August 2018 Book Bag


“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” -Plato

I’ve always been a book lover.  My mom tells the story of how I used to have a box full of books when I was a little girl and she could just sit me down with it and I would look through my books for hours.  (Perfect kid, right Mom?!)  I used to carry a Marlborough bag (thanks, Dad!) full of books and other junk I deemed necessary to carry around.  They called me the bag lady…which is still true.  I try to carry a book with me everywhere in case I have a few minutes to wait for something or my mom tries to drag me to Menard’s.

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” -Erasmus

Boy, is that one true for me.  I have thousands of books…stacks everywhere and a random book laying about here and there throughout the house.  Above is my current situation (there’s hundreds of books in storage and 1,500 cookbooks in the basement-omg, I just admitted that to you).  You can also see my dogs’ box of toys-mostly Lamb Chops– and my childhood stuffed animals, Bear Bear and Bear Bear’s Brother.  This is real life.  The other day I looked down at the floor in my bedroom and there were 5 different Lamb Chop toys scattered from my bed to the hall.

This year I set a goal for myself to read a book a week.  Hindsight tells me it may have been too lofty, but at least I set a goal!  So far I’ve read 18 books out of 31 weeks this year, so I’m a little behind but it got me reading more.  If we could count all the cookbooks I’ve read (yes, I read them like a book!), I’d be blowing this goal away.

I’ve wanted to start a monthly book club/recommendation area on my site for a couple reasons.

  1. Public declaration of a goal/intent will help me stay on track and be more likely to meet my goal(s).
  2. I want to start a conversation with anyone who’s interested in reading one (or all of them) or has already read them and wants to discuss!  No spoilers please!!
  3. Let’s

Every month, I’ll be posting the books I plan to read throughout that month.  They will be a combination of fiction & non-fiction of varying genres.  I’ll read a book about almost anything, so you’ll see a variety of books.  I love reading business/self-improvement type books so there will always be several of those mixed in.  Some may speak to you more than others, but hopefully you’ll find something you wouldn’t normally gravitate towards reading.  At the end of each month, I’ll update my posts with my thoughts on the books (no spoilers here either!).  I’ll provide a link to each book through Amazon (FYI: these are affiliate links) if you want to purchase, or support your local library if you don’t!  I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read the books or are going to read along with any, so please leave me comments below.  I’ll also be sharing a cookbook I love and recommend to you each month!  Stay tuned.

Here’s what’s in my bookbag for August 2018.  Happy reading!

August 2018 Bookbag.jpg

1.  The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

Do you need help being more effective and productive by knowing exactly what to           focus on in both your professional and personal life?  I sure do.  Get rid of distractions and clutter, get better results, and lower your stress with this book.

2.  Die Empty by Todd Henry

It’s hard to stay motivated, especially when you work from home and have a million ways to distract yourself from doing your work.  (Hello, I have the cutest dogs in the universe.)  Spoiler: I’ve already starting reading this book.  It’s helping to remind me that I am the only one in the world who can do EXACTLY what I’m doing and no one else can make the same contribution to the world that I’m making…die empty with your best work out there for the world to see!

3.  Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

From Amazon: filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.

I need this book…badly.  I beat myself up over the fact that, on my blog, I make and share a lot of recipes written by other people, not necessary producing original recipes of my own, because that’s the way I cook at home.  There are millions of fantastic recipes out there from people who have already made and perfected them (both the original recipe writer and the bajillion people who have made the recipes and provided feedback!).  I’m hoping this book will help me reconcile this constant struggle I have within myself and help me sleep easier at night.

4.  The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard about the Hulu show The Handmaid’s Tale.  (Sorry if that offends any of my rock-dwellers.)  THIS SHOW IS AMAZING.  Heart-stopping, full of suspense and heartbreak, and deeply disturbing to me.  Not in a scary-movie way, but in a this-really-could-happen way.  You should watch the show.

But did you know the book came out in 1986 (the year I was born)?  That should tell us that this book has stood the test of time.  I always want to read the books that sparked TV shows and movies, so this is a must-read for me.

5.  Uncorked by Paul Shore

I’m a self-proclaimed Francophile, and now I’ve actually been there!  I’m obsessed with anything and everything French.  This book was written by an American man who spent a year in France-Provence specifically (shout to to Provence!)-“studying Pétanque, discovering Chagall, drinking pastes, and mangling French.”  Although I can’t relate to anything from my trip besides the mangling French part, I’d love to read about his experiences.

Side note: I’m going to be sharing details and tons of pictures from my trip to Europe in the coming weeks.


“Words, are our most inexhaustible source of magic.”- J.K. Rowling

Now let’s get to reading!

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