2017 Reading List: February + Life Updates

How is it the last day of February already??? I hope this month has been filled with wonderful things for you. Valentines with my husband was pretty low key but still special. He also celebrated his birthday this week and one month from now, we will be celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary! Cuh-razy.

Work is also in full swing for both of us. C found a new marketing job and he's really enjoying it so far. I've also started working part-time for a non-profit and I'm having fun with it as well! These jobs are definitely gifts we want to steward well.

Now for my fellow book nerds out there, we're capping off the month with a list of things we read.

Photo from Jocelyn Glei's website
Manage Your Day-to-Day (from 99U) /  
I'm a sucker for all things productivity and self-improvement. This means I spend an inordinate amount of time browsing Lifehacker and reading psychology articles. Ordering Your Private World is one of my favorite books. So when C and I discovered the books that 99U created, I knew I was in for a treat.

Manage Your Day-to-Day is down to earth and inspirational. I could say the same for Maximize Your Potential, which I read sometime last year. 99U's books are geared towards creatives--but this doesn't mean it's just for designers, photographers, and artists in the technical sense of the term. If you're an entrepreneur, corporate employee, or just someone seeking some ideas and motivation to improve on your trade, you'll still benefit from what 99U has to offer. However, I can't speak for the third book in the series since it looks like it's specifically for entrepreneurs.

Manage Your Day-to-Day and Maximize Your Potential are both packed with quotable words and actionable ideas in every essay. I have the Kindle copies but the physical books would make for a nice collection. It doesn't hurt that they're inexpensive too. The 99U books are easy to read and like I said, practical. You can read one essay every day if you're in need of an extra dose of inspiration for your work day.

Side note: While books like Managing Your Day-to-Day are helpful, I believe Jesus is still the best model for time management. He worked, he had a clear mission and he didn't waste any time doing things that didn't align with that mission. He also set aside a lot of time to be by himself to pray and be connected to his Father. Jesus is the perfect example of hard work, focus, and rest. 

Photo from Amazon
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? 
The four stars are for incredible character development, smart humor, and a "mixed media" approach that just works. In Bernadette you'll find emails, handwritten notes, news clippings, and even an FBI file. Using a variety of narrative devices is not a cop-out; it actually serves the story well. Semple's characters are intelligent, sarcastic, and emotionally charged but never volatile (except maybe for Bernadette, but her unpredictability is consistent enough that you can kind of predict what she'll do next? Perhaps.) 

The novel is truly Bernadette's story--it's about her struggles, achievements, buried dreams, and exhumed nightmares. It is about her social anxiety, escapist tendencies, and creative genius. It is about Bernadette the mother, wife, and architect. But at the same time, the people surrounding her are so well developed and don't just act as fringe characters. It's all about Bernadette and also not just about her. 

I would have given the book 5 stars but I took out one because the ending was too abrupt for me. Semple may have thought it best to end the book the way she did, but I think ending it with an epilogue of sorts would have been better.

In true Patricia fashion, I'm also reading two more books at the same time. I'm also working on Kevin DeYoung's The Hole in Our Holiness and M.R. Carey's The Girl with All the Gifts (the movie adaptation came out recently). Feel free to let me know what you guys are reading or let's follow each other on Instagram! I frequently post what I'm reading there :)

Stay tuned to see what other literary goodness March holds! 

READING GOAL STAT: 6/25 books read.

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