Okay, a show of hands. Who here is going stir-crazy being cooped up at home right now? Yeah, I suspected as much.
Ordinarily, when I need to relax my mind, ease my anxieties, and just chill out, there's no better activity for me to partake in than to dive head-first into a good book. With all of the doom and gloom surrounding us these days, I find this strategy to be particularly valuable for maintaining my sanity and helping me to retain some semblance of optimism and perspective.
Whenever I need to take a break throughout the day while working from home, I am increasingly opting to pick up my Amazon Kindle to read a chapter or two, rather than allowing myself to get sucked down the rabbit hole of Twitter posts and incessant news updates. Here's a quick list of what I've been reading lately, in case it helps you find a good, distracting book of your own.
What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
By: Dan Rather
I swear I'm not just picking authors because they're fellow Texans. In fact, Dan Rather is someone who I've respected for just about as long as I've been alive. From his long and storied career as a reporter and newscaster at CBS dating as far back as the Kennedy assassination, to his newfound role as an author and social media personality, Rather has always demonstrated integrity, common sense, and a relatability that I have always admired.
Just as he did with his earlier work in The American Dream (opens in new tab), and similar to what Tom Brokaw did in The Greatest Generation (opens in new tab), Rather weaves a series of personal stories and reflections throughout his career and up to the present day to remind us that we are all connected, we are all important, and we can all make this country and this world a better place. What a nice message at a time like this, don't you think?
The Secret Lives of Introverts
By: Jenn Granneman
I remember when I first heard the term "introvert" while reading the book Quiet (opens in new tab) by Susan Cain. I thought, wow, that is a perfect description of me! That's exactly what I feel like all the time! Now that I've embraced my introverted identity, I am hyper-aware of this topic in the media, and rush to read, listen, or generally consume anything I can find about it.
What I like about Granneman's book is that it addresses common issues that introverts experience through real-life stories, and provides guidance and examples on how they can cope with these problems. I found it particularly interesting how she tries to help introverts express their needs and deal with their frustrations in a way that often prooves understandable to their extroverted friends. Not only that, but there are several examples throughout the book on how introverts can better understand extroverts, and interact with them in a way that provides them with energy and understanding.
With more and more people living a bit of an introverted lifestyle these days, I think it's great to show everyone that introverts are not weird and that we all have similar needs and aggravations. We just deal with them differently, and understanding this helps us all to get along better and be happier. What a better lesson to learn right now when households of introverts and extroverts are confined together for extended periods of time?
By: Nick Clark Windo
When I really want to escape, I pick up a mystery or techno-thriller, and The Feed (opens in new tab) by Nick Clark Windo has ticked just about every box on my list. It details a world in which people are constantly and intimately connected by an omnipresent internet feed through an implanted device. Do you think you can't escape social media or the news now? Hah! Just you wait.
After a world-wide tragedy strikes, people are once again forced to fend for themselves without the help of the technology, connections, and infrastructure that they've come to depend on. I'll admit it that in a time of toilet paper rationing and empty public spaces, the story and message here did hit a little close to home. I think the biggest takeaways from this book are that a) it's good to disconnect from technology and reconnect with people more frequently, and b) humans are pretty resourceful and will find a way to survive just about anything that is thrown at them.
If reading isn't your preferred pastime, this book has been adapted into an Amazon Prime Video Series (opens in new tab), and you'd be right if you guessed it was next on my list of shows to binge this weekend!
If e-books aren't your thing
Maybe you've been reading this and have been turned off by the idea of e-books in general. I won't pretend to agree, but I do understand. While I find an the experience of reading a book on an e-reader like the Kindle far superior to that on a tablet or even a regular book, I think I'm still in the minority in my opinion.
For those of you who prefer paper books, here are links to the stories above in print form.
- What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism (opens in new tab), by Dan Rather
- The Secret Lives of Introverts (opens in new tab), by Jenn Granneman
- The Feed (opens in new tab), by Nick Clark Windo
For the rest of you who are open to the idea of e-books, I recommend that you pick up the latest Kindle Paperwhite, along with a Kindle Unlimited subscription (free for the first two months!). You can thank me later.
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Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
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