Books For Living by Will Schwalbe


Dear Fellow Reader,

Reading Challenge

Last week I talked about reading goals and book clubs. Since that time, I read an interesting article about reading. The article led off with the following quote:

“Read 500 pages like this (referring to a stack of books) every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

                                                              Warren Buffet

I like to read but 500 pages a day seems rather daunting. The author of the article explains the changes and adjustments he made so that he could read 400 books over the last two years. He did not reach the goal of 500 pages a day but feels that he reaped many benefits from reading much more than he did before. (You can check out his ideas.)

Reading 400 books in two years is approximately twice my current pace. Could I step it up and read twice the number of books? It would take some real effort (or much more vacation time). It is an interesting idea. I am still mulling it over in my mind but have a leaning toward trying to pick up my reading pace. By picking up the pace, I would have to branch out to other types of books that perhaps I avoid. That could be a good thing.

What do you think? Can you double your reading pace?

Books for Living

Speaking of people who read a lot and remember much more than I do about the books they read, I read Will Schwalbe’s new book, Books for Living last week. I had read Mr. Schwalbe’s previous book, The End of Your Life Book Club and enjoyed it so I was looking forward to his new book.

Mr. Schwalbe is a reader. He has read widely and takes home lessons from what he reads. In his new book, he devotes each chapter to a book that he has read and explains what he learned from the book. I found his connections interesting and he thoroughly explains the lessons learned. The books he selected run the spectrum from children’s books to classics to current fiction. For example, he talks about how he learned about searching from Stuart Little and embracing mediocrity from The Odyssey. The connections, while not clear to me at first, did make sense when he explains them.

In each of the chapters, the reader also finds out more about Mr. Schwalbe’s life and experiences. I found them interesting and they contained insights as to why he reacted as he did to certain books.

This type of book earns a special place in my heart. It is an interesting read and I come away with more books for my TBR pile. I always find it interesting to see what others are reading and how they like the book. I would probably not have ever picked up The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang, I now have it on reserve through my local library.

If you are looking for a book that you can think about and find new books to read, I recommend Books for Living.

Thanks for reading!

And here is the link you can use to purchase the book from Amazon.  This is an affiliate link so that if you click on it and buy from Amazon that I will earn a commission.  BUT it has yet to have happened.  If I ever get any funds from Amazon, I will let you know unless I am so shocked that I can’t type.  


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I’ve moved this site to  You can still visit my older posts here but my current work is on the new site.

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Happy New Year!

Dear Fellow Reader,

Happy New Year!  I have a couple things on my mind that I thought I would share with you. I even sneaked in three short book reviews!

Reading Goals

Have you made reading goals for 2017? Prior to last year, I had never thought about reading goals. Last year, I happened to be at the Goodreads site at the beginning of the year and read about their reading challenge. You can sign up to challenge yourself to read a certain number of books for the year. Then you log the books into Goodreads and it keeps track for you. At the end of the year you get a summary of your totals. For example, I found out that I read one book that was only 26 pages (the shortest book I read) and one that was 415 pages (the longest one I read.)  The average length of book that I read was 286 pages. I read 53 books last year for a total of 14,883 pages.

While these stats are interesting, I found the best part was knowing how many books I read last year. I have never kept track before and it was interesting to see the number. I did set a goal for this year of 55 books.  I think that you might find it interesting to set a goal for yourself also. If you are not on Goodreads already, you might want to check it out.

Book Clubs

The other thing on my mind is book clubs. As you may know, I have moved in the last year. I didn’t know anyone where we moved and I had to find a way to meet people. One of the things I looked for right away were book clubs. I am currently participating in two book clubs. I have been going to a book club at the local library and one through the local newcomer’s club.

What I like about book clubs is that I get a chance to meet other people who like to read and want to talk about books. I obviously read a fair amount and it is interesting to hear other’s perspectives on the books.  The other thing I really like about book clubs is that you get a chance to read books that you might not ordinarily read. Actually, I think that is the point of book clubs. There may be some of the books that do not on the surface sound that interesting to me but because of book club, I read them.


For example, the library book club read The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. I had given this book as a gift but didn’t think that I would be interested in reading it. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction and so this book would not normally be on my TBR (to be read) pile. But much to my surprise, I really enjoyed the book. I did not know very much about the Wright Brothers and it was an interesting story.



Another non-fiction book that I would not have picked up to read was They Are All My Family: A Daring Rescue in the Chaos of Saigon’s Fall by John P. Riordan and Monique Brinson Demery. This is the story of an Assistant Bank Manager for (what is now) Citibank in Saigon trying to get his employees out of Saigon prior to the fall of Saigon in 1975. I didn’t have any interest in reading about war. That is not what the book is about and I found it interesting. The story was made more interesting to me because the author, John Riordan grew up in a neighborhood not far from where I used to live and he now lives not far from me. Those kinds of personal ties add a little more interest to the story.

I have found with book clubs that if there is a disagreement about the book that the discussions are often better. For example, The Wright Brothers was more of a favorite with the group than they anticipated. The discussion was good and interesting. But when we read Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, the conversation was lively. Most of those at the meeting felt that they would never recommend this book to anyone. I am included in that group. For the first third of the book, all I could do was sit and shake my head and wonder who had picked this book. I stopped reading it for two weeks. Only because the meeting was coming up and I thought I should finish the book, did I go back and finish the book. I will say that when I went back, the book seemed better and I could finish it. But the discussion was much livelier because the book engendered strong feelings.

Most book clubs will plan their books out in advance. I urge you to give a book club a try. You will be able to read books that you might not have ordinarily read and learn things through the discussion that you might have missed. In case you were wondering, this month’s book club books are The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen. I have not finished The Nightingale yet. I had read Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake before but I re-read it for the discussion.

What is on your TBR pile?

Thanks for reading!

P.S. – As I have told you before, I do publish what are called “Affiliate Links” to the books I talk about. These links, if used, take you to so you can purchase the book. By using these links, I do get a small reimbursement. Sounds good, right? Here is the thing, I have never made a cent with these links. So, if you don’t want to use them because you dont’ want me to make money, go ahead and use them because in essence, I don’t. Some people make money on these.  I have not figured that out yet. If I ever do, I will let you know. Below are links to the books discussed today.



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A Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Dear Fellow Reader,

To read a book entitled A Year of Saying Yes right now seems to be going against the tide. Everywhere I look, I see articles on how to say “no”. Apparently, people have a hard time saying “no” and because of this, their lives are overly full and they are stretched too far. Now, I have been accused of not knowing how to say “no” but I think age has cured part of that.

But then there is Ms Rhimes. She had gotten very good at saying “no”. So good that she really was not doing anything much except working and going home to her family where she would work some more. In case her  name sounds familiar, she is the force behind such TV shows as “Scandal”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and “How to Get Away with Murder”. These shows make up the ABC Thursday night lineup. As you may guess, she is a very busy woman with a lot of pressure.

The book is written in a casual style that is easy to read and I was pulled into her story right away. She talks about how by writing this book she feels that she is exposing herself to the world. To a certain extent that is right. Her apparent openness invites you in to find out what she said “yes” to and how it went.

She explains in the book that she is the youngest of six children but that none of her family sees her position as anything to get excited about. One Thanksgiving while watching her older sister make the family dinner she was talking about the things she had been invited to attend. (Trying in her little sister best to get some response to how cool she was) when her older sister muttered under her breath, “You never say “yes” to anything.” This caused Ms Rhimes to stop and take stock and see that her sister was indeed right. She decided that it was time to change that.

Her first invitation when she started her year was an invitation to speak at her alma mater’s graduation ceremony. (Dartmouth) She felt safe in accepting because it was six months away. But other challenges came on the heels of that and she had committed so she had to rise to the challenge.

I thought that her explanations of why she didn’t want to do things – like live TV were funny. As one introvert to another, I would also create horrible scenes of disaster in my mind if I were asked to speak in front of an audience or walk out as a guest on a live TV show. She showed her vulnerabilities in a humorous relatable way.

The year went beyond just saying “yes”. She also learned that saying “no” was also valuable and that there were some things that she needed to make an absolute commitment to do. She learned a great deal about herself and the people around her. She learned that by setting limits in her work life that the world would not collapse.
I found this book easy to read and I wanted to read it to see what would happen next.
If you are interested in finding out more about Ms Rhimes either before you read the book or after, she has a TED talk that you might enjoy. I have included it at the top of this page also.


My last post had a giveaway of the book “Getaway with God” by Letitia Suk. We splurged and had two winners! The winners of the autographed copy of the book were TLC Nielson and Susan Natchke Tichkowski. I hope they enjoy the book as much as I did. And if you have had a chance to read the book and can leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, that would be great.
Actually please always try to leave reviews for books you read. It helps others and the author.

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review and Giveaway!!!



There have been several people in my life that I think I have been very fortunate to meet and then call friend.

Letitia Suk is one of those people. Letitia was my neighbor for 31 years. During that time, we both had families and watched them grow up and out of the house. Letitia is quite different from me – she is the epitome of calm (at least it looks that way) while I might be a bit, well, you get the drift. She was very helpful in suggesting (subtly) when I might be viewing an issue from the wrong perspective.

I am so proud to say that my friend, Letitia Suk, has a new book out. Getaway with God, the Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat is a joy to read. It is meant for women of any age who may need some time to reflect on life and their relationship with God. Reading the book is like having a conversation with Letitia – warm and nurturing. The ideas in the book move along at a good pace.

The great thing about this book is that while Letitia does talk about using the retreat to get closer to God, the personal retreat is something that every woman can use whether for religious reasons or not. There are ideas for what you can do during your retreat and they can be adapted to your own needs. (Easily, Letitia might kill me for saying that you can leave God out of your retreat. And she would be right but the retreat could be used just to get away to regain perspective.)  Letitia started encouraging me several years ago to take a retreat for a day and use it as a planning day. I did not follow the idea about going to a retreat center but I did try to quarterly take a day in a different room in my house and use that as a planning/thinking day. I would encourage everyone to take up this practice. I would agree with Letitia that getting out of the house to do the planning day is a better idea than going to a different room in the house. One of the added bonuses of the book is that there is a section at the end of the book with several references for finding a retreat center. (I looked up where centers are close to my new home.)

The book has several different paths for you to take in planning a retreat. The retreat may be for a few hours, a day, or up to 5 days. Letitia also talks about keeping the Sabbath and ways to do that. It may be that if this is new to your that you would want to start slowly with a partial day retreat. Don’t worry, Letitia starts slowly with you.

I thoroughly enjoyed Getaway with God. I think that no matter what stage in life a woman finds herself, this book will be an inspiration.

And I have a giveaway! I have an autographed copy of Getaway with God that I will send out to one lucky person! All you need to do is comment on this post or on the Facebook post about this post or send me a tweet @carolearlycoone. I will pick one name at random. Good luck!

Thanks for reading!


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