Today, March 2nd, is Read Across America day — the nation’s largest celebration of reading. The purpose is to excite children and adults about this waning pastime. People from all walks of life engage with their community, spurring on enthusiasm to get lost in the pages of a good book.
This day resonates with many people, myself included. As a journalist, I spend a large portion of my day with the written word. Afterwards, I want to veg out in front of the TV. But, then I remember the pleasure of a good novel.
Books teach us, open our eyes, make us laugh, let us escape, and expand our minds.
In honor of Read Across America day, here are a few of my favorite books I think you’ll enjoy. Their genres run the gamut. Many have stood the test of time and are still relevant today. A few you’ll want to purchase, allowing you to reference them anytime.
Here are 10 favorite books for Read Across America Day!
I read this book prior to an Alaskan Iditarod vacation. But that needn’t be a prerequisite to thoroughly enjoy Gary Paulsen’s adventure. The escapades of Paulsen and his lovable team of misfit mutts will make you belly laugh! Their collective lack of wilderness knowledge results in a roller coaster of emotions during the 17-day, 1,180 mile Alaskan Iditarod race.
This is a book you’ll read more than once.
Click here to purchase: https://amzn.to/3uh79z9
What Should I Do With My Life?
At the age of 41 I made a career change. After years working in advertising, I segued my skills of writing press releases into writing travel articles, and never looked back. But, it wasn’t without a bit of angst.
Given the current employment climate, many of you may be wanting to make a career change.
This book reiterates the importance of people, no matter their age, finding fulfillment in their careers.
Not just those starting out in the world of business, but everyone. Author Po Bronson criss-crossed America interviewing people who listened to their inner voice for the true calling.
Click here to purchase: https://amzn.to/2ZyKTCY
In the same vein, this book unfurls stories of women pivoting their careers in midlife. I dog-eared many pages in my copy, which is indicative of an informative, helpful read. You’ll glean perspective from Julia Child who published her first cookbook at age 49, catapulting her to subsequent decades of accomplishments. Sage advise from Pultizer Prize winning journalist Anna Quindlen, tells how she battled ridicule from co-workers and friends when leaving a top position at the New York Times to stay home and become a novelist. Quindlen listened to her heart and not the naysayers.
“What’s Next?” encourages readers to trust their intuition and go for it, whether it be a career or life decision.
Click here to purchase: https://amzn.to/2NA7D2T
The title may imply outlandish outfits costing a week’s salary. Quite the contrary. Ines de la Fressange touts the importance of classic chic. A strand of white pearls worn with your leather jacket gives a winning offbeat look. Fressange says to never buckle a trench coat in the front. Either “tie it in front or behind with the buckle hanging loose. Push up the sleeves to make it look less rigid.” Transform a blazer by belting it! I’ve done this many times and it elevates the look. These are only a few of her suggestions. There’s a great section on shoes.
Who knew Converse sneakers were all the rage in France?
I’ve owned this book for numerous years and refer to it often.
Click her to purchase: https://amzn.to/2MEAXVx
In typical Parisian style, light a beautiful scented candle while reading your book.
Paddywax has the library candle collection named after literary geniuses.
John Steinbeck’s soy candle has hints of amber and smoked birch. Louisa May Alcott, cherry blossoms and Ivy. Mark Twain, tobacco flowers and vanilla.
Click here to purchase any of the 10 fragrances: https://amzn.to/3unmIFJ
What You Wear Can Change Your Life
The two super funny British authors write as if they’re giving advice to a best girlfriend.
Defining your shape is the springboard for countless examples of how to accentuate your best assets and disguise the ones you don’t like.
Boobs heading south? They’ve found the perfect bra. Thick ankles? A more substantial shoe such as a loafer style or simple thong lends length. Lipstick bleeds into the fine lines around your mouth? Use a transparent lip liner that goes with any shade you’ll wear. Jewelry, belts, handbags, they cover it all. The chapter on colors to suit your skin tone is extremely helpful. Trinny and Susannah have written numerous guides, but this one outlines basic do’s and don’t’s to look your best.
You’ll refer to this book often whether choosing an outfit for a special occasion or dressing for a night out with your sweetheart.
Chick here to purchase: https://amzn.to/3uIgAIp
Total brain candy. But sometimes that’s all you want and John Grisham delivers. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original $25 million manuscripts are stolen from Princeton University’s library. Is the quirky Florida bookshop owner behind the heist? Or perhaps the young novelist who hasn’t turned out a book in years due to writers block?
There’s intrigue, romance, murder…the whole shebang in one read.
Click here to purchase: https://amzn.to/303AaRj
The Book of Joy
The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu — two of the most revered spiritual heroes of our time — met in India for one week to explore the nature of pure joy. Chronicling their extraordinary words of wisdom was author Douglas Abrams, who interviewed the men on the ultimate source of happiness. Abrams acknowledged how lucky he was to have the “profound privilege to convey the remarkable week of dialogues” that took place at the Dalai Lama’s residence.
The book has an abundance of take-aways — “joy is much bigger than happiness.”
“While happiness is often seen as being dependent on external circumstances, joy is not.” Photos of the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu’s convivial reunion are sprinkled throughout the book. They outline eight pillars of joy. Four are qualities of the mind. Four of the heart. These incredibly respected gentlemen are the embodiment of all.
Click here to purchase: https://amzn.to/3dtUhzS
Leaders Eat Last
Full disclosure, I have a total geek crush on Simon Sinek!. He catapulted onto the business stage after his Tedx video went viral with seven million views. In it he discusses the most important habit of great leaders dubbed The Golden Circle. When businesses are defining their role in industry, they should start by asking why do they exist, instead of what does the company do. Their purpose, cause, belief…their why.
In Leaders Eat Last, Sinek deconstructs how to create a work culture where everyone feels as if they belong.
Cross generational appreciation (millennials, genX, baby boomers) supports cohesiveness. The personality and values of the person at the top drives outcome. Small companies are more innovative than their larger counterparts when the staff pulls together. Sinek is a master of taking something so simple to generate a hug impact. He revolutionizes businesses with a tweak.
Click her to purchase: https://amzn.to/3k5UwCs
One small company with fresh ideas in the literary world is Storiarts. Founder, Tori Tissell, having just graduated from design school, printed the words from her favorite books onto wearable garments. The prose of Sense and Sensibility are scribbled onto cotton writing gloves. The escapades of Sherlock Holmes grace the folds of a dapper scarf.
There is an entire line of products boasting paragraphs from the classics we read.
Click here to purchase.
Sense and Sensibility gloves: https://amzn.to/3pJgBbj
Hamlet gloves: https://amzn.to/3pOB5PH
Anne of Green Gables gloves: https://amzn.to/3umKz8s
The Little Prince scarf: https://amzn.to/3keEzdt
Sherlock Holmes scarf: https://amzn.to/3buniZx
Wuthering Heights scarf: https://amzn.to/3btxTE5
Heartwarming doesn’t begin to describe the human/animal bond in this true story. Atticus is a miniature schnauzer named for the central character in To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus M. Finch. His human, Tom Ryan, is the publisher and editor of the Newburyport, Massachusetts newspaper. After Ryan loses a close friend to cancer, he decides to galvanize her memory by climbing all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000 foot peaks to raise money for charity. His sturdy four-legged buddy wasn’t going to miss out on the fun.
Together they braved snow, sleet, sun, wind and scenes of unspeakable beauty to reach their goal.
It’s a story of healing, companionship, adventure and the power of a dog’s love.
Click here to purchase: https://amzn.to/3dpkdwC
Blue Ocean Strategy
My graduate school professor recommended I read this book. To date, four million copies have been sold, which attests to its validity. The premise substantiates that businesses are better off finding an uncontested niche than competing in an already saturated market.
In short, we can’t be all things to all people.
Don’t try to compete with overcrowded industries. Swim for open waters that are ripe for growth. For example, as a travel journalist I could try appealing to the masses. But, the smarter choice is “swim” where I’m most helpful. For me that’s creating content for women ages 45-65. It’s an underrepresented demographic. This is where I’m the most useful. Blue Ocean Strategy sheds light on six principles to help you find your path.
Click here to purchase: https://amzn.to/37wrU0b
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Photos courtesy of https://pixabay.com/