It’s been a minute since I’ve brought you a What’s Rachel Reading post, but don’t get me wrong: Reading is eternal; it’s the writing that’s failed me. These last few weeks have provided a little extra time to think, if nothing else. And I think… that I miss talking about books with you! So, let’s jump back on into it, shall we?
Eat That Frog!
Today’s first reading choice of Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time may seem just a tad ironic right now… especially because just the other day I was talking about one thing a day, and being kind to ourselves in the current climate.
But, Eat That Frog! must be included here. Why? This was the very last title left in my pile of unread physical library books that I’d checked out before my library closed. At this point? I’d read the back of a cereal box and call it a day. 🙂
No offense meant to Eat That Frog! author Brian Tracy by any of the above; he’s done an admirable job distilling down (seemingly) every time-management book ever written into one slim volume of easily digestible sound bites. But, I’m in a bit of a different place at the moment than I was when I originally checked this one out.
One of my main quibbles with this book is the assumption that readers work for a larger company or organization that gives them the ability to delegate or put off less essential tasks. Solo entrepreneurs like myself would need to pay to outsource these; millions of other workers are in jobs with much less control over what’s considered “essential;” many of us juggling work and family and other responsibilities face endless daily tasks and interruptions that don’t necessarily contribute to major life goals — but still must get done.
But, Tracy’s focus on identifying major goals, boiling your work down to its core essentials, and prioritizing tasks towards those goals and essentials is overall helpful. That being said, I’ll just leave you with two of my favorite sound bites from Eat That Frog!:
- One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all.
- Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal.
As with any other advice, your task after reading Eat That Frog! becomes to choose (or adapt) the parts that realistically work for you.
The Lost Future of Pepperharrow
My second-to-last physical library book, The Lost Future of Pepperharrow, is the sequel to Natasha Pulley’s debut novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.
I recently joined a new book club, and our very first pick was The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. You’ll definitely want to pick that one up before reading this sequel, which jumps right in without a lot of character introduction or backstory, but both books in the series are equally luminous and engrossing. If I had to pick a genre, I’d say… magical realism? Pulley blends elements of historical fiction, steampunk, mystery, and fantasy, making her work both intricate and compelling — if somewhat hard to classify.
While The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is set mainly in London, The Lost Future of Pepperharrow moves the main characters Thaniel and Mori to Japan. It’s difficult to discuss the plot without spoilers for those of you who haven’t read Watchmaker, so I’ll just say that both are highly recommended: The characters are fascinating, the plot twists are unique, and the sense of atmosphere is amazingly well done.
I hope to get back to my new in-person book club soon, but recommend Watchmaker for yours as well: Lots to discuss!
Are you also running out of reading material?
As a side note: If you are also running out of books to read and want to give eBooks a try:
- Through April 30, 2020: Amazon is offering two free months of Kindle Unlimited to new subscribers!
- This lets you read over one million Kindle books, giving you a nice slice of all-you-can-eat reading while most public libraries are closed.
I grabbed this for myself, and have been doing a bunch of reading using the free Kindle app on my phone and ancient iPad mini.
If you, like me, prefer physical books: No, it’s not the same, but it will do in a pinch as the perfect reading material backup for times like these. (You can cancel the auto-renewal any time before the two months is up, and still retain access to Unlimited.)
Nevertheless She Persisted
Anyway, speaking of eBooks… The first eBook I read after everything shut down, Nevertheless She Persisted is a (very) short fiction bundle from Tor that’s currently available for free download from a number of eBook retailers.
Each story in this 2017 flash fiction collection jumps off from the prompt “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” (You may remember this phrase from events of 2017…)
The content in this collection is, as you might expect, somewhat uneven. You’ll find some real gems in the mix, though, including “Persephone,” by one of my favorite authors Seanan McGuire, and “God Product,” by Alyssa Wong. For free, though? It’s definitely worth the download and quick read, for some of the imaginative and thought-provoking hits it contains.
What are you reading this week?
What have you been reading lately? Tell us about it in comments — And, you can browse all of the What’s Rachel Reading? book reviews here.