The Best Books I Read In 2014

Book Reviews, Just for Fun

Books make excellent hostess gifts, gifts for coworkers, and even gifts for a boss. The question remains: how do you choose which book to gift to someone else? I’m big on word-of-mouth, if someone I know says that they loved a certain book, I’m probably going to buy it. So, in the spirit of helping others, I went through my reviews from 2014 and picked out eight of my absolute favourites. With various genres and storylines I’m sure they’ll be perfect for anyone on your list! Click the titles below the photos to read my reviews!

Us — The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry — The Bear — The Queen of Tearling — Not That Kind of Girl — The Opposite of Loneliness — Thrive — Wild 

“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!”
― Neil Gaiman

– Vanessa

Thrive [Book Review]

Book Reviews, Lifestyle/Personal

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Arianna Huffington is the cofounder and editor-in-cheif of the Huffington Post Media Group. I’m sure we can all imagine what kind of life she must lead, being one of the most efficient media outlets doesn’t come without its consequences. Thrive begins with the moment that Arianna Huffington realized she was completely and utterly burnt out. Brought on by exhaustion and lack of sleep Huffington fell, hitting her eye and breaking her cheekbone. Is this what success really looks like? she wondered. There has to be more to success than just money and power, she thought. And so she is redefining success by adding a third metric to the equation: Well-being, Wonder, and Wisdom.

I’m at an impasse in my life; an infuriating and stressful impasse. As such, I sought out a book that could help me get out of my funk — Thrive was the perfect choice. Weaving her personal stories with statistics and facts, Huffington shines a light on the issues facing the modern generation. She helps you answer questions like what kind of life do I want to have? and re-invents what it means to be successful. Thrive opens your eyes with an in-depth look at lack of sleep, technology and the affect that being connected 24/7 has on a person.

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Famous quotes are scattered throughout the book adding an extra emphasis on certain points (my favourite is above). The quotes add a certain wonder and wisdom to the book (two important elements of her third metric). Filled with pointers on meditation, ideas and websites to visit for volunteering, personal stories and anecdotes, Thrive has something for every business woman and man out there. It’s also great for millennials like myself, to make us aware of the kind of world we’re walking into and how WE can make a change.

Thrive comes out March 25th — I urge you to pre-order a copy!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Disclosure: I chose Thrive from a list of Random House Canada titles and received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Connecting or Distracting

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

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The more I read the more I wonder if I use technology to connect or to distract. I’m addicted to sharing, to tweeting and Instagramming and I don’t know why. It’s an amazing way to connect with people, to share my adventures and to keep people up to date with my life (if anyone actually cares I mean) but lately it’s been more of a tool for distraction. Sometimes when I’m looking on Pinterest or sliding through tweets, a headache starts to form. Crawling up my neck and setting up shop at the back of my head, sometimes pounding so hard that I feel it in my eyes. That’s when I put my phone down and shake my head.

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There is such a thing as being on your phone too much. Using it as a tool to distract yourself from life is just as unhealthy as being under the impression that you need to be connected 24/7 to have a meaningful life or a successful career. An important question that I’m trying to answer is not ‘What do I want to do?’ but ‘What kind of life do I want to have?’ (Thrive page 27). I don’t want the kind of life that is controlled by technology. This morning I turned off all of my notifications — email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest — now I get to decide when I want to receive information. NOW I’m in control. Now I decide when I want to pick up my phone. The next step in toning down my social media/phone obsession is keeping my phone in my purse when I go out and choosing a day where I go tech-free!

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 How does technology affect you or your job?

LMK in the comments!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo