One of my most reliable ways to relax is to curl up on the couch in my pajamas with a pillow, a blanket, and a good book. For an hour. I have serious problems winding down in the evening so I try to have quiet time after 8pm, which means no phone calls, no screens, no music, no brainstorming, and no projects, just down time until bedtime. After 7pm all reading has to be fiction or my brain starts ramping up to a mile a minute and next thing I know it’s 11pm and I’m designing fabric for some throw pillows in the living room. True story.
And the books need to be happy. Not too much drama, definitely not something scary or sad. It’s gotta be frivolously happy go lucky or you can count me out. I’ve looked back at everything I’ve read over the past year and I want to share with you my favourites, in no particular order.
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
A beautiful tale of a mystical circus that appears as if out of nowhere, leaves just as quickly as it came, and is filled with the aesthetic and intrigue of Jack White. Attractions include ice gardens, contortionists, an amazing vertical cloud maze, and, of course, magic. The story centres around a secret and illusive competition between two magicians who don’t know what the game is or who their opponent might be.
Ok, so this is where things go awry. I know I said fiction but the next three books are actually non-fiction, though the first two are written like novels so that’s how they slid past security. The last is a book about how to unwind so it got it’s own special all-access-pass into my living room after 7pm.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson
I swear I read every fourth sentence to Darren because this book is so hysterical. Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, writes about her eclectic childhood and her evolution into a riotous wife and mother. Growing up with a taxidermist for a father must give you a sense of humour or you’d never survive watching vultures dig up your dead dog, then be able to chase them away with a machete.
The Downhill Lie: A Hacker’s Return to a Ruinous Sport, by Carl Hiaasen
Yes it’s a memoir about golf. Get over it. You don’t need to know anything about golf to laugh, re-read parts, and laugh again as Carl Hiaasen tries to pick up the sport. The gadgets, mind games, and required wit mixed with Carl’s comedic writing style had me snickering through the pages.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle
Let me start by saying that I haven’t actually finished reading this book yet. I read a few chapters, take a few months to absorb them, then read a few more, so you may be seeing this on next year’s book list. Lots of great concepts for living in the present, instead of stressing about the future, dwelling on the past, and getting caught up in other people’s drama. Definitely a must read for anyone who struggles with stress management or who finds that life is flying by too quickly.
So what have you been reading lately? Got anything you’d recommend? Do you wind down with a good book at the end of the day? Or do you have another relaxation ritual?