A jam-packed journey around Nevada, Utah, and Arizona ate into a lot of my time this month so I didn't devote as much to reading as I regularly would. Still, I read more than I thought... and one was a pretty formidable 500-page beast.
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 doesn't float my boat, I still applaud the author. Their discipline and determination amazes me.
OK, on with the show.
For the month of June 2019, I curled up in my book nook with 6 different books. Here they are.
Book #48 of 2019: "How To Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
Started: 3/6/2019 Finished: 6/6/2019
Essentially a book about being a decent human being.
Most of what's in here is basic common sense – if you're nice to people, they'll be nice to you; if you're a dick, good luck getting very far in life.
Still, it never hurts to have a little reminder. There are plenty of anecdotes to keep things interesting and amusing (though I'm sure many examples could also be found to the contrary), and a welcome elevation of relational value over facts and figures.
Rating: 3 books. A gentle push away from being a prick
Book #49 of 2019: "Making Space, Clutter Free" by Tracy McCubbin
Started: 7/6/2019 Finished: 16/6/2019
I've read more decluttering books than I care to mention and, in truth, was becoming a bit jaded with the genre. Still, this one was hardback and had a pretty cover so I got sucked in. (Yes, I judge books by their covers. Sue me.)
And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. While most books deal with the physical aspects of decluttering, touching briefly on other factors, this one focuses a lot on the feelings behind why we find it so hard to part with things.
The author identifies 7 main emotional obstacles and talks through how to overcome them, from hand-me-down doubts to 'what if' worries.
I've been in the decluttering game for half a decade now, and this book still rocked (or at least rumbled) my streamlined world.
Rating: 4 books. Offers a fresh perspective on "stuff"
Book #50 of 2019: "You're Doing A Great Job" by Biz Ellis & Theresa Thorn
Started: 16/6/2019 Finished: 16/6/2019
From pre-conception to postpartum, this book details all the ways you're winning at parenting (even if it definitely doesn't feel like it).
If you're struggling with parenthood and are ready to have a quick laugh at the absurdity of your life, give this one a go. But maybe pick it up from the library because, honestly, I've read longer blog posts so you won't get much bang for your buck here.
Rating: 2 books. Amusing, but "book" is probably pushing it
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 #51 of 2019: "The Signature Of All Things" by Elizabeth Gilbert
Started: 16/6/2019 Finished: 24/6/2019
Let me admit a personal dislike upfront: tales that span entire lifetimes. (Sorry, "Little Women.") So you can imagine my dismay when I discovered that this book not only details the (fictional) life of Alma Whittaker, but includes a lengthy fore-amble about most of her father's life too.
It's beautifully written and remarkably well researched and, for that alone, Elizabeth Gilbert has my utmost admiration and respect. But it's longer than it needs to be and, as soon as Alma sets her sights on going overseas, it descends into absurdity quite quickly.
Some of the storyline is described in excruciating detail, and then wrapped up in too neat a little bow for my liking. The rest (like the fate of her sister) is dropped like a hot rock.
This one's a bit of an Everest – there are plenty of awe-inspiring things to experience along the way but it's an endurance effort and, while you're amazed at the achievement when all is said and done, you're also relieved to be rid of it.
Rating: 3 books. Simultaneously enchanting and frustrating
Book #52 of 2019: "How To Win Friends & Influence People In The Digital Age" by Dale Carnegie & Brent Cole
Started: 27/6/2019 Finished: 29/6/2019
The more modern version of the earlier book I read. This contains many of the same anecdotes from the previous book so I found it to be quite repetitive. And the rest can be summed up thusly: Think before you talk/text/type.
Rating: 2 books. Just read the original
Book #53 of 2019: "Influencer" by Brittany Hennessy
Started: 30/6/2019 Finished: 30/6/2019
I'm probably pretty biased here because, though I despise the term "influencer", the actual act of creating content is my bread and butter and life's blood. Social media and personal branding are right up my particularly nerdy street so I enjoyed this one immensely.
The author is 'Director of Influencer Talent' at Hearst Digital Media and has dealt with enough influencers and celebrities in her time to know a thing or two. As a result, this one's instructive, informative, sassy, and well-structured. It includes plenty of tips on what to expect, how to work with brands, what to charge, how contracts are structured, and loads more.
There are also amusing anecdotes to highlight what you definitely should not be doing.
My main gripe is that it's geared towards lifestyle bloggers so there's plenty of talk of promoting beauty products and fashion items. Also, it's targeting a wide audience, from those starting from scratch to those with 6- and 7-figure followings. I'd love to see separate books for each so I could dive into my particular situation in more depth.
Still, if you're considering a career as a content creator, or you're already venturing down the path and want to level up, there's plenty in here to keep you busy.
Rating: 4 books. Very helpful if you're in the influencer business (even if you hate the term itself)
It's my goal to read 100 books this year and, now that I've already surpassed 50 at the year's halfway mark, I'm cautiously optimistic I'll actually pull it off!
The biggest challenge facing me right now is the choice of what to read next!
What’s on your to-be-read list for July?
See below for previous book nooks you may have missed: