Friday, February 25, 2011

Rekindling my Love of Reading

Ever since I got my Kindle in the fall, it's become my favorite device of the dozens of digital goodies that can be found in my apt or bag. Not only is the Kindle the cutest little thing in the world, but it's often smaller, lighter and and more versatile than its paper and cardboard book counterparts. Plus if you are someone that likes to read more than one thing at a time, or is tearing through books at the speed of light, this device will change your life because you can buy new books at the snap of a finger and access dozens of them all at once.

The best feature is that you can keep up with your reading even if you forget your Kindle, using the iphone or Android app. So if I'm in the subway and can't even access my email, I can still get ahead in my book-- and it auto-syncs with the kindle so I just pick up where I left of. Rad.

Ok, enough of the Kindle love-fest. And no, Amazon did not pay me for this promotion...though they should. The real purpose of this post was to tell you about my favorite books of the year so far. Here's what I've read:

This was the first novel that I have read in probably a year, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much I enjoyed a novel! If you are a frequent novel reader (and a female), you've probably read this already, but if you haven't, buy it, read it, love it. It's a page turner (or in the words of R. Kelly, "a cliff hanga"), with a very compelling plot about racial relations in the south in the 50s, and a very lovable cast of female characters.

The story of the man who started Zappos, this book is not as impeccably written as some other of the business books I've read, but Tony's exciting story through the ups and downs of starting, selling, funding and running tech companies kept me reading. Lots of lessons to be heard about entrepreneurialism...and of course, many interesting anecdotes about Zappos.

Unlike, Delivering Happiness, this book takes the more traditional business book approach of stating and explaining best practices about business behavior, through research and examples from experts and example companies. I felt it was lacking a true point of view, and subsequently repeated itself often, hammering home somewhat obvious efficiency techniques for successful teams and businesses. Verdict: Eh, skip it.

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
This is hands down my favorite book of the year. It may sound cheesy, and I must admit it holds the same sort of stigma as Eat, Pray, Love (which after getting over it, I finally read last year...and loved), but this book is great. This is the story of a very successful woman, in a happy relationship, with two great kids and a great job, who simply decides that she is not as happy as she wants to be. She takes the self-aware approach to focus on happiness for a year-- making resolutions to promote her happiness, reading and researching the history and schools of thought around happiness, and ultimately discovering that we are all in charge of our own destiny and can chose whether to be happy! This is not a desperate woman attempting to make herself happy-- this is a busy New Yorker who is sick of being always in a rush, unappreciative or feeling that her mood is not within her control. I highlighted and note-took all over this book (yes, you can do that electronically with the kindle!) and caught myself making changes to my behavior based on the things I'd read. I even did a massive kitchen clean and reorganization which was one of the most satisfying Saturday's I've had in forever. Read it.

I Was Told There'd Be Cake, by Sloane Crosley
Recommended by a co-worker as a fun read, I've since recommended it to everyone who wants to be entertained on a vacation, plane, or just wants some light-hearted reading before bed. It's a collection of true(?) short stories about a Westchester native and 20 something Manhattanite, told with a heavy dose of sarcasm, self-deprecation and wit. From stories about locking herself out twice in one day (sounds familiar doesn't it?), to serving as a bride's maid (and yes, that spelling is intentional: this job is equal to that of a household maid/slave), the writing style is hilarious, and I found myself literally laughing out loud on the subway. The only disappointment was finishing it; and with that, I pressed "order" on my kindle and purchased her second book, How Did You Get this Number, which I'm currently plowing through.

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