My family were visiting in August so I didn't expect to read quite so much. I'll admit I slipped a few shorter ones in there to speed things up a little, but I also ended up reading one particular offering in a single sitting. It's been a long time since I couldn't put a book down!
I've added links to where you can find each book on Amazon US if you want to purchase it or read more reviews, as well as links to free trials on Kindle Unlimited and Audible. All of them are affiliate links meaning that, if you purchase through them, I'll make a small commission. Thank you! (For more info, read my disclosure.)
I read every single day, sometimes just for a few minutes and sometimes for hours. I’m regularly asked for recommendations, so I thought I’d start sharing what I’m reading each month.
My hope is that I can encourage you to bring more books into your life, and to make it easier to find books you’ll enjoy. Check back every month for more reviews.
1 book: Well, I won't be getting that time back
2 books: Not my cup of tea
3 books: Yup, that'll do nicely
4 books: Thoroughly enjoyed
5 books: One of the best things I've ever read
I think anyone who writes a book is a damn hero. My personal opinions of the content are just that – personal opinions. If something didn't float my boat, I still applaud the author. Their discipline and determination amazes me.
OK, on with the show.
For the month of August 2019, I curled up in my book nook with 8 different books. Here they are.
Book #63 of 2019: "Enchantment" by Guy Kawasaki
Started: 1/8/2019 Finished: 4/8/2019
Guy worked for one of the biggest companies in the world – Apple – and helped bring the Macintosh into the hearts and homes of people around the world. In doing so, he learned what it takes to go beyond standard sales techniques and sleazy advertising and, instead, really enchant people.
I have to say, I heard so many amazing things before reading this that it probably set my expectations a little too high. It's a sneak peek into Apple culture, or at least what it was like in the beginning, and a decent guide to getting people to buy into your ideas, but there's nothing too groundbreaking here.
Still, I'll always support any idea that's based on kindness and positivity, particularly when it comes to sales, so it gets a reluctant thumbs up for that.
Rating: 3 books. Enjoyable, but not enchanting
Book #64 of 2019: "The 5 Second Rule" by Mel Robbins
Started: 7/8/2019 Finished: 9/8/2019
I've put this technique into practice in my own life since reading the book so for that alone I like it.
It's hard to say anything without spoiling it but the 5 second rule is based on the premise that it takes as little as 5 seconds to talk yourself out of doing something. As such, as soon as you have an idea, start counting down from 5 and then take action!
The book is a little repetitive, and relies heavily on testimonials from fans and followers. A lot of it felt like "padding" to get a book out of what could have been a meaty blog post. But props where they're due, it's a simple technique, backed up by research and a lot of anecdotal evidence, and she walks you through how to apply it in various different situations.
And, like I said, it's working for me.
Rating: 4 books. Read it, apply the principles, and reap the rewards
Book #65 of 2019: "300 Email Marketing Tips" by Meera Kothand
Started: 9/8/2019 Finished: 12/8/2019
I chose this one because my family were here at the time and I wanted something I could easily dip in and out of in the few spare minutes I had. Under those circumstances, I wasn't disappointed.
I read another of Meera's books earlier in the year and thought it was very useful, so when I spotted this for free as part of the Kindle Unlimited package (affiliate link), I snagged it.
As a reasonably seasoned creator and marketer, there was very little here that was new to me but I still found it to be well thought out and logically put together.
Definitely a good read if email marketing is relatively new to you and you want to start strong.
Rating: 3 books. Plenty of practical tips for beginners
Book #66 of 2019: "Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman
Started: 12/8/2019 Finished: 16/8/2019
Fiction is always a breath of fresh air when I find I've been reading too many practical guides. And this one was a true palate cleanser.
The story follows a young woman who feels out of step with the world. Despite holding down a full-time job and generally being able to take care of herself, past events continue to interfere with her present day. During the work week, her life is carefully planned around a robotic routine.
On the weekends, she drinks to forget.
Just when Eleanor thinks she's found true love, it all unravels around her and the careful and meticulous facade she's been crafting all these years comes crashing down.
All too relatable if you've ever felt yourself lonely, depressed, and ready to cling to anything that might drag you out of the darkness.
Thankfully, there's enough humour to keep it from feeling too heavy.
Rating: 4 books. Tragic and touching
Book #67 of 2019: "Calm The F*ck Down" by Sarah Knight
Started: 17/8/2019 Finished: 22/8/2019
This took me longer than usual to get through, not because it was a slog but because I wanted to savour every second.
In keeping with its 4 predecessors in the series, Calm The F*ck Down offers a hearty serving of practical advice with a side of swearing (much like my own site aims to do). Sarah strides in with the authoritative confidence of someone who's been there, done that.
The book is chock full of "ample calamity management tools for stressful times", including the call to "name your tarantulas" – those big hairy things that hurtle themselves at you in life. Once identified and dealt with, they're not quite so scary.
It's outrageously funny, unbelievably helpful, and, if you have regular run-ins with anxiety, heart-achingly relatable.
Rating: 5 books. Truly a triumph for anxiety sufferers everywhere
Book #68 of 2019: "The Curmudgeon's Guide To Getting Ahead" by Charles Murray
Started: 23/8/2019 Finished: 24/8/2019
As a happy little curmudgeon myself, I thought I'd enjoy this much more than I did. Sadly, it seems to tip the scale of curmudgeonhood to a side even I'm not comfortable with.
It's funny and informative (particularly around proper use of the English language), but there's a difference between the kind of grumpy old man everyone grudgingly admires, and the pain in the ass who refuses to give kids their ball back. While this mostly fell into the former category, I did feel it strayed into the latter a few times.
Rating: 3 books. Sometimes feels a bit more patronising than prescriptive
Book #69 of 2019: "The Art of Simple Living" by Shunmyo Masuno
Started: 25/8/2019 Finished: 28/8/2019
Comprising 100 little lessons from a Zen monk, this one's a quick, soothing read. As you can imagine, there's a lot in here about meditation and mindfulness, and the benefits of cutting complications out of your life.
I quite enjoyed it, particularly for how easy it was to dive into, but found large parts of it to be very repetitive. Still, it gave some interesting insights into life as a monk, included some background references to the practice of Buddhism, and provided some food for thought.
It's unlikely to inspire you to turn your whole life around, but it's also unlikely you'll close it without at least a passing desire to slow down and take stock.
Rating: 3 books. A good read if you're looking for something light to soothe your weary soul
Pro tip: I’m often asked how I manage to read so much. One of my tricks is to include shorter books like this that can be read in one or two sittings.
Book #70 of 2019: "Things My Son Needs To Know About The World" by Fredrik Backman
Started: 30/8/2019 Finished: 30/8/2019
I only ever intended to read a few pages before turning out the light but happily stayed up until past my bedtime to finish this one.
This is a father's ode to his young son. It perfectly balances the pearls of wisdom every parent wants to share, while also sharing some personal stories from the child's early life. But if you think this is sappy as a sack of kittens, you're very much mistaken.
It's the kind of book you don't want to read while lying next to your sleeping husband because you'll only wake him with snorts of laughter.
Rating: 5 books. If your sides aren't splitting, you're reading it wrong.
Overall, a commendable bunch. I'm at the stage in my "reading career" where I've realised life's too short to read books I'm not more or less in love with. Too often I've stuck with a book purely because I'd started and didn't want to admit that I'd wasted time with it. I finished to feel satisfied... but rarely did.
This month has shown me that the real waste of time is continuing with a mediocre book when there are so many others out there more worthy of my attention. So from now on the perfectionist in me is going to have to pipe down.
Am I the only one?
Have you ever finished a book just to "see it through"?