Blogoversary

I just realized, when I tore my calendar page off today, that my first blogoversary passed in April completely unnoticed. I had quite a bit going on at the time, and I completely forgot about it!

It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing for over a year. I’ve had blogs before, about food mostly, restaurant reviews, travel. All of them fell by the wayside. I lacked motivation and inspiration, subject matter, audience. I knew I wanted to write, but I just didn’t know what to put out there.

When I started I Lay Reading, it was part of my Happiness Project. I wanted to read more, read harder, read better. Part of that goal was to interact with other people about what I was reading, and write more in depth about what I was learning. And so, this blog was born. I never expected to write every day, or for very many people to see it. I certainly didn’t expect for any of my posts to go viral on Reddit or Pinterest. But those things have happened. And every time they do I sit here and just stare at my computer in wonder. People like me, they really really like me! It’s such a joy to share my love of reading with each and every one of you. Thank you, for joining me in this journey.

A little bit about me, for those who have found the blog along the way:

I’m a recent transplant to Dallas, by way of Indianapolis. We’ve been here just under a year now, and are learning to love this big, hot metropolis. I’ve been reading since before I can remember–and I read EVERYTHING I can get my hands on. Seriously, everything. My TBR is in the thousands, so I am not always reading the most current books (although I try to keep up), but I’m constantly cycling through to read what I think is most interesting. I am also trying to complete the Boxall’s 1000 Books to Read Before you Die, so you’ll see me reference that quite often. I love recommendations, so if you see me read something and think of something I should read next, let me know in the comments! I do read every comment, guys, and I love chatting with you. Twitter is my favorite mode of communication, but Instagram and Tumblr are great places too!

Again, I just want to thank all of my followers, and all of the bookish friends I have made in the last year. You make reading and blogging so much fun!

Daily Bookish Challenges | Day Nine

If you could share and recommend only ONE book that you’ve read so far in 2014, which one would it be?

 

*HYPERVENTILATES*

I can only recommend ONE?! Do you know how hard that is? I have read SO many amazing books this year. Once I raised the bar and started blogging and reading harder, reading better, my whole reading world just took off.

I have learned so much this year about myself, about other people, about the world around me.

So you know what, let’s start at the beginning. What book changed all that for me?

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin

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It was because of that book that I started this blog. And once I started blogging, I couldn’t stop. I latched on to more and more challenges, I looked for harder and more interesting books to read. I crave more and different knowledge. While I still read for entertainment, I have different goals now. And I absolutely love sharing them with you.

Everyone will get something different out of Rubin’s book, but it completely changed my attitude and life, and I think it will change yours too.

Overwhelmed

Holy crap you guys. Thank you.

When I started this blog back in March, it was just a creative outlet for me. I had read The Happiness Project and I was determined that I was going to read more, better, harder. And I was going to write about it. I needed a way to increase the satisfaction and happiness that I got from reading and learn more from not just the books but also the people who read them.

I never expected people to actually pay attention to my silly little reviews.

But then, the more I wrote, the better I felt about what I was writing, and it started mattering to me. I started paying attention. My happiness project is working. I am learning, so much, and not just about books, but I’m so conscious about the world around me.

And that is why I’ve started posting more meaningful essays on here. At first, I was hesitant to do so, because they weren’t book related. But, they are important to me, and to my Happiness Project.

Then yesterday happened. I had written “A Lack of Baby Fever” because it is a message that is extremely personal to me, and it is one I want to share with women who 1) may be feeling the same way but don’t know how to express it, or 2) are maternal and don’t know how to communicate to those who are not. Somehow, my essay got posted to Reddit and oh my gawd. My little blog got so many hits you guys. SO MANY. I was in tears almost all day because I never believed THAT MANY PEOPLE would want to read, not just any post, BUT THAT POST. The response was overwhelming. From the commentor here, to the comments on Reddit, and the tweets and retweets.

And just now, I hit 200 followers. My silly little bookworm blog that I started just for me has 200 people who read regularly. And so I just wanted to say thank you. Because you probably have no idea how much writing this every day means to me. If I could hug each one of you, I totally would. I have some fun stuff planned coming up. More challenges, more books, of course, and definitely more essays, thoughts, etc. The blog is going to grow, as I am growing. Stay tuned!

The Happiness Project

It’s been six days since I started this blog. And so far, I have enjoyed writing this more, and it has been more successful, than any other blog I have tried. I am not sure why it has taken me so long to do a book blog, but I should have started writing about my reading a long time ago.

It is no coincidence that I started the blog the day after beginning The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. You guys should see my journal. I have four pages of notes. This will be a book that I will buy to add to my collection, and one I will read again. While I’m not one to read Self-Help books, this was extremely inspirational and motivating. I wasn’t so sure about it at first, but the more I read, the more charged I felt. I didn’t always agree with everything she said, but she definitely challenged me to change my way of thinking.

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Gretchen has a very organized structure to her book. She set a monthly calendar of goals–each month she would have something in her life she would try to change:  marriage, parenting, spirituality, etc. She built upon each month, and then by December, her goal was to have a perfect month where she would live all of her changes.

These breakdowns are what got to me. Some of them were fantastic. Ironically, the parenting chapter I found incredibly educational. Even though my husband and I do not plan on having children, I found some of what she said extremely helpful in how I interact with my niece and nephews.

However, I hated the marriage chapter. I felt the goals were completely unrealistic and cheesy. I felt it cut out too much healthy communication, and instead made her a doormat. I kept picturing those really dumb Marriage Guru couples from the movies. You know the ones I’m talking about. Big hair, mega-watt smiles. And then they always turn out to have a horrible relationship, but in the end are found to be together for the money scam. Maybe it was just the way the chapter was written…but it was just a really bad vibe. Seemed like a horrible formula to me.

Rubin is extremely well read, that’s for sure. She talks about her love for books, constantly. I was able to relate to her on that level quite a bit. And she includes a lot of quotes in her book, from Aristotle and psychology experts alike. I liked that she used a lot of different sources to make her point, without it sounding like a textbook.

This book definitely made me think, which is why I have so many notes. The first thing it did was make me ask myself, “What makes me happy?” Answer:  Reading. “What can I improve upon?” Answer:  Retention and Education.

Solution:  Start taking notes and journal more about what I’m reading, and then blog about it. Do more than just reviews. Interact with people. Maybe join or start a book club.

I am not going to go quite as in depth in my Happiness Project as Rubin did and do the month to month breakdown. However, I am going to be a bit more serious about where my brain is at. Since college, I keep telling myself that I can’t let myself get stagnant. But I do, and then I get bored and depressed. So I’m going to challenge myself to read better and write more. I hope you enjoy reading the blog as much as I do writing it.

 

I am going to leave you all with a question from the May chapter from THP. This question got to me, and I sat down and journaled for quite awhile about it, and I think it’s a good question to ask ourselves.

Q:  “Are you more likely to think about happiness–and to take action to try to build happiness–when everything in your life is going well, or when you’re facing catastrophe? If you’re facing a catastrophe, does it help to think about taking little ordinary steps to build happiness (having lunch with a friend, making your bed in the morning, going outside for a quick walk)? Or are modest efforts like that dwarfed by the magnitude of what you’re facing?”