Glorious Pinterest find 🙂

 First of all, I’ve been thinking our my Congo kids like crazy this week. Every photo I have in Congo, I am smiling effortlessly…the pure joy that those kids brought to my life is unmatched. I’m starting to think I need to interact with children more often…their innocence is captivating. I found this photo of the kids in a teammate’s stash and it just made me so…HAPPY:


It’s been awhile since I did a book roundup (Check out my post, “10 Books You Should Read.”) and I know people are always hungry for the next great read so…I wanted to share with you some of the books I’ve read this year. Some have been covered on The Sweet Life in their own entries so I will link to those.

10 More Books To Read

1. Born To Run by Christopher McDougallI’ve written about this one many times because I enjoyed it so much. Any runner will get something out of it…whether it’s the fascination with minimal running, the sheer joy of running freedom, the entertainment value of the characters, the historical knowledge about the world’s fastest runners (a tribe of Mexican Indians!) or the life of Caballo Blanco. A MUST READ!

2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
I just recently covered this one and am still excited about it because we are discussing it this Monday at book club! Think you aren’t interested in science? Think again. This is a fascinating look through two distinct lenses of a woman’s life: science and family. Skloot spent over 10 years from start to finish on this book, gathering loads of research and being intimately acquainted with the family of Henrietta Lacks. A personal interest story to the max and a fabulous, well written read.

3. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
A truly enjoyable read if you are looking for a few tips to perk up your life. First of all, I’m totally jealous that Rubin got a book deal to do this for a year. I mean, getting paid to do all the things in this book? Dream! She comes up with some common sense strategy for a more fullfilling (aka happy) life. Everything from decreasing clutter to joining a book club to just being quiet (and more), this is a great book for suggestions if you are stuck in a rut. 

4. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
I always liked Rob Lowe and didn’t know it. I’ve always enjoyed the characters he played but was never into his earlier work which is what made him amazingly famous. I heard his autobiography was good and also that was somewhat politically involved personally. I found this intriguing and bought the book on a whim. I actuall had no idea he was such Hollywood royalty and his stories really are amazing. The coincidences that brought him to meet so many mega famous people so early on in his life were true catapults to stardom. It’s also interesting to hear him talk about the early early days working with Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayzee and more. And…he’s so incredibly sweet and loving bout his wife, you can’t help but love that. However, he defiinitely admits to be being quite the manwhore before he met her. 

5. A Drinking Life by Pete Hammil
Like the Tender Bar, I was drawn to this book because it was written by a journalist. And..for whatever reason, I’m a sucker for this drinking memoirs. I definitely love the stories of overcoming and no matter what the destruction they did, drinkers always have some great stories. I didn’t like this as much as The Tender Bar but it is an interesting look into a man’s life, showing how one’s dreams often originate one place and end up in another. It also demonstrates how much influence your parents’ habits can have on your life, it a bad way.

6. Eat & Run by Scott Jurek
Another for the runners and one I reviewed recently. This one is also for people interested in the vegan lifestyle though don’t be scared off my bit. Learning about people’s childhoods bring so much context to what and who they are today. You have to wonder about a guy who has run a 135-mile race through the dessert more than once (as well as countless other ultramarathons.) What makes him tick? What makes him keep going? Scott Jurek is a likable, fascinating man with wisdom and experience to offer readers. You may never run an ultramarathon but you’ll understand why people do it — and maybe wish you could too (Scott thinks everyone with working legs can, by the way!)

7. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
At the suggestion of friends, I reluctantly bought Redeeming Love. It sounded way too “Christian fiction” for me. I’m a Christian but have always disliked that genre. A book is a book, right? Anyway, this one was better than I expected if you look at it in a more spiritual context. It is about a romance between a man and woman — extremely symbolic of the relationship between God and man. The lengths that the man goes to love the woman unconditionally, to forgive her, to serve her is beautiful an reminiscent of God’s love for us. You don’t have to read it that way, it’s perfectly fine without getting all symbolic but I think anyone in a relationship would benefit from it. 

8. Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
I picked this one up at the urging of my boyfriend, who is an introvert. He heard about the book and thought it would provide some insight into himself. Boy, was he right! I actually learned a lot about him by reading it and it was definitely benficial for our relationship. However, it’s interesting because I have some introvert-ish qualities myself that I didn’t realize. It’s rare to find anyone who is 100% extrovert or 100% introvert and this book is actually really interesting for anyone who has an introvert in their life, is an introvert or just wants to understand people in general better. Might make you think twice about some of the people you had judged in your life.

9. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art & Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
A book club selection I’d have never read on my own but one I enjoyed nonetheless. Want to improve your memory? There are actually physical steps you can take to do it. This book is a biography of one man who was really interested in the subject and then just went on to win the U.S. Championships in Memory!  Some oddball characters in the world of Memory Games but like in so many “out there” hobbies, the people can be fascinating. Why do they do it? How do they do it? What makes me people put their lives into this? I love reading about this kind of stuff…and learning a bit about giving myself a better memory along the way.

10. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
How happy are you really? The author takes yet another dream-worthy book project around the world to discover which countries are happiest and which are saddest. His findings are truly interesting and who knew there were two different kinds of depressed drinkers? The cultural observations in the book are very revealing and it may make you re-evaluate your own sense of bliss. World travelers will love this book but so will those simply interested in what makes people tick. See my long review on it here.

*BONUS: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
So I broke down and read this book. I’m actually in the middle of Book Two right now but it is time to tell you how I feel about it. First of all — way overhyped. Book One was “okay” and yes, some of the scenes are outrageously hot but after awhile I was simply annoyed by Christian Grey and his billions of dollars, possessive attitude and weird rules. Never mind the irritating use of words like “beguiling” and “smirking” every other page. Also, Ana has an annoying habit of referring to her “inner goddess” (whatever that is) way too often. So for those that haven’t read it, I say give Book One a go but skip books 2 and 3. I’m mid-book 2 and due to my weird reading habits, will just HAVE to finish out the series but for everyone else, save yourself $20. 


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