Talking as Fast as I Can – by Lauren Graham

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If you want to catch up for a coffee with Lauren Graham, this book is for you.  Like probably 99.9% of the readers who picked up this book, I read it because I love Gilmore Girls.  As if the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life wasn’t enough of a good thing, I wanted more.  I wanted to know whether Lauren Graham was anything like Lorelai Gilmore, and spoiler alert: she is.

Lorelai Lauren writes like she talks.  Fast-paced, entertaining, conversational, the book is extremely easy to read (I did it over three nap sessions, and my bubba doesn’t nap for long at all).  The highlights for me were:

– Anecdotes about Lauren starting out as an actress (no, the roles did not just land in her lap, so much went on behind the scenes with a lot of odd jobs, training etc.);

-Her thoughts on being single before she paired up with Peter Krause (it was refreshingly honest and something most of us have thought about at one time or another, without the Hollywood pressure thankfully);

-Her thoughts on writing, including the Kitchen Timer method (which is something that Don Roos passed onto Lauren – it’s a great method to try if you want to develop a writing discipline or just to get writing); and

-Of course, all the inside goss on the filming of Gilmore Girls (both the original series and the new episodes on Netflix).

There you have it.  No, the book is not the next War and Peace (nor does it attempt to be) but it is honest, Lauren wrote it herself (no ghost-writing here), and it does extremely well for a book of its genre.  Perfect to read on the plane, or by the pool on your next island getaway.

Rating: 3.5/5

‘Money + Mindfulness’ by Lisa Messenger

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I picked up this book at the local newsagent, intrigued by the topic (been thinking a lot about finances lately), the author (Lisa Messenger is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Collective magazine) and let’s face it I’m a sucker for a book with lots of pretty photos.  It was a super breezy read, where Lisa shares (in a let’s sit down for a cup of coffee tone) lessons learnt from her own entrepreneurial journey.

The biggest take-away for me was about mindset.  That a lot of my attitude towards money was formed by childhood imprints and that sometimes I need to step out from a mindset of scarcity and tell myself it’s okay to invest in myself.  Whether that’s paying for a seminar, a course, or something else that will better help me become the best version of myself.  Henry Ford was quoted (from his book My Life and Work):

We teach children to save their money.  As an attempt to counteract thoughtless and selfish expenditure, that has a value.  But it is not positive; it does not lead the child out into the safe and useful avenues of self-expression or self-expenditure.  To teach a child to invest and use is better than to teach him to save.

There’s a lot of truth to that quote and I’m just starting to learn what it means to use money well (and hopefully we can teach our little girl what this means as she grows up).

Recommendation:  The book is supplemented by the Money + Mindfulness playbook (I’m yet to look into that) and is a good read for anyone who’s thinking about what it means to use money well.  Financial concepts are explained in a very digestable and relatable manner but if you’re looking for formulas and theories on finances, this probably isn’t the best fit for you.

Rating: 4/5

PS. This is not a sponsored post.

‘California’ by Edan Lepucki

This book fell into my lap (literally).  Stephen Colbert encouraged his late night TV show viewers to purchase this book in support of first-time publishing author Edan Lepucki who was affected by the Amazon-Hachette saga.  My hubby, the ever devoted Colbert enthusiast, heeded his exhortation.  However even if it hadn’t been for my hubby, this was still the type of book which I likely would’ve picked of my own volition.  Young couple.  Post-apocalyptic landscape.  Survival.  Yep, sounds like something I would read.

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What I loved about the book was that its focus was on the nature of relationships.  How we love when the familiar is taken away.  How we choose our allies.  The lengths we would go to, to protect the ones we love.  One of the main characters Frida suspects that she is pregnant and fluctuates between feelings of great love and great fear for her unborn child.  This particularly struck a chord with me (particularly as I’m reading this in my third trimester of pregnancy!), as I’ve faced moments when I’ve pondered, ‘What sort of a world am I bringing this child into?’  My conclusion (for now) is that whilst I cannot know what the future holds, I live trusting that ultimately there is enough love to go around.  (There’s a great reflection on Brain Pickings titled ‘Margaret Mead’s Beautiful Letter of Advice to her Younger Sister on Starting a Family in an Uncertain World which is definitely worth a read).  It’s interesting to explore this very same question in Frida’s life and how she tries to resolve this tension in her not-too-distant and frighteningly realistic post-apocalyptic world.

The novel is a bit slow-paced at times (for an impatient reader as myself).  Whilst the story is carefully drawn and beautifully crafted, I felt that the plot was a bit flat and could’ve been told with fewer words.

Recommendation:  I’d recommend this book for readers who are looking for a ‘twist’ to the typical post-apocalyptic genre (ie. one more focused on relationships than one which imagines the logistics of the future-world in great detail).

Rating: 3.5/ 5