Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book Review: Better Than Before

I read the book, Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin for Blogging For Books . It's basic premise and question is, "how we change" and I believe her conclusion is that we change by developing and keeping good habits. She has a lot of practical advice paired with research for all her habits she discusses. 

She discusses four types of personalities when it comes to making habits, the upholder, obliger, the rebel, the questioner. She states she is an upholder and for upholders her material might be relatable. Her ability to empathize with those different than her seems to be a little bit short sighted. I am a rebel (according to her book) but I disagreed with rebels just breaking rules, struggling with discipline and being seen as lazy teenagers. Most people I know would describe me as very disciplined and mastering a habit has never been difficult for me. I like don't like the status quo and I enjoy breaking rules :) However, I know that discipline has it's dark side. 

As a Marriage and Family Therapist who has worked in treatment centers specifically for those struggling with eating disorders I was uncomfortable with all her talk about eating less sugar, exercising more and wanting to lose a few pounds. It felt so typical to me and completely unaware of a very large population who is so good at discipline and strict diets that they are now in treatment centers for starving themselves or over-exercising. I think I felt a bit protective of this population as she made it seem that everyone just wants and needs to lose a few pounds! (Does this have to be the American dream?!) I found the research to have many holes in it especially after working with nutritionists and diet techs in my profession. Anyway, I digress :)

I did enjoy her practical advice on organizations and un-cluttering her home. I did feel she might be over-functioning for everyone around her by offering to clean out their closets for them. It's one thing to do something for yourself, it's another to need to everyone to do the same as you to lower your anxiety or stress. 

I really enjoyed her previous book, The Happiness Project and I always think her goals on getting more sleep is absolutely admirable (and so important for everyone). It's always hard for me not to over-analyze an author whose book's genre is "self-help" especially when it seems that in order to be "happy" or "better" one needs to do all these things externally to create peace inside. I am more interested in books that go "inside" and because of this intentional soul searching and soul tending, are now able to change a few poor habits. Overall I did not love the book. I would probably rank this as a 2.5

Sunday, April 9, 2017

52 Books In 52 Weeks


Spring is upon us and with it San Diego is experiencing a super bloom. I have never seen this place so green and lush with wild flowers sprawling all over.

I thought it is time to do a little update on my progress on one of goals Scott and I created in January 2017. Hopefully each quarter I will give an update :)

This year we decided to participate in 52 books in 52 weeks. We have both been out of graduate school for a number of years and also I recently passed all my state boards; so we figured we are in a unique place to accomplish such a feat. For one, we have the energy (because we are not studying) and two, we don't have kids (just a fuzzy puppy) so our evenings could be dedicated to reading over Netflix and Hulu. :)

On our vacation to the UK we were so inspired by all the beautiful bookstores lining the cobblestone streets (especially up in St. Andrews, Scotland) where tea was served and books of every category, genre and color weaved it's way around the room. We decided to make a list of all the genres of books we hoped to read and also created a few guidelines (I say guidelines because rules are a drag)

We decided we would each get to recommend 3 books to one another. And we also decided we get a maximum of 10 re-reads. (If we didn't have this guideline, Scott would read all 7 of the Harry Potter series probably three times).

Here are the categories we picked in no particular order:

Children Literature
Mental Health

Scott and I picked our categories like we were picking team mates in gym class. Scott picked History and I picked Mental Health. He picked Biography and I picked Humor. We both picked Children's Literature because we loveeeeee it. We didn't pick 52 categories because we wanted to give ourselves freedom to read outside of these genres. Scott recently read a whole book on the former Padre's manager, Larry Bowa and I am reading a theory book on Internal Family Systems and neither of these fit entirely within our categories.

I was a little behind for awhile but right now I'm about caught up. I am 1/4 of the way done with meeting my 2017 goal!

Here are the books I've read so far:

  1. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Brink*
  2. Out Of Sorts By Sarah Bessey*+
  3. Flourish by Margaret Feinberg
  4. Sandy Toes by Robin Jones Gunn
  5. A Little Princess by Frances Hudgon Burnett*
  6. Spiritual Sobriety by Elizabeth Esther+
  7. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by J.K. Rowling
  8. The Secret Garden by Frances Hudgon Burnett
  9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  10. Small Victories By Anne Lammott
  11. People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann
  12. The Divorce Express by Paula Danziger
  13. The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns+
  14. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui *+

*Favorites (It is so hard to pick favorites)
+ Would recommend

P.S. Try not to be offended that I didn't recommend Harry Potter to you. There will be many in the world who will. 

P.P.S. I'm reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. #staycalm