Tag Archives: Beautiful Ruins

From Binge Watching to Book Reading

One of my goals for this year was to stop binge watching TV. For the most part, I will say I have failed. I have a myriad of excuses including building a website, being unemployed, and then being employed but with very little tasks beside sitting behind a computer. Excuses aside, I have been spending a lot of time with “book people”, and book people talk about books, a lot. In order to join in on the conversation, or at least feel a little more apart of the group, I’ve started reading again.

I haven’t read much since I entered into the collegiate world. I’m sure that’s true for most people.. I mean, they make you read there. They make you read terribly long and boring books called textbooks, which slowly crush any desire you have to read other kinds of books because after reading 70 some pages about marketing strategies between your Tuesday and Thursday 8am class you never want to read another word ever again.

A few months have passed since I’ve had any required reading, and after reading what my Aunt calls a beach read, I have discovered a love for books again. A love that somehow has me reading multiple books at one time, which is a little hectic, but I think it’s actually helping me continue to read. I’ve also recently discovered those books that teach you stuff, I think they call them Self-Help or How-To books.. whatever they’re called, I like them. They’re like watching YouTube tutorials with way more details. I probably sounds like a millennial idiot right now.. “DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN LEARN FROM BOOKS?!”.. Derp. But I’m telling you, it’s really super satisfying and genuinely fun.

On to the books I’m reading right now, and like I said, I’m reading probably too many, but it keeps things interesting.

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Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer Roy Peter Clark
This book comes as a recommendation from my friend Emilie. I have to tell you that Emilie is one of those totally fierce women that you can’t help but look up too, weather you’re young or old. I mean, Bernie flippin’ Sanders invited her to ride on his private plane from the Iowa caucuses to the Vermont caucuses. Can. We. Just. Okay, now that we’ve had that moment. I asked Emilie for some tips about self-editing, because if you read this blog, especially if I call you ‘Mom’, you’ll notice I have a difficult time with grammar and spelling and throwing in random words and leaving out other really important ones that make sentences actually make sense. Emilie suggested two books, this being one of them. While I’ve only just scratched the surface, this is a straight shooter. It gives you tips for improvement, but also encourages you to embrace things that maybe you’ve been discouraged to do, like long sentences (Hi, my name is Hannah, and I love long sentences). I can already tell I will be carrying this one around for a long time, and hopefully you’ll notice a difference here as I dive in further.

A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life Jack Kornfield
Some books take a lot of time to read, and you read them again and again, and every time you will learn something different. This is one of those books, for both me and my wonderful Dad. I also want to tell that this book probably should be for everyone, but is more than likely not. As you can tell from the title, it’s about your spiritual life. As in, your inner self, not a religious self. So, if that is not your jam and you’re thinking maybe I’m a devil worshiper, just pretend you never read this and hop down to the next book.
I have always felt a connection with myself, like a ‘you know you best,’ kind of connection.. there is a passage in Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert where she sort of rediscovers God and realized that God speaks to her through herself, with her own voice. I think I’ve always felt kind of like that. The voice that calms me down, that tells me to take a deep breath, that gives the best advice, is my own. A Path with Heart teaches you to access that voice more than ever before.
The first half of the book teaches how to gain said access. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific area of life from letting go of self-doubt, to learning to love yourself in order to love others. At the end of each chapter is a meditation guide. The second half of the book is learning how to live in the world and culture we live in today, while practicing these techniques. Call me a hippie dippie, but this book has TOTALLY made me feel better every single day since I started reading it. And also, maybe the best part for me, my Dad has left notes all throughout the book, so it’s like I’m learning with him, and I’m learning to love him even more. (LOVE YOU, PA!)

Now onto to the non-fiction!

Beautiful Ruins: A Novel Jess Watler
This, my friends, is a beach read. It’s one of those books that doesn’t make you have too many feelings, it’s funny, it’s romantic, it’s easy breezy. You can stop and start and you won’t forget what happened, and somehow the book gets better if you are in a slightly reclined position, preferably in the sun, and definitely drinking something fruity. Beautiful Ruins is one of those books that has two stories going on at the same time. One takes place in the 1960’s in Italy (say no more), the other is present day California. There are actresses and innkeepers, and writers and producers. I’m sure the stories are somehow tied together, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. Go find yourself a beach, or come visit me at my beach, and read this book.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story John Berendt
So this one is like.. a real book. Aren’t they all read books? Yes. But this one is not a beach read or a how-to. This book is elegant and detailed and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The setting, Savannah, Georgia, is what drew me to the book. I have this southern fantasy, which is probably totally inaccurate, but has to do with big plantation farm style houses, those super long drive-ways leading to said houses, and those bald cypress trees.. and probably some hoodoo or voodoo.. Anyway. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a first person account of life in the Deep South, and the twist and turns of an infamous murder, or maybe self-defense, case. It opens up with a very detailed description of one of those giant houses that happens to be owned by an antiques dealer. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten, but Jackie Kennedy has already made an appearance in the book, so I’m 100% hooked. Also, you can actually take a Midnight Garden tour in Savannah, so put that on my to-do list.

Thank you too anyone who has made it this far.. there’s a lot of words up there. I actually meant to post this yesterday, but somehow ended up spending my entire morning on Goodreads. I decided to try and add every book I’ve read and might ever want to do read, and had a ton of fun doing it. Do you use that website to keep track of books you’ve read and books you want to read? If you do, be certain to add me, you can find me at goodreads.com/sweethannahpea. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little long post about what I’ve been reading, and be sure to stay tuned for completed book reviews, suggested reads, and maybe better writing if all goes well.

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p.s. these books are linked with my Amazon Affiliate account.. if you buy one of the books from the link you’ll be supporting this blog at no extra charge to you!