By Melissa Uhles
Are you in a book club? If so, good news! I plan to regularly let you know about books I think you’ll love. Now you can share this list with your book club, start your own book club or just read these books by yourself.
As an author, I know how important high praise and word of mouth is to book sales. This is my way of giving back to authors and readers by sharing books I really enjoyed. Sometimes life gets too busy to worry about what to read next.
How do I figure out what to read next? It’s a combination of books I hear about on NPR, TV shows and random books I discover at the library or bookstore while browsing. When I hear about something that grabs me, I add it to my Amazon wishlist or to my library holds cue.
My reading diet includes nonfiction, fiction and sometimes kid-lit. I hope you enjoy our first book club roundup. Remember reading makes us better writers, right? With that said, happy reading!
Designing Your Life
Bill Burnett and Dave Evans wrote this super thought provoking book. If you are college student about to graduate or in midlife, looking for a change, this book is for you.
Have you ever felt stuck about what you should do with your life or wonder what’s next? There are many seasons of feeling this way. These authors, with backgrounds as designers and professors provide a road map for figuring out what your next big gig will be.
And because these guys are designers, the book is pretty, well designed and easy to digest. Make sure to read it with a notebook and pen by your side so you can do the exercises to help you get where you want to go.
My favorite takeaways were to meet with people in industries you are interested in and dip your toe in the water slowly by trying one small thing.
One example from the book: If you dream of opening your own deli, instead of raising capital and putting everything you have into it, first try small things related to the business before you over invest in something you don’t end up enjoying (bus tables at a deli temporarily and try a few other small tasks related to that business).
The Business of Being a Writer
Jane Friedman shares her publishing know how in this comprehensive book about pursuing writing as a career.
I’ve been a fan of Jane Friedman’s blog since I first started researching how to write books and get them published. As a publishing veteran, writer, blogger and teacher, she has a lot of wisdom to share.
The thing that I love most about this book is how honest it is. A.K.A. being to precious about what you write will most likely not lead to enough money to support yourself as a writer.
She talks about traditional publishing, publishing online and book marketing. This is a great cursory overview for someone getting started in the world of professional writing.
Some people have complained about the price of the book but it was published by a university press with the idea that it would be a modern day text book for college writing courses.
Related content: Must Have Books for Writers
How Luck Happens
Janice Kaplan takes a deep dive into the subject of luck. It’s a no brainer for a writer to read a book about luck, right? Don’t we need a little of that on our side when we send out our query letters?
According to the science learned in the “Luck Lab”, it is possible to make your own luck. Now what this book called luck, might be more aptly called opportunity. But I love the idea that we might be able to take a little of our fate into our own hands.
From their blurb on the Amazon sales page:
“They uncover the unexpected, little-understood science behind what we call "luck," proving that many seemingly random events are actually under your--and everyone's--control. They examine the factors that made stars like Harrison Ford and Jonathan Groff so successful,”
So if you are someone wanting to make better luck in your work, love or writing life, this is worth a read.
You’ll Grow Out of It
Jessi Klein's book will provide some LOL moments. Sometimes I just really want to read a funny memoir. It’s kind of my jam, one of my favorite things to read. Whenever a comedic actress or writer comes out with a memoir, I reserve it at my library immediately. I’m looking at you, Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Amy Schumer’s The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo.
As a former writer for SNL, she’s gotta be funny, right? After reading this book I felt that Jessi and I must be soul sisters. I could imagine us sipping wine and discussing our dating mishaps and our love of dudes with big noses.
One of my favorite essays was titled “The Bachelor”. As a secret watcher of the Bachelor myself, I loved her great takeaway that the best way to get to know a guy you are interested in or already married to, is to watch the reality show with them and listen for their uncensored comments.
If only I could talk my husband into this...he walks away the second he sees it’s on, rolling his eyes and says things like, “there’s nothing real about this, they are all actors looking for their 15 minutes of fame.”
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Jeff Kinney wrote a series that got my reluctant reader and third grader hooked on reading this summer. I told him we could do a little version of our own two person book club and I would read one of the same titles and we could discuss it.
I chose Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Long Haul. When I was checking it out at the library, the grown-up librarians told me how funny it was and so did my eight-year old.
This road-trip gone wrong story made me laugh out loud so many times, I lost count. With a mom, dad, toddler, middle schooler and teen hitting the road, everyone ends up just a little bit miserable. And isn’t that how real road trips with kids are?
My favorite character is the mom, so earnest in packing tuna sandwiches and making everything educational and squashing any fun out of the trip, could I totally relate to being that mom? Maybe!
Let’s just say by the end there have been incidents involving a pig and a seagull and a very hairy, scary dad in his underwear. Need I say more?So if you have a grade-schooler, I can’t recommend this enough. Oh, and the illustrations are so funny. I may even read a few more in the series. Because maybe we all get tired of grown up books and need to be reminded of what a kid’s point of view is on things. You might learn something about your own kid in the process.
Related content: Reading Guide to Boost Girl Power
What would be in your book club roundup? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
If you are more focused on writing than reading at the moment, check out our FREE WRITING CHALLENGE: Write 3K in 3 Days.
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