Bookish Posts · Lifestyle

Grow Your Mind(set).

By Katie


A few weeks ago, I instagrammed about Mindset, a book I had just picked up.

I finally finished it. It’s a non-fiction, which means it took me longer to read it, because I journaled as I read.  I don’t journal all my non-fictions, like Into Thin Air By Jon Krakauer or Dead Wake by Eric Larson, both brilliant narrative non fictions.  But for books like Mindset, where I want to absorb the lessons and change my worldview, I find I can’t retain all the info I want to.  Writing down my thoughts and reflections as I read allows me to understand it better, and to easily flip back to remind myself of key points.

If you have not encountered Mindset Theory before, you may wonder what the big deal is.  Carol S. Dweck spends 246 pages telling you what the big deal is.  Go pick up the book and find out.

Ha.

Anyways.

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I finished Mindset.  And I want it to change my life.   As a fixed-mindset person, my initial thought is, ‘it’s too bad I don’t have a growth mindset,’ and end it there.  But, I want to develop a growth mindset, and the first step is to know that traits/talents/intelligence/mindsets are not set in stone, but can be changed.

I’m going to do a couple posts on Mindset, dealing with self, parenting and relationships.  This may be an introduction post, or it may be the one on self.  We will see.   (I am a champion planner, as you can see.)

As I was journaling, I noticed that I was writing more about Fixed Mindset traits then growth mindset traits.   Even though I want to change to a growth mindset, I am drawn to the idea that I can’t change and it’s too bad.  About a third of the way through, I started consciously writing more about growth mindset and how to cultivate it.  My mindset is changing already!!

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The reason I want to change is because Fixed Mindset people don’t deal with problems and failures.  They don’t find solutions.   They assign blame.  They are embarrassed if something requires effort.   Criticism is a personal attack and devalues your worth.  Failures occur because there is something intrinsically wrong with you.

To a fixed mindsetter, effort is terrifying because a) geniuses or people who are naturally superior aren’t supposed to need it; b) it robs you of excuses (ie I failed because I didn’t try).

To a fixed mindsetter, the hardest thing to say is “I gave it my all and it wasn’t good enough.  I still failed.”

Both of these apply to me.  I fear failure.  I am mortified if I do something and I fail.  I can’t talk about it.  I pretend it never happened.  I fear effort.  I am mortified if I have to try hard at something.  I don’t talk about it.  I pretend I never tried.

If I look back at choices I have made, I can easily see where my fixed mindset has crippled me; where a fixed mindset allowed me to quit instead of trying.

While in university, I received a letter from the English Department after taking an English Lit class asking me to join the department.   Despite the fact that reading and writing are passions, I never followed through.  I didn’t want the possibility that I could fail at something I loved.  In my mind, I finished at the top.

I was embarrassed that it took effort (ie: I needed to do all the homework) to get the A+ I got in first year Calculus.

I quit flight school because I didn’t comprehend the math immediately; I felt that if I didn’t get it in class, I would never get it.

These are really embarrassing to write.  I want everyone to think that I made all the right choices, all the time with no effort.  It’s kind of a crazy thought process when you really think of it.

I don’t want to continue to live this way.  It is actually quite a dumb way to live. I have dreams that I want to fulfill, but they will take a lot of effort.  And I may fail.  But that needs to be ok.

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A growth mindset is characterized by the idea that “I gave it my all for things I valued.”

Dweck said that confidence is not a necessary part of the growth mindset: you can give effort and acknowledge you can learn without self confidence.  This is huge for me.  I am not a confident person.  And I have always used that as an excuse for why I don’t try things/talk to people/apply for experiences. 

I think that the first step in growing my mindset is to stop assigning blame.  And to stop tying my worth to my success.  And to stop taking criticism as a personal attack.

I need to see failures as a chance to learn.  I need to enjoy the learning that failures give me.  I need to realize that people who are good at things are good because they have worked at it.  Effort is a good thing.

And the biggest one:  I need to see my worth as a Child of the King.  It doesn’t matter if it takes me 100 tries to master something.   The Creator of the universe is my God.  I am His child. In what else could I possibly find worth that equals that?

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(Clearly this was a post about self.  I am glad I planned that out.)

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Bookish Posts

What I read, What I am Reading, and What I will Read Next

By Katie


October has been a slow read month. (After I typed that, I had to check the date to make sure it is still October.  This year is zooming by!)  I doubt I will finish even 8 books this month – which is low for me.

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There are a number of reasons why I am reading less, mostly to do with the twins.  We are trying to get a lot of work done around here so that we all fit comfortably in our house when they arrive.  The current state of my house is somewhere between “Disaster” and “Apocalyptic-type Devastation.”  I am antsy because the nesting bug has bitten me, but I can’t nest because everything is everywhere.  We are re-flooring our whole upstairs while living in it, which means furniture is constantly moving and being shoved in inconvenient locations.

All this is to say, that my brain is as scrambled as my living quarters.  And I am having a hard time focusing on anything, let alone books.

Also, when I do manage to sit for a few moments, I am uncomfortable.  Which isn’t any different from when I am standing, but less taxing.   I don’t know how the twins are going to keep growing for the next 6 weeks, because there isn’t any more room in there.

But, despite all my trials and tribulations, I have still managed to crack a book or two. I know, I am a modern-day hero.  Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale have nothing on me.

What I read:

61sWF5+2frL._SL160_Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk is a Newberry Honor Book from a year or two ago.  It is an American war time book of a 12 year old girl, Annabelle, who becomes the target of a bully.   The bully goes on to target a local hermit who is battling demons from the First World War.  Annabelle does her best to save her friend the hermit but disaster strikes none-the-less.

This is a well-written book that is reminiscent of two of my favourite Newberry Medal Winners: The War that Saved My Life and Moon over Manifest.   I love kid’s lit that deal with the Wars, or other traumatic events in history, because I think they add a level of humanity that we can sometimes forget to have.  If you enjoy war time tales, another fantastic YA war novel is Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.  The shoemaker in this novel is one of my favourite characters, and is as well developed as Francie Nolan in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, or characters by literary giants Wendell Berry, and Wallace Stegner.

What I am Reading:

51dWe7xjDeL._SL160_Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, first published in 1938, is a delightful tale of a spinster governess/maid on the verge of destitution who is sent by her employment agency to an upscale address.  She is greeted by damsel in distress with too many lovers and too few morals.  Miss Pettigrew steps out of her comfort zone to help her, partially because the workhouse is her next and last option, but mostly because the life she stumbles on is nothing like the life she has known.  The light-hearted antics that ensue hour by hour make for a fun, easy read.

The only draw back to this novel is that I find it too dialogue-y.  (This is also my complaint about The Picture of Dorian Gray)  I find dialogue-heavy books make me feel anxious – kind of like when I am in dialogue-y situations in real life 🙂

What Will I read Next:

51d-7eESbgL._SL160_This is tougher to say:  I have 2 behemoths waiting for me from 51CrEqCnVmL._SL160_the library, Island of the World and The Father’s Tale.   They are by author Michael O’Brien, whom I have never read.  I heard about him on a (somewhat) recent episode of What Should I read Next, where the guest said that these two books were among her favourites of all time, and her descriptions intrigued me.  I thought they would make a great fall read as the weather cooled down, but we are having a rather warm fall (which is not helping my discomfort.)  I will pick one of them up next: I will let you know what I choose!

What I am Listening too:

And, of course, my current audio:  The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry.  This book has won a number of awards and has been long-listed and short-listed for a bunch of other awards, but only has a 3.7/5 rating on Goodreads.  I am only 1 hour into and can’t say I am loving it, but it may be a book I need to read in written form.  I have a few other audio books queued, so I may abandon it (which is something I have only recently started to do!) to take up another audiobook.

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41fHxOhTrxL._SL160_But I need to mention a recent audiobook I just finished:  A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra.  I read this book a few years ago, and absolutely loved it.  I loved it just as much in audio.   Set in war-torn Chechnya, the book starts in December 2004 with 8 year-old Haava hiding in the woods.  She is taken to a local hospital by a family friend who bargains with on the only remaining doctor, Sonja, to allow Haava to stay in the hospital with her.   The novel bounces back and forth between the end of 2004 and the past few decades, and between different characters to tell the story of what happened to Haava’s family, to Sonja’s sister, and to many families during the war years in Chechnya. This book is beautifully written with a sweeping storyline.  The details you learn about each character you meet show Merra to be an absolute genius story teller.

What have you picked up lately?  Anything I should add to my TBR pile?

 

*There are affiliate links in this post.  They cost you nothing, but may give us a little something*
Bookish Posts

What I Read, What I am Reading and What I will Read Next. (And, as a bonus, What I am Listening To)

By Katie


I was planning on doing this post mid month, but the mid of the mid to the end of the month is close enough, right?

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This is a totally natural pose for my books.  This is my life.
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The 100th book.

If you follow us on instagram, you will have seen that I recently have read my 100th book.   That puts me on track to finish about 135 books this year, which is on par for last year.  I thought I would read less this year because I  read some behemoths this year, like City on Fire (I rated it a 4, it was a depressing 900 page read with no hope until everything worked out for everybody on the last 3 pages) (but it was  well-written), The Dovekeepers (a gorgeous book, I rated it a 10), and The Golem and the Jinni (loved it, rated it a 8, though I feel, looking back, it should be at least a 9).   I guess the bigger books were balanced shorter books like the  Narnia Series (I read this series to Atticus), a Judy Blume novel, and 2 Newberry Medal winners, The One and Only Ivan (highly recommend this book!) and Moon over Manifest (I loved, loved, loved it!).

I don’t do book challenges as a rule.  I love reading, I don’t want to make it a chore or something I need to cross off my list.  But, looking forward to being a mom of 4 4 and under, I am thinking of challenging myself to read through the Newberry Medal winners and honour list next year.  I am not sure how much brain power I will have for reading once the twins are here so these shorter reads may be just what I need to get through 2018!

Anyways.

I should get down to business.  I know that is what you are here for……..

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What I read:

51I7LCRhT6L._SL160_I just finished The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda.  It a psychological thriller that is a quick read and has a compelling story line.

Moving to the middle of nowhere after her journalism careers blows up, Leah Stevens rooms with an old friend from 8 years previous.   Shortly after she arrives, 2 bodies are found in the local lake and her roommate goes missing.  Only there is no proof the roommate ever existed.   Narrated from Leah’s perspective, her story seems completely plausible.  But is it?

This is not my favourite type of read.  My true love is literary fiction: great writing, and prose you want to sink in to.   But I do need quick, compelling books to break up the literary fiction books which can be heavier and more thought-provoking.

61ldE5ZNZ2L._SL160_I am currently reading The History of Bees by  Maja Lunde .  This is the book I received from PageHabit, which is a subscription box service that sends annotated copies of new releases.  You can pick from 8 different of genres, including historical fiction, sci fi, mystery, and, my choice, literary fiction.   I also got a pair of socks, book page markers and a short story that was very disappointing.   I am loving the annotations in The Life of Bees!  It adds so much to the story to get the background on the research done by the author, the way the book changed as it was written and edited, and the general musings of the author.    PageHabit also donates money to different literary charities around the world that serve under-read communities.  So its a win-win.

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This is what my reading life looks like: flowers and sun.

The History of Bees takes place in 3 time periods: mid 19th century, modern day, and the end of the 21st century.   Telling the story of 3 different people at different times in the history of bees, with the bees all gone by 2093, disappearing in 2007 and totally fine in 1852, Lunde is weaving a masterful, beautifully written story.   With the death of bees on the news recently and new measures being pushed in to try stop the bee population decline, it seems like a poignant read right now!

51aLxQqr2IL._SL160_I am going to pick up Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout next because I waited forever for it from the library and I can’t renew it because there are still holds on it.  (I find the library holding system often dictates what I read next.)  I read My Name is Lucy Barton by Strout earlier this year in because AiP was coming out.  (I was told you don’t need to read them in order, but I prefer to.  I feel that, even in non-linear series, the author tends to write like you have the knowledge the previous books imparted about reoccurring characters.)   Lucy Barton was a quick read (I started and finished it on the car ride to one of the Tea’s house this summer) and Anything is Possible seems similar in length so I should knock it off in a day or so.  I rated Lucy Barton a 10, so I have high hopes for this one!

And, of course, what am I listening to:

(If you don’t think that audio books count as reading, see what I have to say about that here.)

512b908vxPL._SL160_My current audio book is Little Bee by Chris Cleave.  I had no idea what this book was about when I chose it (except that it was labelled as the next A Thousand Splendid Suns   by Khaled Hosseini).  Little Bee is about a teen aged refugee in Britain who reconnected with a British couple who saved her life 5 years earlier, but had failed to save the life of her sister.  It is a heart breaking look into the refugee life, what drives a person to leave their home country, what awaits them in developed countries, and what could happen if they are deported.

I think that in a society where so much of our discussions on refugees and our responsibilities to them deals with refugees a mass group (which is a daunting and impossible issue), it is good to look at individual stories.  It is good to remember that every refugee is an individual human being.  Reading stories about refugees helps to build empathy in a world that is so focused ‘on my worldview, my opinion, my interpretation.’

What are some good books you have picked up lately?  What is on your TBR pile?

Bookish Posts

What I Read. What I am Reading. What I will Read Next

By Katie


This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  Its costs you nothing but we get a little something. 
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Part of my capacity at Three Teas and a Coffee is Official Reader.  This is a hard won and very coveted title.  I will try to do it justice.  But, because we (and by we, I mean the Teas) don’t want to become a book-only blog, I am going to try to limit myself to 1 or 2 monthly posts about books.

My reading life can be summed up by William Styron who said,

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” 

(This clearly shows that people who are out living YOLO are just illiterate.)

Books open up the world to you.  They allow you to walk in someone else’s (or some other species!) shoes.  They teach compassion, discernment.  They educate.  They allow you to live!

If you don’t like to read….What on earth is wrong with you?!?!

Just kidding.  Kind of. OK, I wasn’t really kidding at all. (Just kidding.)

I know I read a lot, most likely more than the average person.  I read about 130 books last year and over 140 the year before (this year will be less because I have been reading some behemoths).   When I mention how much I read, often people say “I couldn’t do that.  I don’t have time.”  But then I hear from everybody about the latest Survivor, Game of Thrones, or How I met your Big Bang Modern Office.  It’s a matter of priorities, people!

If you enjoy reading, or want to read more I am going to post what I have read, what I am reading and what I plan on reading next.  The last one is hard because I don’t plan my reading months in advance, and I don’t do book-reading lists or challenges.  I choose my next book based on what catches my eye at the moment I finish the last page of my current book.

51lBlxNIx3L._SY346_I just finished The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon.  It was a really quick read which I finished in less than 36 hours (and that includes volunteering at VBC and painting our bathroom!)(and some parenting…)   It is a story of 2 army wives in Jordan during the Arab Spring in 2011.  It left me wanting more, and not only a more in depth look at the political climate and culture, but also into the motives and ambitions of all the characters.  I felt that Fallon skimmed over everything and ended up with a rushed novel, though she has a lot of praise for the novel on the back cover, so maybe I missed something.

Hourglass                                                                                                                              I am currently reading Hourglass by Dani Shapiro. This is a 2017 release, but I didn’t have to wait too long on my library’s hold list.  I just started it, but so far, I think I am going to love it.  It is the sort of memoir I love: a mix of story-telling, musing, and essay with lots of thought-provoking lines in it.  I love good writing, and I love poignant passages.  This book promises to deliver both.

 

Bone ClocksI am going to read The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas) next.  I found it in my library and, having heard references to it in the book-o-sphere, I took it home (after checking it out of course.) (Which can be harder than you may think because I have a book-a-holic son who thinks the couple books I take home take room away from the 30 books he takes home.)   It is a fantasy/sci-fi novel following Holly, who has mystic abilities, and a war between two immortal factions.    I picked it up because the title The Bone Clocks refers to humans as our bones count down our  mortal days.  I like the poetic sound of that!

And because I know you want to know, I will tell you I also listen to audio books.   Audio books are a great way to increase the amount you read because you can read while doing mundane chores.

Or mundane parenting….(not that I would ever turn on my audio book on days where my kids are whining and being difficult.  Nope.  Never.)

And if you are one of those crazies that thinks audio books are cheating, Forbes details here how, though there isn’t a lot of research done on the topic, current research shows that listening is as good as or better than reading.  And if you like pictures, here are some cool infographics that show the benefit of audio books.

If you still aren’t convinced, think of all studies that show reading aloud to children increases their literacy rates.   You are the audio book to your kid, and there are long-term benefits.  Growing up doesn’t erase your access to those benefits. (On another note, get audio books for your kids – very entertaining way to eliminate TV time!)

So, what am I listening to?  Glad you asked!

100 yo man                                                                                                                                I am just finishing up The 100 year old man who Climbed out a Window and Disappeared.  It is a humorous tale of Allan’s life and his touch in all major political events in the 21st century.  I love tales of journeys, both emotional and physical, and this one has both.

 

 

I listen to most of my audio books via Overdrive and borrow them from my library.  You can also sign up for Audible where you get your first month free.

What are you reading?

What have you just finished?

How big is your TBR pile?



This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  Its costs you nothing but we get a little something.