The Seven-Day Book Challenge

Recently, a Facebook friend tagged me on the Seven-Day Book Challenge. I finally got around to it a few weeks ago and “double-teamed” it through FB and Instagram. And then I thought, “Why not share it on the blog, too?”

The rules of the Seven-Day Book Challenge are simple: For seven days, you share a photo or image on Facebook of a different favorite book and nominate another friend to carry on the challenge. There’s no set theme to follow, and you don’t need to write a caption or explanation for why you choose each book. You simply share the photo, tag a friend, and reply to any comments. But for this blog post, I think I’ll “break” one of those rules. 😉

Here are the books I chose for the Seven-Day Book Challenge, and why I picked each one.

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Twelve Books in My TBR Pile that I’ve Been Meaning to Read for a While

How about a fun post today? As much as I’m grateful for writing last week’s tribute to the late Ursula K. Le Guin, I feel the need to do something lighter this week. Oddly enough, I know which topic to choose. Three of my book-blogger friends (Mogsy @ Bibliosanctum, Nandini @ Unputdownable Books, and Zezee @ Zezee With Books) recently posted Top Ten Tuesday posts featuring ten books that have been in their TBR piles for a while. I enjoyed reading their lists so much that I decided to do my own – and go figure, I came up with twelve books instead. 😉

So, in alphabetical order, here are the twelve books that have been waiting longest for me to read them. Let’s start with…

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Recent Reads: March 2016

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Recent Reads is a monthly reading wrap-up, with mini-reviews of all the books I finished in the past month. I’ll also share what I’m currently reading and any other books that are in the pipeline. Want to share your bookish happenings, too? Feel free to do so in the Comments section at the end!

At first glance, March might not look like it was a productive reading month. (That’s what happens when you read a 1,000-page book!) However, all three books I finished were nothing short of AMAZING, so I can’t wait to tell you about them. 🙂

That, of course, made picking my Read of the Month a real challenge. All three are deserving of the title for different reasons. But in the end, I chose…
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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 25: March 2016 Haul, Part 2

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

In last week’s Stacking The Shelves, I’d mentioned that I’d expected to do only one STS entry this month. Then, after the fairy novels and new releases had arrived in the mail, I spent a Saturday on Cape Cod to see the house my parents are renovating and do some birthday shopping for a friend. And during said shopping, I bought more books, even though I’d told myself not to. (*face turns strawberry red*)

So, here’s Batch #2, the books I bought at the Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee, MA, along with a couple extras. Make sure you stop at MSB if you visit Mashpee Commons. Their selection is fantastic (especially in science fiction and fantasy, both adult and YA), and the staff is extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and well-read. 🙂

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My 10 Favorite Reads of 2014

It’s here finally: the list of my 10 favorite books I read in 2014! I held off on posting this as long as I could, thanks to a last-minute contender I flew through just before year’s end. Now I feel confident about which books made the final cut – and to be honest, my pick for #1 was a super-easy choice. 😉

With one exception, each entry contains a link to my full review and an excerpt from said review that best explains why I enjoyed the book. I was going to write a new paragraph for each entry, but then I realized I didn’t have anything new to add apart from what I had already said before. So, why repeat myself?

One important note: This list contains books I read this year, regardless of the year they were originally published. I didn’t read enough novels that were published this year to create a Top 10 solely of 2014 releases.

So, here they are, starting with…  Continue reading

Recent Reads: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain

Quiet Susan Cain cover

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Susan Cain
Nonfiction / Behavioral Psychology / Self-Help

Synopsis:

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Rating: 5 / 5

Like Quiet author Susan Cain, I’m an introvert. I tend to listen more than speak. I thrive at deep conversations with friends or others who share common interests and passions, yet I stall when making small talk with strangers. I prefer solitary activities like reading and writing over large social events (though I enjoy concerts, literary events, and aerobics classes). So, when I found Quiet on a store shelf, I knew I should read it to gain a better understanding of introversion, and of myself. To say the book succeeded would be a colossal understatement.

Quiet packs a ton of information into its 270 pages, exploring introversion from various fields. Cain provides examples of introverts from history such as Steve Wozniak, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rosa Parks; examines the results of various psychological and neurological studies; and shares excerpts of interviews she conducted with students, parents, teachers, religious leaders, and other individuals. She also presents some of her own personal quirks and anxieties as an introvert. Yes, it’s a lot to take in. Almost every time I sat down with Quiet, I marveled out loud at the meticulous research Cain put into it. However, every nugget and detail is relevant, like puzzle pieces that help complete the panoramic “big picture.”

At the same time, Quiet doesn’t feel like a scholarly work. Cain argues her points with eloquence, succinctness, and care. She even describes her various interviewees with the same keenness that fiction writers use to make their original characters come to life; these real people leap off the page. Also, while Cain is passionate about introversion, she’s careful not to hyperfocus on that one temperament. She spends ample time distinguishing the differences between extroverts and introverts, and explains how the two can learn to respect those differences and appreciate the other’s strengths. Her last few chapters also offer suggestions on how people of different temperaments can communicate with success and mutual understanding, from working and romantic partnerships to parent-child and teacher-student relations. It’s clear that Cain envisioned introverts and extroverts alike would read Quiet and catered her book to educate and appeal to both personalities.

For introverts like myself, though, Quiet is more than just a learning tool. Many of the interviewees’ quotes resonated with me at the most personal level – because if I had been in their shoes, I would have made the same observations. I related to Isabel, Maya, and other young students as they struggled with social interactions at school – because years ago, I was just like them, unsure of how to speak up in crowded classrooms and weary from the overstimulation by day’s end. Anything I found helpful or want to refer to in the future (especially some of Cain’s advice in the final chapters) is now underlined in pen or marked with a colored Post-It flag.

Normally my critiques would start creeping in here – but with Quiet, there’s not a single thing I would have done differently. This comprehensive resource radiates with conscience, empowering the quieter, thinking types without tearing down their more gregarious counterparts. Cain isn’t just an author here; she’s an articulate, compassionate guide who dives into the heart of her subject matter and writes in a way that’s easy for all readers to follow. If you’re an introvert, you’ll love and relate to Quiet. If you’re an extrovert who wants to better understand introverts, you should also read Quiet. Regardless of your temperament, make sure you take your time with this book to let its messages sink in. It’s that informative, and that profound.

Have you read Quiet? What did you think of it? If you haven’t read it yet, do you think you might check it out based on what you’ve read above? Let me know by commenting below or visiting the same review at Amazon or Goodreads.