Written By: Stef Smith
Summer is a time for relaxation, rejuvenation and catching up on a few good reads that you may have missed throughout the year. If you are spending most of your time buried in textbooks then reading for the fun of it may trickle down your list of priorities and seem more like another chore. However, finding the right book that can take you away from life’s day-to-day stressors may be the right thing you need to take you away from reality.
Here are a few books I indulged in this summer. As an athlete, I do like to read books that are applicable to the daily demands on training. However, I also like to read books that are SO far removed from my life that I get to feel like I can live as someone else for a while. Below are my top four summer reads:
1. Peak Performance
by: Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness
What are the differences between a great athlete and a great scientist? Or a great scientist and a great artist? Are there any differences at all? Peak performance discovers what it takes to achieve success, how to maintain it and how to avoid burnout.
By blending science with realistic life stories, Stulberg and Magness uncover some of the key components of success and how you can apply it to your everyday life whether you are an athlete, a business man, a scientist, etc. They even tackle the importance of napping and how eating dessert may actually help you in the long run.
My favourite part about this book was how applicable it was to my life. It gave me tips on how to deal with emotional stress, physical stress, how to tell the difference and how sometimes you just have to tell people “NO”. We are all suckers for spending hours and hours on our phones, but imagine what we could be doing with that time? But most importantly, I learned how important it is to REST. In a society of people going from one thing to the next, it can be hard to turn our mind off. But learning how to really REST can be the difference maker in one’s performance on any task.
2. The Art of Racing In The Rain
By: Garth Stein
A former New York Times Best Seller, The Art of Racing In The Rain tells the story about man’s best friend, from the best friend’s view. Written from the perspective of a dog, the stories follows the life of Denny Swift, a race car driver in Seattle trying to make it to the big leagues while also looking after his wife, daughter and his beloved dog Enzo. The book details what it is like to be Denny’s best friend and how to overcome the struggles life may throw at us. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry but ultimately it will lift you up. Ever wondered what your four legged friend is really thinking? This would be a good place to start.
As a dog lover, this book captured me from the start. It reminded me to enjoy the little things in life and try not to take things so seriously. We get so focused on buying material things and having the latest and greatest technology, but we forget how happy something as simple as running around can be for a dog. You could leave a dog at home alone all day and the second you walk in the door, you are the greatest part of their day. If everyone could love each other like a dog loves their humans, the world might be a kinder place.
3. The Woman In The Window
By: A.J. Finn
Anna Fox lives alone—and that’s the way she wants it to be, well…kind of. Confined to the four walls of her New York home due to a crippling battle with agoraphobia, she spends her days drinking, watching old movies and of course, spying on her neighbours. Her excessive wine drinking has been known to cloud her judgement from time to time but well, she does not seem to care that much. But when Anna sees a potential crime across the street, people have trouble believing her. Was it real? Was it the wine talking? Will the truth ever be revealed? Will this force her to overcome her fears and venture in to the unknown outside? This is an edge of your seat book that will also have you laughing. Follow the quirks and mischief of Anna Fox and her daily life stuck in her home.
The wittiest of this book drew me in from the beginning. It was so hard to put down. You immediately connect with Anna and her personality jumps out of the page. I loved the suspense and mysteriousness of this book but also the humour, the sarcasm and sympathy you feel early on for Anna. She wants to be a mom, a wife and a successful psychiatrist but her fear of the outside holds her back from achieving those although she desperately fights to overcome it.
4. Twenties Girl
By: Sophie Kinsella
Sophie Kinsella is most famous for her book series “Confession’s of a Shopaholic”. She has a way of connecting with a young to middle aged female fan base by diving in to the ins and outs of being a young 20 year old in today’s world. Twenties Girl follows the life of Lara Lington, a 20 something young girl trying to figure out her part in the world. Is she in the right career? Is her boyfriend the “one”? Can she even manage to pay this month’s rent? So when the ghost of her great aunt Sadie visits Lara, it is safe to say her life takes a turn. Not only does Sadie come and go as she pleases, she is not the frail old lady that Lara last saw, she is also in her 20s. The two embark on a daring adventure to try and retrieve a necklace that has been in her family for generations and learn a lot about each other along the way. The two turn out to be a great pair as they maneuver their way through life.
A great story of friendship, family, perseverance and humour, Kinsella will remind you that you don’t need to rush through life, and that you just need to enjoy the ride. Kinsella has a way of capturing an audience. This book almost made me feel like she wrote it for me and that I was Lara. I loved how simple and fun it was to read. This book is a light and fun read for any 20 something out there who feels like life is moving at lightning speeds sometimes.
Stefanie Smith is a recent graduate of the University of Windsor, and a former runner for their variety cross country, and track and field teams. When she isn’t training for upcoming races, Stef can be found curled up with a cup of coffee and a new book. Stef is driven, ambitious, hilarious, kind-hearted and a total badass. She is one of my best friends and it was an honour to have her write for me. Here is a link to her Feature Friday post if you want to learn more about Miss Smith: Feature Friday: Stef Smith.