Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Few of my Favorite Books

Reading is one of my very favorite things to do. It's not uncommon for me to have two or three books on the go at once. Usually it's a textbook, a work of fiction, and sometimes a piece of non-fiction. My trick is to stash them in different parts of the house; one in the living room, one in the bedroom, and one in the bath. That way, wherever I am, a book is within easy reach. It makes reading a much more organic process rather than having to find time to fit it in.

I thought I'd share with you a few books that I find interesting. Down on the lower right bar of this page, you'll see an Amazon carousel of books hand chosen by me. These are books that I have found to be both helpful and particularly thought-provoking. The book by Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your LIfe was introduced to me when I was at a particularly vulnerable time in my life and it made all the difference. The other books mentioned are interesting as well, though certainly very different from each other.

As with any reading, especially non-fiction, it's very important to read with a critical eye. The genre of personal growth is a burgeoning market with new titles and plans for better living birthed every day. The importance of being a savvy and critical consumer cannot be overstated.

When I set out to read a book that is personal-growth oriented, I use a process that really seems to work for me. First, I start by reminding myself to keep an open mind as I read. The hope in reading is to encounter new information that either confirms my choices for how I live my life, or stretches and challenges me to consider new choices and processes. I need to be open to the growth process, so I must remain open to new perspectives as I read.

After I read the book through, I go back to re-read and reconsider any passages I found particularly interesting or challenging. This helps to solidify the information in my mind. As I do this, I pay attention to how I feel as I read. Do the words bring about a sense of calm in my body or do I sense internal dissonance and discord as I process the words? The result of paying attention to how my body feels as I read is a reliable barometer for what this new information means to me and how it stacks up with my value system.

After this step is complete, I take some time to contemplate the information, apart from the book; to see how it "sits" with me. As I go through this process, I revisit how my body felt as I was reading and I particularly pay attention to those bits that caused a sense of dissonance within me. I question if the dissonance is because the information truly clashes with deeply-held values or because it simply stretches me. After a period of some time, I often notice that accepted information is integrated into my actions, thoughts, and beliefs, while information that doesn't manifest some congruency with my values is discarded. This is how I grow.

What I've described is my process. You may have a different process that works for you. My only point is that it's important to critically analyze the reading that we do. So often, I hear people touting that some self-help book is their new salvation only to find that in two months, they've hopped aboard an entirely different and new bandwagon simply because the book promoting it has just hit the bestseller list. New information is always good, because it causes us to examine ourselves, but be discerning in the process.

So there you are, a few of my favorite books. I don't subscribe to all that is within their pages, but it's certainly good food for thought. In the spirit of full disclosure, I do want you to be aware that I am part of Amazon Affiliates, and I do make a bit of a commission on what is purchased. However, I'm careful in what I recommend and opinions appearing within this blog are 100% mine.

Happy reading and please share your thoughts.


  1. What about some fiction my dear , how bout "Dragonflight" or "Red mars" "Blue Mars" "Green mars" , no fiction is ok but i like to escape when i read that rocks !

  2. @Bigtedd Fiction is good! Right now I'm reading "The Girl that Played with Fire," along with my non-fiction.

  3. I nearly posted this on your 'spring cleaning' thread, but it sort of missed the point of what you were saying there. How nice to have the opportunity here :-)

    Read the first paragraph and fall in love with it all over again...