What have you been reading lately? Do you have any favourite reads to share with me? I’d especially love to hear about any books on the theme of self-love and creativity.

Happy Reading!

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This is the link to see all my Reading Rituals posts. 

March Reading Rituals

Reading Rituals

We are approaching the end of another month already – how can that be? That means it’s time for March Reading Rituals. This month I’m sharing my thoughts on books on running (as a non-runner)! Plus a look at my To-Be-Read pile…

This Girl Ran by Helen Croydon

March Reading Rituals This Girl Ran

I like to browse the displays at the library and often pick up a book from the display that I wouldn’t seek out on the shelves. This Girl Ran was such a book. The memoir was released earlier this year and is about how the author went from a social-drinking city-girl to an endurance tri-athlete. I have plans to try Couch to 5k this year and I hoped it would give me some inspiration.

I really enjoyed it. It was interesting to read about someone training for endurance sport and how taking up a new hobby can make such big changes in your life and your social circle. I like Helen’s writing style which is fairly matter-of-fact. I can’t imagine myself getting up for 6am river swims or cycling 100’s of miles anytime soon but I found it fascinating to read the lengths she went to in her training. It’s a great tale of resilience and discovering your passions.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

March Reading Rituals Born to Run

My husband is a keen runner and I read his copy of this book a while back. My husband spoke highly of it so even though I wasn’t sure it was my cup of tea I decided to give it a go.

I got drawn in early on and felt I learnt a lot from reading Born to Run.
I loved the tales of the Tarahumara (the world’s greatest distance runners) and the races mentioned in the book. This book helped me understand the passion and addiction behind running. I haven’t headed off to the wilds to run an ultra-marathon since reading it but it has made me think more favourably about running and the camaraderie aspect of it.

It turns out that as a non-runner I still enjoy books about running! I think I should try reading more books about topics I wouldn’t necessarily think I’d enjoy. I do love memoir’s so perhaps this is the key.

What’s on my To-Be-Read pile?

This month I want to share some of the books currently residing in my To-Be-Read pile. If you have enjoyed any of these I’d love to hear from you as I often find myself indecisive about what to read next!

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

I purchased this after my husband told me about a podcast with the author.

The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells

I’ve heard great things about this book and it’s encouragement of self love.

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

I’m keen to learn more about the tendencies that Gretchen talks about in Better Than Before which I’ve blogged about previously.

My challenge for April is to start one of these books. But which one should I choose?

Did you get some reading done this month? What are you enjoying reading at the moment?

You can read all my Reading Rituals posts here.

February Reading Rituals

Here’s a look at my February Reading Rituals – what I’ve been reading this month as well as my reading challenge for next month…

Reading Rituals

Challenge Results

In January’s post I set myself the challenge of reading The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. The book stayed on my bedside table as a reminder but as the month went by I found myself choosing fiction books instead. I did start but I haven’t finished it yet – I will report back when I do!

I need to be in the “right mood” for non-fiction. I’ve been busy with my Vein of Gold work and at the end of each day I wanted something I could read to switch off and wind down rather than something that would get my mind buzzing and make me want to take notes!

February Reading Rituals

I ended up rummaging through my bookshelf of favourite books and authors to re-read something lighthearted and fun. As you may already know I am a fan of romance and one of my favourite authors is Jill Shalvis. I picked out “Smart and Sexy” which I’ve had for a while and got stuck in. It was an enjoyable read and I searched out the next two books in the series (Strong and Sexy then Superb and Sexy). Not having my own copies I decided to find and reserve them both on my local library catalogue.

I picked the books up a week or so later and got stuck in. I enjoy reading series-linked books and revisiting characters and locations. They weren’t my favourite Jill Shalvis series (Lucky Harbor is probably my favourite) but were worth a read.

While picking up the reserves at the library I had a browse and picked up another couple of books…

Hygge and Kisses February Reading Rituals

Hygge and Kisses by Clara Christensen

One of the books I picked up is a romantic fiction called Hygge and Kisses by Clara Christensen. I loved the play on words in the title and coziness of the cover.

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word. It’s definition is “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” I love the idea of Hygge!

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and loved the description of Danish winter and Skagen where part of the book is set. Reading this story has made me even more keen to visit Denmark. I also liked the development of the main character Bo and her mission to figure out what she wanted to do with her career.

It snowed this morning and I found myself curled up on the couch with a hot coffee reading the last few chapters. I’ve come away feeling more favourably about the cold weather and how I can embrace the warmth and coziness of staying inside (especially if we do end up with a snow day or two this week!)

My challenge for March

My challenge is to read some magazines next month.

In the Moment February Reading Rituals

I subscribe to In the Moment magazine and always love the first glance at what’s inside when the new issue arrives. I usually add the magazine to my papers pile and I never quite get around to reading it properly. It always surprises me when the next one comes through the letterbox!

I’m going to pop the most recent copy in the car. If I end up early for appointments or waiting (at school pick-up for instance) I will spend a few minutes reading the magazine rather than scrolling my phone. Let’s hope it works!

What have you been reading in February? Have you tried any different ways to sneak more reading time into your days? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

PS – I’m working on my March newsletter today which is due out later this week. If you’re not subscribed yet you can sign up here. Subscribers receive a FREE printable workbook “How to Find the Good Everyday”. I’ve also created a freebie printable for the March newsletter based around one of my recent posts.

January Reading Rituals

Reading Rituals

Have you made time for reading this month? Which season do you think is best for reading? I love curling up on a cold Winter’s day with a book. But I also enjoy collecting a pile of books to read throughout Summer.

For my January Reading Rituals post I thought I’d start with a summary of books I’ve already mentioned so there’s a spot to link all my book/reading related posts together.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

The Artist's Way book

Back when I started this blog I wrote about The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The book is for anyone who wants to discover and recover their creative self. The Artist’s Way changed the way I look at my creativity and taught me a lot about taking care of and loving myself (which I wasn’t expecting!).

My main takeaways from the book were:

  • The importance of journalling the mundane to make space for creativity. I write Morning Pages every morning
  • How important it is to take care of yourself – which led to setting myself daily self nurturing tasks
  • That to be a writer (or inset any type of creator here) I have to write. I need to let go of insecurities of making mistakes and not being any good and trust my creativity to create what it needs to.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

January Reading Rituals better than before

I was lucky enough to hear Gretchen Rubin speak in London in December. Better than Before is a great book if you are looking to create good habits and break old ones. It helps you work out which strategies will be best for you based on how you deal with outer and inner expectations.

The top 3 things I learnt from this book were:

  • I’m an Obliger – I respond better to outer expectations than inner ones
  • I learnt how to get myself outer accountability to ensure I followed through on things I wanted to achieve (check out my blog post for some examples)
  • This book helped me be much more self aware of myself and my habits. I picked up some great strategies which continue to serve me well.

The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

the desire map

Last month I wrote about my Core Desired Feelings which I came up with as a result of reading and working my way through The Desire Map. Danielle La Porte writes about the importance of understanding how you want to feel to ensure you set goals that help you create the feelings you desire. The book has some fantastic essays and worksheets to help you discover your Core Desired Feelings.

My main learnings from this book were:

  • The importance of setting goals that have feeling behind them
  • What my core desired feelings are – you can see them here
  • The link between spirituality/soul work and achievements/goal setting.

My January Reading Rituals

  • I’ve mostly been re-reading old favourites. I find it comforting to cosy down with a book I am familiar with. Re-reading some favourite romance novels was a wonderful tonic to feeling poorly earlier this month.
  • It has been a couple of months since I visited my local library. To remedy this I have requested a couple of fiction books I am keen to read. When I get the notification they are ready to collect I will visit the library and make sure I have a good browse while I am there.
  • I’ve been listening to audio files of Danielle La Porte’s Fire Starter Sessions. She has a Facebook group you can join to participate in and get access to the files for free. There are 16 audio files to listen to and all come with accompanying worksheets. I am enjoying the different format (I don’t often listen to audio books). I have also find the bite-size audio file lengths handy.
  • I’m working on Vein of Gold as part of an online cluster group – it’s been great to have the work & reading paced by our facilitator Susan who is very supportive and helpful. This will be a long 30 week project and I hope to share my thoughts as I work through it.

Looking Forward to Next Month

My challenge to myself for February is to finish reading The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. I want to learn more about each tendency (especially my own Obliger tendency and my husband’s Rebel tendency) and I want to take some suggestions from the book to try out in my daily life.

What are you reading right now? I’d love to hear your recommendations.

Introducing Reading Rituals

“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a book.” – J.K. Rowling

I’ve been keen on the idea of creating a Find the Good Everyday book club. I couldn’t quite get my head round how to make it work though. I mulled it over whilst out for a walk. And I realised what was holding me back was worry that I wouldn’t get around to reading a whole book each month to then review it on the blog. So I thought about what reading meant to me in terms of Finding the Good Everyday.

My Relationship with Reading

I:

  • usually have more than one book on the go at any one time
  • have a pile of magazines that I buy and don’t ever feel like I finish reading
  • like to read fiction at bedtime but would love to find time to read more personal development books
  • am a sucker for a happy ending and love to read romance
  • see reading as a self nurturing activity
  • love curling up with old favourites but also discovering new characters and ideas
  • have loved books since I was very young
  • don’t own a kindle or e-reader device
  • have bookshelves that are overflowing
  • am an avid reader but somehow got out of the habit of reading nightly with my son – we re-introduced it over the last few months (mostly Roald Dahl books) and it makes me happy
  • love personal development books but sometimes I find memoirs and fiction more inspiring and motivating

Introducing Reading Rituals

Reading Rituals

Rather than a book club I want to create a space here to discuss reading – what I’m reading, why I’m reading it and how I’m fitting it into my days.

Some months I manage to find enough hours to read multiple books. Other times I don’t even finish one…but I manage to find great blog posts, online articles or dip into a magazine.

Reading Rituals will be a monthly post to encourage me (and hopefully you) to make time to enjoy reading. I might share a review of a book I’ve just read…or revisit an old favourite…or offer suggestions for how to sneak in some reading time.

Each month I’ll set myself a challenge or a goal for reading…perhaps to read a certain book in my to-be-read pile or to try a genre I don’t usually read. Or to find information articles about a topic I’m interested in. And then I’ll share the results here with you.

I’ll be back before the end of the month with my January Reading Rituals post.

What are your reading rituals? Are you a keen reader? How do you fit reading in to your life? I would love to hear suggestions from you – especially if you have any books to recommend!