Style & Substance: How to Create a Compelling Brand by Liz Dennery
Every Day is Extra by John Kerry (Audible)
I Am Her Tribe by Danielle Doby
The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
Becoming by Michelle Obama (Audible)
The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder
So, at October’s book camp in Salida I promised the group that I was going to finish the 9 books that I was in the middle of before starting anything new. And then this month, I broke that promise… but yet I also made progress on that goal!
First, I finished reading through all the scenarios and questions in Liz Dennery’s book Style & Substance: How to Create a Compelling Brand, but as this is a reference book and I am trying to build a brand (see Parvati & Co, if you haven’t already, here: https://www.parvatiandco.com/) I think Liz’s book poses questions all new businesses should ask themselves, and so I think this will be a book I will come back to again and again. It’s not one you sit down and read, it’s more of a workbook. I heard about this book through the lovely women of Rock Your Bliss! 1/9 down.
Next up was John Kerry’s new memoir, which was a part of the group of 9! I had started this book in October, and needed to hustle to get it done in time to see John Kerry at Tattered Cover. Most of you will know that I take great pride in that of the Clinton administration I have gotten in person books signed from: Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Madeline Albright! And now from the Obama years I have: Hillary Clinton & John Kerry. GOAL: The Obama’s themselves. Someday. Fingers Crossed. Ok- now about the actual book… I actually REALLY enjoyed this book. I listened to it, and he read it, and I LOVE his voice. I started listening to it on some of the first cold mornings of the season and that’s exactly what it reminds me of… quiet mornings, a chill in the air, long stretch of road, and hot coffee. On a road trip I made a lot of progress in this book, things that I found interesting…
Did you know that John Kerry was born in WWII?
Did you know that John Kerry, Al Gore, and Mitch McConnell were all in the same Freshman class of Senators?
Did you know that his friendship with the Kennedy’s went back to his youth?
Did you know that he was at the first Earth Day celebration?
John Kerry’s life has spanned decades, issues, and so many historical moments. Seeing him speak at Tattered Cover was definitely a highlight too. I never thought about him when Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. But that was John Kerry that had worked so hard to get all the countries in the world together to tackle a global issue. I also heard him tell stories through the book and at the event of his rivalry & friendship with John McCain. I think that these guys are a part of a generation that we are quick to write off as “Old, white men, whose time is up.” But on closer inspection, I believe we are losing a generation that operated on a different code, and a generation that fought for freedoms, and for causes. We are only now waking up and doing this, we have been so privileged and we didn’t even realize, and we definitely haven’t honored those who gave us so much. And yes, I still do think that it is time to move forward, but I also think that for history’s sake, some people and their own personal histories deserve some sort of reverence. I don’t know, maybe I am a sentimental.
Here was my favorite passage from the book, I think it is so beautiful:
"One September we traveled to Europe, we stopped in London before we went to Paris, rented a car and drove to Brittany so I could introduce her to Les Essarts. It was the best of early fall; trees just beginning to color, still warm, still long evenings. On the way I diverted to take her to the beaches of Normandy, she had never been there; I wanted her to see the staggering beauty and have her feel and share the same awe I felt every time I visited. Because it was September there weren’t that many people, the setting is always breathtaking and when you are walking almost by yourselves amid the crosses and stars of David, noting the dates of death and the names engraved in the headstones, the emotional and historical sweep of the place overwhelms you. We went all the way down to a near deserted part of the beach where troops had broken through on D-Day. There we sat on some rocks at the edge of the beach, the tide was rising and we measured each wave as it reached closer and closer to the rocks. The entire time we were there, mesmerized by the stillness and the beauty, an older gentleman and we presumed his wife were sitting together in an embrace, looking out at the water, not moving, lost in thought. I am certain he was a returned veteran, someone who survived that extraordinary landing, someone who’d come back to find peace and perhaps remember the friends he had lost at that very place. Quietly, but deliberately, he stood up, he took off his clothes, piece by piece; then completely naked with a squeeze of his wife’s hand he walked straight out into the water. Unabashed. Unembarrassed. Without awareness of anybody watching, lost in his memories in the moment, he seemed to be performing a ritual purification, allowing the waves to carry him in and out as they had once washed soldiers bodies back and forth until the dead were finally recovered after the fighting on the beach. Teresa and I holding hands, watched in silence, we were frozen in that spot on the beach, as if for an eternity. To this day it is one of the most touching, beautiful moments we have ever witnessed together. It was mystical and a gift."
Shortly after this trip to Normandy the two lovers got engaged. Anyway, if you like political memoirs or historical books, then I highly recommend this one! 2/9 down.
Next up is the powerhouse of a book called, “I Am Her Tribe” by Danielle Doby, I broke my promise to the book camp ladies with this one. I had the most beautiful day that ended on somewhat of a sad note… I was in my head telling myself stories about how I don’t belong with anyone, and how I am pathetic, unlovable, and a pity case. It was real UGLY, so I decided to break my rule and give myself some medicine in the form of poetry. And with that, let me say that I LOVE this book and it might possibly be my favorite one of the whole year… stay tuned. But I want to share a few of my favorites and then just strongly urge you to BUY this book. This is a keeper.
“Let your heart break daily.
In conversations, over song lyrics,
During the pause right before the
Sun rises. While you’re sipping coffee
+ looking into the eyes of someone
You love. It’s when we break a little,
We come alive. It’s in this space
Of feeling, we expand, and it’s here,
In our vulnerability and openness,
We step into our greatest selves.”
Ugh. So good! If these don’t move you then I don’t know what will! Buy the book, and then share with me some of your faves! <3
Over Thanksgiving I continued my trend of breaking my promise to finish only the 9 books I had told myself I would read before all else. I figured a cozy long weekend deserved some comfort reads with two of my go-to authors: Tatiana De Rosnay and Emily Giffin. The Rainwatcher by De Rosnay, is a beautiful book. It’s a story of a family reuniting in Paris and we see each of them dealing with their own lives when trauma strikes and an environmental disaster. The note this book ends on gave me chills. And when I think of it I honestly think this is one of her better books, because it was so intelligent in design. Love it!
As for Giffin, I also agree that her latest is one of her better books. She definitely falls into the “chick-lit” category for me, and so I always expect something that will be a good bathtub read, something that I can finish in a matter of days. But this one had weight to it. Giffin is taking on the me too era, and what it is like to be a woman who has a son who does something despicable. I thought this was an intriguing read and so I did vote for it in the goodreads choice awards but only because of the books that were nominated that I had read, this one was my favorite in the Best Fiction category, but that said, I actually believe that there was a probably a better fiction book than this one. This one was certainly better than the JoJo Moyes book that ended up winning. To see the list of winners from the 2018 awards, click here!
Next up was another political memoir, you didn’t think I was going to cheat from my book diet and not download and listen to Michelle’s new one, did ya? I don’t think so. Michelle Obama has written a lovely book. I loved learning more about her.
About 4 hours in and 8 chapters she's meeting Barack, and by the end of the chapter in spite of her best efforts she's falling in love with him.
I loved the story of how they both wanted to leave at the intermission of Les Miserables. Before him she would have suffered through it, but his way of being gave her permission to not have to check all the boxes. She says, "He was like a wind that threatened to unsettle everything." I love when she realizes that she was "struck by the spectacle of him." I love the way she describes being acutely aware of his body sitting in the passenger seat of her car, his elbow on the console, his knee within reaching distance of her hand. She ends the chapter with this, "Maybe Barack read it on my face, or sensed it in my posture... The fact that everything for me had now begun to loosen and unfold. He was looking at me curiously, with a trace of a smile, 'Can I kiss you?' he asked, and with that I leaned in and everything felt clear."
The Obamas. Always the dose of hope we need to go another day. Love them!
And lastly, I returned to the 9 to crank out my third one. Only 6 more to go! Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution is a good read. I’m thinking of upending my whole way I eat… and I’ve been listening to her podcast for years, so it was nice to finally read the book that started it all. Stay tuned in the new year, I want to do some comparison of her theories, with they Ayurveda course I’ll be taking. We’ll see what happens.
Ok- we’re in the home stretch of 2018—- what have been some of your favorite reads? What are you going to read over the holidays? Do you make book goals, if so what are they? Are you going to meet your goal for 2018? What are you doing in 2019?