One of my favorite job perks is that I get to listen to a lot of audiobooks.
My hands and eyes are usually busy, but my ears? They get bored.
In fact, I find that I’m far more productive with a good audiobook. I can put in headphones, switch my phone to airplane mode, and listen/relax my way through 8 hours of sewing without wanting to throw a drinking fountain through the window.
It also keeps me from getting distracted.
I’m a relentless chatterbox who can’t talk and work at the same time (ask Amy Oh!) Add the danger of social media into the mix, and I could easily start up a conversation every 3.5 seconds if left to my own devices.
I don’t know what this says about me, I’m just rolling with it.
So audiobooks have been a productivity life saver, and happily so – running a business, being a mom . . . it doesn’t leave much time to curl up with a good book, and I am a book lover.
So I thought I’d share some of my favorite picks of 2017, because if you’re reading this, maybe you’re a book lover too??
And I’m always in the market for new recommendations myself – what did you read this year???? Comment! Comment!
I’ll show you mine, if you show my yours 🙂
Better as an audiobook
There are definitely books that are best enjoyed in traditional book form, but I’ve also found the reverse to be true! These are two books that I’ve “read” both ways, and ones where I think the audio adds something significant to the content.
I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman, and I don’t just mean his books – I’ve quoted him several times on my chalkboard wall. As an author, he leans a little abstract for my taste (he’s also the author or Coraline and several other notable titles) The first time I read, “American Gods” I enjoyed it, but wasn’t sold. A second go-round on audio with a full cast narrating grabbed me hook, line and sinker.
As an added enticement, this book was recently made into a tv series on Stars. It’s only one season old, and it is freaking amazing. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d highly encourage you to reorganize your book queue so you’re up to speed for season two.
I rest my case.
When I need a kick in the pants
This past year and a half has been a roller coaster of stress and emotions. On days when I’m sliding into the sorry soup, I have one book in particular that puts a hitch in my giddyup.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this book changed my life. I first picked it up as a physical book, read it twice, made lot of notes in the margins . . . and quit my job to open a shop.
I’m not a risk taker. I had a lot of convincing reasons not to – so I’m glad I happened across this book.
On days when I’m feeling mopey or freaked out, I pop this on, and it’s always the reset I’m looking for. As self help books go, I don’t think Sincero’s saying anything particularly ground breaking – I just really like the way she says it.
When I have hours and hours and hours of work
Sometimes, I’m staring at two dozen boxed/welted cushions. Or several days of spring tying. Or miles of hand sewing.
There are certain projects that mean long, monotonous, mind numbing hours. In these situations, I look for a nice long book in which to get lost . . .
How do I explain this meandering tome? It’s about so much, but among other things, there’s a central story line of furniture restoration and antiques dealing that is very enjoyable listening at the shop. I’ve also read this book with my eyeballs, but I must confess that the audio was a nice change – the narrator pulled me through some of the slower sections where my momentum and focus had a tendency to flag. I imagine this one will get a few relistens from me . . .
Let me tell you a little story: for whatever reason, we get a fair number of avid readers in our classes, and I’m often pestering someone for book recommendations. One night, I got chatting with Gina Y. She enthusiastically recommended Lonesome Dove and even offered me a copy.
‘Freaking heck,’ I thought, ‘Now I have to read this stupid book.’
I was so sorry that I’d asked. This was a giant volume – and a WESTERN! Ugh, Horrid.
You guys . . . I loved it.
It’s the last book in the world I would have picked out on my own, so thank heavens Gina recommended it. It’s the darnedest thing, Just a long, meandering romp of a book.
That’s all I’m going to say. Even if you’re rolling your eyes, I’m telling you: Give it a shot.
Feel good listens
Sometimes, you just need a dose of good juju 🙂
This book about a curmudgeon and his run ins with the neighbors is infuriating at first. But, of course, the point of the book is that you learn Ove’s back story and by the end you’re warm and fuzzy all over about him.
Books like this run the risk of seeming cheesy or over the top, but somehow, A Man Called Ove doesn’t. It’s just the right amount of sweet.
Sidenote, the movie A Man Called Ove is also excellent – even my teenage boys thought so, which is saying something: they hadn’t read the book and it’s in Swedish with subtitles.
This book is just so darn charming, and such an easy listen. It’s the story of a kind and smart, yet socially challenged college professor and his quest to find a wife. It’s romance and humor in the very best sense of both words.
If you love someone who is kind of, “on the spectrum” (And, really, don’t we all? I love at least two such somebodies) this book and it’s main character are likely to resonate in a familiar and heartwarming way . . .
When I want to be inspired
Keeping your optimism strong requires a determined effort. These might help:
Because Tina Fey is funny. And she’s smart. And she’s a badass.
And what’s more inspiring than a funny, smart, badass?
This genre is usually not my bag, but I liked that this particular book was supposed to be about the upside to starting a business with minimal capital.
Like most upholstery shops, I’m a teeny, tiny, eensy weensy business. I don’t have aspirations of 200 employees. I just want to keep the doors open and buy an occasional giant coffee table from MidModMen. That’s the big goal.
And what sucks sometimes, is that business books don’t feel like they’re talking to us. It’s like that Herculean effort doesn’t even register on the scale. How ego crushing.
Plenty of creative, self-employed people, are armies of one. We’re determined little fish in the great big world.
This book isn’t messing around when it talks about starting small – the author, who you might recognize from Shark Tank, is also the founder of FUBU, and this book is chock full of stories (including his own) that will inspire you to believe that a small, smart plan can go a long, long way. . . and sometimes, a shoestring budget is the secret ingredient to making solid business choices.
I was going to recommend a few podcasts, but you know what? I think we’ll save that for another week. . .
In the meantime, what are you listening to? Hook me up!!
More of a physical book person? Here are links to the books we recommended:
Books purchased through these Amazon affiliate links will help support The Funky Little Chair in a small-but-appreciated way. Happy reading!! Cynthia