One of my goals for 2018 is to read at least 40 books, like I did last year. Reading is such an enjoyable and worthwhile habit, but it does take some self-discipline to make time for it.
I’ve been trying to read more non-fiction books lately, hoping to read for education as well as enjoyment.
Related post: How to find time to read when you’re just too busy
Related: Click here to check out the 40 books I read in 2017.
I read five books in February, and four of them were non-fiction! That is quite unlike me. Maybe in March I’ll treat myself to more of the psychological thriller novels I so enjoy.
In the order that I read them, here are the books I read in February.
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I’ve been wanting to read a book by Dale Carnegie for a while now, and decided to start with this one. I do have a propensity toward worrying (especially late at night), so I was excited to see what he had to say on the topic.
This book was actually written in the 1940s, but the advice is timeless. My biggest takeaway was to focus on ‘daytight compartments.’ In other words, when you’re overwhelmed, concentrate on one day at a time. It’s easy to feel anxious when you’re thinking about every possible future event or outcome.
Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.
– Thomas Carlyle
Carnegie also explains that the best antidote for worry is exercise (which I already knew – I love exercising). And when you’re in a phase of particular anxiety and worry, fill all your time with activities that take your focus off your problems. Basically, become so busy that you have no time for worry.
He also recommends going through these processes to get a calmer perspective:
Write down and answer these questions in this order:
1. What is the problem?
2. What is the cause of the problem?
3. What are all possible solutions?
4. What is the best solution?
When big trouble hits, ask:
What is the worst that can possibly happen if I don’t solve my problem?
Prepare mentally to accept the worst.
Try to calmly improve that worst case scenario as best you can.
Thinking through and actually writing down all aspects of a situation forces your brain to see the problem more logically, versus emotionally.
Carnegie’s book is chock full of examples of people who have used a variety of methods to overcome their worry and anxious nature. It’s a worthwhile read if you struggle with similar issues.
Click here to check it out on Amazon.
I was so excited to read this book, as I’d heard great things about it. The author, Chris Guillebeau, is a popular blogger (though I’d never heard of him until recently) who teaches how to become successful and independent by following non-conventional paths.
Now, I’m totally on board with the philosophy that there are many routes to getting where you want to go in life. I just wasn’t expecting the author to spend much of the book knocking college degrees. Chris actually does have a bachelor’s and master’s degree, and very well may have become successful without them.
But I don’t think that’s true of everyone. Some careers definitely require a college degree. Higher education is right for some people, and not for others.
I suppose I thought he came off quite pretentious and judgmental, especially of life paths he considers conventional (aka conformist).
Chris also geared a great deal of the book toward world travel, and basically how it’s a means to the end of being a non-conformist. I don’t consider myself to be at all into conforming (maybe that’s why I didn’t get anything out of it?) and have yet to be bitten by the world travel bug.
If it’s never occurred to you that you could carve your own path in life, then maybe this book is for you. If you want world travel advice, you could potentially get something out of this book or Chris’s blog. Otherwise, I’d pass.
Related: Click here to check out the books I read in January.
This book is for bloggers and other ‘creators.’ The Kindle version is under $3 (at the time I’m writing this) and it’s definitely worth far more than that. Meera has a great blog that teaches other bloggers about marketing strategies.
I think she might be a genius.
Truthfully, I haven’t worked through the downloadable worksheets quite yet, though I plan to do so soon. But I got loads of useful information and food for thought from the book itself. I usually opt for borrowing books from the library instead of purchasing them, but at such a great price, I couldn’t resist buying this one. I figured I’d want to reference it over and over, and I was right.
If you’re a blogger who needs helping coming up with cohesive blog post ideas or creating an editorial calendar, definitely check out One Hour Content Plan.
Pinterest Ninja is a cross between a book and an e-course. It’s delivered in PDF format, but there are lots of places to click through and watch videos. The course walks you through setting up a Pinterest business account, creating pins, finding keywords, and other best strategies. It also covers using affiliates and a wide variety of other helpful tips.
The author also offers tons of freebies like stock photos and other graphics. The value is remarkable. If you want to learn how to market your blog or business with Pinterest, this book is for you!
Even though the title of this book suggests that it’s another in the self-help genre, it is actually the fiction book I read in February.
I got it for free with Kindle First Reads through Amazon Prime. (Don’t have Prime? Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.) With Kindle First Reads, I get an email on the 1st of every month with early access to 6 brand new ebooks to choose from. I get to “buy” one of them for free, and they’re always editor’s picks due to be released the following month.
I really enjoyed this book! It’s in the mystery/psychological thriller genre that I love so much. The main character, Nora, an occasional sleepwalker, can’t remember what she was doing the night her cheating ex-husband and his new wife were murdered. Signs point to the fact that she might have been the one who did it, and the police agree.
I liked that this book has a more homey approach to the mystery genre. The setting is a cozy East Coast town during November, and I enjoyed the Fall references to apple picking and Thanksgiving.
If you don’t have a Kindle and want one, this is the one I got for my birthday a couple years ago. If you aren’t interested in purchasing an e-reader right now, you can get the Kindle reading app for free, and use your phone to read ebooks! I have it on my phone and it’s so convenient when I get stuck somewhere without a book. Click here to get the FREE Kindle Reading App.
If listening to audio books is more your style, you could check out an Audible free 30 day trial here, and get 2 free audio books.
In full disclosure, I did start reading A God In Ruins too, but just couldn’t get into it. I decided recently that there are just too many good books in the world to waste time on ones that don’t grab me quickly. I gave it 40 pages, and then moved on. It is the companion book to Life After Life, which I read last year and really liked.
I hope to read more fiction in March than I did this month, but for the most part I really enjoyed all the books I read in February.
What did you read this month? What books do you recommend?
Kindle First Reads (a free ebook on the 1st of every month)
Amazon Prime: Free 30 day trial (borrow ebooks from the Prime lending library for free!)