Two Booked Up Episode 28
[00:00:00] Rowena: You are listening to Two Booked Up I'm Rowena Mabbott here with Shelley Tonkin Smith, and today we are going to be sharing an update about how we have been going with our two Booked Up Reading challenge where we declared our intention to be more intentional in our reading.
[00:00:19] Shelley: Yes. A few months ago we shared the 23 for 2023 Nonfiction reading challenge, and in this episode we're going to explore our progress and check in with you guys of how we've been finding the experience of reading with more intention and reading more widely because the list of 23 topics is a broad range of topics.
And so we wanna share some book recommendations that we've come across that we wouldn't have come across before. And some tips for those of you who have joined us on this reading challenge and those of you who want to join.
[00:00:53] Rowena: And we're also sharing a couple of our favorite fiction reads from the last couple of months. So if you also enjoy reading, we sure you'll be adding a few books to your to be read list after this episode.
[00:01:04] Shelley: This is the Two Booked Up Podcast, where we talk about books.
[00:01:12] Rowena: The books that are challenging us to live more intentional lives
[00:01:16] Shelley: The books that are equipping us on our business and professional journeys.
[00:01:20] Rowena: and the books that delight and bring us joy.
[00:01:24] Shelley: So if you want to live life with more intention, and if you want to be doing work that brings you joy, then come and join the bookish conversation with me Shelley Tonkin Smith.
[00:01:35] Rowena: And me Rowena Mabbott here on Two Booked Up.
[00:01:39] Shelley: All right, so we are talking about reinvigorating your reading today and talking about our progress in the 23 for 2023 reading challenge. And the idea behind this challenge you know, reading nonfiction can seem very serious.
The books are often geared more towards self-improvement and business ideas and professional developments, and. I like have this worry that play is often missing from reading non-fiction books. But play is what makes life fun and there really is so much fun in the pages of these non-fiction books.
So I talked about play in back in episode 13, if you wanna dive more into this philosophical kind of idea of play, but we thought let's bring some more play into our reading life it's actually amazing that through play something that seems maybe a little bit childish, it's not, we find greater meaning and purpose in life.
So we bring in that into our reading life with this reading Challenge checklist that you can go and download at signup.twobookedup.com.
[00:02:55] Rowena: Absolutely. And the other thing we're talking about is intention and doing things with intention, which we've been talking a lot about in the previous episodes. So when we talk about being more intentional with our reading, what we mean is we actively choose.
So we actively choose which books we want to read, and then. Go ahead and read those. So the 23. For 2023, the purpose is to inspire us and you to read a few books that are maybe not yours or our usual choices, but that also help to widen our collective reading tastes.
Because through reading more widely and reading different genres, we can learn to appreciate different perspectives and different ways of looking at things.
[00:03:41] Shelley: Yes. This is something that I need to do with my kids, or I do do with my kids, is to widen their reading tastes. But it's totally something we need to do as adults in our reading lives. Being intentional looks like. Being exposed to different ideas, uncovering new perspectives, and importantly in doing that, it sparks our own creative ideas.
A friend of mine talks about creative oxygen, and I feel like putting these great ideas into your brain, Means that you are going to output beautiful, creative ideas. You don't necessarily need to agree or even enjoy, a particular book that you've read, but it can spark these new, creative ideas that you wouldn't have experienced elsewhere.
And we shared in episode 18, and then again in episode 22, inspiration and ideas can come from anywhere. So no matter what you read, nonfiction, which is what we focus on here on two books up, but also fiction blog posts, people's newsletters. That learning helps you grow and that boosts your creativity.
So that's why we thought we would just mention a couple of the, the fiction books that we're also reading in today's episode. So I think Rowena, can you kick us off? You have been, as we know, prolifically reading.
I don't know if that's the right way to use that word in the sentence, but you've been reading a lot of books this year. Tell us about the books that you've been reading so far for the challenge.
[00:05:10] Rowena: Yes, you are correct. I am quite an avid reader. I love reading for relaxation and for pleasure. And as I've shared in episode 10, I have changed my habits many years ago to now embrace choosing to read where previously I might have done just about anything else. So where someone else might choose to sit down and watch some Netflix. I'll often be curled up in a corner with a book or where other people might be listening to music whilst they're walking. I'll be listening to an audio book.
So I do wanna say that I do read a lot and there is no expectation that anybody else reads as much as I do. But I am gonna share with you. The 10 nonfiction books I've read this year so far, and I'm gonna tell you which category they fall under or at least which category I placed them under. So I'll start from near the top of the list.
So number, our second category is Australian author, and I read
[00:06:06] Shelley: All Southern hemisphere?
[00:06:07] Rowena: or Southern Hemisphere, author, sorry, I made an Australian for myself or Southern Hemisphere author. The book I read was Sheila's Badass Women of Australian History, which was written by Eliza Riley.
My number four, which was a bestseller list, 2022 or 2023, I read The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama.
Category number six is a book that was gifted to you. And I mentioned this when we, first launched this reading challenge. And this was a book called Two Lipsticks and a Lover by Helen Frith Powell, which was given to me by my son.
Category number seven is a BIPOC author, which is a person of color. And the book I read was The Gift of Asking by Kemi Nekvapil.
Category number nine, self-help. And I read 30 days, 30 Ways to Overcome Anxiety by Bev Aisbet.
Category number 12, when you've been meaning to read and I read, we We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
category number 13, a business theme and I read Workstyle by Lizzy Penny and Alex Hirst.
Number 14, the category spirituality theme, and I read Spiritually Loose by Susan Pierce.
Number 16 category is the 2022 release, and I read Chill and Prosper by Denise Duffield Thomas.
Category 18 travel theme. I read The Ethical Traveler by Imogen Lepere and
Category 20 a 2023 new release I read, Not Now, Not Ever by Julia Gillard.
So I really actually loved all of these books, but I'm gonna just go a little bit, give a little bit of detail about my two absolute favorites.
Now, the first one was Sheila's, because one, the title's awesome. Sheila's Badass of Australian History. That's such a great title, but it is a history book with a difference.
Um, it is written, was written by an author who lives in the same local area as I do. So it kind of appealed to me as both being a Southern Hemisphere author, but also someone who was I could possibly run into her at my local shops, which I really thought that was very cool. Now, I listened to the audio book, which was read by the author, which I've shared many times on this podcast that I really enjoy when the authors got a great interpretation of their work and it was laugh out loud, funny.
So I was walking in the park listening to the book and I'm sure people were looking at me strangely cuz I was seriously laughing, like I had heard the funniest thing.
[00:08:33] Shelley: Oh, that's, that's the best. And for a nonfiction book. That's
[00:08:38] Rowena: I know, right? That's why it was one of my favorites because it was just enjoyable. I looked forward to listening to it.
And the really good bit is, I learned so much about a group of incredible women from Australian history, the majority of whom I'd never heard of. And they'd never appeared in any of the history books that I studied at school or university, despite them having some pretty awesome achievements.
And the more recent read that I've really enjoyed is Not Now Not Ever the Julia Gillard book. So this year in 2023 mark's 10 years on from the famous misogyny speech delivered in Parliament by Australia's first female prime minister, Julia Gillard.
So the book re-shares the speech. So, if you're not familiar with it, the book actually covers it, but you can also Google it. It's on YouTube and all over the place. But the book re-shares the speech and then the bit that I love, it includes multiple perspectives from other women from around the world sharing where they were when the speech occurred, and how it has impacted them since as well.
And this is where two Booked up kind of connect in. They take the conversation further, which we love to do here, which is probably why the book appealed to me as well. See another one that's highly recommended, it's brand new release.
[00:09:50] Shelley: I must say I had never, I haven't heard of Not Now, Not Ever. I hadn't heard of the misogyny speech, but then I went and looked it up and I saw it's apparently been a viral hits on TikTok and uh, so I'm like, oh, maybe it's because I'm not on TikTok, or maybe it's because I don't live in Australia, but I think I need to fix that up and get educated myself.
And I think it's an interesting one because it has a link with the fiction book that I am going to mention.
I I also read work style. We're so excited about work style. It's all about working in your own individualized way, working when you want, working where you want. It's a real revolutionary book that I enjoyed and so I've put that one under multiple authors because it was by Lizzie Penney and Alex Hurst.
and then I've also also read Chill and Prosper. That's I read on audiobook by Denise Duffield Thomas. Uh, I love Denise Duffield Thomas's take on Money, on Money Mindsets on rethinking all of these patterns and these mindsets that we've built that are, are really holding back from bringing in abundance into our lives.
And notice that I've put Chill and Prosper in Audiobook. I think you put chill and prosper into the 2022 release.
[00:11:05] Rowena: Correct. Yes.
[00:11:07] Shelley: so, so you can, that's the joy of this reading challenge is you can play around with the categories. So yeah, play around with those categories. I've written, the books that I've read on the printable PDF in pencil, and then I will sometimes go and rub it out, put it in a different category, so feel free to play. We told you this is all about play.
The idea here, is to actually market reading a little bit more, cuz I think we tend to default to our phones and we don't think about our reading.
And also if you look into bring more reading into your life. Go and have a look at episode 10, where Rowena shares some ideas for how to make time, more time for reading.
But I think you actually doing another challenge. Are you right.
[00:11:47] Rowena: Yes, I am. I'm also doing an fiction reading challenge, and that's 52 books in, in the year, and that is really testing me. Not the quantity so much, but the categories are hard. And they are really stretching my comfort zone around what I read. But it's okay because like you've said, I've been the non-fiction, I've been penciling them in just like Shelly, you have been doing, and I've been doing the same thing with The Book List Queen Reading Challenge, which is 52 fiction books . So what I love is that some books can fit in 3, 4, 5, 6 different categories. And so you can kind of tentatively place it somewhere and then when something else comes along that really only fits in one category, you can kind of shuffle 'em around.
But also you could maybe find one book and it could apply across five categories, and you could just write it down across five categories.
So for example, Chill and Prosper, that Shelly and I have both read. It could fill the 2022 release. It can, if you listen to it as an audiobook, it can be an audiobook, it can be a female author, it can be finances theme. It could also be Southern Hemisphere
[00:12:53] Shelley: Mm-hmm.
[00:12:54] Rowena: So there you go.
It's actually could put it and you can five categories and you can just put the one book down for all five. That's fine. Cuz there's no rules. It's all about you just reading for fun and taking a slightly different, a Playful approach to being a little bit more intentional and expanding your reading.
So Shelly, what nonfiction books have you been reading and can you share with us what categories they fall into?
[00:13:19] Shelley: Yeah, absolutely. So number seven category I filled the BIPOC author, I read A Place To Belong, and that's by Amber O'Neill Johnson. That's a sort of home screening and family book.
My audio book, as I said, was Chill and Prosper by Denise Duffield Thomas.
Number nine, self-Help. I have put in that category, the Power of Regret by Daniel Pink, and this is a book that I know we've both read. I think you read it last year, and that one, it's, it's probably not a hundred percent self-help, but I'm like, it fits for me.
It's helping me to harness the power of my regrets.
Number 11 was Workstyle for multiple authors by Lizzie Penny and Alex Hirst.
And then number 13 was my business theme, one that was called Tiny M B A by Alex Hillman, and I'm gonna chat a little bit more about that one in a minute.
Number 16, 20 22. Release is The Wild and Free Family by Ainsley Arment.
And then, I am adding this one in for number 19. Also, permission to add in my favorite genre, picture book biographies. So you asked for an autobiography. This is a biography
of Winnie the Poo.
[00:14:38] Rowena: Oh,
[00:14:38] Shelley: Winnie. Yes, by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall Illustrated by Sophie. And it was just their most gorgeous book that I thought I most added in, and I think it can fit in the biography category. So I, I highly recommend that one if you can get your hands on that.
And then a style that I wouldn't normally read was, is the last category and that. Was a book called 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.
And why I wouldn't normally read it, it's like a series of letters, between, a, book seller in the UK and this major classic book fan in the US. So those were my non-fiction reach, which is quite quite a list
I've got a pretty good list of my own. This is maybe also interesting for our listeners to like go. You might be reading more than you think.
[00:15:32] Rowena: Yes. I think that's a really valid point, Shelley, is that oftentimes we don't realize. How many books we're actually reading, um, until you start writing them down. And then it can be quite illuminating and a little bit exciting to realize, Hey, I'm doing better than I thought I was. And that can be a nice little bit of positive encouragement too.
So tell me a little bit about this tiny M b a book. I'm, I'm fascinated by that one. And you said it was one of your favorites.
[00:15:56] Shelley: Rowena can see me on camera. Look how tiny this little book is. It's like, it really is tiny and it's, it really could fit in the back of your jeans pocket, I suppose. And it started off as a series of tweets, that Alex Hillman put together and this book, Really has all these lessons, particularly for solo business people and it's a really great one if you want it in a quickly digestible form. And it's also a really good reread one, so I'm keeping this book on my desk, and when I'm kind of in a bit of a funk, I need some inspiration.
You can kind of just go turn to a page and see, one of the ideas there to encourage you in your business, they're super practical and, I got the ebook. So probably people would, people in Australia and South Africa would actually have to get the ebook, although they did say that they will ship to everywhere.
I had it shipped to South Africa, through a different partner and it is delightful.
So I'm gonna like read one one of the pages and it's literally like this.
It's also important to realize that other people and businesses spend money differently than you do. Odds are that you will underprice yourself because you said prices based on what you would pay, not what they already spend.
So that's like one page, boom. You've read a page. Now you can go and think about that and go, Hmm, where am I?
[00:17:21] Rowena: Bit of a mic drop moment, isn't it? For people with a business.
[00:17:24] Shelley: It's a, it's a book of Mike Doc moments. I'll just read the next page and then, I'll move on to my next book. But he says it's definitely easier to get people to change where they already spent money than it is to convince them to spend new money or even spend money in a new way.
And then you go, Hmm, okay, where am I maybe also trying to reinvent the wheel in my business. So it's open-ended things that make you think, you know, talk about igniting conversations. These are like thought starters and conversation starters. So love that one.
And it's a lovely short read. So you will tick off a book for like 30 minutes of your time.
Alex Hillman is, the business partner of Amy Hoy, who I'm a big fan of, and they have got a program called, Launch for the Win. I'm gonna put a link to that if anyone wants to build a small info product, this is amazing. Oh, and it's totally free as well.
And then the Wild and Free Family. Oh, big fan. The previous book was particularly for homeschoolers, whereas this is for families of all types, and it's about bringing more intention into your family life.
So I thought what I'm gonna do is just read you the titles of the table of contents and you can decide if that's your cup of tea or not. So it's to create a family culture, to preserve childhood, to connect with your kids, to understand your children, to create a safe haven, to redeem what's been broken, to chase wonder, and to adventure together.
Ainsley write in a beautiful, like, classical, whimsical kind of way. It's very beautifully written and put together with, um, lovely watercolor illustrations as well. So those were, I would say my two highlights. One on the business side and one on the family side of things.
[00:19:17] Rowena: Lovely. Thank you so much for sharing those. It's nice to have some nonfiction suggestions that are not purely business or professional or self-development. Um, and they're actually, there's a whole world of nonfiction that is, Useful, but in other parts of our lives, like you've just shared in the wild and free family. So family related things. Or there's some stuff around, decluttering and your wardrobe is, and all sorts of amazing stuff.
So I love those books that you've shared. Thank you. Shelley and The Tiny MBA reminds me a little bit of, We Should All Be Feminists because it similarly was a very small little book, um, and it was only a tiny bit bigger than a phone, so it was quite tactile and quite fun to then quickly get through a book in, as you said, you know, 30 to 60 minutes with a cup of tea.
So we've talked about our nonfiction. The next thing is fiction because, you know, reading for fun and pleasure. We love our nonfiction here on two Booked up, but we also pretty partial to a bit of fiction, so I'm gonna share two of my favorites.
Now, I will acknowledge that it was very hard to narrow it down. However, in the interest of time and not overwhelming people, I have chosen just two of the very favorite books, and interestingly, after I chose them and I reflected upon it, and the two that I chose for my non-fiction as well.
All the four books I've chosen as my very favorites, they all deal with what it means to be a woman, the limitations of being female, the benefits of being female, but from very different perspectives. And my two fiction books are the same. They both deal with issues around femininity and limitations and benefits, but from a fictional perspective.
So the first one is called, this is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. And this was published in 2017, but I only just read it a couple of weeks ago. It is written beautifully and I actually listened to the audio book and it captured the challenges of parenting, particularly the humor of parenting boys because, so Shelly, I think you can relate to this, that sometimes it is very funny being a mom to boys and this like, you can't help but laugh because they just get up to the most crazy things and you find yourself thinking, saying something.
Um, and you think, well, I never would've imagined I'd be saying something like, don't lick the wall or stop being a slug on the floor. But that's just part of the joys of parenting boys, and this author has captured that exquisitely. Um, and so again, it was, oh, there were moments when I was laughing out loud, and then there were other times when I had tears pouring down my face.
It was a very emotional book. Um, it explored a difficult topic, which is the supporting of a child who is trans. And so then the book explores that, um, with a lot of empathy and understanding.
Um, so it's absolutely beautiful. So if you're looking for a, a very, a different type of book, um, I wasn't, not anything like I've ever listened to or read before, but I just loved it.
My second book that I would highly recommend is a brand new release, and it is Australian and it's The Book Binder of Jericho by Pip Williams.
So it was just published this year in 2023. Again, I loved this because it was written beautifully. But it also referenced her earlier book, the Dictionary of Lost Words, which I also read. This book is set during World War I in Oxford, in the UK. So whilst it's set during the war and the war is certainly referenced, and it influences the characters and changes their story arc, it's not really a war book per se.
Instead, it's very evocative of the time and place, and the main character is a bindary girl, which means she's a worker in the Oxford Press. So her challenge is about being a female in 1914, and the limitations that are placed on her by being set in the UK so she doesn't have the vote. So the suffragettes are part of the backstory there as well.
So it's, it's. Absolutely fascinating. It is a piece of fiction, but it is very evocative. You, you feel like possibly it's based on a true story. And I checked the acknowledgements and all the details and the author's note and no it's not, but it could have been, that was written in such a way.
[00:23:33] Shelley: Yeah. Thanks so much for sharing those two, Ro. And isn't it amazing how your fiction reading and your non-fiction reading, now have all like linked together, especially when you highlight in your favorites, and I think you've only discovered this in kind of looking back at your, reading life so far.
So it's also a bit of a testament to. Taking a pause, reflecting on your reading life, and that's what we, what we are doing here.
So from my fiction reads, I have been working my way through Stephen King's Fairy Tale. And it's, it, Stephen King is just such an excellent storyteller. There is something about the way he writes and the way he draws you into the story. This one's squarely fantasy, although the first part of the book is set in like the real world, and then the second part kind of goes into this fantasy world. It was a long read, but I kind of, I enjoyed reading it slowly each night, so I would read a little bit more.
I, I kind of was only reading it at night and, um, Thoroughly captivating, and he's got these beautiful references to classic fairy tales throughout the book, and those references give you clues to the characters in the book. And so they, it was quite fascinating then. in some cases, going to just check up on what. You know, what does the Rupelstiltskin story again? And, and seeing where all those parallels were coming from.
And then the one that I feel links to, you know, Your, collection of books of what it means to be a woman is, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Gaimus.
And so I, so you're giving me the thumbs up. So this was recommended actually by Lizzie Penny, who I mentioned, is with the co-author of Workstyle and it's. It set in the 1950s and early 1960s and really exposed, what I just found was infuriating gender biases that existed in the world of work, particularly in the work of science and chemistry, where the main character works.
And in a way, it had a bit of a nonfiction vibe to it because it actually involved some lessons in chemistry in the story and in the dialogue, which I thought was quite delightful. Very interesting, strong lead character. She's got this sort of slightly cold exterior cuz she's like, just I think needed to fight so much. Um, but still so likable. Really a likable character.
[00:25:56] Rowena: I have to say, Shelly, I loved Lessons in Chemistry. I've also read it. I also loved the fact that the dog called Six-Thirty provides a. Uh, commentary because as a fan of doggies, I love six 30 and his commentary that is thrown in through the book. And I've just, I recommended lessons in chemistry to loads of people.
But like you, it was originally recommended to me by someone else and I'm so grateful. Um, so shout out to Gloria if you're listening for giving the recommendation for Lessons in Chemistry. Now, I also recall you, Shelly, talking about this Stephen King book in our other conversations because it's been a very.
Uh, you've been very dedicated to finishing it cuz it's quite a long read, but I have to admit, and I'm gonna put it out there now, I have never read any Stephen King books, so maybe I will need to add at least one of his to my to be Red list because one of my other categories in the other challenge is read something, a famous author I've avoided.
And so maybe Stephen King would fall into that category.
[00:26:58] Shelley: Mm. Yes. Oh, that's quite okay. Ro, I, my husband Garon introduced me to Stephen King. So I'll, I'll give you
the, the, my recommendations of where to, where to
[00:27:09] Rowena: Like maybe start me with a really easy one. We can talk about that in another episode,
[00:27:14] Shelley: I, I think so.
I'm going to put my mind said, I'm thinking the JFK one, um, with the, the, the number, because I think that'll appeal to
your sense of history
[00:27:25] Rowena: Nice. And I think one that's not quite as long as fairy tales. Thank
[00:27:30] Shelley: This one is long, but I promise it's the JFK one. I just, I I powered through it was so I think you will, you'll power through that one, but yes, I'll, I'll try and find you a
shorter one too. Okay, we'll, we'll, we'll keep you updated on this,
guys. Uh, it's a, it's a big decision for me, so I can't just make it off the cuff.
[00:27:48] Rowena: No.
So in our next episode,
we will be talking about one of the books we've each read as part of this challenge. We will be discussing Workstyle by Lizzie Penny and Alex Hirst.
[00:28:03] Shelley: Yes, if you are looking to work in your own way, just rethink the way we've always thought about work and even rethink the idea of flexible work and like part-time work and that kind of thing.
This is your book. This is Your Revolution. I'm so excited about it. I loved it.
[00:28:20] Rowena: I really am looking forward to talking more about Workstyle, and I'll just say we've got an extra exciting surprise coming your way with this book. I'll leave it at that for now. But Shelly, you've also got something extra up your sleeve Based on what we were discussing in episode 26 about becoming a better procrastinator, can you tell us a little bit about that?
[00:28:42] Shelley: Yes, Ro. Thanks. So in that episode, I explained my seven R's process for procrastinating better, but based on the feedback I got from that episode, I've realized that each of us needs to make this process our own and really apply the lessons to a specific project. So like starting a business or launching a product, or leading a group or initiative in your community, whatever it means for you.
So I'm in the process of putting together an audio course, and it's going to be a series of alternating lessons and journaling prompts that you can listen to in a small slice of your time. So they'll be nice and snappy, and then my aim is to really help you free up hours of time each week. So that you can get the important stuff done and complete the projects that matter.
So you can sign up for the V IP wait list at procrastination.shelleytonkinsmith.Com. I'll leave a link to that in the show notes. And you can also read my blog post on this at Shelley Tonkin Smith dot com slash procrastination. Again, link in the show notes.
[00:29:51] Rowena: Oh, Shelly, that sounds so amazing. I'm so excited for you, and I'm signing up to that wait list right now. No procrastination here. So. For now, we hope we've inspired you to join us and reinvigorate your reading in a Playful intentional way. You can still download our reading challenge checklist for free.
Simply visit two Booked dot com where you can find the show notes with links to all the books we've mentioned a transcript of this episode, and of course, you can sign up to receive your free reading challenge checklist.
[00:30:21] Shelley: Yes, and if you playing a along, let us know how you going or if you're just starting, share what category you start with. You can find me on Twitter at Shelley t Smith, or sign up for my newsletter at Shelley Tonkin Smith dot com and for my copyright services. That's at Shelley Smith creative.com.
Where can they find you Rowena?
[00:30:41] Rowena: You can. find me at Rowena Mabbott on Instagram. And if you'd like to learn more about how I can support you as a career and life confidence coach, like to download my free book, the A Career and Life Confidence, or read any of my many blog posts, then head on over to my online home at RowenaMabbott.Com.
Thanks for listening to Two Booked Up today. Shelly and I will be back with a new episode in a couple of weeks time.
[00:31:06] Shelley: You've been listening to Two Booked Up with me, Shelly Tonkin. Smith.
[00:31:17] Rowena: And me Rowena Mabbott. Please subscribe or follow Two Booked Up in your podcast player. And if you've enjoyed this episode, we'd love it if you'd leave a positive review.