Books I Love

Great Books Link Party!

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Don’t we all love to get lost in a great book?  I’m still old school, preferring to hold the pages in my hands, but my latest obsession with the iPad has me rethinking that habit, especially the convenience of a lighted screen at night after Matt falls asleep (since my favorite thing to do before I fall asleep is read!!)

I struggled with what book to write about today, then turned to the classic that sits on my bookshelf – what I call my “vacation” book – the one I like to tote along with me when I take a few days off.  But of course!  Have you read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift From the Sea ?  The author was a mother of five and the wife of the famous Charles Lindbergh, she also became a pilot herself and led quite an adventurous life.  The book was originally published back in 1955, but I’m still amazed at how the author’s reflections ring true today!


I discovered this book ten years ago in a little beach boutique in San Diego, and it had such an impact on me, I try to reread it every year.  Lindbergh gives a thoughtful perspective that reflects on the often overwhelming commitments and everyday demands placed on women in the modern home.  The most interesting parts are her analogies of life’s complex issues and relationships to shells found along the beach, an association I’d never make on my own but done so articulately in the 120 pages.

It was written while Anne took a beach vacation alone and away from her family.  The book pulls you to a quiet place, insisting you exist as you read it as if part of the rhythmic tide of the ocean.  I love her perspective on the ‘circus act’ women perform in our everyday lives, between children, keeping up the household, our work, and our volunteer efforts.  It places real value on moments spent alone in order to feed the soul, and the importance of time spent resisting the pressures of the world and being inwardly attentive.   It analyzes our female instinct to give of ourselves to others, but how necessary it is to take moments for ourselves so we can give with purpose.  It offers reflections on marriage and sister relationships that are heartfelt, poignant, and meaningful.

There are so many quotes in the book that I love, here are three I underlined:

“I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest.  I find I am shedding the hypocrisy in human relationships… the most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.”  (Chapter 2)   Do you/we waste too much time invested in false relationships? 

“I believe that true identity is found by going into one’s own ground and knowing oneself.  It is found in creative activity springing from within.  It is found, paradoxically, when one loses oneself.  Woman can best refind herself by losing herself in some kind of creative activity of her own.”  (Chapter 4)  Yes, yes, how true that fulfillment often comes from tapping into our creativity!

“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can only collect at few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.”  (Chapter 7)   Just like we should not collect too many material possessions in our homes… the focus should be keeping it simple and meaningful.

If you haven’t read it, I recommend picking it up, especially for the next time you take a few days off.  For all those who’ve read it, what did you love about Gift From The Sea

Time to share your latest book – link up your reviews!


On The Nightstand

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

I still read all my books in print and haven’t made the switch over to a Nook or Kindle yet.  I pick them up at the bookstore or purchase them online – the good ones I keep for the bookshelf, the so-so ones I end up donating.  I do most of my reading before bedtime since it helps me relax, but I’m always reading 5 or 6 books at a time.  Sometimes I’ll read a good one start to finish, more often I’ll set it down and start another subject, is that strange?  Here’s what’s on my nightstand this month.

on my nightstand


I’m preparing in advance for a return trip to Paris next year by filling my mind with related stories of the City of Light, so forgive me but three, yes three of the books on my nightstand have the city of Paris as a main character.   

Paris versus New York by Vahram Muratyan.   A happy book of illustrations and contradictions between the two iconic cities, comparing what we eat, where we go, how we greet, what we do, and even offering observations as whimsical as a comparison between park squirrels. This is a great conversational coffee table book, you can see more examples at the ParisVNYC blog

Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas.  This is the story of a Francophile who got offered a job in Paris, so she moves and undertakes a journey in blissful pursuit of the best things to eat in the City, with a focus on sweets from macarons to éclairs to decadent chocolate truffles.  So far I’m thoroughly enjoying it even though it makes me really hungry. 

Paris in Love by Eloisa James.  I haven’t cracked this one open yet  and I really look forward to it.  It’s a diary of a year spent in Paris told by a professor who sells her house, takes a sabbatical, and lives with her family for a year in Paris, France.  

Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? by MIndy Kaling.   I like the show ‘The Office’ and she’s one of the writers and actors on the show.  I’ve read from some other people that this book is quirky and funny, so I added it to my stash, but have yet to read it.  Have you?  Thoughts?

Nerve by Taylor Clark.  I’m halfway through this one and it’s so interesting.  It’s an  exploration into the science of fear and how to channel it, deal with it, thrive under the pressure of nervousness.  It explores why athletes either excel or choke under pressure and decodes the mysteries of performance anxiety.  The book shares ways to accept uncertainty, to embrace what scares you or makes you anxious, so far it’s pretty great.     

The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry.  I just finished this book last week after reading it over the course of a few months.  Its focus is on the dynamic behind true creative work and the author shares his ingredients for being "sustainably brilliant" while offering strategies for staying inspired.  I especially loved the concluding remarks about "how you define greatness defines you" – it’s a great read for someone in a creative field.

Secrets of Sommeliers by Rajat Parr and Jordan MacKay.  Wine tasting is a continuing education and for those who want to learn, this book teaches the fundamentals.  It is also a varietal guide to wine.  Inside, the authors share tools of the trade for buying and storing wine, tips for food pairing, and gives a few reasons why travel to wine producing countries and regions rewards you with an advanced palate.  I really like the tips for buyers from the experts’ perspective. 

Home Design by Sabrina Soto.  Sabrina is a HGTV host, currently of the show The High Low Project and I’ve always liked her gregarious personality and quick style tips. I’ve only skimmed it so far but it starts with how to understand your space and find your personal style.  It addresses a lot of basics like color palettes and selecting surfaces.  There are no over the top designer spaces, it’s more practical and simple ideas for everyday living with tips on decluttering and organizing.  So far it looks like a good book for those starting out wanting to do their own cosmetic remodeling and redecorating.      

What’s on your nightstand this summer? 

Any good reads you’re loving that you would recommend?  


** Movie themed Link Party postponed… will announce the new date soon!