I definitely read more than usual this year, and I loved it. Reading is sexy. Reading makes me smarter, more interesting (I hope). This is a round-up of some of the books I read in 2012, some thoughts on them, and a chance for you to grab a copy of two of them from me.
Loose Diamonds | Amy Ephron
I realize that Amy Ephron has written a handful of books before, but Loose Diamonds was my introduction to her as an author, and I have to say – it was a great introduction. I skimmed the book description, and words like “humor,” “stories,” and “evocative,” caught my attention. Honestly, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect, but I pictured something along the lines of Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?. It’s not that book.
It’s funny, and Ephron does have a lovely sense of humor, but this book made me feel way more than I was expecting to. Every single essay reads simply and straight-forward, until the end when an unexpected (and often poignant) twist shows up, causing me to consider something I hadn’t before or reflect on my own memories of childhood, neighbors, and brief-though-significant relationships in my life.
It’s a quick and easy read, and I highly recommend it. In fact, I recommend it so much that I’m giving away a copy to a reader here. Giveaway details are below.
*I was sent a copy of the book for review, and of course, all opinions are my own.
The Celestine Prophecy | James Redfield
I sort of have mixed feelings about this book. I LOVED it while reading it. A lot of it reminded me of The Alchemist (which is one of my favorite books), in that it’s about a guy on a journey that’s really about more than finding treasure or an ancient manuscript. I won’t add any spoilers here for those who haven’t read the books, but suffice it to say, this was a page-turner. There many parts I just couldn’t read through fast enough. I loved the New Age-y, mystical tone and themes to the book.
The mixed feelings come in when I finished the book, thought about seeking out the sequel and then realized that there were multiple sequels to the book, and I just got a little overwhelmed. Lazy? I don’t know. I don’t think so, because books with sequels don’t scare me (hello Hunger Games, Twilight, etc). Totally worth the read though, and one day, when I’m through all of the other books on my list of books to read, I might pick up the next ones to see what happens next.
What French Women Know | Debra Ollivier
What French Women Know About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind.
I adored this book. It’s another quick and easy read that was a fun look into French and American culture, specifically (and light-heartedly) as it relates to women. This book basically taught me that French women are honeybadgers, and I could take a cue or two there.
Spoiler alert: I did, and I’m happier worrying less about what other people think of me and learning to maintain some sense of personal privacy (or more accurately, learning not to completely overshare everything, always, with everyone. A little mystery never hurt anyone, right?).
The $100 Startup | Chris Guillebeau
Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
This is a super awesome read for anyone interested in starting their own business, working for themselves, rocking a fun (and profitable) side hustle, and learning about other businesses who have successfully done this on start-up budgets basically around $400. I read it right after I incorporated EffYeah Media, and it was such a perfectly timed read that taught me about everything from pre-launch marketing to the absolute easiest way to start a consulting business.
My favorite part is that this book is the result of thousands of case studies, the common successes and failures pulled out of all of those to use as over-arching lessons. It’s not just about Chris’ experiences, though he shares some of his as well. I think that’s what makes this book so compelling (and for me, trustworthy). While it’s clear that what Chris has built for himself has been successful, it offers deeper credibility to talk beyond his formula for success and provide a variety of experiences and stories that will resonate with a wider and more diverse audience. I highly recommend this book.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling
I read this book in about a day and a half in various hammocks on Costa Rican beaches. That alone makes me look back and remember this book with fondness. Beyond that, Mindy is funny and smart, and I really enjoyed the insight into her career as a writer and actress. Grab this book before your next flight. It’ll go by that fast.
Giveaway – 2 Books, 2 Chances to Win!
I’m giving away my copies of The Celestine Prophecy and Loose Diamonds to two separate readers of this blog. To win, simply leave a comment below and let me know what the best (or most memorable) book you read this year was.
One bonus entry if you tweet about the giveaway. Here, I made it really easy for you: Click to tweet.
Leave two separate comments, one for each of the entries.
Contest rules: Giveaway is open until 11:59pm on Sunday night, December 23, at which point I’ll select a winner and notify them by email. The first (randomly selected) winner will have their choice of books, the second winner will receive the other. Loose Diamonds was a gift from the publisher, Celestine Prophecy is my own copy. I also own it on Kindle, so I didn’t really need a second copy, ya know?
I probably won’t ship these until after 12/25, since the post office is probably a crazy place on 12/24, so hang tight!
Update: Congrats to Joanne and Ms. Salti! The winners were selected using random.org and will be notified by email.