what i'm reading

A couple readers asked about what I've been reading lately, so I thought I'd do a little post about the books I've read so far this year.  I've really enjoyed all the books I've read so far this year.  I feel like I'm reading a lot more this year than last year, but that could just be because I've been on quite a few plane rides the last few months.  I get most of my reading done on planes.  I like that planes are pretty much technology-free zones, though now most of them seem to have internet.  Still, my computer's battery is so old that it will barely hold a charge for 30 minutes now, and onboard internet between Seattle and Alaska is spotty at best, so reading is a better option anyway. 
My mom gave me One Thousand Gifts for Christmas and I quickly ate it up. I think I'd nearly finished it before getting off the plane from Anchorage at SeaTac.  I loved it.  Ann's writing style is very interesting, unique, and visceral.  Even if you don't have any faith in a God, I still think that Ann's message about the life-changing effect of living in a state of constant thankfulness and thanksgiving is invaluable.  Especially for those of us living in the blogosphere constantly, it's easy to adopt an attitude of jealousy and/or comparison, instead of realizing how blessed we are for what we have right in front of us.  Replacing comparison with thankfulness is something that I know I need to be constantly doing in my life.  I also loved Ann's attention to the smallest of things.  She gives thanks for things like freckles of light dancing on her kitchen counter, the crisp smell of autumn air, the sound of a child's unadulterated laughter.  I think we forget how many gifts are around us all the time, and in order to see them we only have to open our eyes.  I've long held the belief that in order to experience daily miracles, we need only be aware.

Omnivore's Dilemma was a book Dan had on his shelf for a while, and after contemplating my diet and making some changes, I decided to borrow it.  Loved.  I absolutely love Michael Pollan's writing style, and way he wrote about the topic was very engaging.  I'd definitely recommend Omnivore's Dilemma to anyone, especially those considering changing their diet to be more local and sustainable.  It gives you a ton of valuable information, without reading like a textbook.  He weaves his own experience in with the information in a very readable way.  So much so that...

I immediately went out and bought his other book, In Defense of Food.  Again, loved his writing, loved the content, would absolutely recommend.  This book is a bit shorter and a faster read than Omnivore's Dilemma, and less about facts and figures, and more about the philosophy of eating.  He boils things down to: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.   I appreciate the simplicity he advocates when it comes to eating, especially since we're bombarded with so many complex and confusing diets and nutritional information these days.  This is a great book to read after Omnivore's Dilemma, as it is more about the practice of eating, after learning everything about the food industry from reading Omnivore's Dilemma.  

I've been advised to read Quiet by quite a few people, since I'm an outspoken introvert (oxymoron? haha), and I loved Susan's TED Talk.  I only started it a couple days ago, but I'm in love.  It's so great.  I've long believed that the world these days is very extrovert-centric, making it feel like an unfriendly place for us introverts, and making us feel like something is wrong with us for being the way we are.  Group projects? No thank you.  Small talk? I'll pass.  Parties?  Super fun!  For a while, until I'm ready to go home and be alone again.  It's nice to have some validation that I'm not just an antisocial weirdo.  If you're an introvert, or think you might be, you should read this book.  I mean, I'm only just starting it, but I can tell it's going to keep getting better.  I'm glad people are out there dispelling the myth that extroversion is the way everyone should be.  I would love to be able to advocate more for introverts, especially in school settings where it's so in vogue to teach in a way that is very exclusive to extroverts (group projects, seminar settings, etc.).  It can definitely make kids feel like there's something wrong with them, when really they're just introverts and learn better by being more introspective and doing projects alone, rather than in a group. But anyway, all that is a topic for another post entirely, perhaps after I finish reading and am teeming with introverted thoughts.