Two Books (That Aren’t 50 Shades of Grey)

Because I think we’ve probably all read/heard enough about those books by now haven’t we?
While we’re on the subject, I have not read the 50 Shades of Grey series, nor do I plan to. I’ll admit, at first I was intrigued and wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I was planning on reading them. But then after reading countless reviews about them on different blogs as well as hearing mixed reviews from friends, I’ve decided this is one fad that I’m going to have to pass on because I just feel it would be a huge waste of my time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to get down on anyone who has read the books, as many of my friends along with bloggers who I respect have read them and loved them. It’s just for me, I feel like I don’t read nearly enough as it is. Between work (which has been incredibly time consuming lately), everyday life stuff like cooking and cleaning, working out, blogging, watching TV (what can I say some nights I’d rather just veg on the couch and watch funny/mindless television) and spending time with Cam and Lola, I feel like I struggle to carve out time to read for pleasure. So when I do read, the book damn well better be good! And by good I mean that when I finish it, I want to feel like my life is better for having invested the time to read it. And from what I’ve heard, I just don’t think 50 Shades falls in that category. And it’s not just about the sex. Sex is a part of life so if a book chooses to include it because it’s an integral part of the storyline/character development and adds to the writing, I don’t have a problem with it. But I know that the explicit nature of 50 Shades with it’s ultra graphic descriptions goes way beyond that, plus I’ve heard that the writing is really poor and the characters are basically ripped off from Twilight, another series I never got in to. So I just feel like why would I read it these books just because they’re the popular thing when there are so many incredibly well-written works of fiction and non-fiction out there? Plus, there are so many classics that I never read in high school/college that I’d like to read now. So if you’re a 50 Shades fan, that’s totally fine, to each their own. I just thought I’d add my two cents to this topic since a few people asked me if I’d read them 🙂
Moving on…
I recently read two books that I really enjoyed and felt were life-enriching, positive reads so I wanted to share them with you!


All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot is a semi-autobiographical collection of tales about a country veterinarian in England set in the 1930s. My mother-in-law gave me a series of James Herriot books for Chrismas a few years ago as they’re some of her favorites; I’ve been meaning to read them for the longest time but just hadn’t gotten around to it until now. The book is so wholesome and heartwarming; the stories about the different cases that James Herriot has to deal with are very entertaining, largely in part to the colorful people that live in the Yorkshire Dales where the story takes place. If you were a fan of Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Praire growing up, you’ll probably enjoy this book as well because it’s a simple yet charming account of an era gone by. Back then, farmers really depended on their animals for their livelihood so if one got sick or injured, it was a really major problem. James Herriot has to deal with a lot of large animal vet work like assisting with the births of calves or horses as well as small animal cases as well. This book isn’t a page turner with crazy storylines or plot twist, rather it’s just a lovely story with great descriptions of the pastoral English countryside that will bring a smile to your face. If you’re an animal lover I’d highly recommend it!


StrengthsFinders 2.0. by Tom Rath is a book that I actually read for work as part of our monthly book club (which I think is so neat that my company does this!). The premise is that people spend so much time trying to improve their weaknesses in order to become more well-rounded, when in reality, we’d be better off focusing on discovering, developing, and playing to our strengths. By focusing on what we’re good at instead of what we’re not, we can really be successful and fulfilled in our careers and life overall. When you buy the book, it comes with an access code for you to go to the StrengthsFinders site and take an online assessment to discover your top 5 strengths out of the 34 different areas covered in the book. The book then talks about how you can more effectively use your strengths to their fullest capacity and gives great action items and tips. What I loved about the book is that after you take the assesment and read the sections about your strengths, you just feel really good about yourself, it sounds so dorky, but it’s true! I felt like the descriptions of my strengths perfectly captured me and the things I’m good at and it felt great to just recognize those qualities instead of beating myself up about things where I fall short. I’d highly suggest taking the assessment and reading the book as I think it’s very insightful!

(If you’re familiar with this book/have taken the assessment, I’d love to hear what your top strengths were–mine were Woo, Communication, Maximizer, Positivity, and Significance)

Happy reading friends! Xoxo